The Final WA Trip: San Francisco and Seattle

Oh yeah, and I just finished finals, too.

So in one of my previous posts, I attended three accepted student receptions in the northeast. On the final full weekend (and Monday and Tuesday!) of April, I had the opportunity to attend two more in San Francisco, California, and Seattle, Washington.

I was super excited since I’ve never been to either city. I flew out of Daytona on Saturday night, connecting in Charlotte on American Airlines to get to San Francisco. It was around 9:30 PM Pacific time when I got in, which is 12:30 AM Eastern, so I was pretty tired! I went to the hotel, slept, and then the fun began the next day.

On weekends, the accepted student receptions usually happen around 11:30 AM local time. The first one was at a restaurant called Flights, and it had an actual aircraft, which was pretty cool.

Pre-reception!

The reception was fun, as all of them are. The format is the same- it’s usually a Women’s Ambassador and two admissions representatives, usually joined by a parent or two. We all introduce ourselves, admissions will give their presentation, and then the floor is opened for a question-and-answer panel for everyone. After all public questions are answered, some families stick around and ask one-on-one questions. For example, some of my most commonly asked questions are about clubs and organizations, things to do in Daytona Beach, and the general student life.

After the reception, we get to eat. Since the presentation was on a Sunday morning, we had the rest of the day to explore San Francisco. It was super awesome- we went to a lot of places, including the Golden Gate Bridge and an art park called the Umbrella Alley, perfect for taking photos with! We also saw the coastline and went to Pier 39, where there were a bunch of sea lions.

Sea lion central!

The sea lions were pretty interesting. Apparently, the number of them in the picture is small, and sometimes every single platform will be densely packed with sea lions. I’ve heard that when there are more of them, the smell gets worse. They are wild animals that eat raw fish, so it is to be expected that they’ll be a little smelly.

The next morning, we ended up going to Seattle on a United flight. The flight was about two hours long, which is a little longer than I expected. Before we left, I met a Women’s Ambassador and ERAU alumna named Claudia who now works for United Airlines, which was pretty awesome! She also created the WA Instagram account, which I am now the manager of.

Seattle was fun. We had less than 24 hours there, so we had to make the trip kind of quick. After landing at the SeaTac airport, we rushed downtown to see the Pike Place Market, which is pretty infamous- it’s the site of the first Starbucks coffee shop! It also has a shop that sells fish where the workers will literally throw (and catch!) the fish at each other.

After hitting the market, we ended up going to see the Space Needle (from the outside) and then up to a lookout spot in Kerry Park. It’s pretty interesting how things come around full circle- my parents went to college together in Seattle, and they’d been to Kerry Park several times.

Kerry Park!

In regards to Seattle, we were pretty lucky that it only sprinkled on us, as seen on the concrete in the above picture. After that, we ended up heading back to the hotel for a few hours before heading to the reception venue, which was the Museum of Flight right next to one of the Boeing facilities.

It was pretty cool to be there. There was a balcony attached to the second-floor room we were on, and I ended up going outside to look at some of the aircraft. There were several parked out there, including some that looked brand new, which was super cool to see.

The presentation went the same way it did in San Francisco, and as always, I stayed around to answer questions. Since this location wasn’t at a restaurant, it was catered, which meant we could take all of the remaining food home. I got a bag of cookies, and I still have a few of the cookies in my fridge since they were massive!

After that, our flight the next morning left Seattle at 5 AM, so we had to be up and at the airport pretty early. I wasn’t complaining too much, since I planned to sleep on the flight, and I did for a bit. I also ended up doing some homework on the way back to Daytona, since it was the days before finals week.

Finals week, for me, is now over. I had two finals on Saturday and two on Monday, and two of my classes don’t require me to take the final. So now that that’s done, I’m slowly moving my way out of ERAU and looking toward the summer, where I have an internship with Sierra Nevada Corporation in Englewood, Colorado.

