Nice to Meet You!

Hello Riddle Life!

My name is Christine, and I am an undergraduate Spaceflight Operations student at Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach. I am so happy to have the opportunity to blog about my internship experience this summer. But first, I will tell you a little bit about myself!

I am first-generation, Italian-American college student with the goal of pursuing up to my Ph. D. I received an Associate of Arts degree in general studies in 2019 from Daytona State College. Before that, I graduated summa cum laude from Atlantic High School in Port Orange, Florida. I always knew I wanted to attend Embry-Riddle, even in high school. I was fortunate enough to have connections to Embry-Riddle from a very young age. When I was in middle school, I would attend the Astronomy Open House nights that the Amateur Astronomy Club hosted every month in the spring and winter seasons. I would make friends with the students and even the professors that attended the events. To this day I still know and speak to the Embry-Riddle professor that I have known since middle school.

Present day, I transferred to Embry-Riddle in Spring 2020 to start my degree. I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Spaceflight Operations with an area of concentration in Operations Science and Technology, with minors in Systems Engineering and Human Factors. I transferred to Embry-Riddle with roughly 65 transfer credits that contributed to my degree; consequently, I will be graduating in December 2022 and starting on my first master’s degree, a M.S. in Systems Engineering, in January 2023.

Throughout my college experience, I have grown as a student, professional, and human being. I have expanded my network of friends and colleagues, taken on many leadership roles, and contributed to several research projects throughout my career so far. I am currently serving as the Vice President of the Spaceflight Sciences Policy and Operations Club (SSPOC) and the President of the Society of Women in Space Exploration (SWISE). I am a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society and Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Society of Leadership and Success. I have done volunteer work for the Girl Scouts, STEM Day, and Discovery Day at Embry-Riddle. I have contributed to Project Aether, a space debris research report, the Vertical Air Lifted High Altitude Light Launch Apparatus (VALHALLA), and I am one of two team leads on Project ASTERIA (Advanced Satellite Technology Exploring Radiation in Aerospace). My team and I are currently meeting with a company to find support for our project in hopes of getting to space to conduct our research.

After looking for months, I finally received an offer for a Summer 2022 internship at Sidus Space Inc. as a Mission Operations Intern in Cape Canaveral, Florida. I am ecstatic that I received this position, and I am learning many valuable skills for my future career. I plan to become a flight controller/flight director one day after graduating.

I am passionate about helping other first-generation college students like me navigate their way through college. I am a member of the First-Generation Student Association (FGSA) and enjoy promoting the club’s involvement on campus. I am also passionate about encouraging more females to follow a path in STEM and Aviation/Aerospace. Serving as SWISE’s President, I am ecstatic to help other young females get more involved with the college community and promote equality throughout it by various fundraising events, seminars, and guest speeches. Society of Women Engineers is another organization I frequently help with. Fundraising with their committee makes me feel like I am actively serving the organization and raising not just funds, but awareness of who we are and what we do. Lastly, I am an environmentalist and have a huge green thumb. I like to spend my spare time attending beach cleanups or caring for my 3 turtles, one being a rescue! I love aquatic life and marine biology, so I plan to volunteer for the Marine Science Center again one day in the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center, helping injured wildlife recover from propellor strikes and pollution-induced injuries.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to read about me! I am eager to post more about my life as an intern in Cape Canaveral. Ciao for now!

December 19, 2008

I’m finally home!!! Finally, after an entire semester, I’m back home in NYC where it’s freezing cold! It feels so good to be able to be with family and friends. It was a really short semester but we had to get a lot done within that time. I accomplished a lot over the past 6 months and got involved with a few clubs on campus and earned 27 credits so far.

Finals went well. I passed my finals and got some really good grades in my classes. However, with flight, I am still not done with course. When I get back I only have a few flights then my checkride! I can’t wait. But I am concerned that not flying for a few weeks will affect my performance when I get back. I am sure it will all work out, but sometimes being away on break is not completely good.

Before we left campus, First Generation had a little Christmas dinner in the Doolittle Annex. It was fun as we all ate together and shared funny stories about what we encountered during the semester. It was the final meeting for the club this semester. The Avion also had a banquet, which unfortunately I could not attend. But from what I heard it was a really fun event.

