Everyone! My name is Richard Santi and I am currently a Senior at Embry-Riddle
in Prescott. I am majoring in Aeronautical Science – Fixed Wing, with a minor
in Business Administration. On campus, I am a member of our national
championship winning Golden Eagles Flight Team, and work as a Senior Campus
Ambassador at our Admissions Office (If you come and visit campus, I might be
your tour guide)!
am incredibly excited to be sharing a bit about my experience at Embry-Riddle
with all of you, and will be writing to you regularly, so be sure to check
back! I wanted to start off by introducing myself a bit more and sharing with
you my journey to Embry-Riddle. I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew
up in the Chicago area. From a young age, my eyes were always turned skyward,
and I could only dream of one day working in the cockpit of an airplane. When I
was looking at colleges that had aviation programs, only one stood out to me as
the very best. I asked different people who were in the aviation business what
school they suggested, and the answer was almost unanimous. “Embry-Riddle
Aeronautical University.” Without a doubt.
have always been a Midwesterner. Most of the landscapes I was used to were
farms and skyscrapers. But after all, college is a time for adventure and I was
very excited to see a new place for a few years, moving to the beautiful
mountains of Arizona. I moved to Prescott in the summer of 2017. I only had
about 4 flight hours in my logbook; virtually nothing. No real flight training
or formal flight education. Despite this, I flew my very first week here. The
first lesson was incredibly simple. How to turn the aircraft left and right
using proper rudder coordination. I remember feeling very comfortable, knowing
this is what I was meant to do, but I also remember the feeling that I had a
long way to go.
As it turns out, a long way is not so long when you are training at Embry-Riddle. Three more years of flight training and now I am a licensed Commercial Pilot. I have over 270 hours of flight time and have flown in collegiate flying competitions. I have a job offer from a major regional airline and plan on starting flight instructor training soon. I have learned about topics I knew pretty much nothing about before coming to college. Extensive details of aircraft systems, how the stability of the atmosphere affects thunderstorms, the detailed aerodynamics of a tailspin… All topics I had literally zero understanding of prior to coming to Embry-Riddle. All of this was done while simultaneously earning a college degree.
reason I am mentioning all of this is that I wanted to let you all know that as
I post my future blogs, I will be explaining in detail all of my cool
experiences at Embry-Riddle, whether it is going through flight training, being
on the flight team, or hanging out with friends and enjoying all of the awesome
scenery that Prescott has to offer. But really, the main point I would like you
to take away from my experience is that whatever you do here, you will learn
way more than you thought possible. You will gain way more skills than you thought
possible, and you will become someone ready to succeed in whatever field you go
into. You will do all of it while having a blast!
Hi, I’m Cooper Eastwood, a rising Sophomore Aerospace Engineer focusing in Astronautics. Throughout my first year at Embry-Riddle I was given the opportunity to construct a suborbital launch vehicle alongside Gaurav Nene. My story, as well as many other Embry-Riddle students, begins long before attending college. I have been on the journey to reach space since my early days of high school and my passion has brought me very close to my goal. Through the Undergraduate Research Institute’s backing and Dr. Michael Fabian’s support we are swiftly approaching a final launch date. Our project, the Embry-Riddle Suborbital Reusable Vehicle (ERAU-SRV) is centralized around the ideas of having as little oversight as possible, a small integrated team, and to radically change the way students pursue rocketry research.
The purpose of this research is to demonstrate the use of
commercial propulsion and flight systems in a fully reusable launch vehicle for
reliable low-cost access to space. The rocket, standing at 11ft tall, will be a
testament to a cheaper and more frequent launch strategy than comparable
commercial and university developed SRVs in its altitude range. Furthermore, the gross lift off weight of the rocket is projected
to be only 50 lbs. and will reach apogee at 440,000 ft and reach a maximum
velocity of Mach 5, pushing the limits for university level rocketry speed,
altitude, and launch rate.
Nearing the end of the first semester the team invested weeks of testing for our onboard recovery and deployment system. This was pursued with the intention of establishing set up and take down procedures as well as a familiarity with the operations. These systems utilize barometric sensors, or atmospheric pressure sensors, to dictate velocity and ultimately deploy a parachute when the acceleration reaches zero. To test these systems in a controlled pressure environment we utilized the state-of-the-art technology in the Aerospace Experimentation and Fabrication Building (AXFAB) and the new Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) building. After talking with professors and the EagleSat club, we operated the vacuum chambers located in both buildings to simulate high altitude atmospheric conditions. While referencing testing safety standards, we placed the battery and telemetric flight computer into the vacuum chambers and conducted more than thirteen tests over three weeks.
