Things I Wish I Could Tell My Senior-Self

Happy February!

In this post, I wanted to do some reflecting and share some wisdom I have gained since coming to college… And I know, I know, what wisdom can a 20-year-old have? Well, going to college is like speed reading a “Discover Who You Really Are for Dummies” book where half the chapters are missing and even when you follow the book exactly, things still don’t always go as planned. After two years and three semesters, I feel like a pro. But watch, tomorrow I will accidentally go to the wrong room or pull a complete amateur move because let’s be real, even the wisest people aren’t that wise during an 8 am class.

Now, while I’m still getting the hang of this whole college thing, I can confidently give advice on things I wish I could tell my senior-self. This idea came when I was applying for internships – I know, scary – and needed my high school transcript. When I went to pull up my old high school’s website, I saw a new “alumni” tab. And that’s when it hit me… I’m an alum! Working in the Office of Development for Embry-Riddle, I always knew I wanted to give back when I became an alum of the university. It had never occurred to me I was already an alum, but of my high school! Long story short, I began to reflect on my high school days and realized I thought I knew it all but boy was I wrong!

To begin, I was a good high school student. It’s not like I ditched class and I’m reflecting on how that was a bad idea. I had a GPA above a 4.0, took college classes, was the president of the National Honor Society and DECA, volunteered, and played a sport. Meanwhile, I worked two jobs and flew at the local airport. Life was busy but very fun. I always knew I wanted to go to Embry-Riddle. It had been my dream school since the 7th grade and my school counselor didn’t even try convincing me otherwise. Sounds like a pretty good time, right? It was! But, there are still things I wish I would have done or known and here they are:

  1. Take as many AP and dual-enrollment classes as possible: When you are paying thousands of dollars to learn basic biology, you will understand what I mean. College, especially ours, has so many interesting courses so try to knock out as many of the basic ones in high school.
  2. Do an internship: My high school offered an internship program and I really wish I had done it! Once you begin applying for internships, you realize that companies want experience and high school is a great time to begin.
  3. Find a mentor: Mentors are super important and I wish I saw this in high school. Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities. My sister’s friend’s mom (convoluted I know, sorry!) went to Embry-Riddle and works for Frontier now! It was nice to have her introduce me to people, write letters of recommendations, invite me to the Women in Aviation Conference as a senior in high school, and then be a great name to drop as an “in” when I attend Frontier events.
  4. Apply for scholarships: You’ve heard it a million times and I’m sorry but… It’s so important to apply, even when you are in college. Since many scholarships have similar essay topics, keep a folder with your essays and use those to quickly write more for other scholarships. Free money is free money and definitely worth 30 minutes of your time. My advice to high schoolers – look local. Even in my tiny town of Castle Rock, Colorado we had many scholarships being handed out by the local library and community organizations.
  5. Tour your top three:  As I mentioned, I knew I wanted to attend Embry-Riddle since 7th grade, so anytime I toured another school, I fell more in love with our unique university. The line was always, “But Riddle has…” If you are unsure where to go, choose your top three schools to tour. Touring a university gives you a great understanding of what your life would be like there. Try to see if you can sit in on a class or if you are touring Embry-Riddle – a flight! Just like you would test drive a car before buying it, tour the campuses of the universities you are most interested in. I say three because if you need to travel it adds up! The investment is definitely worth it! Once you see a campus, you can also begin planning your transition, like what items you need to start buying!
  6. Choose friends wisely: Once you leave high school, your life moves on. While you will see your friends during breaks, and social media allows us to always be connected, make sure your focus is on you and your future. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most. I remember it was so easy to get caught up in drama but once you leave those high school doors for the last time, everything else shifts up in importance. Don’t waste your time and energy now on bad friendships. That being said, keep your closest friends close and if you end up on either side of the country (like me and my best friend), dedicate one day of the week for catching up over FaceTime!
  7. Begin dorm shopping ASAP: Packing for college is exciting and stressful. It can be hard to know exactly what you need but even harder to find certain items in the summer once everyone is shopping for their dorms too. Think ahead and get big ideas, like a mattress topper and steamer now and keep them in your closet. No matter where you go, whichever dorm you end up in, you will appreciate the early access but also the spread of costs since moving can add up.
  8. Join your college’s accepted student social media page: Embry-Riddle and many colleges offer social media connections. Think of it as a mini social media site just for your new incoming class. I know many people met their roommates using this app, made friend groups who met up during orientation, or were able to obtain answers to a lot of their questions this way. There is also an admissions adviser who helps answer questions quickly, so be sure to utilize this app and make friends now!
  9. Enjoy home: Once you are away at college and there are no more home cooked meals, you have to do your own laundry, and no one checks in on you, you quickly miss home. There are many times when I come back from a long day and miss my mom having a meal made for me and being able to do homework with my family in the living room with me. Cherish these moments because you will definitely miss them no matter how close you are to your family.
  10. Use your resources: I recommend talking to your high school counselor and college counselor often. Do not be shy when it comes to college. Finances and academics are confusing as you make your transition over, but remember tons of people do it and so can you. Your counselors have helped many others before you and are there to help now! Be smart and utilize your resources. If you are too nervous, try to find a current student to reach out to. For women coming to Embry-Riddle, you have a Women’s Ambassador. On top of that, my mom’s friend’s daughter also attended school here, so I was able to meet with her during summer and have my questions answered! It’s a small world, you never know who you may know that could be useful! (P.S. Do you FASFA earlier rather than later! It was the most stressful part of starting college for me.)

