The Fourth and Final Riddle Rewind

I had the time of my life with you!

The last day of classes has come and gone. As you’re reading this, the last assignment of my undergraduate degree has been completed and I’m just waiting for my grades to come in. That’s absolutely crazy for me to think about- I don’t feel like I’ve been here for even a year, much less four years. But here we go on the last and final Riddle Rewind. (Freshman, sophomore, and junior year can be found at the links!)

The WAMP O-Week Luncheon!

The timing of my internship unfortunately didn’t work with O-Week, so I couldn’t be on the Orientation Team this year. However, I did make it back in time for a Women’s Ambassador Mentoring Program luncheon for all of the female freshmen, and I was given the opportunity to speak. It was a great experience!

WAMP Ice Cream Social!

WAMP events in the fall were a lot of fun- and this one had FREE ice cream! I couldn’t complain about that. 🙂

My Women’s Ambassador trip to Pittsburgh!

I had never been to Pittsburgh before, but it was definitely a cool experience. While I was there I also got to meet some cute cats in a cat cafe!

Adopting my kitten, Radar!

I adopted a five-month-old kitten named Radar back in late September after moving off campus and it’s one of the best things that I’ve done. He is the sweetest cat ever- and my roommates love him, too! He recently celebrated his first birthday, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch him grow.

My Women’s Ambassador trip to Washington, D.C., and NYC!

Visiting D.C. and New York City was a whole lot of fun! It rained on my first night in NYC, but that didn’t stop me from having some late-night adventures.

Open House 2023!

Open House is always a lot of fun. There are always new people to meet and new things to learn! I volunteered for both the Women’s Ambassadors and Aerospace Engineering Student Advisory Board.

Flying Into Finals Week!

Pun… ha ha. Finals week isn’t fun, but going for a short flight in a Cessna was a lot of fun and a great way to relax before the stress of finals week hit.

The Rolex 24 (and the Roar Before the 24)!

I’ve never been to a car race before, but I thought that attending the Rolex 24 was a lot of fun. It’s definitely something to experience at least once if you’re here.

Touch-N-Go Comedy Night!

For Blue and Gold Week, comedian Ryan Kelly came to campus and gave an amazing one-hour comedy show. I laughed- a lot.

My Women’s Ambassador trip to Boston and Hartford!

Don’t get me wrong- I was SOOOO cold!! However, it was a lot of fun to walk around one of the United States’ oldest and most historic cities when I had the chance.

Speaking about internships at the WAI Conference!!

I never thought I’d be speaking at a conference as an undergraduate student, but I proved myself wrong. The Women in Aviation conference was a lot of fun, and being a speaker was an experience that I’ll never forget.

The Last WA Trip – Ever!

My last trip was to Washington, D.C., and Richmond, VA. I’d never been to Richmond, but I LOVE D.C., so I was happy to go. On the way back, I did get stuck by myself on an unexpected overnight in Charlotte- but hey, it was a new adventure.

Preview Day 2024!

Just like for Open House, I volunteered for the Women’s Ambassadors and Aerospace Engineering Student Advisory Board. Preview Day was also a lot of fun- over the Friday and Saturday that I worked, I got to meet a lot of new people who may be at ERAU this fall!

Sun n’ Fun Airshow!

I love airshows- so much so that I went to the Orlando Airshow (aka the Air Dot Show tour) the weekend after Sun n’ Fun. Airshows are a great opportunity for me to see aerospace in action- plus, just being around giant airplanes is cool. When I graduate, I’ll be working as a Space Systems Engineer, but still- airplanes are cool. I plan to go to as many airshows as I can even after I graduate!

It’s been a lot of fun blogging these past four years- it’s made me get out and adventure more than I would’ve without. This is my last post as an ERAU student, but who knows- maybe one day I’ll come back and write about what my new life looks like after Embry-Riddle. I’m really thankful for every single opportunity I’ve had, and I hope you’ve found my posts interesting. See you in the skies! -Carly

The Orlando Airshow

This is so much better than watching Top Gun!

