No Fear – Why I Now Love Arizona!

Arizona. If I am being completely honest, I never wanted to live in Arizona. From the sun, the snakes, and no trees I was skeptical and afraid when I moved here in August. But with the fall semester winding down, and my first semester of college wrapping up, I can honestly say that I have fallen in love with Arizona.

Slot Canyon
For one, Prescott has four seasons and trees. Perfect pool weather in August and chilly fall temperatures that makes my inner Washingtonian smile. I could not be more blessed. I love being able to walk around campus and see the leaves on the ground, with the chill of the fall breeze on my back.

Besides the weather, there are so many adventures to be had! This past week I drove up to Page, Arizona with Chi Alpha and explored two different canyons. Coming from a place filled with trees, I found the bouldering, mountain goating, and crawling through slot canyons to be truly magnificent and different.

Page and George
Winding through narrow pathways surrounded by beautiful rocks, climbing over boulders that look like a scene from Star Wars, and watching the sunset over the Horseshoe Bend allows you to take a moment and reflect.

Star Wars SceneThrow What You Know
Arizona has challenged me, shown me glorious things, and gave me new friendships. The fear of moving to a place filled with cactus, snakes, and sun has left and been replaced with joy, adventure, and friendship.

Colorado River
Don’t be afraid of the unknown or moving to a new state, it will be scary and hard in the beginning, but trust me you are not alone. Soon the fear will be turned into other things, like it has for me, and you will wonder why you were scared in the beginning. It’s time to start a new chapter in your life, time to jump in with two feet, and know it will be worth it!

Yes I was there – the 2015 Dubai International Aviation Festival

by John Sami, Senior

john 2At Embry-Riddle, doors open to those who grab the handle and turn it. I’m a Senior in Aeronautics with a triple minor in Business Administration, Aviation Safety, and Security graduating magna cum laude this December. Over the years I’ve had some pretty awesome experiences but this past week topped it all. I attended the 2015 Dubai Aviation Festival with CEOs and corporate Executives of Airlines and aviation businesses from around the world.

I was interested in attending the 2015 Dubai Aviation Festival because it’s the foremost conference for aviation in the Middle East. Over 80 airlines and airport representatives attended from Saudi Arabia, India, North Africa, Central Asia and more. Yes it was amazing! It was my first time in Dubai too! What a stunning city with such nice people.

john 7At the conference I was able to participate in speed networking sessions and meet and greets with executives and sales professionals in the global aviation industry. The presentations gave me a unique perspective into the current state of aviation in these markets. I found it especially interesting to know that social media is really where many of these airlines will be focusing their future branding.

A major aspect of my attending was as an ambassador for ERAU’s 3rd annual AirCon which will be taking place in Chandler, AZ. I met with and invited 10 new international airlines and 20 aviation technology companies to attend and present research at the upcoming January event. AirCon is the world’s leading aviation research conference. It only makes sense that these professionals could benefit from the research-sharing at our AirCon and likewise we could benefit from their knowledge.aircon

I’m also hoping my experience will help our current students. I brought company contacts for our international students to be able to obtain internships and full-time positions back home.

It’s opportunities like this that have shaped my academic time here at Embry-Riddle. I’m very grateful to have had the support of some great faculty like Dr. Brent Bowen and Robin Sobatta in the Aviation and Business programs.

*Note – The first photo of the space shuttle was taken on my layover in Virginia when I visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center National Air and Space Museum. This is the same gentleman who donated the ERAU Prescott Hazy Library!

John 5

John 3 John 4

john 8
john 9 john 10




Forensic Biology Internship: My Summer of Corpses at a Coroner’s Office

Guest Blog by Rebecca Long and Danica Murphy, Juniors in Forensic Biology

IMG_6764 small“This morning we are going to examine a homicide victim,” Dr. Kurtzman said.  The victim had been dead four days; there was skin slippage, dried blood, a mutilated face, and forty-six stab wounds. This was the beginning of the second day of our internship. Yikes, how were we going to handle this? As forensic biology majors, we were encouraged to explore the different fields of forensics and we decided we both wanted to be forensic pathologists. This isn’t the type of profession that can be experienced through movies or textbooks. We needed to experience the sights, smells, and sounds of the dead. Much to our surprise, we both fell in love with the profession and this summer internship changed our lives in only six amazing weeks.