I am very excited about the internship, but I’ll definitely miss the warm Daytona weather. After the internship, I’ll be coming back to Daytona as part of the Orientation Team. Maybe I’ll see you in the fall… and if not, I’ll see you in the next post!

Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo

There was sun and there was a lot of fun!

The annual Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo happened last week, and I ended up going on Saturday the 9th. Since I had been planning to go, I was able to work around my classes so that I’d be able to attend. I went with Chris, and we made sure to check the weather beforehand. It looked a little windy, but we decided to go anyway.

Welcome to Sun n’ Fun!

Every year, the annual Sun n’ Fun event is held at the Lakeland (KLAL) airport. Lakeland is about a two-hour drive from Daytona, which means that we left early and got back pretty late. Chris and I ended up getting the two-day Florida discount in case we wanted to stay the extra day; we’d also brought camping supplies in the back of his car.

Once we got our daily wristbands, we pulled out the map and looked around for a bit. A lot of the larger planes were military aircraft (such as the Boeing C-17), which is where we headed first. On the way over, we ended up buying a lemonade and souvenir cup.

I’d never seen this many aircraft in one place before. It’s pretty amazing to think that someone had to fly the hundreds (or potentially even thousands) of aircraft on display over to the Lakeland airport. The aircraft ranged in size from small one or two-seater aircraft to big jets (aka the C-17 and other larger military aircraft).

Once we’d gotten our lemonade, we ended up behind the tail of the C-17. The back door was open, which meant that we were free to look inside.

Behind a C-17!

So we did!

The C-17 was taller than I expected, but not as long. Every year when the Thunderbirds arrive for the Daytona 500, so does a C-17. So I’ve seen them before, but they’ve always seemed shorter in height but longer in length.

It’s a wide-body aircraft, so it reminded me of some other wide-body aircraft I’d been in (like a 747), but it was weird to see no rows of seats. Instead, the seats were against the wall and more of a pull-down jumpseat style. It was interesting to explore for a bit, and then we ended up moving on.

Chris and I explored the larger aircraft and then headed over to get food. Once we’d gotten our food, the daytime airshow was about to start, so we watched the first part in the stands. It was pretty interesting to watch people turn their aircraft upside down and do pretty cool maneuvers.

After that, the two of us ended up going to apply sunscreen, which we’d forgotten earlier in the day. From there, we ended up visiting my friend (and a Riddle alumna!) at the Republic Airways tent, where she works as a recruiter. From there, we ended up going back to watch the airshow.

The airshow was pretty cool- there were plenty of aerobatic aircraft and a few military aircraft flying. The final act was the Thunderbirds, who also pay an annual visit to Daytona each year.

Thunderbird diamond!

However, at Sun n’ Fun, the Thunderbird show lasted a lot longer. I’d say it was almost a half-hour long, and they did a lot more than a flyover. They inverted their aircraft, flew in formations, and nearly blew out my eardrums. (Okay, I’m kidding- but they were very loud, especially when multiple flew overhead at once).

The airshow was really cool to watch. As a pilot, it shows the insane skill that some people have when it comes to controlling aircraft. As an engineer, it shows the edge of engineering- what angle of attack can an aircraft produce lift for, and how long will it produce lift? How many aileron rolls can an aircraft do in a row?

After the airshow, Chris and I ended up walking back to the car and going out to eat. Food onsite was super expensive, so the two of us ended up getting Burger King. After that, we went back to the main parking lot and parked while we waited for the night airshow to start. I ended up taking a nap in the car, and when the night airshow started, the two of us walked back.

It was golden hour when it started, so I had that to enjoy. A few of the aircraft that were in the daytime show were parked at the end of the runway, so we got a good look at them up close.

Aircraft at golden hour!

The night airshow was pretty cool. Everyone in it made use of their lights, but it was freezing outside, even with a sweatshirt and thick jeans. Chris and I ended up walking back to the parking lot and watching the finale of the airshow (a drone show and fireworks) from the car.