As mentioned during the Sun n’ Fun post, I went to the Orlando Air Show! It was part of the Air Dot Show tour that went across the United States, and it stopped at the Orlando Sanford (KSFB) airport. I was definitely excited to go. While it had a few of the same performers from Sun n’ Fun, it also had a bunch of different ones. Instead of the Thunderbirds, the Blue Angels performed, and I’ve only seen them once before.

There weren’t as many static displays to look at, but I got to get a lot closer than I did at Sun n’ Fun. They had an F-18 and a few older aircraft on display, and there were long lines to climb into the older aircraft. Of course, I took that opportunity.

The airshow itself was awesome. The acrobatic performers were, as always, amazing to watch, but they also had plenty of things I’d never seen before. One of them was the Coast Guard demonstration of a water rescue from a helicopter. It was amazing to watch- they lowered the rescue swimmer down to the ground with a basket, collected a test dummy, and then safely brought everything back into the helicopter. I honestly haven’t been around helicopters much since we don’t have a helicopter program.

The Coast Guard rescue demonstration.

The F-22 Raptor demonstration team was also there, and I’ve never seen them before. I enjoyed the airshow- the F-22 has very powerful engines, and you can definitely feel their power. They also did heritage flight, and it was awesome to see historic and modern-day aircraft flying together.

The Blue Angels were the final act, and they were awesome as ever to see. Their airshow was similar to the Thunderbirds in the fact that they had a diamond and two soloists, but the maneuvers were different. They were as majestic as ever, and I really enjoyed watching them in the heat. In my opinion, an airshow is worth the heat- as long as I use plenty of sunscreen!

Having airshows in the area is one of my favorite parts about ERAU. I love aviation (even though I’m in the astronautics track!) and coming here has enabled me to go to a few different ones. I’ve had a lesser credit load this semester so I’m able to spend more time doing things outside of class, which has been a whole lot of fun. I’m graduating soon, but this isn’t the last post. So… I’ll see you in the next one!

College Advice From A Senior

Honestly, graduation seems years (not weeks!) away still…

Sometimes I look around and wonder where the time went, since college seemed to flash by in the blink of an eye. Other times it felt so slow- waiting for the weekend, excited for the next trip I was taking, waiting for an internship. But here I am now just weeks away from graduating, and I’ve been thinking a bit about what I’ve done right vs wrong during my time here. When I work at admissions events, I get a lot of questions, including “What would you change if you could do it all again?” So here’s my advice.

GET INVOLVED. Join an organization you’re passionate about. Here’s how.
It can be intimidating walking into a club meeting where everyone seems to know everyone and you don’t. However, that’s exactly what you should do! ERAU hosts the activities fair every semester a month or so in, and that’s usually when club meeting attendance spikes. You can also get involved in things like Greek life, but I’ve found that most people who go Greek stay Greek.

My challenge to you is as follows: walk around the activity fair (especially to collect free stuff) and make note of every registered student organization (RSO) you’re interested in. If it’s a non-Greek and non-honor society organization, the meetings should be free and open to all. Go to one meeting to see what the club is about – just one. If you like the club, maybe join and go to more meetings! If you’re unsure, go to another meeting to figure it out. Finally, if you don’t like the club, no harm and no foul, it was just one meeting. I will note that some clubs do have a small membership fee, but that’s usually to get heavily involved- our rocketry clubs typically do that.

I personally think that there’s something for everyone here. We have honor societies based on major (usually they’re invite or application-based), professional organizations (like the Society of Women Engineers or Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), and fun organizations (sailing club, hockey club, tennis club, etc) as well as Division II and intramural sports.

The Women’s Ambassador Mentoring Program (WAMP) Ice Cream Social in Fall 2023.

Studies are important but so is experience.
Your GPA is not everything. Obviously don’t neglect your studies, but it’s not an end-all be-all for internships and jobs. If you get a C in one class, it won’t be the end of the world- heck, it’s even happened to me! What I’ve found to be equally as important is the experience and skills you have. They don’t even have to be super technical. Half of engineering is the technical problem, and the other half is being able to work with people. I haven’t gotten a very heavy technical question, but I have gotten a lot of behavioral “tell me about a time when” questions. From my experience, getting your first internship is the hardest.