I’m back in New York. My mom moved from the Queens to Freeport Long Island. I left the wonderful warm weather in Daytona, and now I have to wear layers of clothes and a coat when I go outside. I missed the cold so much while back on campus, but now that I’m in the cold I want to go back to the warmth. Since I have been here it snowed, and it should be a lot of wintry weather for the next few days. It’s not too friendly with the weather in New York, but being with friends and family makes it a lot better. Most of my friends aren’t done with their semester yet, so I have to wait a while till they get back. Last week, a friend of mine from back on campus came to NYC to visit me. He lives in Rhode Island and it was his first time in the city. We had so much fun that day, it snowed and we almost froze to death!

I also went to visit my old high school. It’s a surprise what the school has become. I got to see my friends that are juniors and seniors and my old track team, teachers, principal and peer group leader. It was a nice feeling going back and seeing the people that help me become the person I am today.

I must thank you guys for reading my journals for the past semester. It has been my pleasure. Thanks to all the people that sent me emails, I appreciate them a lot and hope I answered your questions to your satisfaction. Please don’t be a stranger, if you have any questions about Riddle and classes, etc. shoot me an email and I will gladly answer your questions.

Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year!

November 3rd, 2008

BRR… I hate to say this but Florida is actually getting chilly! The past two weeks has been really chilly, not the average temperature you would expect for Florida. But it seems to be warming up again, but boy was that a surprise. I miss the beach so much and I can’t wait for it to get back to the 90’s.

Along with dealing with the crazy weather, it’s now Homecoming week…YAY! There are a lot of activities planned and I am so excited to experience them. We have a school spirit competition going, also the Alumni fly-in, and the parade on Friday. For the past couple of weeks, we have had a few events on campus that if you attend, you get Bonus Bucks. Bonus Bucks are used in the “Silent Auction” at the end of Homecoming.

I am so happy to say that in two more flights, I’ll have my solo check ride! YAY, I am so excited and I can’t wait to solo. My instructor has been helping a lot over the past couple of weeks and now that my check ride is right around the corner, we are putting emphasis on making sure my maneuvers are up to standard and that I won’t have any problems on my check ride. Wish me luck guys! In my other classes, I am doing great. The semester is coming to an end soon and in just a few weeks we are going to be taking final exams. It’s getting a little hectic now, trying to get our major papers done and making sure we stay on top of assignments and doing all that we can to get the grade that rewards our efforts. On Thursday I have a test in Private Pilot Operations, and I have two papers due on Wednesday for my English Composition and Literature class. I also have a big research paper due next Monday for my Intro to Computers class. At this point in the semester, if you haven’t structured yourself with good time management, it’s going to be a real task getting things done. Procrastination is not a good thing, because before you know it, everything is all piled up and you have no time to get it all done.

I am still active on TFO and First Generation, but as for the Avion, I took off for a while because production takes a lot out of me and I had a few big papers to work on. I go back to production this coming Sunday and I can’t wait to get back and edit the Campus page! For First Generation, we participated in an event called Making Strides which was a 3 mile walk for Breast Cancer awareness. We had so much fun walking around Daytona, and at the end of the 3 miles, we felt like we did something positive for our community.

HALLOWEEN passed last Friday and it was a lot of fun. Our campus had kids from the community come on campus and had several events to keep them entertained. In my dorm we had trick-or-treating, and me and my roommate gladly signed up and participated. It was so much fun to see the kids in their costumes and the excitement on their faces when we gave them candy. Sadly, the Doolittle Haunted House didn’t go on for an unknown reason. Hopefully it will be up and running next year! That night, my cousin from Jacksonville came down to visit me. I haven’t seen her in a few years and it was so good seeing her.

My roommate took his solo check ride last Friday and HE PASSED! I am so proud of him and all of his hard work paid off. He is scheduled to have his actual solo hopefully this Wednesday, and I wish him luck!

Well, Thanksgiving is coming up soon, and as some of my friends go back home for Thanksgiving dinner, I will be here on campus doing some flight lessons. I miss my family so much and I can’t wait to see them again this Christmas.

*In my last post I said that there was a jetBlue A340 on the ramp on the airport, it was an A320, I made a little error and apologize for this mistake.

For those of you guys that have contacted me, thanks for talking to me and I hope that I was of help to you. The rest of you guys, don’t be a stranger. Until next time!