The drone show was pretty cool- they made various formations, from a Thunderbird F-16 to the American flag to a simulated rocket launch. The fireworks show was also pretty cool, and it lasted a good while.

After that, since we were already in the car, we had a head start on everyone else when trying to leave. The two of us ended up in a McDonald’s drive-thru, getting a small fry and hot chocolate for the two-hour trip back to Daytona. We ended up leaving around 10:30, getting back into Daytona around 12:30 AM.

Overall, I had a lot of fun at Sun n’ Fun and hopefully get to go back next year. Even though I’m currently planning to do the astronautics track, I still find aircraft super cool, and it’s especially cool to see airshows. This was my first airshow, and Sun n’ Fun is one of the biggest in the United States. It’s also great that it happens only a couple hours from Riddle- I know that a lot of Riddle students went on the weekend. If you become a Riddle student, I might see you there- and I’ll see you in the next post!

Preview Day as an ERAU Representative

Preview for next year’s Preview Day, maybe?

So, a couple of months ago I ended up writing a preview for Preview Day post. I was super excited for the real thing, which happened on Saturday, April 2- one day after April Fool’s Day! I never got to attend a Preview Day since mine was scheduled for mid-March of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

This year, I got the opportunity to represent both the Women’s Ambassadors (WA) and Aerospace Engineering Student Advisory Board (AESAB). In the morning, I worked at the aerospace engineering booth as a student representative, answering questions from families about the department, course load, and the various tracks. Around 10:30, I switched over to represent the Women’s Ambassadors at the activities showcase, and I was done around 1:30.

I arrived at 7:30 at the Lehman building (one of our College of Engineering buildings) and helped move the handouts over to the second floor of the Student Union. Aerospace engineering is one of the largest departments on campus, so we had two tables to spread everything out on. The department was giving a lot of cool stuff away- wristlet lanyards, bags, sunglasses, candy airplanes, and a bunch of informational papers.

Free goodies, courtesy of the aerospace engineering department!

The first two and a half hours from 8 AM to 10:30 AM were really fast-paced. At 9 and 10 AM, the department held briefings and a question-and-answer panel for future Eagles and their families, so the crowd died down a bit but people still came up to talk to us. The bulk majority of questions that I got were about the flowcharts, tracks, and what they meant. Put simply, the tracks don’t separate until the end of sophomore year, and then you have to choose between the Aeronautics/Jet Propulsion or Astronautics/Rocket Propulsion paths. Then, you have until senior year to pick your final track- Aeronautics, Jet Propulsion, Astronautics, or Rocket Propulsion.

After working for the aerospace engineering department, I went over to work the activities fair for the Women’s Ambassadors. I ended up printing a QR code of our Instagram to display at the table and helped one of the admissions counselors set our free stuff up. We had lanyards, pens, sunglasses, and T-shirts to give away. I wasn’t by myself- another girl named Alexa joined me.

The WA booth- we got a visit from Ernie!

Working at the Women’s Ambassadors booth was similar to working at the aerospace engineering one. Most of the questions I answered were about the WA organization, other female-only organizations, and other general university life questions.

A few of my friends worked at various times on Preview Day, and I ended up getting one of them to get me the Starbucks on the table. The two hours for WA came and went, and then I was done for the day. However, other Women’s Ambassadors were still working in various volunteer positions- some were directing traffic, some were handing out T-shirts, but a lot of us were free. So we ended up meeting for a group picture!

After the group picture, I ended up heading back to my dorm for lunch. Preview Day is super fun, but it’s also pretty busy! Over 700 admitted students and their families showed up, and I was happy to meet everyone. One student even walked up to the Women’s Ambassador booth, having met one of the Women’s Ambassadors at an accepted student reception. I’m super excited for my last two accepted student receptions at the end of the month in San Francisco and Seattle. I hope to see you there, and if not, maybe at ERAU in the fall!

Blue and Gold Week: The Carnival!

Side note: Carnival first, eat dinner second.