Don’t just go to class- make sure you understand.
Like I mentioned, your GPA isn’t everything- but it’s still important. Go to tutoring, email your professors, go to their office hours, get the help you need when you need it, not the day before the test. This will enable you to get stuff done early so you can do more cool things. It’ll also lower your stress!

Leave your dorm for fun events, too!
And by fun, I mean do something that you find fun. That could be the beach, airshows, club events, the Skyline Social events on Fridays… anything. In the real world they talk about a work-like balance, but I think it’s important to have a school-life balance too. It’s also something that I struggled with a bit (since I’m a bit of a workaholic) but I’ve enjoyed the times that I got out and did something fun. This was made possible in part by me starting my homework early!

A SWE event from junior year… with dogs!

If you’re not an aeronautical science student… try and go on a flight with someone.
Where else are you going to find a university where a good chunk of the students are pilots? A fun fact about is ERAU is that you can shadow a flight in one of the Riddle planes. It’s pretty easy- all you need is a friend who’s a flight student and your student ID card, the EagleCard. You go to the flight operations building with your friend and ask to shadow the flight and as long as it’s fine with the flight instructor and flight supervisor, you can do it. I’ve done this in the ERAU Diamond DA-42s and those things are very nice to fly in.

If your friends aren’t aeronautical science, or you feel like a very expensive meal, there are several flight schools in the area you can rent a plane from. I’ve also done this– I’m not a pilot, but several of my friends are, which means that I’ve paid for my share of the flight costs and gone flying with them.

My view from the back seat of Riddle’s DA-42.

Volunteer in a way that’s fun and fulfilling for YOU. Most of my volunteering time was done with the Society of Women Engineers. I spent three years on the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Workshop (IGEW) committee before transitioning to a different leadership role in SWE, but I volunteered for IGEW all three years I was on the committee. ERAU even wrote an article about it! I’ve also volunteered in other capacities, such as for Preview Day and Open House.

SWE volunteers from the Museum of Arts and Science’s International Day of Women and Girls In Science event.

Finally… This is your college experience. Make the most of it.
My college experience is vastly different from some other people, and that’s okay. College will help you figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life and give you amazing memories to last a lifetime. I’m a very social person, so I enjoyed social clubs, but if you’re more solitary you may not like all of the activities that I did, and that’s okay.

Change majors if you aren’t happy with the major you’re in. Switch classes if you realize that there’s a professor whose teaching style better matches your learning style. Do things that make you happy and surround yourself with people that have similar interests. I’ve had the time of my life at ERAU, and it’s hard to think that it’s coming to an end. This isn’t my last post quite yet, so I’ll see you in the next post!

Sun n’ Fun, Round Two

Happy 50th Anniversary!

That time of the year has come around again- it’s airshow season! Every year, the Sun n’ Fun airshow is held at KLAL in Lakeland, Florida. I got to go for the first time in sophomore year, and I unfortunately had to miss it last year. But this year I went back- for both days- with different people.

The thing I like about attending airshows is how the lineup will change every year, and even then, it’s still unlikely to be the exact same aircraft. This year I saw a C-17, just like two years ago, from Charlotte, but the tail number was different. They let us tour a lot of the larger military planes, and I definitely took them up on that offer.

Saturday had both a day and night airshow, and I stayed for both days. I also love how the airshow changes every so often. The Thunderbirds performed again this year, but the show itself was different. I also got to see the F-35 demo team and various acrobatic performers. It was definitely worth it!

Some of the airshow performers!

One of the night show performers was the Polaris Ghost Squadron, which Jared Isaacman is part of. He’s an ERAU alumni who came back last year to speak to students, and it was awesome to see just how connected ERAU is to the industry. I enjoyed the airshow. The day airshow lasted for four full hours, while the night airshow lasted two and a half hours. And yes – I made sure to reapply sunscreen as needed.

