The Last WA Adventure: D.C. & Richmond, Virginia

And an unexpected stop in Charlotte, NC… this wasn’t on my bingo card either.

My final trip as a Women’s Ambassador has come and gone! I went back to Washington, D.C. (which is one of my favorite places!) and visited Richmond, VA for the first time. Both cities were great! I started out in D.C., flying in on Friday afternoon to meet one of the admissions counselors there.

Since my last visit to D.C. had focused more on meeting up with people, this time I was very excited to see some of the famous monuments and landmarks. It was a lot of walking, but my first stop was the cherry blossoms around the Jefferson Memorial. The cherry blossoms were in full swing, and it was a gorgeous sight! Looking across the water, the Washington Monument stood tall in the background, and it wasn’t even that cold outside.

Cherry blossom season near the Jefferson Memorial!

After that, we decided to walk around more of the downtown area. I could see the Capitol building down the street, but we eventually decided to see the White House instead. It was starting to get dark (and cold) but that didn’t stop me. From the White House, we went to see the Washington Monument, the World War II memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Even at night, there were some tourists around, and I was having the time of my life.

We returned to the hotel late that night, and I went to bed. The reception was the next day (on Saturday), and it was similar to the previous events. The full-time admissions staff gave a short presentation, and then I went around talking to students and their families, answering any questions they had. The D.C. reception was pretty big, so I had a lot of new people to meet!

The D.C. reception!

Once the reception was over, we packed up and hit the road for Richmond, VA. It was about a two-hour drive, including traffic, and I ended up sleeping part of the way there. That was when I got a bit more homework done. I’d had some assignments that I wanted to work on, so that’s exactly what I did.

The Richmond reception was smaller than the D.C. one, but it was still a lot of fun! Just like at all of the receptions I’ve been to, people have had great questions. The Richmond reception also had this amazing butter cake for dessert. It was probably pure sugar, but it tasted amazing and I absolutely loved it!

Since there were still several hours until my flight left, we ended up touring the Richmond area! We walked around a street full of shops, including stopping at a bakery where I bought a sticker that reminded me of my cat. I grabbed a snack at a dumpling restaurant, and then we headed to the airport.

Unfortunately, my flight ended up being delayed – significantly. I was flying through Charlotte into Daytona, but the flight from Richmond was delayed due to a backup on the airline’s end. I ended up missing my flight into Daytona Beach, which just so happened to be the last flight of the night.

Although unexpected, I saw the delay more as a side adventure rather than an inconvenience. I only have one class on Monday, and I emailed the professor and explained my situation. I then headed to the customer service desk where I got the airline to pay for a hotel and meal voucher, so I spent the night in a Charlotte airport hotel. I ended up ordering DoorDash and getting a little more work done.

In the morning I took the airport shuttle back to the Charlotte airport. The hotel check-out time was 11 AM, and the flight that they’d booked me on didn’t leave until 3 PM, so I had plenty of time to sit and work on homework. The airport reminded me a bit of Riddle. In the main dining area, there’s a big glass wall so you can see the aircraft going in and out. I sat and worked on my lab report while watching the planes.

Charlotte airport!

As my boarding time got closer and closer, I headed over to the E gates, where my departure flight was. On the way there, I saw a big 777 in the background and just had to snap a picture of it (see above). I then kept walking, and eventually, boarded the flight back to Daytona. It was smooth all the way down from Charlotte, and I arrived around 5 PM.

From there I got right back into it. My class was from 4-6 PM, so I showed up at ERAU with my suitcase in tow! I also had a meeting after my class, so everything seemed to work out well despite the interruption.

Since I graduate in May and have no other trips scheduled, that was my last trip for ERAU. It’s definitely a way to go out with a bang!-Even though the Charlotte adventure was unexpected, it was still a fun experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Delays and unexpected circumstances are part of aviation, which is at the heart of ERAU. I’ve had so much fun over the years meeting people in their home cities while seeing parts of the country that I’d never seen before. Preview Day is coming up, so if I haven’t met you before, maybe I will there. If not, I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

Spring Break Flashbacks

Flashback when you met me…

Spring break is unfortunately over, which means it’s back to business down here in Daytona Beach. The majority of my spring break was spent lounging around in my apartment with my cat and doing very little schoolwork.

However, I did have one of my final trips for Women’s Ambassadors. I went to accepted student receptions in Boston, MA and then Hartford, CT during the final weekend of spring break. Since the receptions are lunches, we typically arrive the day before the first reception and fly out on the night of the last reception. This is different than two years ago during my first trip, where I also visited Hartford!