So, Blue and Gold Week is off to a pretty good start here at ERAU! For those who don’t know, Blue and Gold Week is basically our spirit week. It has fun events every day for a week straight, and they’re all free for students to attend!

The first main event was Saturday night, which was the comedy show, but I was more excited for Sunday’s event: the carnival. Touch-N-Go Productions, the entertainment division of the Student Government Association, hosted both the carnival and the comedy show. It had some pretty good rides, similar to those you’d find at a county fair.

I didn’t go alone- I brought my best friend Chris (who also passed his commercial checkride this weekend!). The carnival ran for six hours, from 3 PM to 9 PM, but in my experience, events like these are the prettiest at night when everything is lit up. We arrived right as the 6:45 PM Delta (an A321) was about to take off. I guess the comedians were right when they made a joke saying that Riddle students use the flight schedule to tell what time it is.

The carnival was like your standard fair carnival, and I definitely enjoyed it. We arrived at what I’d like to think is a perfect time- the sun was setting, so it wasn’t dark, but you could still see the lights on the ride. The first one we rode was the spinning ride where everyone ended up pinned against their seat.

Spinning ride!

I thought it was super fun, and a few people ended up singing on it. We sang All Star and YMCA, which are two timeless classics. I ended up riding it twice before moving on, and I heard a few people singing I Want It That Way as I left. From there, I ended up in a few more lines.

As with any carnival, they had games that you could play to win prizes. However, all of the tries were free, and you could win free ERAU merch! I unfortunately didn’t end up winning anything, but I know a few of my friends took things home at the end of the night.

After playing the games, I ended up going to ride the vertical spinning ride. While the first ride I rode depended on a horizontal rotation, the second ride was more of a vertical rotation, and your height relative to the ground changed. It was pretty cool- at the top, you could see the runway.

The more vertical motion” ride and the runways!

It was, in my opinion, pretty cool. Rotational motion is a concept that you’ll see in class, but the carnival showed me a few applications for it. It’s a good reminder that when something seems pointless, you might end up using it in the future.

I rode the vertical spinning ride a few times before making my way over to the swings. As with any good carnival, there was a little swing ride, and I had fun going in circles and watching the carnival fly by. By that time, it was growing closer to 9- the carnival’s end- and I was ready to head back.

However, they also had a bungee cord trampoline thing, which is something I’ve always wanted to try. It was actually really fun, but harder than I expected. You constantly needed to jump to keep going up and down, and that could get a little hard when you just did a backflip. (Yes, I did several backflips- they were awesome!) However, you could always build up momentum and then get to the big jumps.

The carnival was super fun, and I hope that there’s another one during next year’s Blue and Gold Week. I’ve enjoyed the Blue and Gold events so far, and I look forward to the rest of the semester. It’ll be exciting! Preview Day is approaching, and maybe I’ll see you in the next post, or I’ll see you at Preview Day!

Carly’s Adventures at Flight School: Commercial Checkride Prep as a Passenger

We’re soarin’, flyin’…

So, on Sunday, March 20, I ended up going flying again, this time just with my friend Chris. The last time I’d stepped foot in a Cessna was in December, when I went flying with both Chris and our other friend Jack.

Me and Chris!

Chris has his commercial checkride coming up, and he wanted to practice for it. The commercial certificate is the third certificate that you work on at Embry-Riddle (after private and instrument). At ERAU, the private pilot certificate and instrument rating checkrides are done in-house or with an ERAU employee authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, the commercial checkride is with a FAA representative.

I’d never gotten past private pilot lessons, so it was interesting seeing some of the differences. The commercial pilot certificate allows the holder to legally get paid for flying, while the private pilot certificate only allows the holder to fly. I’ve heard that doing commercial is similar to private, just a little harder- for example, the tolerances are smaller.

The flight was pretty fun. Before any sort of checkride, you practice and learn maneuvers to do with an instructor, and then demonstrate them on the checkride. Just because you don’t have the license doesn’t mean that you can’t do the maneuvers. Since Chris had already passed his private pilot’s license, he could legally take me flying- as long as I didn’t pay more than my pro-rata, or equal part cost of the flight.

