October 2012

Good day, all!

As the midterm comes and goes, I’ve realized how quickly time is passing. Although I arrived on campus almost 10 weeks ago, I feel like the semester just started. It seems unreal that in a few days I will be registering for my spring classes.

As you may have heard, Embry-Riddle recently hosted the Wings and Waves airshow on the beach. I’d been to air shows before, but there was something extra special about sitting on the sand and watching the planes skim the water close to shore. As a member of the Avion, I got the privilege of interviewing two very prominent aviators, Maj. J.R. Williams, Thunderbirds pilot #5 and Cheryl Stearns, champion skydiver and parachute, both ERAU graduates. They were both really interesting to talk to, especially Cheryl Stearns, because she has broken records and gender barriers in aviation.

This is me interviewing Major Williams.

Thunderbirds planes up close.

The Snow Birds at Wings and Waves.

In addition to the exciting things I’ve done on campus lately, I also got to take my first trip to Universal Studios with the other ERRSA members for Halloween Horror nights. I am not a fan of scary movies or haunted houses or ANYTHING scary, but I still had a ton of fun. I got to ride all of the themed coasters from movies that I grew up loving like The Mummy and MIB, and it was a neat experience to see it all come to life. I hope to go again sometime so I can visit the other parks!

Now that midterms are over, I got to relax and go home over the weekend for fall break. It was nice to see my family and friends again after two months of school. However, the best part was the food. Now, the food here at ERAU is pretty good, but it is nothing compared to my family’s home cooking. Also, since I love to bake, it’s been hard not having constant access to a stove or oven here at school. I spent a whole day making two types of cupcakes, apple cinnamon and pumpkin, topped with ginger cream cheese frosting and butterscotch caramel. They were delicious!

I hope that you are all enjoying reading about my experiences. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments you have!

October 2012

Hello again!

Every week I spend here keeps getting busier but better.

I am so happy to be an engineering major! The classes can be tough, but I love learning everything. In my Introduction to Engineering class, we just completed a launch systems project where we designed a rocket to take a payload into space. That was fun, but now we are starting on an even cooler project where we take on a project that solves a problem proposed either by the Daytona Beach International Airport or Americare Home Health. My team will be creating a prototype for a device that will help people with dexterity problems put on socks. I also recently turned in my first college paper and took my first test. I put in a lot of hard work and I was very pleased with the grades.

One of the activities that I’m involved in is the new Robotics Academy through RAER (Robotics Association Embry-Riddle). This is an intensive program for students interested in robotics, so that they can build leadership skills to participate in other sections of RAER. Recently, we designed a small competition for high school students who attended the Volusia Manufacturers Association Expo. In the tournament, we gave the teams of students a LEGO NXT robot built with a basic chassis and pre-programmed for a simple mission. We also provided them with extra LEGO parts and software to alter the program in order to complete the mission. The teams faced off to gather ping-pong balls placed in a 4×8 foot arena, and whoever had the most points at the end of the match was the winner. It was really cool to see everything the teams came up with.

Delta IV launch

Last week I also got the amazing opportunity to go to the Delta IV launch on Oct. 4th to report on it for the Avion. I had never seen a real launch before, and it was incredible. I got to stand on the NASA causeway with all the press, which is about 2.7 miles from the actual rocket. Yesterday I even got to see the recent SpaceX launch from outside the Student Village! Even for being so far away from the Cape, the rocket lit up the whole sky.

This weekend also brought TEDxEmbryRiddle to campus, where distinguished speakers talked about their research and life experiences. The theme was “Powering our Future,” which really intrigued me. I’ve watched TED talks online before, so it was awesome to actually be a part of a conference!

We the Kings performOne of the things that I was really looking forward to as a college student was all the free events. This week is homecoming week, and I am looking forward to all the fun activities. Jim Gaffigan is coming to campus, and Touch-N-Go productions brought in We the Kings for a concert on Sunday evening.

Well, I’m off to more clubs, activities, and of course, studying. Until next time!

October 14, 2012

Well I’ve got to say, things are going really well here at school. It’s amazing how quickly the weeks fly by, especially the weekends! It’s weird because I’m used to living up north where by this time of year the trees would be turning color and the days would be getting shorter and it would be getting much colder outside. But no, not here! Feels the same yesterday as it did when I walked off the plane on August 20th! It’s nice though because the humidity has started to die down which makes it feel much cooler.

