My February : SpaceCom 2024 + Valentine’s Day

It has been so hectic already this year and it is only February. We found a leak underground at our house and needed plumbers to come in to dig up the floor, we had 2 family emergencies this year, and the Jaguars won’t be going to the Superbowl! Okay, that last one really isn’t terrible, but still! On the bright side, school has been going very well. I got the wonderful opportunity from our faculty advisor at Society of Women in Space Exploration (SWISE) to volunteer at a Space conference in Orlando, Florida called SpaceCom 2024 & The 50th Space Congress! I had such a great time both days of the conference. Some other SWISE members signed up to volunteer as well, and we all had a great experience!

The conference was held at the Orange County Convention Center. It was a huge place, but perfect for a conference! The walk from the parking lot to the convention hall was 15 minutes.

There was also an expo/ job fair going on there where I got to meet so many recruiters, companies, and officials. I even got a t-shirt from the Italian Trade Agency. It was nice to see my ancestor’s origin country so involved in the space industry!

I forgot how many benefits there are to getting up early: good lighting, fresh coffee, and best of all, a beautiful sunrise! I was up each morning at 5 a.m. to get ready, grab gas, grab coffee, and pick up some students from school to carpool. It was a clear, beautiful morning each day we went and seeing the sunrise alone was worth it!

The conference was a great time. This year, I will be attending at least 2 conferences, with the second coming up in March. I am so excited to be attending the Women in Aviation conference with Gaetz Aerospace Institute! This year must be my year of opportunities, because they just keep coming!

SWISE had the opportunity to feature Mrs. Samantha Bowyer as a guest speaker at our most recent general club meeting. She is a CFII and works at Embry-Riddle in the Aeronautical Sciences department teaching flight. I have known her for 9 years now: she used to be my teacher in high school when I was in the Technology Engineering Science and Aviation (TESA) Academy at Atlantic High School! It was so wonderful to see her again and catch up. I am glad I reached out to her to come speak at SWISE!

I love this time of year for its spring temperatures, beautiful flowers, spring break, Mardi Gras, and Girl Scout cookies! Cookie season has always been important to me: when I was a Girl Scout and even as an adult. I always supported my local troop and the girls by purchasing cookies! They now have gluten-free cookies for Celiacs like me – what a time to be alive. I always buy for family and friends too, especially if they don’t have access to any cookie booths.

Speaking of Girl Scouts, I am signed up to run the annual Trefoil 5K in Orlando next month! I will be going with some friends, and even some SWISE members if they want to sign up too! The 5K registration includes a t-shirt and a finisher medal (which I collect).

For Valentine’s Day this year, my fiance and I decided to celebrate the weekend before, since we both have things going on on the 14th. He surprised me with a steakhouse dinner on the water and some beautiful flowers. We celebrated in the city of Jacksonville and it was a wonderful time.

And finally I have some good news this year that is coming soon, so stay tuned!

Ciao for now!

First Week Back to School!

“So, do you have any plans for the Fall semester?”

“I am graduating!”

I found myself talking to many friends, family, and co-workers about my plans for Fall. I told many that I currently have 4 jobs now. I told others that I am taking five classes. I told some that I am graduating in December. Many I told all 3 of those things.

I knew this was going to be a busy semester and I was looking forward to it. I am taking 5 Spaceflight Operations courses, I am currently serving as the President of SWISE (Society of Women in Space Exploration) and the Vice President of SSPOC (Spaceflight Sciences Policy and Operations Club). We have so many exciting events planned this semester and will get to go to SpaceVision 2022 in Chicago this year! SpaceVision is a conference held annually that allows students and professionals to learn, network, and grow their teams or potentially land an interview for a company! In addition to my 5 classes, I am working 4 jobs. Waitressing, office work, blogging, and being a flight controller all at the same time is hard to balance! Life is a balancing act though and to succeed, you have to find the time and focus.

I believe mental health is a huge deal, and especially this semester I have been focusing on it more than ever. Balancing life present day is hard for everyone! I always make time for myself to wind down, relax, and do something nice for me and my body. Now that the new Fitness Center that just opened on campus, I can spend some time in the mornings doing my stretches and workouts. The pool is another great feature students can use to relax and go for a morning (or evening) swim. Also, they have classes you can take that are usually held upstairs in one of the studios. The cycling class looks pretty fun to try.

These first few weeks have been great! I am currently searching for a new executive team for the SWISE to help run the club through our social media page, I already purchased my textbooks, organized my planner, mapped out my classes, and attended the first SSPOC meeting which turned out to be so fulfilling. We had about 50 members show up (new and old!).

I found time to spend outside of school the last few weeks too. I spent time with family and loved ones, had a cookout on Labor Day, and even tried a new combination of my two favorite Italian ice flavors (cotton candy and blueberry) at Jeremiah’s Italian Ice at OneDaytona! I recommend this place to any Riddle student looking to have fun, make new friends, and have some great ice cream. We always make new friends at this spot and it is always busy at night bustling with music, lights, and gelati-lovers.

Although I am graduating, this won’t be my last semester here. I am currently applying to the M.S. in Systems Engineering at the Daytona Beach campus! I am so grateful I get to continue my education here at Embry-Riddle. I can’t wait to see what else this semester brings! Until next time!