Some of the commercial maneuvers that Chris did were similar to ones that I did in my brief period of flight training or have heard about. For example, we did steep turns at a 50 degree angle, where private pilots only needed to do them at a 45 degree angle.

Steep turns! I don’t remember what the bank angle was here, but it seems pretty steep.

I experienced a little bit of steep turns during my training, and I always thought that it was cool. During a steep turn, you feel twice the force of gravity- an increased load factor- and it’s kind of like being on a roller coaster. It’s a little scarier than being being on a roller coaster since you’re not attached to a track, but I trust my friends.

A few of the other maneuvers that were practiced were power on and power off stalls. I’d experienced these in private pilot training, and every time it happens, the stall warning horn goes off. It’s kind of an annoying sound, but it’s definitely necessary. In the real world, power on stalls are more likely to happen when the aircraft takes off, and power off stalls are more likely to happen when the aircraft lands.

I enjoyed the flight. We ended up in the south practice area, and since Florida is flat, we could see for miles. The last things that we did were practice takeoffs and landings- two very important parts of every flight.

We did a few touch-and-gos at the Massey airport, which is several miles south of Daytona. A touch-and-go landing is just what it sounds like- landing and taking off without coming to a full stop. (It’s also the name of one of ERAU’s Student Government Organization divisions!)

Once we were done, we headed back to Daytona to do a few more. Daytona Beach International has a lot more activity than the Massey airport does, including airlines. We ended up doing one touch-and-go on Runway 7R (not the large one- there was an American Airlines flight coming in that used that!) before finally landing on it. And that was it for the day.

Final approach to 7R!

It was a pretty cool experience. That’s one thing that I love about ERAU- there are pilots everywhere, and you’re likely to meet a friendly one who’s willing to take you up on a flight. ERAU also has the option for students to ride in the backseat of their aircraft if the student, instructor, and flight department all agree. That’s something I want to do- hopefully I’ll get to sit in the backseat of one of our multi-engine aircraft, the Diamond DA-42. I’ll see you in the next post… and 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!

Day Trip to the Kennedy Space Center

The Eagles have landed… at KSC!

Here at ERAU, before the pandemic happened, there used to be an annual spring trip to Kennedy Space Center with the Honors Program. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in Spring 2021, but we did get a trip this year! Tickets were $15, which is pretty discounted from the regular admission price. The Honors Program also made sure that everyone had a ride and reimbursed the drivers for gas money.

I had never been to Kennedy Space Center before, but I’ve always wanted to go. So naturally, I took the opportunity the moment I heard about it, and I was not disappointed.

I ended up in a group of about 11 people, and the first thing we did was the bus tour over to the Apollo/Saturn V center. The way they have all of the exhibits set up is the same- you’ll watch an introductory video (or a few) before being able to look around at the complete exhibits.

I like the approach- it gives background information to the exhibit. After watching the first video, everyone moved over to the next room- the Apollo 8 firing room, where we watched a video about Apollo 8. The consoles in the picture are the actual ones that the mission controllers of Apollo 8 used.

Apollo 8 firing room!

That was breathtaking.

After that, we entered the main part of the exhibit. The bus tours came and went every fifteen minutes or so, which meant that we could stay as long as we liked. There was a well-lit Saturn V rocket, and walking around it really made you realize just how big it is. It’s over three hundred feet long, but you don’t really realize how tall “three hundred feet” is until you’re standing below it and walking the length.

The Apollo/Saturn V complex was pretty breathtaking. There was also a memorial dedicated to the Apollo 1 astronauts and a room with lots of authentic Apollo-era artifacts. One of my favorites was a spacesuit worn by Alan Shepard, and you could see actual moon dust on it.