IMG_6581 As an undergraduate student having the opportunity to work in a coroner’s office is unheard of. As we started to explore our options for an internship we experienced several email responses that were polite, but very disappointing. Most of the responses simply said, “Sorry, we cannot accommodate undergraduate students because we have contracts with medical schools. Best of luck!” We went to Security and Intelligence Studies professor Dr. Bozeman discouraged by the responses. Dr. Bozeman said he would try and contact some of his old colleagues and see what he could find. He is a retired homicide detective and mentor for the ERAU AISOCC (American Investigative Society of Cold Cases) student chapter. Within a few weeks Dr. Bozeman had secured an opportunity of a life-time for the two of us!


Over the summer, we worked under the direction of Dr. Kurtzman at the Grand Junction, CO coroner’s office. In the six weeks we were there, We observed twenty-one autopsies that included natural deaths, accidental deaths, suicides and homicides. Our patients ranged in age from babies to elderly. The sights, sounds, and smells were like nothing we could ever describe or forget. The smell of gases inside a decaying body is worse than any form of rotten meat or milk we have ever experienced. The sounds a body makes post mortem are eerie and disturbing, and the actual process of the autopsy is much more bloody and unsettling than anything they show you on the television shows.


Becca: I had worked as a volunteer in a hospital the summer before and during that experience I had the opportunity to observe a circumcision on a newborn baby.  I had no idea what to expect and from the combination of the blood, the scalpel and the baby screaming it really bothered me and I passed out. Super embarrassing!  However, with my autopsy experience I didn’t have any problems I’m happy to report.  I was concerned about it, but the dead never cry, complain, or respond to pain which is what I found difficult with the baby during the procedure.


Danica: I had never seen a dead body before and was nervous for how I would react.  The first body was the toughest because all I could think about was how a person was lying there which ate me up inside. I had to learn to treat each body as a case and look for the reason why they passed away. Finding the cause of death would help doctors find what the major contributing factors to death are in different communities as well as provide answers to grieving families.


IMG_6638 smallAfter the six weeks of working at the morgue and falling in love with the field of forensic pathology, we were thankful for the classes we had taken to prepare us for the internship. These courses included anatomy & physiology, microbiology, and forensic investigation and techniques. Without these courses we would have been lost and confused during our work. The doctor spoke in a language unique to the field of medicine and the concepts we discussed were specific to information I had learned in these classes.

This internship provided us with so much more knowledge for the field of pathology and allowed us to find out if we were on the right career path. Dr. Kurtzman said on our first day with him that if he did his job correctly, we would both end up wanting to become forensic pathologists. After completing our internship, we can both agree he was right! We made so many memories in our short time in Grand Junction and we want everyone to be able to experience their dream career like we were able to do!


Three Weeks Left of the Fall Semester

Finals are now only 3 weeks away! It is that time of year where things are starting to get serious and projects are all due. This can be a stressful time of year but, remember to take your time to relax and refresh yourself so you don’t get too stressed.


If you are not going home for Thanksgiving there are tons of things to do in order to relax. You can go kayaking, take a hike, drive around the state, and get some rest before those finals hit. Even though you are relaxing however, do not neglect those projects. Getting them done during Thanksgiving break is critical as it will give you all the time you need to study for finals when you return to school.

This year the week after Thanksgiving is the last week before finals so its even more critical to relax but be productive during break. You can also be productive by reviewing course materials in preparation for finals as well. If you do not have any projects due after break then take advantage of the free time and study!

I know it sucks to have work to do during break but, its part of being a college student so its gotta get done.

Here’s my advice:The best way to balance work with pleasure is to take the first two days of break off to clear your head. Then over the remaining time left in break do 2-3 hours of work a day, this way you still get to relax but, you have a great time as well!!

I hope this advice has helped, have an awesome Thanksgiving break and don’t neglect your school work!

Why a School That is 1,362 Miles Away from Home?

Yay college application session! This time of year can be extremely stressful and exciting for high school seniors. Pressure from parents, teachers, classmates, and yourself can be overwhelming. But the thought of going to college and being on your own is exhilarating. I remember going through this just one year ago, and I can tell you it will all work out. I have been asked numerous times why I chose ERAU which is 1,362.8 miles away from home. I want to share with you all (prospective students) why I chose ERAU for the next four years of my life…

Tree and Me

When children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, some will answer “princess,” others say “doctor.” My dream was to be a professional tree climber, a pilot, or a spy. Although my career aspirations have matured, when I was twelve years old, I realized that my dream could become a profession.

