Back to School

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a great start to the Fall semester and are settling back. I am currently back to starting classes, and let me tell you, it’s not really easy getting back into my school routine after doing 9 months of internships!!! I also got my private pilot license during the summer right before classes started.

I am currently taking 15 credits, training for my instrument, and have leadership roles in multiple organizations. It’s not super easy getting back, but I do like a little challenge. It is also very nice to get back since I have a great support system from my professors, colleagues and friends!

After getting into two weeks of classes, I can’t believe we got a whole week off due to Hurricane Irma. My boyfriend and I drove to my house in Bradenton to stay with my family. We didn’t evacuate from Florida, but hunkered down and stayed through it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We lost power for about 8 hours, but we slept through it since it was in the middle of the night. There wasn’t much damage to our house, except for trees that fell all over the place. We took down the storm shutters after it was all over and cleaned our place up. There were some trees outside our complex that were uprooted.

I hope everyone was safe during this period and have made it back safely to Daytona. Remember that if you need any help, please reach out to your professors and let them know.

Until next time,

Maryam

Trip to Houston in the Aftermath of Harvey

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Even though I consider Daytona my “home” since I spend most of my time here (due to school), Houston will always be home. Now, going to school far away from home has its pros and cons, but when emergencies strike, there are so many more cons of being away from home.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in south Texas over a week ago and then proceeded to stall over Houston for several days in which it caused massive flooding. In fact, several news agencies have pointed out that there was enough rain in Houston during Harvey to run Niagara Falls for almost two weeks.

Last week, my house took on several feet of water. It was tough not being there with my family as they dealt with the significant flooding. I felt useless and helpless, but thankfully, I was able to take a trip home to help my parents and friends with the clean up over Labor Day weekend. It was pretty surreal walking around my neighborhood and home, but I am very glad that I was able to be there with them. I am extremely thankful that my family is safe and that I got to spend some time with them.

Regardless if you are going to school 2 miles away from home or more than a thousand miles, communicating with your professors when family emergencies strike goes a long way as they will be understanding and willing to assist in whatever way they can.

 

First Week of School

My last “First Day of School” as seen from Daytona at the top and Hurricane Harvey impacting Houston on the bottom.

Monday was my last “first day of school,” or at least the last one of my undergraduate career. I can’t believe that my final semester at Embry-Riddle is already here!

While it is an exciting week, it has also been a tough week as my family and all of Houston (where I grew up) continues to be impacted by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. Unfortunately, the city of Houston and the surrounding areas have taken a beating from the storm. At times like these, it can very hard to be away from home as I cannot be there to help family and friends as Houston deals with the storm.

So far, all of my classes seem very interesting. In my capstone class (Strategic Management), we will be spending the entire semester working in teams completing a business simulation. This will allow us to apply what we have learned throughout our time in the business program, and we will have different responsibilities for the business such as marketing, finance, product development, etc. While I have heard that it can be easy or hard sometimes, it is set up in a very unique way.

I am also taking a Marketing Research class which will be the first time ERAU has offered this class on the Daytona Beach campus. More to come on this, but so far, it sounds like a very interesting class.

Since it is the fall, I am back to being a Peer Mentor (TA) for a University 101 class. It has been very fun meeting the new first year students and answering their questions. The Career Services Office (where I am a student assistant) is as busy as ever! We are already deep into plans for the 2017 Fall Industry/Career Expo on October 12! So far, we have more than 90 companies registered to attend!

Buckle up, it’s going to be a busy semester!

Jack

Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Convention and Career Expo

Embry-Riddle is home to a series of prestigious organizations that salute the advancement of minorities within the Aviation and Aerospace industry. I, myself, have recently joined the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. Not only is our advisor the esteemed Dr. Nancy Lawrence, an Associate Professor of Aerospace and Occupational Safety, but our alumni are leaders in the industry. As a member of OBAP, I was invited to attend the 41st Annual Convention hosted in Orlando, Florida at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort.

I was in the presence of professional aviators, captains, air traffic control specialists, and even marketing professionals from the aerospace industry. The weekend consisted of collegiate series, receptions, a job fair, and a gala for the finale. Unlike the ISS Research & Design Conference I attended earlier this year, this convention was catered primarily to the students.

The first night informal and beyond welcoming. For many attendees, it was a lot like a family reunion. Minorities make up a relatively small portion of the demographic; despite these small numbers, OBAP provides an incredibly close-knit community that thrives on encouraging one another’s successes. Within in that night alone, I found myself making jokes with historically influential captains that are paving the way for young Black pilots today.

Of course, I myself am not a pilot or enrolled in an aerospace-specific program, but I was pleased to see that there was still a distinct need and appreciation for communication majors. Although I did make a few connections regarding public relations and marketing, this is an event that greatly benefits aeronautical engineers, air traffic controllers, aerospace and occupational safety, and (of course) aeronautical science majors.