The data we gathered included: voltage outputs of two black powder ignition wires, barometric accuracy, programming and data quirks or anomalies, GPS signal lock strength and tracking, and gyroscopic orientation sensitivity. Both excited and confident with the positive testing results, I compiled our outcomes into an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) formatted paper which was then published into their most recent journal. After the full paper’s submission, we were accepted to speak at the AIAA Region IV conference at the University of Portland and given thirty-minutes of stage time. We were looking forward to spending two days at this conference in late March and discussing our findings as well as our greater project ideas with our peers. However, this was cancelled due to COVID-19 and will be rescheduled in late 2020.
The purpose of making a procedures checklist is to cut down human error. This is especially useful for the day of launch because of anxiety, or what’s called “go fever”, can lead to detrimental mistakes. Sticking to a script and lots of practice is the best way to mitigate errors. Most corporations have entire teams dedicated to their operations; there they hammer out all the kinks in the road from construction to launch. Launch operations is vital to any rocket’s success, so we have started as early as possible to ensure a smooth launch and to maintain professionalism in the heat of the moment.
Our design had been completed in October of 2019 and we sent
our manufacturing requests to AXFAB. This is where our aluminum components can
be machined to AS9100 standards. Starting the beginning the second semester, we
dedicated hours a day to work in AXFAB’s machine shop to help speed things
along and adjust designs where necessary. Being a two-person team, we both had
the knowledge and authority to request parts to be manufactured. Both us and
Dr. Fabian believe in a small team approach to this work so we can easily
streamline part alterations where necessary, without having to meet up and
approve of every detail. With hours a day for a few months being dedicated to
machine shop time we found ourselves learning tricks of the machining trade
from Jared Vanetta, the machinist, in AXFAB. He has been integral in our
manufacturing process as well as a mentor in our designs. The hands-on
experience we got were unparalleled in any other classroom study and I found
myself sitting in on a ME300 machine shop lab.
After discussions with Dr. Sensmeier and Dr. Fabian we incorporated
our URI project into an official class: AE 399, a 3-credit course. It gives us
an opportunity to finish the project on campus over summer while earning credit
that counts toward our degrees. This was a great moment for us as our extracurricular
time and effort spent was recognized by our professors and department.
The hands-on approach by professors certainly accelerated this project’s success. I find myself getting more interested in engineering every day and I hope to pursue this as a lifelong career. A note to incoming students; if you have a great idea and a goal, you can really go far with the College of Engineering’s dedication to their students and with the backing of URI.
Hi there! I’m Martin Kurkchubasche, a Senior studying Aeronautical Science with a minor in Aviation Business Administration. I’m from San Jose, California and I came to Embry-Riddle Prescott having already earned my Private Pilot Certificate with just about 100 hours of experience. This put me on track to graduate a semester early, December 2020 instead of May 2021. Throughout my time here, I have earned my Instrument rating and finished my Commercial Single-Engine training in our Cessna 172 fleet and am now in the process of earning my Commercial Multi-Engine training in our Diamond DA 42 fleet.
I am also a FAA-certified Advanced Instrument Ground Instructor and work as a Peer Counselor where I tutor students, endorse written exams, and for the past year I have taught labs for the College of Aviation. During the school year, there’s a very high chance you’ll find me in the Hazy Library until closing working with students. During admissions events such as Preview Day and Orientation, you’ll probably see me rocking out with our two awesome College of Aviation advisors Merrie and Stacey. I help create schedules for all you students and I make sure you end up with my favorite professors! For those of you reading this, we’re currently dealing with COVID-19. So, for any of my students reading this, I’m very proud of the work you all have completed as well as your adaptability and ability to deal with anything the world throws at us!
My involvement with our Flight Department and Flight Line is extensive. As the Lead Student Advisor for the Flight Department, I work one-on-one with management and help take suggestions students have and implement them at the Flight Department. As a student myself, I was always uncomfortable talking to my higher ups, which is why our department chair refers to me as his “feet on the ground”. I make sure students have someone they can comfortably talk to and share experiences, good or bad. I am incredibly lucky to be able to work with and call everyone in management a friend. If you’ve been at any of the admissions events, there’s a very high chance you’ve met and talked with me during the Flight Breakout Sessions. I have a great team of flight students that help me out and sit on the Flight Line Student Advisory Board and help plan student-led workshops on tough topics, and plan special events like socials and barbecues. I’m always looking for volunteers to be on the Advisory Board so swing by my office at the Flight Department and say hi!