We had our homecoming last week. And no, it’s not anything like your high school homecoming. Instead of having a dance, we had a week full of activities. The band “We the Kings” played a live concert, comedian Jim Gaffigan entertained for an hour and we had a carnival (with rides) complete with a corn dog stand, just to name a few of the events the school put on.

Photo: We the Kings play live at Embry-Riddle.

 Now that homecoming is over I’m back to studying for mid-terms which are this upcoming week. Fortunately I’m not swamped by a bunch of tests like some of my friends are, but regardless I want to make sure I do well. The good thing is that after mid-terms we have our fall break, which is a four day weekend. We get Friday and Monday off. It will be nice to relax and not have to think about school for more than 24 hours. In addition my dad and brother are coming to Daytona to visit for a couple of days. I’m really looking forward to seeing them; it’s already been two months since I left for college!

This weekend has been big for the school. The Wings and Waves Airshow was in town and how fitting is it that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University hosts it? The show features a variety of military and civil aircraft. The US Air Force Thunderbirds, Canadian Snowbirds and an F-18 demonstration, are just a few of the many performers in this show.

Photo: The Thunderbirds fly in formation at the Wings and Waves Airshow.Speaking of Air Force, ROTC has been going really well. This past week I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Air Force Planes that are here for the airshow. We got to see the F-18 and the KC-135. Everybody loves the F-18 but I was more impressed with the KC-135, I hope to fly that plane one day.


Photos: Posing for a quick picture with the Boeing KC-135 (left )and the F-18 Super Hornet (bottom right), KC 135 (top right).

As far as my flying is going, it has been going very well. My instructor and I have been very busy and have been flying quite often. We have been doubling up on activities and are working through the Private Pilot course fairly quickly. I have about 4 more flights before my Pre-Solo check ride which I have heard can be tough so I am working hard to make sure I pass. One of the things you will learn is that you do not want to have to repeat any flights. It can be expensive if you start having to repeat lots of flights. My goal is to not repeat any flights so I can save as much money as possible. In order to do so, you have to put in the time outside of training. The school provides you with all the tools you need in order to be successful. There is a Redbird Simulator lab that is absolutely free for students to use. There is about 10 Cessna 172 Simulators that are complete with a yoke and rudder pedals. They are equipped with the Garmin G1000 set up which is exactly the same as the planes I fly so it’s great to practice on.

Photo: Daytona Beach from above.

That’s about all I have time for. Next time, you will get a review on how fall break went. How ROTC is going. What the weather is doing here. How flying is going (of course) and anything else that comes to mind.

Also, email me at johnsd66@my.erau.edu with any questions, comments and/or concerns.

Thanks for reading!

September 2012

Hi everyone, my name is Matthew Colan and I will be one of your student blog writers for this year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Hopefully you will be able to learn about the experiences of the day to day life of a college student at ERAU over the course of the year. But first let me introduce myself to get to know me a little better.

I was born in Port Jefferson, New York and moved to northern Vermont at the age of four. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love for all things aviation. My parents believe it is because the first thing I saw when I was born was an airplane. Even as an infant, they say I would always be looking at an airplane flying across the sky. My first flight on an airplane was at the tender age of three. I remember almost nothing of the flight except it was early in the morning and there was a little bit of rain.

As I got older, my other grandfather began introducing me to model aviation. I always knew he flew model airplanes, but now he was beginning to teach me how to fly. He taught me how to fly Radio Control, and I flew those for a couple of years. In 2005, he introduced me to Control-line, a different form of model airplanes. Once I learned how to fly control-line, I started to compete. We eventually went to the National Championships in Muncie, Indiana in 2011. At that contest I was fortunate enough to place third in the advanced class and second in the senior class. We both went back to Muncie later that year so I could compete at the Team Trials. At that contest, I obtained the junior spot on the United States world team. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the world championships because the event occurred during the same week as Freshman Orientation at Embry-Riddle.

Fast forward to the present day, I just finished up my fourth week of classes. I have been at Embry-Riddle for a month and can’t believe time has gone by so quickly. My major is Aeronautical Science, which is the degree program to become a professional pilot. Currently, I am working on obtaining my Private Pilot license. A lot of class time is spent in the air, and in my opinion is the best classroom in the world! I currently live in Doolittle Hall, one of the four freshman dorms. I also became a member of two clubs on campus and also part of an intramural flag football team. Our first game was earlier this week, and unfortunately we came up a little short in getting the win. Since the team is comprised mostly of freshman, we didn’t know all of the rules to flag football and penalties got the best of us.