I hope these tips serve you well! The biggest takeaway: it all works out in the end! These are just tips to be a little extra wise!

– Maddie Dietrich

A Long Way from Home

3,789 miles. As I sit here typing, I am 3,789 miles from home sweet home Embry-Riddle. I’ve found myself in Talkeetna, Alaska for the summer, working as an intern for K2 Aviation, a company that performs flightseeing tours around the Alaska Mountain Range in Denali National Park.

It has now been one week since I packed my bags and, accompanied by my mother, boarded an Alaska Airlines flight from Chicago to Anchorage.

Getting ready to board a flight from KORD to PALH.

We spent three days in Anchorage before making the 113 mile drive to Talkeetna. On the third day, I had the honor to visit to Lake Hood Seaplane Base and spend time flying a 1944 Grumman Goose, a multi-engine flying boat. It was as incredible as its sounds. With Goose expert Burke Mees in the right seat, we departed one lake for another, doing steep turns and stalls along the way. I could, and probably should, do an entire post about that flight, but for now I’ll simply say that my time in N703 is by far the most interesting entry in my logbook I have to date and will likely hold that title for years to come. I would encourage anyone visiting Anchorage to do an hour long flight with them, or at least take a look at the historical plane. If you are interested, more information can be found at

Sitting on the wing of the Goose while floating in Figure Eight Lake, just outside of Anchorage.

The arrival of Thursday meant my first day of work with K2 Aviation. My position for the summer is being a part of the office staff team doing customer service. It means I’ll be doing anything from answering calls and questions of people interested in the flightseeing tours to assisting mountain climbers get all their gear prepared for their attempt of climbing North America’s tallest peak.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Denali, formerly Mount McKinley, is the tallest mountain in North America? It stands at 20,310 feet above sea level and is accessible for only a small margin of the year running from around April to July. As someone who doesn’t claim to be the least bit in shape, I decided to take the easy route of getting to the top and boarded a plane.

Aboard a deHavilland Beaver I experienced the most amazing flight I have ever been a passenger on (most amazing flight overall being the Goose). Seeing the summit of the continent’s tallest peak poking above the clouds, flying between cliff walls thousands of feet high, cruising just hundreds of feet above a 44-mile long glacier, and touching down on the snow bank in the middle of a National Park combined for an experience that still makes my jaw drop when I look back on it.

The peak of Denali in the distance.

I don’t pretend to have Alaska figured out yet. I still get confused when I call my friends after my shift for them to groggily answer that it’s 2:00am and it better be important. I still struggle to get in bed when I look out the window at a beautiful sunny day even though the clock says it’s 9:45pm (and it stays brighter later every day!). But what I have figured out is that this is going to be a summer of adventure. Adventure that will take me all over Alaska, on many modes of transportation, and deeper into the wilderness than I truthfully want to go.