The static displays were also a lot of fun to walk through. I noticed that a lot of the people were selling mission patches and T-shirts with their aircraft on it. There’s also a vendor area outside the warbird section, and I ended up buying a pink aviation lanyard with a seatbelt buckle attachment on it. I was really tempted to buy the KC-135 “remove before flight” tag, though…

I got to see aircraft that I’d never seen up close before, the KC-135 was one of them. They let us tour the flight deck, cargo component, and the boom operator station, which was cool to see. The KC-135 has a window in the back for the boom operator, unlike the newer KC-46 which has a refueling screen near the front of the plane that relies on cameras. I was able to look out the back of that window, watching people walk by under the aircraft. It was awesome!

KC-135 flight deck!

I also toured a C-130 with skiis that is able to land on snow, and it’s crazy for me to even think about that. I hate the cold, so I don’t like snow, but the fact that a large airplane can land on snow is awesome. I got a picture of me waving through a window of the C-130, and the breeze up there felt nice. Sun n’ Fun is just one of many things I’m going to miss when I move away, but there are airshows all over the country.

I’m very glad I went to Sun n’ Fun this year, and I’m excited to go to the Orlando Airshow next weekend! That’s one of the cool things I love about the ERAU Daytona location – there are so many airshows around here within driving (or flying!) distance. Maybe I’ll be write about the Orlando Airshow next… but whatever it is, I’ll see you in the next post!

My Final Preview Day

And my final admissions event- ever…

Preview Day has come and gone, being scheduled last weekend. I worked from 7:30 AM to 4 PM on Saturday alone, which was a long day- but totally worth it. One of my favorite parts about being an ambassador is getting to meet new people, and I met a lot of people during the Preview Days!

I started working on Friday from 11 AM to 2:30, standing in the front of the Student Union and answering questions. Mostly I was giving directions, but I got to see a few students that I’d talked to before through ZeeMee and accepted student receptions. It was a lot of fun! I loved seeing how busy the Union was.

The Aviation Professionals Collegiate Group (APCG) had also brought a historic DC-3 to campus for Preview Days. It’s owned by Missionary Flights International, and they graciously allowed students to tour it in small groups. The DC-3 was also used to train students for their multi-engine ratings back at ERAU back in the 1960s, so the aircraft type has history with the university, too.

Of course I took the opportunity to tour the airplane! Every time something new comes to campus, I’m happy to wait in line (or sign up online!) to tour it. I’ve seen a F-15 and Boeing 747 that way, and they’re two unforgettable experiences that I’m glad I had.

The DC-3 tour was structured similar to the other tours. I checked in, got a ramp badge, and waited for an escort out to the flight line. Since it’s technically airport property, everyone needs to be supervised. The DC-3 was sitting in a fenced area, and students were free to explore anywhere within the fence. I started by doing a full walkaround of the aircraft before heading inside to see the seats and flight deck. It’s a tailwheel aircraft, so I was walking up an incline while I was inside.

The DC-3!

After the tour, I hit Starbucks before heading to class. My senior design class meets from 4-6 PM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I wanted a little extra pick-me-up before my one and only class. That night I went to bed early since I was also scheduled to work from 7:30 AM to around 2 PM.

My first shift, from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM, was working with the aerospace engineering department. As a member of the Aerospace Engineering Student Advisory Board, I spoke to students and their families about the curriculum one-on-one. The most frequently asked questions were about the different tracks (we have four!), how I liked it (I’ve loved it!), and if I had a job lined up (yes- at Boeing in Southern California!). Just like in previous years, students and their families have had some awesome questions that I also asked as an admitted student. Unfortunately, since I was a May 2020 high school graduate, I never got a Preview Day.

After that, I ended up going back to the admissions building to collect materials for my second shift. That was working the information fair for the Women’s Ambassadors, and we had free stuff and handouts to give away. I collected the stuff before heading back to our assigned table, which was next to the housing department, and I spoke to students who approached the table about our program, my personal experience, and what I did at ERAU.