Companies in attendance were FedEx, Southwest, Mesa Airlines, JetBlue, and many more. Embry-Riddle was also one of very few colleges with their own booth. Our OBAP chapter members and executive board shared with attendees information on programs and certifications offered at all available degree levels for Prescott, Daytona, and Worldwide.

 

As a senior, this is event was truly beneficial for networking, but more so perspective. This convention is cleverly crafted to make you an active individual with the aerospace industry. It was a dose of reality. The people I met that weekend are the people I hope will be working with in the future. That in itself is a huge honor – stand alongside men and women that strive for not only themselves, but the people that look up to them.

If you’re looking for more information, be sure to check out the official Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals website and DEFINITELY reach out to our school’s local chapter at obap.erau@gmail.com. You can find us at the activities fair as well on September 7th!

⋆ Dani

Summer Update

Hello there!

This summer I took a day trip down to Santiago, Chile thanks to my flight benefits!

I can’t believe that the Fall 2017 semester is just about to take off in 11 days! This means that I have just 67 class days left of my undergraduate career as I will be graduating in December.

I have been enjoying my last official summer break, but I have been keeping very busy as I returned to Delta Air Lines for a second internship in Network Planning & Scheduling. It has been another great experience that has allowed me to learn a lot and work on more challenging projects.

Another highlight of the summer was sitting out at the world’s busiest airport and watching some of the flights that I scheduled taxi by.

Last year, I was on the Schedule Integrity team in which I was responsible for the connectivity and operational efficiency for two of Delta’s hubs and several Delta Connection carriers. This summer, I have been working on the Schedule Repair team in which I worked on a variety of projects across Delta’s domestic flight schedule. From adding new flights into the schedule to fixing a variety of issues that came up to so much more, no two days were ever the same. My favorite week of the summer is when I started the week with a project involving our New York LaGuardia hub; moved to a project involving Minneapolis during the middle of the week; and finished the week with a Los Angeles project.

The best part of my internships was the opportunity to get hands-on experience while having a direct impact to the Delta operation. Plus, I was paid, had flight privileges to travel on the weekends, and am even receiving class credit for this internship. In addition to that, I had the opportunity to apply what I have learned in school and learn so much more!

As an incoming students, I highly recommend that you start learning about internship opportunities during your first year. You can start by talking to your fellow classmates or visiting the Career Services office. Plus, attending the Career Expo and Company Information Sessions will also help so you can speak to company representatives and recruiters directly and learn what they are looking for. Planning ahead and networking will help make you better prepared for interviewing and learning what you may or may not want to do. While good grades are important, I have learned that internships and work experience can be just as helpful.

Well, time to get back to work! Until next time,

Jack

Wrapping up Summer 2017

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been quite some time since I blogged. I have been so busy with ending my internship and going back to flight training before classes start in fall! I ended my internship about a week ago and had 2 back-to-back conferences during my last two weeks.

The first conference was the Brooke Owens Fellowship Conference. This conference brought together 36 young women in aviation and aerospace industry in DC- from solving a Grand Challenge with 5 astonishing colleagues and JPL’s head of Mars mission to meeting Pamela Melroy, former NASA astronaut and one of two women to command a space shuttle mission, to performing spoken word poetry in honour of Dawn Brooke Owens, to partying on a pirate boat with the leading aerospace experts.

 

The second one was the ALPA Air Safety Forum held in Washington DC. This forum featured panels and discussions with aviation safety and security experts, recognition of outstanding pilot contributions and more. I was able to  interact with many of the pilots and industry stakeholders that I had met at other meetings during the course of my internship, and I also got to hear from Robert Sumwalt during the Keynote Lunch Speech. I even celebrated my 21st birthday (July 17th), which was the first day of this conference by going out for dinner with some friends!

 

Soon after my internship, I came back home to Bradenton, where my family gave me a surprise birthday cake and gifts! It was great to see them for a few days before starting my flight training.

I am currently working on my private pilot and just finished my first solo last week. I hope you all are having a great summer and are ready to start classes in a few weeks!!!

 

Until next time,

Maryam

Two Cities: Two Weeks

Wow, so a lot of stuff happened in the past two weeks, so let’s get started!

Two weeks ago, I traveled to Montreal and it was an amazing experience. But first, I had to endure a 10 hour train ride.

Everything about the city was perfect. The people were nice, the sights were breathtaking, and I was relatively comfortable traversing the city since I’ve been to New York City so many times.

I was staying with my friend, who generously allowed me to live with her for a whole week. We’ve been pen pals for the past five years, so it was amazing to finally meet her.

The city has some really interesting quirks, like the architectural headache that is Habitat 67 and getting Costo applications in the subway.

I got to try some delicious food as well…because that’s important!