The weather in Boston was SO much different than Daytona Beach. Since we’re in Florida, the thickest thing I own is a sweatshirt, and I was not prepared. I spent the first part of my day walking around the city with the New England admissions counselor, Crystal. We walked around a bit outside and then ended up stopping at a neat-looking market that was thankfully inside.

After that we ended up going back to a mall connected to our hotel where I met an old friend. We’d gone to a few summer camps together and funnily enough, she’s from Florida! She’s going to college in the Boston area and thankfully had an extra coat. The two of us walked around more of Boston, including stopping by the public library.

Boston’s public library!

After a lot of walking, we decided to get dinner together. I get a hotel room to myself when I travel, so we headed back to it. We decided on pizza and garlic knots for dinner while watching to original Top Gun movie. It was a lot of fun to catch up with good food and a fun event.

The next morning, I got ready for the student reception. It was held nearby in a restaurant connected to the mall, and I was glad that I didn’t have to go outside. The Boston luncheon was the largest one I’d seen- there were almost a hundred people there! The full-time admissions representatives spoke about the university and then answered questions at the end. Once the presentation was over, I talked to parents and families and answered any kinds of questions that they had.

After the reception, I drove to Hartford with Crystal! We stopped for coffee at Marylou’s, which is a chain that specializes in flavored coffee. I thought it was pretty good- I’m a huge fan of caramel and sweet coffee. Once we arrived in Hartford we had dinner together and went to the hotel. I finally did a little bit of schoolwork, which was definitely needed.

The Hartford reception was similar to the Boston one, but a bit smaller. Crystal spoke for a bit, answered questions, and then I got to go talk to everyone. Both travel and helping other people are my favorite parts of the job. I’m a people person and an extrovert. I had a lot of questions when I was in high school and I’m thankful to everyone who helped me find the answers I needed.

After Hartford, Crystal and I looked around the city a bit more and got coffee before my flight. I flew back to Daytona Beach through Atlanta, unpacked, and got ready for class on Monday. I’ve had a very busy week so far, and it only gets busier! On Thursday, I’ll be headed to the Women in Aviation International conference and on Friday through Sunday, I’ll be traveling again with Women’s Ambassadors. Maybe I’ll see you at one of those events… and if not, hopefully at Riddle!

Accepted Student Receptions as an ERAU Representative

POV: you’re me at an accepted student reception watching the presentation

I just attended three admitted student receptions: March 14 in Edison, NJ, March 15 in Long Island, NY, and March 16 in Hartford, CT!

I’m a Women’s Ambassador on campus, and part of my job is attending accepted student receptions in the spring. It’s one of my favorite things to do. These are the first three receptions, and I had a lot of fun- I’m excited for the San Francisco and Seattle ones!

My flight left Daytona Beach bright and early at 6 AM on Monday, so I had to be up and at the airport by 5. I connected in Atlanta before going to the New York LaGuardia airport, and I ended up sleeping a bit on both flights since I was pretty tired. When we flew into LaGuardia, I had a window seat and we flew right around the city:

Flying into LGA!

It was a really pretty view. Upon arrival at LGA, I took an Uber over to my hotel, which was only a few blocks away from Times Square. Once I got my room key, I was free to do whatever I wanted until about 2, when we would begin heading over to the accepted student reception in Edison, NJ.

I ended up walking around Times Square for that time, looking at a few of the shops. I didn’t end up buying anything, but they had the largest Forever 21 store I’d ever seen. I ended up getting a slice of pizza in the area, and New York pizza is great. It’s very tasty and it’s also usually pretty cheap!

A bit before 2, I ended up going back to the hotel, charging my phone, and changing into my more professional-looking outfit. I met the two admissions representatives and we walked down several blocks to the train, which we took to the Newark, NJ airport. We ended up taking the airport train to the rental car area, and I saw several airlines while we passed through.

From there, we grabbed the rental car and drove to Edison, NJ, for the reception. It was at a Seasons 52 restaurant near a mall. Since we were a couple of hours early, the three of us ended up walking around the mall. Again, I didn’t end up buying anything, and we ended up leaving around 5 to set up.

The accepted student receptions are really fun. The admissions representatives give their presentation, and then they allow the families to ask questions. Following that, the presentation ends, and we all walk around and answer individual questions. I mostly answer student life questions, but I’ve also been known to answer a few admissions and academics-related questions

From there, we headed back to the hotel, where I got a pretty good view of the city’s skyline.

NYC skyline on the way back!

Tuesday’s reception was in Long Island, and we ended up moving to a hotel near the LaGuardia airport. I did some homework and caught up with a few of my friends over break before we drove to the next reception- the Long Island reception, where the process repeated.