You’ll also find me working behind the desk as a Flight Dispatcher and occasionally on a shuttle-run as a Shuttle Driver. I also sit on our No-Show Review Board where I take part in the determination if we should excuse a no-show or reduce costs of unexcused no-shows. The Flight Department always jokes about getting me a name tag reading, “Ask me, I probably know” because of the variety of qualifications I hold. I work on special projects, most recently having participated in helping choose the new fleet for ERAU, migrating our Dispatch team from a paper schedule to fully online, redesigned the entire shuttle route to make it easier for our students to make it from class to our Flight Line, and am currently taking part in helping select the new software to replace our Dispatch / Scheduling / Academic Tracking software.
I am on my third summer working for our Summer Programs Department, second summer working as a Housing Supervisor. I visit our office frequently because, quite frankly, I love the people I work with. I worked as a Teacher’s Aide throughout high school teaching 4th through 8th graders photography, so getting to teach high schoolers about aviation is probably one of the most fun things I’ve gotten to do. Also, shout out to Wendy, Shelby, Tori, Seyi, Logan, and Hayden over in the office! Hopefully I’ll see you all soon for the summer kick-off! I’m looking forward to my final year working with Summer Programs!
In my free time, I fly, believe it or not. I have over 300 hours of experience in a wide variety of aircraft. I earned my High-Performance and Complex Aircraft endorsements flying the most unique plane in the Prescott fleet, our 1980 Cessna 182-RG, affectionately known as Riddle 82. Sometimes I even fly two different types of planes in one day. One of the most memorable experiences was flying Riddle 82 in the morning with one of our Training Managers and going straight into Riddle 94, one of our Diamonds, with our Chief Pilot. If you ever see me in person, please ask me about it! There’s more that happened that’s just too much for a blog!
I’ve flown almost every Cessna 172 model from 1970 onward. I’ve done cross country flights to Vegas, up and down the California coast, and all throughout Arizona. Through my time as a Peer Counselor and my flight experience, I’d like to believe I’ve become an expert with the Cessna 172, but there’s always more to learn and experience. As students we never stop learning about the planes we fly.
When I’m not in the air, I try to stay active and take advantage of the weather we have. In Prescott, we’re about 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix on any given day, which means I can be outside year-round and not hiding from the heat. When the weather is good, I can be on our tennis courts hitting with my friends or relaxing poolside watching planes fly over. Sometimes I’ll make the dive down to Phoenix and hang out at the air-conditioned malls in Scottsdale. When it’s winter and we have snow, find me on the slopes in Flagstaff with my buddies.
As if I weren’t busy enough, I also run a research program with the Undergraduate Research Institute. This involves me running a brand-new virtual reality lab which is located at our Flight Department’s Simulation Center. The project was started by one of my professors, Professor Michelle P. Hight. I’ve been working with her from the beginning of the project and have become the resident student expert on flight simulation under VR. I have two awesome research assistants who I couldn’t work without. They happened to be two of my friends, Jake and Daniel. Jake and I were almost-neighbors freshman year, he lived one suite away from me in the Mingus Mountain Complex and I happened to be friends with his suite-mates, so I was always invading their dorms. Daniel is a sophomore who I met through my work as the Student advisor to the Flight Department and we immediately clicked. Our goal is to reduce the cost of flight training and hopefully play a part in reducing the global pilot shortage. I’ve presented at the Industry Advisory Board in front of many major companies. It’s only been our first semester working, and we didn’t get to do very much due to the on-going pandemic, but we’ve adapted and changed everything we’re doing. Right now, we’re designing an experimental course that will hopefully be offered by the College of Aviation in the fall! So, for all you incoming students, keep an eye out for the course offering and I might get to be your teacher!
My name is Kevin Hood and I am a Sophomore studying Cyber Intelligence and Security. During my time at Embry-Riddle, I have been managing the Cyber Lab, leading Cyber Defense Club, and working with the college to grow the degree program. Recently, Mohammed Dalloul and I organized a trip to bring a group of students to San Francisco. During the last week of February, the Women in Cybersecurity Club and the Cyber Defense Club visited San Francisco to tour Silicon Valley companies and attend the RSA Conference. The goal for the trip was to help the students practice networking, expose them to opportunities, and make Embry-Riddle well-known in the cybersecurity industry.
This year, club members attended and toured Google’s Headquarters, The Intel Museum, and the Plug and Play Tech Center. This allowed students to experience the Bay Area commodities and cybersecurity companies that exist. Google offers a unique work environment that ensures their employees live in a healthy work-life balance. Our students were surprised how Google provides free gourmet meals, freedom to pursue creative ideas, and collaborate with the best minds in the industry. The GooglePlex has 3D printing labs, employee gardens, and gyms available for employees to use during the workday. Google offers student internships in cybersecurity, and we talked to them about participating in our career fair that we offer for students in both the Fall and Spring semesters.