While I probably won’t accomplish all the adventure goals I’ve set for myself, I promise to make sure you enjoy reading about the ones I do. So stick around, bookmark this page, and check back often because the Grumman Goose, glacier landing, and Denali summit tour was only week one. We’ve got 12 more to go.

-Brian Reedy

Missed Connections

From art crawls to art galleries, I dived head-first into the Lexington art scene. I traveled to Cincinnati to visit art galleries and an aquarium. I explored the history behind Kentucky and neighboring states, but there was still much more to do.

There were so many things I missed out in in Kentucky that I wish I had the opportunity to experience. I’m not a basketball fall, but I’ve heard there’s nothing better than bleeding blue at UK basketball game during March Madness. I also missed Keeneland – a local horse derby. Again, horses aren’t a passion of mine, but I had a sunhat or two that I could have sported! Lexington is also home to a few Bourbon trails. I have no idea how Whiskey is made and I don’t have much interest in drinking it, but Lexington is best place to learn more.

Ultimately, I missed out. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is absolutely real (Broad City reference). I kept telling myself that four months is plenty of time. All I did was blink, and my time was up in Lexington. To future interns: consider how much time you truly have in your host city and plan accordingly! If you don’t get something done (like me), then you have an excuse to cater to your wanderlust and visit again. I’ll be back Lexington!

Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot

No, but seriously… is Daytona ALWAYS been this hot in May? The moment I drove over the Georgia-Florida state line I could feel the change in heat. Aside from fighting the curly hair struggle in humidity, I’m excited to be back!

Local restaurants and coffee shops like Tia Cori’s and Sweet Marlays’ coffee shop have been calling my name. I can’t forget Bethune Grill – home to the best wings in Daytona. It’s a must-have!

Five minutes beyond the mom-and-pop shops is the “Most Famous Beach in the World.” I’ve already pulled my beach blankets from storage and prepared an emergency beach bag equipped with sun screen, shades, a good book, and a Bluetooth speaker. I’ll always be ready for a spontaneous trip to the beach.

Even better, I have a few friends staying in town for Summer courses so we’ll be getting into the habit of $6 movies on Tuesdays. Wonder Woman, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Cars 3 are just a few of the movies on my list.

I’m a year from graduation, so this could very well be my last Summer in Daytona – home to enjoy a lot of local pleasures. I’ve already begun checking things off the list, but for every item I cross out I add three more. I’m not sure if this will ever happen, but I’ve just added Skydiving and Swimming with Manatees.

Special Thanks to Random UK students

I have found that the most difficult thing about an internship is moving. It is an absolutely stressful experience. From finding someone to fill a vacant room in what was my Daytona apartment to a last-minute hunt for a reasonably priced apartment in Lexington, I was constantly jumping over hurdles. Renter’s insurance, guarantor forms, and lease applications consumed me the weeks prior to my internship. If you are familiar with these terms, then you know an apartment hunt can be tasking. It’s even more tasking when you’re moving to a new state. The icing on the cake? The reality hits you that you don’t know anyone in your host city.

I didn’t share this “fear” as I prepared for my internship, but if someone asked me, I couldn’t deny it – I was afraid. I found not only friends at Riddle, but family. How could I make it four months without the company of my closest people. My boyfriend says I got lucky in Kentucky, so I guess I worried for nothing. I was fortunate enough to move into a four-bedroom apartment with University of Kentucky students.

Strangers at first, Tanayisha and Allison made my internship beyond memorable. I truly owe my sanity to them. They showed me around Lexington and made the transition process a lot easier. They even took me to a series of UK events including a forum with Viola Davis. Allison took me to trying boxing and Tanayisha took me to meet a few Greek probates. Just last week before my departure, Allison and Tanayisha took me for a day at the carnival.

Needless to say, I was very fortunate to have them. Internships present a lot of frightening factors we tend to overlook. After my experience, and the ones I’ve heard from others, it’s safe to say that it is first and foremost okay to be afraid. Secondly, be open to letting go of that fear. I missed my friends, but I’m glad that I made two more in Lexington, KY.