The information fair ended at 2 PM, and when done, I cleaned up. While I was done with my scheduled shift I was still happy to assist, and ended up at the Henderson Welcome Center near the photo booth and T-shirt handout desk. I helped there for the next two hours- giving away T-shirts, taking photos of families, and even walking some people to places on campus. It was a lot of fun, and I definitely got my exercise in!

If you ever have the opportunity to attend Preview Day, I highly suggest it. I know it’s not possible for everyone, especially if you live far away- but it’s a great look at the university to see if it’s the right fit for you. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, and although I’m graduating, I hope to see you at ERAU one day. Until then, I’ll see you in the next post!

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!

The Weekend Before Spring Break Weekend

I’m counting down the days until spring break!

March is upon us and that means it’s almost time for spring break! While I have a test this week, I’m really excited for spring break. It’ll be great to have a week for rest and relaxation that I can spend ignoring any homework I do have.

As for what I’m up to here at ERAU? Last Friday, comedian Ryan Kelly came to ERAU for a stand-up comedy show. He’s well known on Instagram and TikTok, and I was excited to go see his show. Apparently he started out as an engineering major, and he had a few jokes about that we could all relate to.

The show was part of the Skyline Social series, which are events on Friday evenings that usually have a different theme. I’ve seen them have trivia, game night, bracelets, and now a comedy show. There’s food and drink available for purchase, but the event itself is free. This event partnered with our entertainment division, Touch-N-Go, to bring Ryan here.

Ryan Kelly at ERAU!

I enjoyed a very restful Saturday doing absolutely nothing productive. I got pizza for lunch and it was super tasty, but other than that, I spent the day relaxing. Even during the school year while not on break I highly suggest taking breaks when you can.

Sunday was my study day. I have a test on Wednesday and started studying for it on Sunday. The test is all memorization since it’s multiple choice, so I’ve started solidifying the content in my mind. I spent most of the afternoon in the Hunt Library before heading over to JCPenney for the Suit Up event.

Once per semester, ERAU’s Career Services partners with JCPenney and allows students to buy professional attire at a discounted price. All student attendees must check in and then they’ll receive their coupons to be presented at the register. I ended up getting two items- a business dress and pair of slacks- for a total under $100, which was a great deal.

I’m sitting back in my apartment writing this blog post while keeping an eye on my cat. I adopted him several months ago and he’s still as adorable as when I got him! He’s also gotten a lot bigger, but he’s still very mischievous. I’m very excited to take him with me when I start my job, but until then, I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

Things I Did In My Freshman Year of College That You Should, Too

Your future self will thank you. Love, a senior.

So you’ve finally decided that you’re coming to ERAU for college- good decision! Getting into college is just the beginning. I’ve loved my time here at ERAU and feel like I’ve made the most of it, and of course I have some advice for you!

I’m serious. Getting involved has not only given me things for my resume that I can talk about in job interviews, but it’s also given me some awesome experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. I’ve gotten to go all over the country with Women’s Ambassadors and gone to professional conferences thanks to the Society of Women Engineers. It doesn’t matter what you get involved with, as long as you get involved! Below is a picture of a pretty seagull I saw in San Francisco while traveling for Women’s Ambassadors.

2. When on campus- LEAVE YOUR DORM! Go to events.
Not just events that the organizations you joined (see tip 1) are hosting, but the ones that the campus hosts. The Avion, our school newspaper, will occasionally give out free donuts. Touch-N-Go, our entertainment division, gives out a lot of free stuff too! People will also play sports in the common area between New Res 1 and 2; from my experience, people are always looking for new players. Plus, leaving your dorm gets you a breath of fresh air.

3. If needed, go to tutoring.
It’s free and the tutors are great! I’ve gone to tutoring for math, physics, and chemistry when I needed help. Your grades will thank you. Freshman year is the time that you’ll learn the foundations of your major. Things will only build from there. In engineering, you’ll build on your freshman and sophomore year math and physics classes, so it’s important to have a strong foundation.