October 6, 2008

What an experience this has been. I think it’s just starting to sink in that I am in college now! I finally get to live my dream of becoming a pilot. The past couple of weeks were just simply amazing. As I said in my last post, I have started my flight training and it has been the best experience of my life. I am learning so much from my instructor and I have a blast during my lessons. Now I can’t take my mind of flying, I am so addicted. In my other classes, however, we are starting to get into the core of the course and the real heavy-duty work is starting to emerge. I already have a few big papers due and I am pretty nervous. I have to do a 7 page paper for my IT 109 (Introduction to Computers and Applications) class. I also have a 2 page paper due for my COM 122 (English Composition and Literature) class. I also took a few tests. Last Thursday, October 2, I took my first test in Pre-Calculus and today I had my second test in Private Pilot Operations. I have no doubt that I passed them!

Outside of school work, there is so much to do on and off campus. I am still involved with the newspaper, TFO and First Generation. First Generation had its first trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral this past Saturday October 4. I was unable to go but a few of my friends did and they enjoyed it! TFO is starting to get a few things started on campus. We are currently looking at ways we can gain more members and also ways in which we can fundraise. And as for the newspaper, The Avion, things are getting crazy! We are usually in the newspaper every Sunday from 1 till whenever, slaving to produce the newspaper for which our staff has won so many awards. Even though it consumes so much of my time, it’s a very rewarding experience and it makes you feel proud when you see your name in print. Apart from clubs, I and my friends have been to the beach a lot! We play volleyball, play on the sand and do some reading or just for fun, dig a hole and bury someone in it! Sometimes when we are bored in our rooms, we either play flight simulator or play musical instruments.

As for my roommate, he was trying out for the flight team. However his efforts did not earn him a spot on the team, but he does have the ability to go to practices if he wants. He is a little disappointed that he didn’t make the team but he now has time to get more work done and have a flexible schedule.

Even though I am having so much fun on campus, I still think about home a lot. I am starting to accept that I am away from family, and I realize it’s not a bad experience. Being far from home is teaching me a lot about being a responsible person and being able to take care of myself. I call home a lot and everyone there is so proud of me, and that motivates me every day to get up and get my work done.

I hope you guys are being successful in your college search. Don’t be a stranger, shoot me an email or an instant message and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Until next time!

September 22, 2008

It’s amazing the difference two weeks can make. Since my last entry, so much has changed. Classes started becoming more intense, the work load became greater, but at the same time there was enough time to relax and have fun around campus. It suddenly went from hey, we’re at college to work, clubs, a job and finding time to relax. It isn’t bad, the work is still manageable and exciting but there is still a lot expected from you so there is no time for slacking off. I have already taken 3 major tests in 3 of my classes and I got a B on all 3. Each teacher has a different method of teaching and that was what made studying a little challenging. I am a flight student so I have begun my flight training on Thursday, September 18th. Students usually start flying the first day of their scheduled flight block, but my TSA clearance took longer than expected and put me back a little in my training. I really like my flight instructor. He has been in the industry for a long time and is giving me a lot of advice on the best way to be successful in the aviation industry and is training me in a way that would help me become a very successful airline pilot.

There is so much to do here on campus. So far, I am involved with the campus newspaper as the Campus Editor, I am also on TFO (which is a student government group for freshmen and transfer students), and I am also in First Generation, which is a club for students who are the first of their family to attend college. All of the clubs offer a chance to express one’s self, and become an active member of the campus population. Being on the newspaper staff allows you to be a part of the process of informing campus students with information that affects them. Our campus has an excellent readership and the staff has, in the past years, received multiple awards for the hard work that they have done. TFO, which stands for Task Force One, is a student government group for freshmen and transfer students, allows you to become involved with student government and be a part of many activities that builds leadership skills. First Generation is also a great opportunity to get involved on campus. They provide many trips, workshops, and meetings in which you can earn points that counts towards a scholarship program. I also tried out for the track and field team. Even though I tried my best I didn’t make the team because I had an injury, and my plans to play intramural volleyball didn’t come through either because it would become very demanding in my schedule. But even though those plans didn’t work out, there are still a lot of ways that I can keep up with my fitness.

My roommate is also involved on campus. He is currently trying out for the flight team. Things are going well and he is very excited and working hard to get on the team.

Even though I am having so much fun on and off campus, there are times where I still feel a little homesick. It takes a while getting used to being away from home, but I am slowly but surely getting used to it, and being involved on campus helps you to make a new home here. There are a lot of programs here on campus that is geared to making your transition to college life a success.

Well its now my 5th week here at Riddle and it’s a blast, I’m trying to keep my head in the books as well as have a little fun. I’m glad I chose ERAU!