Back to Business

If you’ve read any of my early blog postings, you’ll know that I’ve accepted another internship term with Space Tango. This time, however, I’ll be working remotely from Daytona Beach. Just between us, I did it for the VIP launch viewing down in Cape Canaveral (insert subtle wink here). Work perks aside, this is a huge opportunity to practice a lot more than Public Relations.

I long for game days in the office. Go big blue!

Aside from handling my usual tasks, my time management and communication skills will be challenged. I’ve already begun to experience the difficulties of working remotely, but with new challenge comes new opportunity. My first four months involved a decent learning curve, but I think working remotely gives me an opportunity to get even more hands-on. I can’t do everything I used to do in the office, but I’ve come to recognize tasks our team overlooked. Within the next few months, I hope to strengthen our digital image.

Much like this blog, I’ll be posting entries on the Space Tango website about the team, company history, and upcoming events. I’m mostly looking forward to the launch of CRS-12 that will be carrying an array of experimental payloads for the TangoLab facility.

Pizza increases productivity!

Ultimately, I am bound to experience some adversity, but I have a great team in Lexington that constantly communicates and guides me. I thought that working remotely would be a loss, but this is certainly a chance to be experience true independence in the workforce.

Spring 2017 Semester is Complete!

In what has felt like a sprint to the end, the Spring 2017 semester is now complete, which means that I just have one more semester left of college until I graduate in December! The funny thing is that I will spend about 10 more days working during the summer at Delta than on campus for classes during my Fall semester!

The last two weeks have been very, very busy. From project presentations to essays to exams, there is a lot to juggle, but it is definitely manageable. While exams in college may sound daunting, most of my “exams” have just been a regular third test over the last third of the curriculum we have gone over; basically, they are not cumulative so we don’t have to stress thinking about what we learned at the beginning of the semester.

Last Friday, I traveled to the University of Tampa to present about how Embry-Riddle’s Career Services Department has its “Students Taking Career Development to Infinity and Beyond.” My friend, Fergie, and I presented about how we as Career Services student assistants and ambassadors help our fellow students when it comes to career development. For example, our Career Services Ambassador Program is made up of 12 students who present tips, resources, and what is happening in the office to about two dozen different organizations each semester. It is all aimed to build more awareness about our office, and seriously, once you start at ERAU, you should come by and meet your program manager as they can help you achieve your internships/career goals!

Well, time to go pack for a quick getaway and some R&R now that the semester is over. I’m headed back to Atlanta next week to start my second summer internship in the Network Planning department at Delta Air Lines!

And, yes, we have a 747 that is now on display at the Delta Flight Museum which is right at the Delta headquarters. It is totally worth a trip to check out because there is truly no other exhibit like this.

Blue skies,


Summer Internship with ALPA

Hello everyone!

As my internship with Delta Air Lines comes to an end this week, I am very happy to announce that I got selected for another internship with Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for the summer via the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program! Brooke Owens Fellowship Program is a volunteer-led program awarding internships and senior mentorship to exceptional undergraduate women seeking a career in aviation or space exploration.

Created to honor the legacy of a beloved space industry pioneer and accomplished pilot, Dawn Brooke Owens (1980 – 2016), the program is designed to serve both as an inspiration and as a career boost to capable young women. Each Fellow is placed into a paid summer internship at one of the aviation or space companies. The process was highly competitive and rigorous, and it consisted of multi-phase interviews. All the candidates were evaluated on the basis of their technical excellence, creativity, commitment to service, and career growth potential. The host institution that selected me was Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). I will be working with them in the Engineering and Air Safety Department.

In addition the work experience with ALPA, I have been paired with two hand-picked, senior aerospace professionals who will serve as my mentors. One of my mentors is Paul Shawcross and is the Chief of the Science and Space Branch in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. He lived in the United Kingdom, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Wisconsin and Boston as a child before attending MIT, where he eventually earned three degrees. After college, Paul worked at the National Research Council and at NASA. He is best known for authoring the White House response to a petition calling for the construction of a Death Star. My second mentor is Karen Lacy. She is a first officer for ExpressJet Airlines and an Executive Vice President and member of the Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association.  Karen is the first female pilot to hold this elected position in the Union’s 86 year history.  She has taken on many other roles in her union and held many positions in the aviation industry including ramp agent for Trans States Airlines, an aeronautical chart maker for a Department of Defense contractor, a revenue management analyst for Continental Airlines, a flight instructor in Sugar Land, Texas, and a first officer for Envoy (formerly American Eagle) Airlines.  She also spent several years as a computer programmer for Rice University. I am super excited to meet them both this summer!