At twelve, I had the opportunity to accompany my dad to Shanghai on a business trip. While my father worked, I would find ways to entertain myself. The best source of entertainment I found was reading the Shanghai Daily newspaper. Reading the newspaper became part of my daily routine, and throughout my three weeks in China, I learned about disappearances, governmental struggles, and people’s thoughts about the United States. Every day I opened the newspaper and searched for articles about international events and turmoil that was brewing, hoping that someone had found a solution for the issues I had read about the day before. Each day, however, a new problem would surface with no resolution to the ones from the day before. The constant, unresolved problems aggravated me and made me realize I wanted to solve international problems and make the turmoil go away. That discovery led me to research the US Department of State, and I learned about foreign diplomats and diplomatic security. At the age of twelve I decided this was the career for me. Within the global security realm, I believe that Embry-Riddle will give me a global perspective and prepare me for the reality of the international world.

A foreign diplomat might not be called a spy, but to me, the work that the Department of State does is what I imagined for a career when I was growing up. Although my dreams of being a professional tree climber have passed, I know that with my education from ERAU, this little girl can achieve her dream of becoming a spy. Career Fair

Now that you understand why I chose ERAU I want to leave you all with this: Do not be afraid of being rejected for a university or living up to the standards of others. Apply to the schools that you are interested in because in the end you are the one who will be going to school there and you will be the one who is living away from home for the next four years of your life. Go into college applications with an open mind, and I am sure you will find the school that is meant for you!

Winter is Here!

Hey there everyone, it is that time of year again where it starts to get frosty outside! Embry-Riddle students in Prescott, Arizona really love the winter weather. It is our favorite time of year because in this state it is simply magical! Check out some photos from this week and see for yourself :)

Ice Crystals

Ice Crystals


Yes it is!


Amazing Ice Patterns


A Drop of Water Frozen in a Leaf


Snow Flakes Close UP!

As you can see potential students, it is definitely a University where you will need a decent winter coat. We recommend decent because as most students have stated, it only gets cold enough for you to enjoy the winter weather not cold enough to freeze off those fingers and toes. For those people who haven’t seen snow before this may be the place for you! As part of the college experience you should embrace new places and experiences, seeing the snow for the first time is the perfect way to start off! The majority of the freshman class is fascinated by the beauty of snow and frost every November and hopefully someday soon that will be you!

Get that application in and start looking for a coat! We would love to welcome you to our campus and hopefully tempt you into a snowball fight some day soon! If you are fan of frosty weather stop by and visit us today! We give super fun tours starting at the Welcome Center :)

Faculty are Awesome but Read the Syllabus!

Hello everyone. I hope all of you guys are having an awesome fall semester. I can’t believe how quick this semester is going by. It’s like when you are so tired and you fall asleep at 10 pm and then suddenly it is 8 am already in the morning.

This fall semester has been really challenging for me, but yet it’s been really fun. I have said that I was a little scared when I started my classes. I began learning English 1 year and 8 months ago and even though the ERLI Program (English course) helped me to improve my English I feel that I have still a lot of things to learn. I would like to share my experience as an international Freshman in this first 2 months I’ve been in classes.

I clearly remember the first day I attended my morning class in math (MA120). Everyone was standing outside the classroom waiting for the time to get in. I felt an awkward atmosphere; nobody talking because nobody knew anybody. It was almost a complete silence. Professor John Jenkins got there before any other professor. As soon as he opened the door everyone started walking toward the classroom. Then, we took a look around to see who else was placed in the same class.

Professor Jenkins greeted us with a “Good morning everyone!!!This is going to be an awesome semester,” yet nobody talked. As soon as the class started, he handed us a syllabus with a follow explanation about what was the purpose of the class, what he was expecting from us, how he was going to grade us, etc. He gave us a specific and very detailed working plan for the fall semester. Also, the other three professors I have right now did the same thing the first day of classes. It was awesome.

The first month was the most challenging for me. Even though every professor went over the syllabus the first day, it is still hard to get use to the lifestyle of a college student. I did not read the syllabus closely and I truly regretted it. If I had read it when I was supposed to, it would have saved me two weeks of struggles. Finally, after those two long unnecessary weeks of troubles (It was all my fault) I made everything fall into place; material for classes, homework, schedules, time to rest, social life, and training.

For all of those who attended the “Open House” and have decided already to come to Embry-Riddle next spring or next fall, I want to tell you “Please, check the syllabus as soon as the professors post them on canvas (online class system) before the classes start.” This will save you a lot of time and will keep you out of many troubles.