Finally, on Wednesday, we drove over to Hartford, CT, for the final reception. Since the Hartford hotel was near Bradley International Airport (BDL), where I flew out of on Thursday, there wasn’t a big city area to explore. I ended up the same thing I’d done the other day- calling friends and catching up on homework.

The final admitted student reception was slightly smaller than the first two. I was really excited to see everyone- most of the people who’d registered had shown up, and the receptions were full.

Throughout all three of the nights, I also had the opportunity to help out with the presentation. Part of it discusses the clubs and organizations Embry-Riddle has, and since I’m involved with several, I talked about my experience in the clubs.

Overall, I had a lot of fun. The admitted student receptions are free to attend and come with free food! They’re on various days of the week- usually 6:30 to 8:30 PM on a weeknight, or 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM on a weekend. The three I just attended were on weekdays, but I will also be attending the San Francisco and Seattle receptions, and the San Francisco one is on a Sunday.

Thursday morning I flew back to Daytona Beach. The flight leaving for New York left at 6 AM, and the flight I had from Hartford left around 10:40, which was (in my opinion) a much better time. I ended up being at the airport early and watched some of the other aircraft take off and land. I also happened to spot the JetBlue Blue Bravest livery, which is painted red in honor of the New York City fire department.

I had a 30-minute connection in Atlanta, but I ended up getting really lucky. The flight from Hartford arrived at gate A1 and the flight to Daytona departed from gate A2, so it was only a 20-foot walk. I made it onto the Daytona Beach flight with plenty of time to spare, and like always, it was a short one-hour flight.

I was on the right side of the plane, which meant that I ended up seeing Riddle go by as the aircraft landed. It was a welcome end to a nice spring break trip, and now I have three full days of break left before classes resume on Monday. I’m excited for next week- that’s not only Blue and Gold Week, but Preview Day is also that Saturday. And then it’s only a few more weeks until the other two accepted student receptions! Hopefully I’ll see you there- either at Preview Day, Seattle, San Francisco, or at Riddle in the fall!

I get paid to travel for Embry-Riddle

If the title didn’t hook you, I don’t know what will!

For those of you who do not know, I am a Women’s Ambassador – which means I work for Admissions. This position allows me the opportunity to travel to Accepted Student Receptions (aka the dinners/lunches across the country where accepted students have the chance to meet other accepted students and learn more about the school).

Some previous trips I have been on with the Admissions team include: Charleston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and most recently, Boston. These trips are typically one weekend long and are completely paid for by Riddle, so it is free for me (even my meals). You also get to pick when you travel *+(out of a list of dates), so it is very flexible with school.

When I travel, I normally go with a team of 3-4 others depending on how big the reception is planned to be. These are all people who bring a unique skill to the trip. For example, one person will be from Financial Aid, one from Housing, one from Admissions, and a student (me).

This particular trip was to give a presentation about ERAU (meaning it was geared more towards recruiting). The Accepted Student Receptions are more focused on preparing students to come to school in the fall!

In our free time we like to go sight-seeing. Most of the other people from Riddle travel often and know super cool places or very delicious restaurants. In San Francisco we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf and in Boston we walked through Little Italy. In Los Angeles we went into downtown LA for a bit!

Your flights are booked for you and sometimes you even fly on the same flights as the team. This makes it super simple and easy. I have always flown out of Daytona Beach International Airport, so it is also very convenient. Hotels are also booked for you and as for transportation, either the team will have a rental car or they will Uber/Lyft/taxi with you. They also send itineraries way in advance, so you know who, what, where, and when!

My most recent trip was to Boston. I went last weekend and traveled with a very nice lady from Financial Aid. In Boston we met up with the rest of the team (traveling from other receptions) and ate some AMAZING food. We also got to see some Boston history, like the Boston Tea Party harbor. I left Friday afternoon after my classes and then flew to Atlanta and then to Boston. We took a taxi to our hotel, checked in, and then walked to dinner.

My dinner at a small Italian restaurant. It was the best gnocchi ever!

The next day we went to the reception and met nearly 100 students and families. We did our presentation and answered questions. Students mingled and families shared contacts! I got asked a lot about how to save money while at school. I discussed how I worked for many different departments, such as Admissions and Housing! These are our versions of “work studies”. I also applied for donor scholarships often and got very involved on campus! Just like this gig where I get a stipend and free travel, there are amazing money-saving gems all around Riddle.

The view from the Accepted Student Reception restaurant!

I did homework at night to keep on track. I typically do homework on the weekends instead of during the week. Since I had known about the trip in advance, I tried to do more homework the week before. I was also able to do homework on my flight home on Sunday, but I got a bit distracted by the movie selections (Instant Family and Crazy Rich Asians are such good movies). Once I landed, I went to the Blue & Gold week (our homecoming) comedy show! It was super good!