The second place we visited was the Intel campus in Silicon Valley. Kevin Dorland, a senior in the Cyber Intelligence and Security program, gave other students a tour of the Intel Museum. Kevin’s expertise and previous knowledge on Intel’s products was an inspiration for our students and taught them about the history of computers, old storage devices, Intel StrataFlash memory, microcontrollers, and the manufacturing behind Intel chipsets.
Silicon Valley is best known for the technology startups in the industry, and the College of Security and Intelligence Dean, Dr. Jon Haass, got us connected with the Plug and Play Tech Center. Plug and Play is an innovation platform that helps startup companies connect with the world’s largest tech giants. These connections help the startups gain support and investments to grow their products. Plug and Play partners with universities across the United States to support student startup ideas for startups when they graduate college.
During our tour of the facility, we learned about the process for how collaboration between the fortune 500 companies and startups can lead to the best innovation. Startups can present their ideas to company representatives and gain feedback on their ideas, which can lead to investments and company partnerships.
The next two days of the trip were spent attending the RSA Conference. The RSA Conference is the largest cybersecurity conference in the world, where students attend keynotes, networked with over 500 companies, and attend the RSAC College Day Sponsor Panel. During this event, we networked with the cybersecurity leaders from NBCUniversal, Walmart, Lockheed Martin, RSA, Intuit, Dell Technologies, and Microsoft about cybersecurity initiatives and ideas from students.
On Thursday afternoon, we met with Mike Gordon, Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer for Lockheed Martin to discuss how we could collaborate for more student projects and opportunities. Mike is an Embry-Riddle Alumni who provided support for ERAU’s 2019 CyberAero Competition. Lockheed Martin has set up special programs for our students including the Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity White Paper Competition where students wrote papers addressing multiple topics in cybersecurity to win prizes. Additionally, we met one of our recent Embry-Riddle graduates, Andrew Recker, who is working as a Cybersecurity Engineer at Lockheed Martin and was one of the founders of the Cyber Defense Club. Our goal is to continue to strengthen the relations with Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity organization for future opportunities, specialized internship programs, and project support.
Embry-Riddle’s Women in Cybersecurity Club (WiCys) attended the conference to gain connections and industry support across Cybersecurity domains. Currently, the ERAU WiCyS Club is the only WiCyS Club in Arizona, and they want to help other Universities start their own chapters. The club members networked with NBCUniversal to discuss how they can gain more support for projects and student opportunities. Additionally, they spoke with John Scimone, Senior Vice President & Chief Security Officer at Dell Security & Resiliency, regarding this topic because he is an Ambassador for the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy.
Students from both the WiCyS club and Cyber Defense Club attended the expo floor and industry talks on quantum cryptography, machine learning, anti-fraud, product security, and advanced threats facing the industry. The exposure for these students inspires them, as they can see first-hand the innovation and product ideas that these companies provide to the cybersecurity industry. These students discussed initiating startups, capstone ideas with representatives at the car hacking sandbox, and research projects that they could present in partnership with the sandbox partners at the following year at the conference.
The opportunity to tour Silicon Valley and attend the RSA Conference was invaluable to us. During the conference, Mohammed and I spent most of our time collaborating with the members of the Chief Information Security Officer Panel and companies on the expo floor. Gaining insight into the industry and learning how academia can collaborate with the companies was very inspiring. Also, Mohammed and I are very proud of the students for leaving a lasting impression of the university at the expo floor, getting recruited for international job opportunities, and learning how to solve the cybersecurity threats facing the world. Overall, the trip was life changing for all of us and a huge thank you to the College of Security and Intelligence, Student Government Association, Undergraduate Research Institute, Campus Facilities, Women in Cybersecurity, Dean Rhondie, and Leah Richwine for making the trip possible.
By Ian Gregory Bigger (Team Lead) and Steven D. Carreon (Asst. Team Lead)
the prior semester, Fall 2019, our team, Zero-G, was generously invited by Dr.