4. Apply for internships!
Internships are SO. MUCH. FUN!!! They will also teach you about the jobs in the industry that are available so you can find out what you like and don’t like. I’ve had three internships and they’ve all been very helpful. I’ve learned a lot about the industry while getting paid, which was awesome. The picture below is from my summer 2023 internship with Boeing in Oklahoma City. There was a free public airshow while I was there, which meant that I had to go! Plus, internships will give you an opportunity for networking…

5. Network and find a mentor!
Networking is different than mentoring. Mentoring is more focused, where you’re looking for advice or help on a specific situation. Networking is broad, where you’re meeting people who you can ask for help (and who can ask for help from you). Mentoring is usually available through career-based organizations like the Society of Women Engineers, whereas networking can be found and done with anyone. You can definitely network with people from organizations- this year’s seniors will likely be entering the workforce soon, so you could ask them about their jobs.

6. Start (and preferably finish) your homework early!
I know it seems odd coming from a student but I’ve stayed up until 11:59 PM hoping that my assignment gets done and… it’s not the greatest feeling in the world. I do, however, like finishing an assignment early and having time at the end of the night to fully relax. If you finish your homework, then you can also attend the pop-up events in the community! I was studying with a friend at a coffee shop in One Daytona once, and when we took a break, we discovered it was the middle of the NASCAR Hauler Showcase! So we took a two-hour study break to watch the band perform and take a look around the area.

7. And last but not least… have FUN in college!
College has been the best four years of my life, and I attribute that partially because I made myself get out and do things I thought were cool. I did things that I thought I’d never do that still sounded fun, and it really enhanced my college experience. Embry-Riddle is a very special place- there’s a lot to do in the Daytona Beach area and there’s new airplanes to see every month. I hope I’ll see you here one day- and if not, I’ll see you in the next post!

My Favorite Classes I’ve Taken

With love from a senior.

The aerospace engineering program here at ERAU allows you to pick from between four tracks: aeronautics (airplanes), astronautics (space vehicles), jet propulsion, and rocket propulsion. Currently I’m in the astronautics track, and here are a few of my favorite classes I’ve taken so far:

AE 313 (Space Mechanics)
This was my favorite class I’ve ever taken. It’s an introductory orbital mechanics class, so you get to learn about transfer orbits and creating trajectories. I also got to learn Systems Tool Kit (STK), which is a software that helps visualize the orbit. It’s a software I’m using right now in my senior design class. My professor was funny and engaging, so that was a plus too!

AE 427/425 (Senior Design)
I really like my senior design class- it’s broken into preliminary and detail design classes, but you’re supposed to stay with your team in the same class for a whole year. Our project deals with space situational awareness and we are designing a theoretical CubeSat to take pictures of objects in the geostationary orbit belt. I also have a great group that’s full of hard-working friends, which makes the class so much more fun.

AE 315 (Experimental Aerodynamics Lab)
Although I’m more of a space person, I loved my experimental aerodynamics lab. The professor who runs the lab requires a do-it-yourself group project, and my group chose to put a model 737 fuselage in the wind tunnel. This project takes place after you do five pre-designed experiments and you split each lab section of 10 students into 2 groups.

AE 426 (Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics)
I loved this class- even though people abbreviate it at SAD. My professor taught it in a real-world application method, letting us do a final project to put together what we’d learned. It was a fully theoretical do it yourself and like a miniature senior design class without all of the requirements. The class builds on AE 313 and talks more about an individual spacecraft’s attitude rather than an orbital dynamic.

AE 434 (Spacecraft Controls)
This class builds on AE 426, and my professor did a semester-long project to go along with the class. He gave us a scenario about a satellite and had us model controllers for it, starting with the attitude control and moving to basic controller design.

I am more of a project lover than a test lover as you can probably tell, but I find them less stressful and more applicable to the real world. People aren’t going to hide your textbooks, and engineering is a group effort, so you can ask other engineers if you need help. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’ll see you in the next one… and hopefully at Riddle!

Letters to Myself

The Spring 2024 semester is upon us, and with that, the beginning of my senior year! A year that will undoubtedly be challenging, and one that will pass by faster than I could ever imagine. With the start of the last year of my college career, I’ve decided to do some reflection in the form of letters to my past, present, and future self. I hope you enjoy these letters, whether or not you relate to past, present, or future me.