The two clubs I am a member of is the Radio Control Airplane Club and the Sport Aviation Club. The Sport Aviation club gives opportunities to go to airshows at almost no cost, and also give you the opportunity to fly some really cool airplanes. Just last weekend, I was able to take a ride in an aerobatic glider and fly in a Pitts S-2B. One of my friends let me use his GoPro camera, and I got the flight on video. I put it up on Youtube here if you would like to watch it.

This weekend, I will be attending an airshow at Cocoa Beach with the Sport Aviation Club. I will talk about it in my next blog entry. I also have a model airplane under construction in my dorm that I hopefully will be able to fly by the next blog entry as well.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. You can also add me as a friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. If you do wish to add me as a friend on Facebook, send me a message to let me know that you read the student blog so that I know it is not spam. If you have a Youtube account, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel. Thank you for reading my story and I hope you will consider Embry-Riddle as your college of choice. You will not be disappointed!

Matthew Colan

September 2012

September 2012

Greetings from Daytona Beach! I’m looking forward to writing to all of you and sharing my experiences down here at Riddle. I remember when I was applying to Embry-Riddle, reading the student blogs really helped me get a good idea of what life would be like here on campus so hopefully I can do the same for you.

I should start by telling you a little about myself. My name is Dylan and I’m a freshman here at Riddle. I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington so you could say I’m pretty far away from home. However, you will learn that this campus is very diverse. Students from all over the world come here to study. Compared to the travels some of my classmates had to take to get here, it makes the distance I had to travel here seem short. Ever since I was little I have been fascinated by airplanes. When my family would take a vacation that required air travel, the best part of the vacation for me was the flights to and from our destination. When it came time to start looking at colleges I did some research (I didn’t have to look very far) and discovered that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was the premier school to go to if you wanted to learn how to fly. Talk to anyone in the Aviation Industry and they will tell you the same thing. I came here one month ago with absolutely zero flight experience, and as of today I already have 5.8 hours of logged flight time under my belt. I am also participating in Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) here. So yeah, you could say this past month has been quite the change for me. Not to mention the fact that the Florida weather is just a little different from the cool, dampness of the Pacific Northwest.

In case you didn’t know I’m majoring in Aeronautical Science which is basically fancy terminology for “Professional Pilot.” Aeronautical Science and Aerospace Engineering are the two most popular majors here on campus. Coming here with no flight experience I wasn’t really sure what to expect with how the flying would work. Now that I’ve been here for a while I can see why this place is so good at training pilots. There are times I feel like I could be in the movie Top Gun. The flight line is incredible; there are over 60 airplanes in the fleet, from a variety of different manufacturers. The best part of my day is walking to the flight line and checking in for my flight and walking out to the plane with my instructor. They really make you feel like a professional pilot from day one. This week I have three flights which I’m really looking forward to. However, don’t expect to be flying every single day. The flight curriculum for the Private Pilot Course is based on Modules. For each module you will have an oral, FTD (Flight Training Device) and flight. Basically, you and your instructor will spend a day discussing what you will be practicing. Then you will practice in a flight simulator. After that you will apply it to the skies in the airplane. So realistically you will have 1 or maybe 2 flights per week depending on when your flight block is and how the weather is, but it varies.

My roommate and I are living McKay Hall. It is one of the four dorms that are generally designated for freshman students. I have to say that I think McKay is the best dorm to live in. I also lucked out with the fact that my roommate is very clean so our room is never dirty.

Also, Air Force ROTC has been pretty busy lately. We have PT (Physical Training) on Monday and Friday mornings. I’m really glad I stayed in shape over the summer because PT would be a killer if I had not. Last Friday we did the famous beach run. We all met up and drove down to the beach at about 0530. We ran up and down the beach chanting Jodie’s, and watched the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. It was a really cool experience and it made PT a lot of fun.

I’ve only been here a month but I already feel like I have been here for 2 or 3. Some friends and I have been busy. A few weekends ago we went to Disney World for the weekend and stayed at my roommate’s house in Orlando. This past weekend we went to the Coco Beach Airshow. We’ve already been to the beach at least a half a dozen times. It’s cool how you can go to the beach anytime of the day and not worry about being cold. The water is warm and the weather is even warmer. We went body surfing at 8AM a few weekends ago.

Anyways, that’s all I have for now. There will be much more to come next time. Feel free to e-mail me at johnsd66@my.erau.edu with any questions you might have.

September 2012

Hello all!

My name is Elizabeth Worsham, and I am so excited to be a Freshman at ERAU! I have been looking forward to this time of my life for several years now, and I can’t believe that I’m finally getting the chance to live my dreams. Choosing a college is a very difficult and important decision and I hope that my experience can help any prospective students.