Phillip Anz-Meador of NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office at Houston Johnson
Space Center to conduct hyper-velocity impact tests for Project ORION (Orbital
RemediatION) at the Experimental Impact Laboratory. The testing allowed us to gain
experience with several different orbital debris shields commonly used on the
ISS as well as experimental shields. This data would be used to determine which
shield type would be most appropriate for a sweeper debris satellite intended
to clean debris fields in low earth orbit that pose as a threat to current
functional satellites. Testing was supervised by lab director Dr. Mark Cintala,
and test engineers Frank Cardenas and Roland Montes. Our trip to Houston was
accompanied by our highly esteemed capstone professor, Dr. Daniel White, and
lasted through November 7th to the 9th.
change in design of ORION from an active satellite capable of rendezvous with
large piece of orbital debris to a passive satellite intended to pass and clean
small debris in high debris orbits originated from Ian Bigger’s Summer 2019
internship at the Orbital Debris Program Office at Johnson Space Center. As a
team, we decided implement multi-layered micrometeoroid orbital debris shields,
the current method that most large spacecraft implement for defense against
the Fall 2019 semester came with a complete revamp of our capstone project’s preliminary
design along with many difficulties. Through multiple iterations of our team’s
design, we were able to create a project that became feasible and fulfilled our
project requirements. In doing this, we attracted the attention of the
Hypervelocity Impact Test Lab, allowing us to test an experimental orbital
debris shield composed of two panels of steel mesh.
Our team decided to test five shield variants that could one day be re-purposed for intentionally impacting Low Earth Orbiting debris. This method of passive orbital debris remediation had never been tested up to the point of our detail spacecraft design commencement. One of the shield variants chosen (aluminum foam) was outside of our team’s budget. After notifying Dr. Philip Anz-Meador of our team’s financial limitations, he amazingly and surprisingly offered to find and donate an aluminum foam block (6” x 6”) to us, courteous of NASA. The block had an approximate value of $800.
had a smooth flight to Houston and arrived the night of November 7th.
After situating in our own respective hotel rooms arranged by ERAU, we went out
for double cheeseburgers with avocado at Texas’ own Whataburger, and they were
delicious. We needed all the body and mind fuel we could gather for what would
become a full 8-hour day of testing at Houston Johnson Space Center the
arriving at Johnson Space center, we were greeted and verified for entrance by
very polite, armed security guards at the South Gate, and directed to the front
office to obtain our guest passes. After obtaining our guest passes, we
immediately made our way to Dr. Phillip Anz-Meador’s office in the building
adjacent to the Experimental Impact Laboratory. Dr. Phillip Anz-Meador was
excited and cordially greeted us, and then introduced us to the building staff
that would be supervising our hyper-velocity impact testing.
There was a total of six test fires conducted in the two days of testing. Four tests in the first day, and two on the second day. Preparation for each shot took approximately 1.5 hours. Between each preparatory period, we took advantage of the time by enquiring on the vast amount of test equipment and procedures within the laboratory, history of the staff with NASA, and pleasant conversations about our future plans as professional engineers.
before a firing was about to start, the 1 mm stainless steel sphere projectile
was loaded in a collapsible sabot lubricated with a graphite pencil. The loaded
sabot was then loaded into the launch tube just aft of the metal diaphragm.
compression chamber was then filled with nitrogen gas just under the point of
diaphragm rupture. Once the final checks were made the entire laboratory was
evacuated outside into the hallway where the key-activated firing control panel
was located. The compression chamber was topped off with more nitrogen gas,
then test engineer Roland Montes would flip the release switch to trigger the
gun powder portion of the Light Gas Gun that would rupture the diaphragm and
delivery the projectile down the chamber. A successful shot was indicated by a
rapid gas hiss and audible pop over a couple milliseconds.
velocity of each projectile was measured using a series of three laser sensors
located in the launch tube about 30 inches apart from one another. Each
velocity was translated using a combination of time and distance recorded by
three oscilloscopes and timing devices.
results turned out amazing and above all of our expectations for an
undergraduate capstone project. We took a tremendous amount of care in
manufacturing and assembling the five shield variants. No penetration occurred
in any of the designs. Some of the shields did experience bulging on the rear
panel, but still no spalling and no penetration.
successful round of tests on the second day, we were all cleared to get lunch
and tour the facility. We said our farewells and went out to get more burgers
at a local favorite of NASA employees, including the astronauts in training.
Dr. Phillip Anz-Meador accompanied us, and on the car ride over he asked us
what our plans were for the future. We received congratulations and even future
job opportunities with NASA and their contractors. We even expressed our
interest in top secret jobs related to orbital debris and were told to contact
him in the future when we were ready for the commitment.
a fantastic meal, we returned to Johnson Space Center to do a brief tour. With
our guest passes we decided to take the Space Center Houston tour backwards to
avoid the flood of tourists because we could. Dr. White and the two of us had
an amazing and eye-opening experience at Johnson Space Center. As a group we
learned how a professional laboratory operates, the deadlines associated, and
the level of professionalism mixed with quirkiness that is required at
facilities like NASA’s Johnson Space Center. We were reassured by lab engineer
Frank Cardenas that in order to work with NASA, the employees all have a
profound interest in their work and have fun. So much interest and fun that the
clock and time seem to disappear. We learned this behavior firsthand in our
time working on this capstone project, and finally realized that we were not
alone in our fascination of remediating space debris during our time at NASA’s
Johnson Space Center.