This was my last trip ever and I was quite nostalgic. When I was a senior in high school I actually went to the Accepted Student Reception in Denver. Now, every time I go present about our school, I fall even more in love. It is so unique and we forget this when we live it every day. To see the families and students get excited and blown away by what we do on the norm is very humbling. I am just excited these students are following their dreams and will living their best lives here soon!

Ultimately, while it is fun to see new things in new cities, the best part of this job is meeting the accepted or potential students. I love helping families and the students learn more about the school or ease their minds. Some families are very excited and others are more nervous. While their technical questions are answered by the rest of the team, I am there to help answer questions about student life, how I pay for school, my experience, and transitioning into college. At the end of a reception, it feels great to know you just helped so many people!

Let me know if you have been to or are planning on going to the Accepted Student Receptions!

Best, Maddie

Accepted Students Reception with WAP

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re doing well and had a great spring break! I was out for 4 more days after spring break since I got to travel with the Admissions Department and represent the Women’s Ambassador Program (WAP). I guess you could say I had a “mini-spring break” after the actual one! We traveled to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio for the Accepted Students Receptions (ASR). Some of the girls I met while representing WAP were Kiara (Dallas), Emili (Houston) and Rylan (San Antonio).

Met Kiara in Dallas

Met Emili in Houston

Met Rylan in San Antonio

Each future eagle got a towel as well as a folder that contained some information about our school. It had information about financial aid resources that included scholarship search and loans. It also included a list of things student should bring when they move in. Some of these include:

  • Sheets (single 80 inches)
  • Pillow/blanket
  • Towels
  • Lamp
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Laundry bag
  • Identification

One of the tips we suggest is that residents should coordinate with each other on who should bring what!

Swag for future eagles at ASR

There was also a handout regarding admitted student checklist in the folder. This checklist is a good reminder for students to follow and make the transition into college as smooth as possible. Here is the link to the checklist online:

The ASR events were great opportunities to meet all our future eagles and to help ease any worries they had! I had a great time talking to them, and they sure loved hearing all about Riddle from a student’s perspective! I also got little gifts for working hard and going the extra mile during these events. I got a Starbucks gift card, Embry-Riddle table top propeller and a ERAU CS 172 model!

All in all, this was a great experience, and I can’t wait to travel in April to Seattle and Denver. Please feel free to ask me any questions, and I’d love to help!

Until next time,

Maryam Gracias

Spring to Life!

Hello everyone!

I hope you all are having a fantastic spring break! My spring break has been eventful so far! For the first weekend of spring break, my family and I went camping to Salt Springs in Ocala for the weekend. Salt Springs is one of Ocala’s jewels. The spring was named due to the fact that there are potassium, sodium and magnesium deposits making the water saline. We had four tents set up, so we all pretty much had our own tents, except for, of course, my parents who shared a tent!

Partial view of our campsite

Full view of our campsite

Photo of our tents ft mum & bro

Another campsite photo

Relaxing photo ft Brent

There are plenty of activities to do in the area. When we camped there for 2 nights, we all went for a little hike and even biked around the recreation area. There is a beautiful lake named Lake Kerr, where campers can enjoy plenty of water activities. It was way too cold to go for a swim, but we did bike around the area. We had our bonfire going on pretty much our entire stay due to how cold it was!

Lake Kerr

Lake Kerr

Me gooning around on my bike

My dad acting cool with his bike skills

Brent & I next to a tree that is more than 200 years old

Lake Kerr

Me posing in general

Our massive bonfire

After camping, Brent and I headed back to Daytona due to my Women’s Ambassador Program (WAP) travel. I traveled with the Admissions Department to Cincinnati and Detroit on March 12th-14th representing WAP. We hosted Accepted Student Receptions in both states, where we got to talk to all our future eagles that will be joining us in Fall! I talked to a lot of students there and below are some of the photos with the girls I talked to! In Cincinnati, I met Sophie and Sydney. I met Lauren in Detroit, who will be joining us in Fall too! All of them are such amazing and bright women, and I am super excited for them to be joining our Riddle family!

Sophie and I in Cincinnati

Sydney and I in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Accepted Students Reception

Detroit Accepted Students Reception

Lauren and I in Detroit

After my WAP travel, my boyfriend picked me up from KDAB and we headed straight to my house in Bradenton. We all went for a dinner to Chilis, which was super fun!

My family <3

My brother Savio

Spring Break is not over yet! We have a fishing trip planned for this Saturday and then we head back to Daytona! I will be traveling next week with WAP again to Texas so stay tuned for my travel updates!

Until next time,