After the Apollo/Saturn V exhibit, our group went over to the main area to get lunch. After that, we decided to walk back over to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, where we’d started for the day. Some of the people in our group had been to Kennedy Space Center before and suggested we do the bus tour before lines got long, which is why we were kind of running all over the park.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit was awesome! It had the same sort of informational setup as the Apollo/Saturn V, but I’d argue that the Atlantis one was even cooler. At the end of the last Atlantis presentation, the projector screen rolled back up, revealing the shuttle and main exhibit behind it.

Space Shuttle Atlantis!

The Space Shuttles are massive, but they seem even bigger in person! After that, our group looked around and found the slide, which was at a 22-degree angle, which was the same angle of descent that the astronauts of the Space Shuttle felt. In contrast, on a commercial airliner, you’ll be in about a 3-degree angle of descent.

The slide was pretty epic, but it was nothing compared to the Shuttle Launch Experience, which was also free! It was like an indoor roller coaster without a track, and it was a simulation of what the astronauts on the Space Shuttle felt when they launched. Everything had to be stored in a locker, but those were also provided for free.

The last exhibits we visited were the Mars exhibits. They were pretty cool and had life-size models of the various Mars rovers- Curiosity is larger than I thought it was! The Mars exhibits weren’t as in-depth as the Space Shuttle and Apollo/Saturn V ones, but it was still cool to look around.

Finally, we visited the gift shop. Even though I didn’t buy anything, it was fun to look around at what they had. By that time, it was around 3:30, and most of us were ready to go back to Daytona since we left Embry-Riddle around 7:30 AM. We took one last stroll through the rocket garden before we decided to go back, leaving around 3:50.

Luckily, since we were so early, we were able to get really good parking, which meant a shorter walk back. Once the trip back to Daytona was over, we ended up going back to the parking lot. It was fun- I’m glad I went. If the Honors Program decides to go back next year, I’ll also go back with them. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle on a future trip!

Me and the Saturn V!

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Workshop: Year 2!

Another year, another successful event!

On Saturday, February 26, the Embry-Riddle Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) Introduce a Girl to Engineering Workshop (IGEW) Committee hosted our annual IGEW event!

The IGEW logo.

I’ve been on the IGEW committee since October 2020, or the fall of my freshman year. New SWE members are given the opportunity to join one of SWE’s committees via the Committee Ambassador positions, and I was selected last year for the IGEW Committee Ambassador. In April 2021, I was elected back to the committee and we began work for IGEW 2022, which just happened.

The goal of the IGEW committee is pretty self-explanatory- we want to introduce more girls into the field of engineering. To do this, we host the annual IGEW event on a Saturday in mid-to-late February. It’s also free and open to any third through fifth grade in Volusia County. Each elected committee member develops a fun module that demonstrates engineering concepts to the girls and teaches them about engineering.

This year, I designed the Airplane Module, which aimed to teach the basics of aerodynamics. In my module, the girls would first be taught background information and then receive three pieces of construction paper. The paper would be used to create a vastly different airplane design. From there, they could experiment with the airplanes- potentially add tape or stickers to increase weight, throw them harder or softer to change the thrust, and modify the designs to change the lift.

IGEW is a big event, and usually in-person, but for the past two years, it was unfortunately held virtually due to the pandemic. Each module was packed and placed in a tote bag that the IGEW participants could pick up. The event happened on the same day as bag pick-up, so the committee was busy running the station for bag pick-up, which happened behind the student union.

Bag pick-up!

In the bag, there were written module instructions and plenty of other goodies. Each participant got a personalized certificate, T-shirt, lanyard, and a bubble pop toy. On the IGEW website, we posted instructional videos to go along with the modules. There are also videos from guest speakers, including a few ERAU employees. As a final supplement to the event, a few STEM resources were shared.

The event is a lot of work, but we also get pictures sent in from the participants which makes all the work worth it. IGEW is a great yearly project and I’m glad that I got involved early. This year’s turnout was higher than last, and I’m hoping that IGEW 2023 will be in-person.