Like all things in the world, my little adventure had to end at some point. I was extremely depressed to leave such an amazing city. But I will return…some day. More photos can be found on my Instagram: billynguyentm

Almost as soon as I got home, I had to get ready to travel once again. Destination: Metlife Stadium.

It took me nine years, but I finally got to see Coldplay live! It was so awesome seeing your childhood idols right there in the flesh. Aside from the concerts Touch-N-Go put on campus, this was my first legitimate concert ever!

These two things were easily the biggest highlights of my summer. I don’t honestly think anything can top them, but with school just three weeks away, I’m open for anything. Until next week!

ISS Research & Design Conference

(From left to right) – Space Tango’s Director of Business and Communication Operations Kirsten Jenkins, CEO Twyman Clements, and myself at our booth.

It’s been a pretty computer-heavy summer with my internship at Space Tango as we prepare for our next batch of customer payloads to be launched on SpaceX CRS-12. From cleaning up the website to controlling social media, I’ve spent the last two months behind screens completing a lot of background work. Needless to say, I was absolutely enthralled when Space Tango invited me to attend this year’s International Space Station Research & Design (ISS R&D) Conference in Washington, D.C.

The ISS R&D Conference is an opportunity for aerospace industry leaders to network among each other, share ideas, and learn from their personal business ventures in commercial space. Through a series of talks, technical sessions, and a huge networking event, I got to learn first-hand what it’s like to be in the industry. Just so you know, they are just as excited and geeked-out about space as any other college student. It’s truly a shared passion.

Not only did I meet several astronauts, like Embry-Riddle Alum Terry Virts, but I also networked with people at Bigelow Aerospace, Leidos, Made In Space, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation to name a few. 

Astronuat Terry Virts and myself – We had a great talk about his experience not only at Worldwide, but at the Daytona campus as well.

Astronaut Kate Rubins shared a detailed story on what it was really like getting to and from the ISS. If you check out the ISS R&D Conference website, you can access a full video on her experience.

Astronaut and Orbital ATK Space Systems Group president Frank Culbertson shared a heart-wrenching story about what it was like to be the only American not on Earth during the 9/11 events. As a military dependent, it was an honor to hear stories from an American hero.

JAXA Astronaut Soichi Noguchi and I not only spoke about JAXA, but I shared a few stories about my time in Japan. Truly an amazing place to visit, but an even better place to live!

It was absolutely exciting to listen to Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow. He shared with the audience why we should remain a leader in space exploration. This was another great talk I urge you to check out at the ISS R&D website!

I even got to meet Dr. Camille Alleyne! We bonded over our Caribbean roots and she even shared some insight on her newest non-profit, The Brightest Stars Foundation. As a woman of color, to say that our conversation was empowering is truly an understatement.

Several students from high schools and universities were also in attendance to share their research. My favorite part of this whole week? A tie between two young women for the Genes in Space Science Contest.

Elizabeth Reizes (14) and Sophia Chen (14) were both named the finalists for the 2017 Genes in Space science contest. Their experiments will be performed aboard the ISS.

The conference was an amazing opportunity and has given me the motivation to get through my last year of my undergraduate degree. It’s a little costly, but this event is well-worth the time for any looking to enter the industry!

⋆ Dani

Life at Rutgers

It’s been very interesting being a summer student at Rutgers. Despite the obvious differences between Riddle and Rutgers, I don’t really feel out of place. I guess the one thing that really stood out was how confusing Rutgers’ parking system was when compared to Riddle’s. In short: We have it so much easier at Riddle.

So I’m currently 3 weeks in out of 6 for my Thermodynamics class at Rutgers. I thought the class would be in a regular classroom. I was wrong.

At about four times the size, Rutgers’ Busch campus is kinda like Embry-Riddle. I will admit some of the infrastructure on campus is a bit more rundown here than at Riddle.

While not possible given Riddle’s geography and environment, I wish there were nature bridges and trails on campus.

While Rutgers’ CoRE building is older than Lehman, I think it looks nicer…

School, Football, and Drones, Oh My!

So apparently my last post was never approved, which isn’t good. And that kinda explains the lack of content on my part, so I do apologize! Unfortunately, not a lot has happened since I made my last post. I have some really awesome travel photos planned for my next post though! I won’t say where I’m going, but I’m definitely excited.

So my short and brief time at Rutgers has come to a close. I passed Thermodynamics and it was easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do this summer. I even brought donuts to our final because it was going to be a long, four hours.

Apparently Rutgers likes MLH.

One of my high school friends, who graduated Monmouth University for a degree in Media and Broadcasting asked if I wanted to help him shot some drone video for a football camp. I didn’t realize the camp was lead by some very well known football players and coaches.

I had a lot of fun and it kinda reminds me of high school. I miss those days.

And here’s my current draft of my drone video that I’m working on.