My name is Kelvin Maurice Russell and I am a Senior majoring in Aviation Business Administration with an Area of Concentration in Airport Management. I recently completed my economics research paper titled How Does Federal Funding For U.S. Airports Affect Airport Growth? I was fortunate enough to have this paper funded by Embry-Riddle’s (ERAU) Undergraduate Research Institute and the School of Business. Dr. Jules Yimga, my economics professor and faculty mentor, provided me great guidance and support while researching and writing this paper. It is my hope that this research will be published in a transport journal which may influence policy makers and airport professionals on the importance funding means for airport growth.
I was a student in Dr. Yimga’s EC
315 – Managerial Economics course in the Spring 2019 semester when I begin
discussing with him my desire to make a difference in the aviation industry by conducting
a research project. I knew that he was well versed in the topic since he
recently has 11 published paper in transport journals. Also, as a student I
knew how important it was to have conducted research during my undergraduate
degree and I wanted to have something to show for it on my resume. Beginning in
the fall 2019 semester and I took EC 330 – Air Transport Economics with Dr.
Yimga and this class required a final research paper. This experience was a
great opportunity for me to delve into the literature on this topic and
research extensively. Taking time to
analyze the information was hard but exciting and I learned so much.
It was initially a challenging time
finding a distinct and specific topic in the broad field of aviation. In the
beginning, however, I set clear intentions for what I wanted my paper to
Make an impact to the overall U.S. transportation
Focus on either U.S. airlines or airports
Allow my paper to be a reference to policy makers
within the aviation sector
Through the help of Dr. Yimga, we
eventually came up with the topic of airports in the United States and how
federal funding affects airport growth. I was instantly excited because the
topic was not only specific enough for the course requirements, it was a topic
that did not have much analysis in terms of how funding affects airport growth,
and it was a topic I knew could make a difference considering funding being a
key discussion driver among many industries.
The result of my paper consists of
multiple regression analysis performed on the amount of funding the top 30 U.S.
airports received and how it affected overall airport growth in terms of
passenger traffic, runway work, departing flights, and more. As a curious
individual I learned a great deal about Airport Improvement Program (AIP)
grants, which is the main source of federal funding for U.S. airports. As a
student I was able to enhance my Excel skills through performing regressions
and interpreting their meanings. This of course was not without the help of my
great faculty mentor, Dr. Yimga.
I would like to thank all those who
assisted me in my research and analysis during this project. This includes the Undergraduate
Research Institute Committee and the School of Business. Again, special thanks to
my economics professor and mentor, Dr. Yimga. Through his guidance and support
in this and other projects I have learned and grown a great deal.
This summer I had the opportunity to work at The Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington. As an Embry-Riddle Software Engineering Student, I was a part of the cyber security product development team. I quickly found out that ERAU students’ reputation precedes us. When I told my co-workers that I attend ERAU, they all praised the university and the students. My team especially loved ERAU because of our manager, Sheila B. Reilley. I had the pleasure to work with Sheila before she retired after 30+ years at Boeing. I will forever be grateful to Sheila for giving me the opportunity to work with her team this summer.
I worked with two different groups within the team over the 12 weeks I was there. At first, I worked for autonomous systems. Within autonomous systems, I worked with my team lead, ERAU Alum Alan Tomaszycki, and the College of Security and Intelligence on developing a multi-discipline capstone project. I was also able to contribute to a patent that is in the process of getting approved.
After that project was complete, I went on to work with the rest of the team in Seattle where I worked on front-end development which is what I am really interested in. I was put on a team developing a front-end for airplane log data that was in JSON format. I was assigned to work with one other intern on the front end while two interns worked on the back end of parsing the logs. My partner and I started by getting requirements from the members of the team that were going to be the primary users. After gathering the requirements, we started by experimenting with the designs and making wireframes and screen-flows that imitated what we wanted the displays to look like and satisfied the requirements. When the basic design process was done, we started working on use case scenarios. We came up with six different scenarios for how the displays could be used. We then revisited our designs, and we altered them so they would better reflect the scenarios. The software engineering courses that I took over the past three years have prepared me for the real-world applications of the engineering process.