If you’re an accepted, prospective, or committed student, I highly suggest that you get involved when you’re on campus! SWE is just one of the many (over 200!) registered student organizations on campus. If not a club, maybe an intramural sports team might be more to your liking, or you could join the Student Government Association. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully in some organizations at Riddle!

Long Weekend and the Daytona 500

I was today years old when I learned that airplanes can reverse.

Every February, the Daytona 500 happens and there’s a massive crowd rushing in for race weekend. I’ve never been a fan of the races, but I do like airplanes. And each year when the race crowds come in, so do the Thunderbirds!

It’s President’s Day weekend, which means a long weekend. Friday afternoon got off to a good start- the Thunderbirds were supposed to arrive, but they ran into a few difficulties. However, one C-17 arrived, and the Aviation Maintenance Science balcony was full of students.

It was three hours late (or maybe my friends and I were three hours early!), which meant that I could do a little homework on the tables on the balcony. I ended up working ahead in a nice shady spot, taking a few breaks to watch the daily Delta and American flights take off and land. They come and go every few hours, so I saw a few of them.

The C-17 arrived around sunset, which led to this pretty picture:

The C-17 lands on 25R here at KDAB.

At the time, rumors were circulating on if the Thunderbirds were arriving on Friday or Saturday. Most people decided to stick around for another hour or so, including me. Everyone on the balcony watched the C-17 as it ended up reversing onto a taxiway, which is something that I had never seen before. It was super cool- you could see the waves from the engine as it slowly reversed back onto a taxiway.

Well, on Friday I learned that airplanes could reverse. You learn something new every day, right?

The Thunderbirds ended up showing on Saturday at 2:30. Chris and I went to watch them arrive, and they ended up doing a loop around before actually landing.

Since it was a weekend, the Aviation Maintenance Science building was locked and the balcony was inaccessible. Chris and I had been tracking the Thunderbirds on FlightRadar24 to ensure that they were actually coming to Daytona, and indeed, they were. Luckily, Chris and I both have cars so we found a spot along the runway and ended up parking there. We’d timed it just right so that we didn’t have to wait too long.

Thunderbird flyover!

However, the Daytona 500 (and Thunderbird mini-airshow) didn’t actually start until Sunday at 3. So after we watched them land, Chris and I hung out for a bit before going our separate ways. I ended up working on some of my Solid Mechanics homework, where we’re learning about torsion. I find it interesting since it’s a concept that can also be applied to engineering structures.

Sunday was fun. Chris picked me up and we went Thunderbird-watching at a pretty spot across from campus. Every year, the Thunderbirds fly over the Daytona 500 stadium when the national anthem is sung. After that, they’ll circle around a few times before landing.

The Thunderbirds took off from 7L, which was the opposite end that we were on. It wasn’t instantaneous; we ended up waiting around for almost half of an hour before they came back. I liked our spot- they ended up flying almost directly over us when the race started. After that, we watched them fly off into the distance before they came back several minutes later. That was pretty epic- they were landing on 25R, which was the end of the runway we were on.

The Thunderbirds ended up flying over the runway and then went around and into the traffic pattern one by one. All six of them landed about twenty minutes later right in front of us, which was pretty epic to watch. And boy, were they loud.

Me and Chris! The picture was taken after the Thunderbirds had taken off and we were waiting for them to come back.

Overall, it was definitely a well-deserved and fun long weekend. I did a bunch of homework for the week, did one round of Carpool Karaoke on Saturday night, and went to a birthday party on Sunday night. Monday was super quiet- I didn’t do much besides homework and hang out with my friends.

Classes resume on February 22, 2022- which is a Tuesday (or maybe we should call it a 2s Day!). It’ll be good to get back to my classes on a shorter week. I had two exams last week and have two more this week, so the President’s Day weekend was a good time to study while also taking time to myself. It’s important to have a good school-life balance.

I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

One of the Thunderbirds landing on 25R… right in front of ERAU!

Preview for Preview Day: Everything You Need To Know

Attending Preview Day? Don’t know what to do? Reading this post is a great place to start!