Certainly, I knew long before college started that it wasn’t going to be easy. This not because of the classes but because English is not my first language. All classes in Embry-Riddle have a high degree vocabulary (I could not expect less) which is great, but it was a big challenge to adapt the daily base-English to a sophisticated-English used in every single class. The hardest class was Basics of Aeronautics. It is funny, before I came to Embry-Riddle, the biggest thing I’ve ever driven was a Geo Metro three cylinder, and now I have a class where basically it is all about things that fly and they are bigger than a three cylinder car! Also, what makes it harder is that there are some parts of airplanes, names, terminology that do not even have a translation to Spanish. You can imagine how hard it was for me try to relate and understand the terminology when the closest I have ever been to a real airplane was when I bought a toy plane a long time ago.

The same thing happened in Basics of Management. There is terminology that does not even exist in Spanish and some others where the translation is not even close. I was so frustrated. I thought, “Oh my god, that’s too difficult,” but then I remembered, “What are you doing? You are not here alone!” so I started seeking help.

It didn’t take a lot of time; roommates, friends and of course, professors and staff were more than happy to help me get through. Now, after almost two months, I understand almost any word my professors say and if I don’t understand a term they always encourage me to ask. One of them said to our class “The dumbest question is the one not asked.”

I am so glad that I chose this college out of all my options. Everybody on campus is willing to help plus they love it. Professors own already all my respect as excellent professors as well as great people. ERAU professorThe only thing I can say about my professors is that they are more than qualified to teach. It is really amazing how professors don’t need a book to teach; they just stand up in front of the class and spit out whichever is the topic. I noticed since the first week in class that professors at Embry-Riddle are not there just because they have the knowledge to teach, they are there because they were actually doing what they teach. In class when William O’Hara (my professor of Basics of Aeronautics) is talking about airplanes, I get a feeling that he can disarm an airplane and put it back together while eating a donut and drinking coffee in his free time. Simply amazing!

ERAU faculty


Embry-Riddle has been my best decision so far.

Thanks for the time you took to read this blog, I appreciate it.

What Surprised Me Most About ERAU

Located in the Arizona desert is an unexpected beauty: the little city of Prescott and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Here it seems as though we have it all – brilliant and dedicated students, wonderful staff and faculty, good athletics, a truly convenient and ideal location, and the best views in Prescott – but really, the list goes on. Of all aspects of ERAU, I find that the one that has surprised me the most, and is by far my favorite part about this school, is the endless opportunities and countless resources that are provided to us as students.

In my year of being a student at Embry-Riddle, I have realized that one of the most important things is taking advantage of all of those opportunities given in order to be not only a successful student, but also a successful individual post-graduation. As I have seen so far, these opportunities are so kindly laid out right in front of us. So exactly what kind of opportunities am I speaking of? One such resource is the amazing staff and faculty. Because we attend a smaller university, it is much easier to get to know your professors and other staff on campus. Each person has an amazing and interesting story to tell, and with their stories come great networking connections from all over the aviation industry.

In this industry and especially on this campus, networking is one of the most important things you could ever do. Luckily, we have many networking opportunities. One of the biggest networking events occurs annually in the first week of October, during ERAU’s homecoming weekend, OctoberWest. This event is known as the career fair. Every fall, students dress up in their sharpest business casual outfits, perfect and print out copies of their resume, and have the extraordinary opportunity to talk to recruiters from some of the biggest aviation-related businesses. Many representatives from the airlines (Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, American Airlines, etc.) are in attendance for all those Aeronautical Science and Aeronautics students. The biggest engineering companies (Boeing, Honeywell, Raytheon), and even a recruiter from the FBI comes out to talk to our student body.

Another major resource is the vast amount of clubs and organizations that have been established on campus. There are far over 100 clubs and organizations that range from professional development organizations like the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and Airline Pilot Association (ALPA ACE) to lighter, more fun ones like Music Club, as well as the Blue Eagles Skydiving Team. One of the things I have learned is that in order to be successful in the future, you must begin NOW by learning how to properly balance school, a job, and a social life. Joining these clubs may be a fun and exciting way to pass the time, but they will also look better on a resume and show that you are more than just an intelligent student.

Although I haven’t been here for all that long, I’ve found that all of these opportunities can really make or break our career as a student and a professional. Since the beginning, I have been very involved on campus, joining many clubs (as well as greek life) and attending as many events as I can fit in my schedule. Because of this, I have reached new heights and I only hope that others can and will do the same.

Again, if any of you have questions, needs guidance, or just someone to talk to, I, along with my peers will be here with you along your journey to and at Embry-Riddle. Follow me and check out what is yet to come!