As I made the long trek down to Daytona Beach from my hometown of Loveland, OH, I had a lot of time to reflect on why I decided to come to Embry-Riddle, and how I came to this point in my journey.

I had a very hard time choosing where I wanted to go to college. I applied and was accepted to 11 different schools. I didn’t know if I wanted a small school with a more personal atmosphere, or a state school for the “big college” social and academic experience. I had never heard of Embry-Riddle until I started getting emails and pamphlets in the mail. Since I was really interested in NASA, Embry-Riddle’s connections and partnerships to the aerospace industry caught my eye. I thought “why not?” and decided to apply.

As Decision Day came closer and closer, I still had no idea where I wanted to go to school, but my path seemed to keep heading toward Embry-Riddle. I received an invitation to the Honors Program and received a prestigious FIRST Robotics Scholarship but I needed to be sure of my decision before I committed to a school 15 hours away from my home.

I did overnight campus visits at my top 3 schools and that’s when I became aware of the distinct differences between Embry-Riddle and other universities. I was able to see first-hand the way that faculty members interacted with students, and how students interacted with each other. The professors and staff cared about the success of the students, both in the classroom, in professional development, and in extracurricular activities. As for the students, there didn’t seem to be major competition between them but rather they were brought together by common interests and goals. I knew soon enough that Embry-Riddle was the place for me. In fact, the two freshman I roomed with that weekend continue to be my friends.

The first few weeks here have been incredibly exciting, and although I was worried about fitting in, this place has already become my home. I was once told that “everything is better in college,” and it’s true! Classes are harder, homework is tougher and more time consuming, but I enjoy it because each physics and math problem is another step closer to my dream career.

We all know that there is a lack of females on the Embry-Riddle campus, but it leads the girls who are here to become great friends. I’ve grown incredibly close to my roommate, Blair, and suitemates, Clare and Maggie, and we get plenty of girl time with dinners out and pedicures (sometimes the guys even join in). There are so many clubs to be involved with and new people to meet that I am never bored! I have always liked to be involved, so I joined “The Flock” spirit club, volunteer my computer graphics skill to The Avion student newspaper and am a Hall Representative for the Embry-Riddle Resident Student Association.

One thing that you should know when coming to Embry-Riddle is that most people don’t walk to their classes. Biking, free line skating, and longboarding are very popular. However, be careful! Blair bought a long board recently and fell off on her way to class. She got a huge scrape on her leg, but luckily we used our first aid skills and it is healing fantastically (That’s another thing to note, ALWAYS have a first aid kit).

Also, most of the time the weather is warm, but beware of pop-up showers in the afternoon! Carry an umbrella on you at all times. Regardless, the cloud patterns are magnificent. I love looking out my window and seeing the lightning and clouds for miles and miles. It only affirms my goal to get a minor in meteorology!


On weekends with light homework, my friends and I like to explore the area. We’ve taken trips to the beach and even spent a day at Downtown Disney and ate at the TRex Café.

I have so much to talk about after completing my first month of college. I hope that you have enjoyed reading and stay tuned for more!

September 2012

Hey y’all, I’m a southern sweetheart, transitioning from blonde to brunette, Daddy’s girl born and raised in the “First in Flight” state of North Carolina with 17 years to my credit. Friends and family call me Sam but my given name is Samantha Gray Allen. I am pursuing an Aerospace Engineering major and minor in Applied Meteorology at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. I am very pleased to introduce myself and begin sharing my experiences here with everyone.

I’ve always found myself glancing up into the sky and furthering my thoughts of what could be. While most kids were zoned in to Nickelodeon or Disney, I was enamored with Storm Stories on The Weather Channel. I woke up with Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams from the Weather Channel was my ‘pretend friend’ of choice. I wouldn’t say I was a weird kid, more like an eccentric character trapped in a small body. Even now as a college freshman, I can still recall how my dream to become an astronaut came to grow from a wild imagination dressed in a tin foil costume with a crock pot helmet. Somehow, I always knew I would soar above and beyond my 5’5 stature; getting there was the part I had to figure out.