Dear fresh high school-graduate Chloe,

My high school graduation, in May 2021. It took place on my school’s football field, with seats placed six feet apart, so as to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Sweet girl, you have no idea what you’re about to do. No ideas about the world you’re going to become immersed in and grow to love. No idea who you’re going to meet. I know that you never thought you’d even get to college and I wish you could see yourself now. You’ve learned so many things about the world, your degree (you love it, by the way), and most importantly, yourself. You will go through some tough times, as we all do. I’m not going to lie, in your first two years of college, you are going to hit your lowest low. You are going to feel as though all hope is lost. But guess what? You’re gonna make it out okay. In fact, you’re gonna make it out of the trenches stronger and smarter than you ever have been. And I am so proud of you. You’ll begin to learn that you’re allowed to be proud of yourself and your achievements. I am so proud of you. I know that you won’t hear that often, especially from yourself, which is why I’m saying it now. You will learn to love everything about yourself, a lot of this thanks to some wonderful people you’ve met. You will write a note on your mirror that is still there; “Be nice to the girl looking back at you.” You won’t be very good at that at first, but now it isn’t even a second thought. Your friends will come and go. Some are meant to stay a while, and some are not, and you’ll learn that is just how life is sometimes. All of this combined, you are going to grow so much. You will make some mistakes but you will achieve so much. Your worries and doubts are not in vain, but dearest, let me tell you, everything will work out. Everything you are worried about will no longer have a place in your mind. Oh and hey, you’ll break your foot eventually, but don’t worry, it didn’t hurt when it happened, and you’ll heal and be back in the gym only a few months later. I am so proud of you, and I know that I would not be where I am doing what I do without your strength and resilience. You are the strongest version of us, and I am so grateful for our experiences. I know you’ll have days where all you wanna do is grow up and be a “real adult,” but I kinda wished you never had to grow up. You will learn to appreciate the little things and maybe the things that seem somewhat childish, and that’s totally okay. You are healing. I am so proud of what you have done and what you have yet to do.

To the girl writing this letter,

This is me in a photo taken for the Avion, where I work on the broadcast project.

You’ve got this. Remember not to get too in your head. You are kind, intelligent, and driven. You are going to accomplish so much, and you actually already have! Remember that you are surrounded by people who love and support you, and that you deserve this love and support. Don’t take this for granted, as these people deserve your love and support too. But don’t let others tear you down. You don’t owe anyone an excuse for the way you live your life. And you don’t owe love to anyone. Your love will naturally flow to those who need it, and you don’t have to keep people around who don’t make you happy. I think this will be an important point to remember- surround yourself with what makes you happy. This includes having a clean space, a clean body, and a clean mind. And, of course, good food, good times, and good people. Feed your body and feed your soul. You are young, but you’re growing up too. The “real world” is less than 365 days away. Your degree is in sight, and you can absolutely do it. You have less college left than you’ve already done, so don’t sweat it. You’ve got this. Make this year the best year you’ve ever had. It should be easy for you, love. 

To future Chloe,

(I don’t have a picture for this one…)

I have no idea what you’re up to. All I know is that I hope you’re happy. I know you’re successful, because not succeeding was never an option for you. Maybe you’re a flight attendant, maybe you’re a corporate girl boss. Or maybe even, you’re back in school getting another degree… I’m hoping for you that where you’re getting your next meal from or how you’re buying your next tank of gas is no longer a worry for you. Maybe you’re engaged to be married, maybe you’re happily living life solo. Only time will tell. This is quite a short letter, but that’s mostly because I cannot see into the future. I can only hope for something and work towards it, which is exactly what I intend to do. I’m incredibly excited to see what you accomplish, and I know that no matter where you end up and what you do, you will be happy and successful.


Chloe Christovich

I hope you enjoyed my letters, and maybe they even inspired you to write your own. I hope all your dreams come true and that you are the happiest you’ve ever been.