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!

My Fall 2023 Semester as a Dual Masters Student

I woke up this morning and it was 59 degrees outside: heaven! The weather is finally starting to change and I am already getting out my cozy sweaters and winter boots. I know it doesn’t get too cold here in Florida, but when it does get cooler, it is magical. There is a nostalgic smell in the air for me, a cool breeze that tickles your skin, cozy Halloween decorations on the neighbors’ front porches (including mine), and all of the Autumn movie specials on Hallmark. As much as I love the Summer months and the beach, I think Autumn is my favorite season. This beautiful wreath is from Kohl’s in Port Orange and it was 50% off! Could you tell I love shopping for Fall decor?

Not to mention the other best part of fall: the food and drinks! My favorite coffee from Starbucks right now is a grande pumpkin spice latte with vanilla cream cold foam on top. This coffee is from the Starbucks in Cocoa Beach, FL near where I work.

I just recently celebrated my 25th birthday in September and it was a special one. Not only was it my first birthday as a Masters student, but we celebrated at Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Halloween Party. My birthday was always the first mark of the Fall season. My fiance and I ate dinner at Cinderella’s Castle, rode some fun rides, and took the best photos!

I got to celebrate my 25th birthday with multiple friends and family members. We had another birthday dinner at Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Bar in Daytona Beach. It is right on the beach and they have delicious food.

We did end up with a few hurricanes skirting by over the first few months of the semester. It is always fun for me to prepare for a storm, although I never actually wish one would hit us. They can be devastating, but I grew up preparing for hurricanes since I have lived in Florida my whole life. Actually, I think there is another one forming as I type this post…

Just last week I was woken up at 4:45 am by the National Weather Service’s emergency alter announcing a tornado warning for northern Volusia county. So there we were, myself and my two 8 year old nieces piled in the bathtub taking cover to “stay vigilant” at 5:00 a.m. while my fiance and his cousin moseyed around other parts of the house to check for signs of tornado activity. We ended up getting no damage or strong winds, but it is always something here. Despite Florida getting so many storms and heat waves and tornadoes, it never fails to amaze me how beautiful this part of the country is.

Life at school has been busy. The Society of Women in Space Exploration (SWISE) had our first 2 meetings of the semester, and we are currently planning our Halloween party and some fundraising events. I love my girls!

Studying for graduate-level courses is next-level. I really enjoy the content I am learning about. I know it will prepare me for a successful future in the industry. I am currently taking a strategic marketing class and a systems engineering quality assurance class. Starbucks in the morning is my saving grace study place, until it gets too noisy, then the computer lab is my next best place.

My fiance is from Jacksonville, FL so we frequent the large metropolis every other weekend or so to visit family and explore the city and region. We also go to the Jacksonville Jaguars home games at Everbank Stadium. We have season tickets and we both really enjoy football!

I recently left one of my 5 jobs to make more time in my schedule. After almost 4 years, I will no longer be working at the Admissions Office on campus. I will truly miss the faculty and staff that I have made connections with during my time there. I told everyone that I will come back to visit every now and then, and maybe bring doughnuts too.

Embry-Riddle has been my home away from home since January 2020. Living right down the street has been a blessing; being able to commute 8 minutes and be at my university, and then to go back home to my family at the end of my day. I couldn’t ask for a better environment to learn, grow, work, and live (half of the time).

Here is to 25 years and many more to come!