Read the press release here for more about the competition and all the finalists.

Good luck to all those doing internships/ taking summer courses! Hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing summer!

Until next time,


Goodbye, Kentucky and Hello, Florida!

In two weeks, my Spring internship with Space Tango is over. This was sad news for me. I’ve grown attached the this company and their mission. Like I said though, I was sad. Space Tango has asked me to join them AGAIN in the Summer. Now I can’t stop smiling.

I’ll be working part-time in Florida for Space Tango continuing on as their Communication and Marketing intern, but with a  perk – launches! As the company continues to grow, they will have more customer payloads to launch from Cape Canaveral. So although I’ll be doing most of my work online, I’ll only be an hour away from the Space Coast.

I’m certainly excited about this perk, but as their intern this is extremely ideal. I’ll have more access to Florida sources. I’ll also be present for the more intensive mission preparations prior to launch. They also have a location at the Space Life Sciences Lab in Exploration Park which is a great source for new photos and media content to advance their public image as the growing entity they are.


My time with Space Tango has been rewarding. I’ve taken a strong liking to this start-up company, and I’m excited to still be a part of their growth in (sometimes) sunny Florida!

⋆ Dani

Some Tips to be a Great Intern

Hello everyone!

Exactly one month from now, I will conclude my current internship with Delta Air Lines, so I wanted to share some tips that I’ve learned. I know many of you will be off for internships during the summer, so it will be great to keep some of the following in mind.

1. Learn about the company: 

Being offered an internship is a great boost to your resume, but it’s always great to learn more about the company before hand. Always do you homework- conduct some additional  research of the history of the company you are going to intern with and learn about their culture. This will help boost your knowledge and maybe impress your boss! I mean you could even end up scoring a letter of recommendation from your manager in the future!


2. Mentor: 

It is important that you find a mentor while working in the company. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your manager, but someone whom you could talk to and will give you continuous support. This will also help develop relationships and connect with the employees on a personal level. At my current internship, my manager and I have set up an “intern status meeting” every Wednesday, so I would highly recommend doing something similar. It has helped me connect with my manager on a personal level, and I always learn new things about her!

3. Commitment:

Never show up late to work, unless you have an emergency . Be sure to communicate with your manager in case you know you might be late or need a day off (car trouble, stuck in traffic, sick leave, etc). It’s better that your manager knows where you are instead of wondering whether you will show up to work or not. Communication is an important key to developing your relationship with the manager. Always keep them in the loop. Don’t be afraid to talk to them in case you’re facing any problems. If necessary, stay back later in the evening as well. This will show your manager that you are committed to do your job. Prove to them that you are someone who stands out and goes the extra mile. Your internship is your time to shine. Standing out in your company could even open up job offers after your internship is over.


4. Social Media:

AVOID AVOID AVOID! Do not be on social media unless your job requires you to be on it. The internship is your time to learn more about the industry and gain valuable experience. If you need to, you can use social media preferably on lunch break. I still avoid it, even during lunch break, since I treat my break as a bonding experience with my fellow coworkers and try to learn more about them. Always be polite and friendly when you’re talking to your employees/ employers and beware of gossiping.

5. Feedback:

Always ask for feedback when you’re working on projects assigned to you. This will shine light on your strengths, and you can always learn from your weaknesses before you leave. Everyone makes mistakes so do not be afraid to correct them. Do whatever it takes to show your employer that you are eager to do your job! Talk to your employer if you need more projects to work on or need to lessen the load.

There are definitely many other factors involved, but I just wanted to give a brief insight of some of the factors I considered while working on my current internship. I wish you the very best in all your endeavors. Be yourself, be amazing!

Until next time,