IMG_3759 (800x533)Prescott, the heart of Arizona is truly an amazing and beautiful place

IMG_2101 (800x532)Nature holds its own free shows during monsoon season

IMG_2343 (800x533)Even the surrounding nature can show promise and beauty

IMG_2269 (800x533)We’re also conveniently located a little over an hour away from other areas in Arizona such as Jerome (shown in picture), Flagstaff, Sedona, and Phoenix.

IMG_2388 (800x533)OctoberWest weekend Fall 2014 mini aircraft display. My very first airshow!

IMG_5615 (800x533)Being a part of Alpha Sigma Tau has been a wonderful journey and has provided me with a fun, trustworthy group of girls I know I can always count on.

20150917_204456 (800x450)Sorority Bid Day Party


IMG_3828 (800x533)Being part of AAAE opened my eyes to new opportunities, sparked a love for Aviation Business, and has allowed me to do things I never would have imagined. In this picture, we flew to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for a private tour. As part of the tour, they closed down the center runway and let us walk on it and watch aircraft landing and departing on either side of us!

One Month Left of the Fall Semester…


It is simply amazing how quickly the semester flies by. It seems like yesterday I was finally getting used to my course schedule! For our current Freshmen I’m sure this is an exciting time because next semester you won’t be the newest people on the block and you will get to go see your families over break.

However, this exciting time of year is also a very tiring time of year as classes are starting to wrap up. It is very tempting to just roll over and go back to sleep or even skip one assignment. This isn’t the best decision though, there is still some time left to make or break those grades so keep it together!

As a four year “veteran” of Embry-Riddle Prescott’s Fall semester I highly encourage you to take a small break from reality on the weekends but continue working hard. The end of the semester is like the last mile in a 12 mile hike — you are tired and you want to sleep but you are almost to the top of the mountain. You can’t give up yet!!!

For our students who we will be meeting next Fall, the same applies to you!! I know there is this whole Senioritis thing that is “tradition” in high school but do not allow that “tradition” to keep you from graduating. Without that diploma we here at Embry-Riddle won’t be able to support you as you make it through your years in college and shoot for that dream job.

You are almost there, one semester down and a few more to go!!

Two months in — It’s OK to be slightly homesick

You’ve been here now for about 2 months; I know it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, time flies here, no pun intended. You’re slowly beginning to get into the swing of things. See it wasn’t so hard. Midterms are finally over. This is also a time where you are left with a little bit more free time than before and your mind has time to wonder and think of home.

You start to realize that those phone calls and Face time sessions are no longer enough. This is when that thing, that one thing no student wants to admit they have caught, homesickness, shows up. As a freshman it’s hard to admit. No one wants to admit that they are missing home, especially to their parents because you know there just going to tell you “I told you so.”

As a freshman it’s normal for you to begin to miss home around this time in the semester. Looking back now at my freshman year I remember this moment very vividly. It was hard. Being from New Orleans, LA there are a great deal of things we do that are a part of our unique culture that many other places don’t do and even think we’re crazy for doing. Small things like getting excited for Christmas in the Oaks in City Park, trying to get your last fix of snowballs before it starts getting too cold to want to eat one, attending the Saints games now that football season is beginning to get a little bit more interesting, trying to get that last batch of crawfish from the Seafood Pot before the season officially ends and just hanging with my family and friends when I need someone who understands all of my weirdness.

Making snow angels in Downtown Prescott.

Making snow angels in downtown Prescott.

Crawfish, Corn, and Cajun Potatoes!

Crawfish, Corn, and Cajun Potatoes!

It’s hard because you just arrived here a few months ago and Arizona isn’t quite home yet. I know, you can’t even imagine calling Arizona home, but trust me you will. It happens to all of us after Christmas break when we realize just how amazing this state is along with not knowing how we were ever able to live life without the friends we’ve met here at Riddle this semester. Just hang on, don’t let the stress of being homesick take over your mind by swallowing your thoughts and making it difficult to stay focused. Continue to stay busy. Hang out with your “crew” continuing to create incredible memories. Oh and if midterms got the best of you don’t let it discourage you. This is your first introduction to the format of college exams. Take it as a learning experience and build from it. We all do bad on at least one exam, it happens. Keep pushing through, the semester will be wrapping up in a blink of an eye and before you know it you’ll be back home with your family and friends enjoying all that the holidays have to offer and before you have the chance to notice, you’ll be wishing you were back at Riddle with the second family you’ve had the opportunity to build so far. This is just the beginning of your journey the rest is still unwritten.

Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Xi Delta Formal.

Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Xi Delta Formal.