So, it’s that time of year again! Embry-Riddle is getting ready for its annual spring Preview Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 2. When I was a future student, Preview Day was scheduled for mid-March of 2020, which was unfortunately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, ERAU hosted a modified version of Preview Day. Instead of one day, students were encouraged to come on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday throughout the month of April. As a Women’s Ambassador, I ended up assisting with Preview Day as a first-year student, which was super fun. I even got to meet a few of you!

This year, Preview Day looks to be in full swing. We recently had Family Weekend at ERAU, where I met a few of my friends’ families. Preview Day is similar, but instead of parents having the weekend to explore ERAU, new students get one day to explore our campus. And as usual, campus tours are always running- you can schedule one here.

Why should you come to Preview Day?

Preview Day is a great time to tour the campus, see what ERAU has to offer, meet other students (both your classmates and current students- maybe you’ll even meet me!), and get some added bonuses like registering for classes early (if certain conditions are met- see the section below). Most of our facilities will be available for touring, so you’ll be able to see what the Embry-Riddle campus is like.

What happens at Preview Day?

To be honest, I never attended a preview day and last year’s modified preview day was a bit different. But as the name implies, it’s a day where you get a good preview of the classes. Usually, you’ll be able to tour the various colleges, see some of the clubs and organizations that our campus has to offer, and even get a look at some of our labs.

I know that some clubs and organizations are hoping to showcase their opportunities on Preview Day, so you might even find a student organization that you like. I ended up looking through various Instagram pages and wanted to join the ERAU section of the Society of Women Engineers, and I’ve been involved with them ever since freshman year. If you’re into it, definitely check out club social media pages!

How do I register for classes on Preview Day?

After paying your tuition deposit, make sure that you have all of your placement tests and transfer credit in! Without your tuition deposit, you cannot register for any classes, and without your placement tests/transfer credit, you can’t register for math (MA), communication (COM), or, if you’re an engineering major, your EGR class.

Everyone at ERAU takes general education courses in subjects from math to communication. The classes you take in your first year- and your entire time at ERAU- depend on how much credit you test out of or bring in. For example, one general education class that everyone takes is psychology, but I’d had a dual enrollment credit for it, so I never had to take it at ERAU. Sometimes you’ll have so much transfer credit that you can jump straight into a very high-level class- for example, I know a few engineering majors whose AP credit covered Calculus I and II and they were able to start Calculus III in the fall.

I’ll be honest- I only took the engineering placement tests since I was able to transfer credit in for the first class in the general education math and communication classes. If you’re an engineering major, like me, I highly recommend that you review all mathematics content up to trigonometry (basically anything before Calculus I). We use math a lot here.

If this all sounds a little scary, don’t worry! One thing that you’ll likely be able to see if you attend Preview Day is A Squared, or our tutoring center. Tutoring is provided to all students in general education courses for free, and it’s available for almost all general education courses (math, physics, and chemistry, for example).

What is the best dining location for Preview Day?

Starbucks hands-down for a quick pick-me-up during the day! Preview Day begins at 8 AM and continues through 3 PM, so you might want to grab a quick snack. And the Chick-fil-A here is pretty great if you’d like a meal, too.

What about the accepted student receptions? Are those the same?

Nope! While the accepted student receptions are a great place to also meet new students, they take place in cities around the country. I’ll be attending the ones in Edison, New Jersey (March 14), Long Island, NY (March 15), and Hartford, Connecticut (March 16).

If you can’t come to Preview Day- or even if you can- I highly suggest you come to an accepted student reception if there’s one in your area!

Is there anything else I should know?

Come to Preview Day if you can! If not, that’s okay too- check out the virtual campus tour if you’re unable to come during Preview Day. And if you are able to come to Preview Day, it’s great to have questions for current students- don’t be afraid to ask! Those of us who will be working on Preview Day do it because we want to help new students find their homes at Embry-Riddle.

I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle for Preview Day!