We had weekly meetings with the team and the project leader
to go over our designs to ensure that they aligned with the needs of the team. After
we got the okay on our designs, the next step which I was in charge of was
implementation. I got the data that the back-end team produced, and I used
python and TKinter to make the front-end piece. Programming the display was the
easiest and most enjoyable part for me. I requested a code review with some of
my coworker to get feedback on my program, and I got lots of comments praising
my code. My coworkers pointed out that they can tell that I am a software
engineering major and not CS like most of the interns because of how maintainable
and well written my code was, and how well I documented it. During this whole
process, I discovered that the ERAU software engineering classes have equipped
me with all the skills and the knowledge that I need in the field and the
ability to adapt to new challenges. I was more knowledgeable about the software
engineering process that most interns, and I owe it to the SE professors who
prepared me to make it all possible.
I learned so much from my team over the 12 weeks. Most
importantly, I learned about the software engineering process for front-end
development. I am now certain that I want to pursue front-end development as a
full-time career. I was given a return offer to Boeing for an internship next
summer with the same team on my last day. I had a blast working with my team
this summer, and I can’t wait to see what I will be working on next summer.
This past summer I was privileged to work as an undergraduate on a National Science Foundation funded research project at Wright State University. This research program was focused on autonomous vehicles and split up the 11 participants into 4 separate teams working on specific research and development projects under the general topic of autonomous vehicles.
I was on a team with another undergraduate student studying Electrical Engineering working on developing a forward collision detection and avoidance system in autonomous ground vehicles using LiDAR and IBM’s 90nm CMOS technology. As a Software Engineering student, the focus of circuit creation and design was not something I was familiar with, but luckily, I had a wonderful teammate and supervisor, along with the experiences I have had at Embry-Riddle, I was able to learn and be successful in my work.
LiDAR is growing in popularity with autonomous ground vehicles due to their ability to function in adverse weather conditions (comparative to a camera) and their recent decrease in cost. The 90nm CMOS, Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor, is being used along with the LiDAR because it is a low-power and low-space solution that can also produce the necessary performance needed to make rapid decisions for the system. This LiDAR system, being low-energy and high-performance, is a development that is highly valued in the autonomous ground vehicle field. While there are many teams performing research and development for systems such as this one, there is no system that has been adopted by commercial or professional companies as there is still a lot to be perfected in the systems and costs can still be too high. This is where our research shows its value, since LiDAR is rapidly dropping in price and our system is based on dependability, our final design and report should be very useful for others in the field after presented at a technical conference at the end of this year.
For the development of this system, we first designed the basic circuitry logic in MATLAB. This process was where I was able to take the lead from my previous MATLAB and Simulink experience and develop a basic functional forward collision detection and prevention system. From there, we exported the circuit into a software platform called Cadence. Cadence allows for circuit development that meets the specific specifications and functionalities of particular technologies per their manufacturer’s specifications. My teammate, being familiar with Cadence, took over the circuitry design while I did more research on issues that would need to be mitigated with LiDAR systems such as the detection of the return LiDAR pulse off of obstacles with poor reflectivity rates (i.e. matte black bar bumpers). My teammate navigated the complex Cadence design process, with my research inputs, and we were able to successfully create our final circuitry system for a forward collision detection and prevention system for an autonomous ground vehicle.
By the end of the 3 months, I had gained a large understanding of autonomous ground vehicles, their history, and their future. I produced a background report, multiple progress reports on the technology we designed with their setbacks and future plans, and I am currently working on the final report of the project, along with my teammate, which is planned to be published into a conference by the end of the year. Along with knowledge gained on the topic, I learned an immense amount about perfecting my time management skills, my teamwork abilities, and, a vital skill for engineers, the ability to create a professional technical report that is well-organized and well-written all while being completed under a strict time constraint. I am very grateful for not only this experience, but also for the knowledge gained during it and the knowledge I was able to utilize from my academic career at Embry-Riddle.
This past summer, I attended an REU at Wichita State University in Kansas. I originally heard about the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in an email from Dr. Ed Post, advertising the REU in Cyber-physical systems, along with several other REUs. REUs are summer research internship programs at different universities throughout the country funded by the National Science Foundation in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. With the support of several professors in the Electrical Engineering department at Embry-Riddle, I was readily accepted into the program.
Before, I had zero experience whatsoever with
research, however, the program provided a smooth introduction to it. My work
schedule was super laid-back. Once a week, I would meet with the program
coordinator for different workshops discussing topics such as how to apply to
graduate school, what is expected in research, and how to present research
findings effectively. Also, I met weekly with my faculty mentor regarding the specific
research in which I was involved. As a result, I needed to employ a lot of
self-discipline. Thankfully, I formed good study habits at Embry-Riddle that I
applied at the REU.