Starting off with small wings as a “Belmont Elementary Bumble Bee,” I was exposed to the ideas that linked the fun of science and math. My teachers were more unusual than most and used their classroom flamingos (Deci Ceni and Milli) to inspire students and apply academics to the real world. My fifth grade teacher, Ms. Pair, inspired me to be different than the rest, and to never let anyone or anything hold me back. I recall two projects from her class that seemed to indicate a path I was progressing towards. One consisted of designing my first invention; I chose a space “meal pill” a design I considered innovative for astronauts in space to eliminate having to consume three meals a day and reducing the amount of packaged food containments. Then there was the second: “career in a box.” I chose meteorologist and filled my box with weather photos and satellite imaging. I imagined myself sitting right there in the weather studio, broadcasting over the channel, affixed to the television in my sparkly princess bedroom.

Middle School life was here before I knew it, and I had made a few changes over the summer break. My bedroom was no longer pink, boys weren’t quite as bad as my Daddy hoped I would still believe them to be and becoming a Chaloner “Junior Yellow Jacket” was a big deal for a young girl with high hopes. Here I came to expand my horizons and take my first technology class taught by Ms. Turner. She gave me the confidence that pushed me to aspire to work in the engineering field. From the hands-on building of our own small cars to the computer work behind it all, Ms. Turner brought our studies to life. It was from taking the technology courses that I began to desire hands on experimenting of my own. So I sought out opportunities like US Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. This was one of my funnest experiences, but also one that best prepared me most for Riddle life; my shuttle team was fifteen guys and only two girls. However, this didn’t stop me from grabbing the position of head engineer on our first mission. Can you say inspiration at its greatest? This camp not only gave me the courage to go forward into engineering, but also the ability to take on numerous extra-curricular tasks at once. Already involved with dancing and with ten years of dance competition team under my belt, I still decided to add more. I became involved with cheerleading, Spanish club, track, softball, peer builders and became student body president. A mouthful of course, but that’s nothing; wait until I compact four years of high school into three!

High school: the point where “idiocracy” and genius collide. Although I never really had a normal high school experience, it was great nonetheless. My first two years were at Roanoke Rapids High School, now with fully matured wings as a Yellow Jacket, and this was the time to prepare take off! From day one I would have to say my DECA advisor and Marketing teacher Ms. Tugwell had been my motivation and my rock. As Dan Rather once quoted, “A dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to new heights, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” Ms. Tugwell pushed me to become a fearless individual and speak in front of all the North Carolina DECA chapters, while running for state officer. She would always be honest and helpful, regardless of how many times I complained to her after school. It was this fearless nature that not only gave me the courage to take double math and science as well as summer online courses to get ahead, but also to fly. Climbing into the first small engine plane was sort of an out of body experience for me. With my grandmother, Linda Turner, in support of me all the way, I was able to once again conquer my fear of heights. I not only felt in control, I was hooked. I could see the world from above, which was exactly what I intended to do. So by the time I reached my sophomore year my plate was overflowing. Dance, DECA, student government, history club, RUSH, Key Club, softball, civil air patrol, volunteering for Halifax Medical Specialist Clinic, tutoring students at local learning centers, starting the scholars program, assisting with middle school science Olympiads, and cross country… I still have no clue on as to how I managed all of this.

High school take two: Even though my heart will always belong to the Roanoke Rapids Graded School district and its members, my dream now came first and foremost. After running out of classes (and things to join it seemed) I transferred to KIPP Gaston College Preparatory. Here I met yet another group of amazing people. I was instilled with lifelong values I can never forget and still carry with me today. I limited myself to softball, cross country, volunteering around the Roanoke Valley, and starting the school’s first DECA chapter (with the help from the infamous Ms. Tugwell). With a year’s worth of credits and a schedule weighed down with AP classes I began thinking about the possibility of early graduation. Days following this “life recollection,” I ironically received a flyer in the mail from Embry-Riddle with photos of incredible storms and shuttle launches — the nerd in me could not resist. Over spring break I took time to drive ten hours south from my hometown of Roanoke Rapids to Daytona Beach. I chose to ask a friend to accompany me rather than family. For me this had to be the point where I spread my wings in trial if I was going to consider leaving home earlier than expected, I was going to have to prove my independence. After meeting with Ms. Fugere my heart was sold on Embry-Riddle and I completed the application on the spot. The entire 600 mile journey home, my future played over and over in my mind as to the possibilities following IF I were accepted. The following months back at home became crunch time as I compacted my whole senior year into one final semester and a short summer class. The day I received the acceptance letter in my hand was so happy I cried — and I rarely cry over anything. It was one of the happiest times of my life so far. Graduation now was not an ending for me, but simply a commencement or new beginning.

We all need motivation, that slight nudge to move ahead, something or someone to be inspired by…

Please continue to follow my blog because I don’t just want to expose my own journey here, but push each of you to see that by “accomplishing great things one must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. -Antole France”