When I was in high school, I had a job with a
marketing company developing mobile apps. Based on this work experience, the
program coordinator paired me with a project in the field of Android
cybersecurity. It was my task to research and develop a set of tools to
determine if a given app on the Android platform is hiding in different lists
on a device.
One of my favorite things about Kansas is that the
people there are remarkably hospitable. Within days, I had the opportunity to
make friends both with other REU interns and with several local residents
through a college group and a local church. This was a huge blessing as I did
not have a car in Kansas.
Towards the end of the REU, I had the opportunity to
visit Hutchinson, KS where NASA’s Cosmosphere is located. Their lobby is built
around a SR-71 Blackbird banked 30 degrees for its turn to final.
One of the coolest things that I got to see there was
the original Apollo 13 space capsule, reassembled after different parts toured
the world for many years. It was particularly interesting to see the history of
rockets from World War II through the space race. As an American, I was quite
unfamiliar with the German and Russian history which was covered extensively
and honestly in the museum.
Currently, I am finishing up the paper that was mostly
completed during the REU. It is wonderful to be able to show a completed paper
at the end of a program, especially as an undergraduate. I went from not
knowing a thing about research to having a finished paper. My mentor and I are
submitting the paper to a conference which I will hear from by the end of the
To any students who are interested in research—I would
highly recommend an REU, especially for Sophomores as REUs accept Sophomores
far more readily than industry internships do. There was even an intern who had
only completed his freshmen year who was accepted! I am thankful for
Embry-Riddle making this wonderful opportunity possible for me this summer!
summer I got to intern with Compassion International as a Software Developer. The
Software Engineering (SE) program at ERAU taught me a wide range of skills, so I
didn’t really know where to start looking for internships. I applied anywhere
and everywhere from large aviation companies to small tech startups. Along the
way I realized that the things I had learned went far beyond just academics.
While the SE program has provided me with the necessary skills to be prepared for
industry, I have learned professional and interpersonal skills through
communicating with professors and being an RA. I started to seek positions that
would compliment that. I wanted to find something that combined the experience I
have had academically with something community driven and people focused.
That’s when I found Compassion International.
is a Christian global non-profit ranked in the top 15 U.S. charities. Their
goal is to sustainably release children from poverty. The
organization is currently working in 25 nations (Bangladesh, Colombia, Kenya
etc.) with over 2 million children in the sponsorship program at 7500
centers. Compassion also partners globally with 11 countries (England,
Australia, Italy, etc.) to provide sponsorship and funding. Sponsors can
communicate via letters directly to their sponsor child and the funds they
provide go straight to the church and Compassion Center that the child is a
part of. Compassion Centers are in poverty-stricken communities and run by
local church leaders where a child is fed, clothed, and educated. The goal is
to support children in the program from a young age through college/trade
school to help break the cycle of physical and emotional poverty.
The role of the USA office in Colorado
Springs where I was an intern, is to support the sponsors, children, and centers.
This support includes everything from finance management and marketing, to IT
infrastructure and data processing including development of education curriculum
for each country and a technology system to allow safe communication between
countries. I worked as a Developer on an IT team to build an internal
application for the global programs and travel department. The team I was a
part of does pair programming and Test-Driven Development, so I spent a good
portion of the summer building automated user interface testing and working
together with other interns. The classes that I had taken in Software Quality
Assurance and Analysis and Design of Software Systems were so helpful during
the project. It was exciting to know that while I was growing my skills
professionally, the application I helped to build has tangible and real effects
beyond my personal role at the organization.
The internship at Compassion was well rounded and
amounted to more than just a job. Part of the program is a field visit so I spent a week visiting the
Compassion Guatemala National Office and visiting the children there. The
purpose of this trip was to provide us with context and into the work that is
done in the field and how it relates to the daily office work in the states. In
the US Office, I was poured into each week professionally and
personally. I learned how work really is more than a title and a set of tasks.
An effective workplace is one that cares as much about the person’s individual
growth as they do about the progress they make. I was placed with a host family
to live with as well as with a mentor in the organization to meet with weekly
and seek professional and personal guidance. Each week we had “Impact Sessions”
with the executives such as the current and former CEOs of the organization,
the Vice President of Marketing and Engagement (formerly responsible for
stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut), Vice President of Human Resources (instrumental
in the formation of Blockbuster Video, Einstein Bros., and Boston Market).
These sessions each week were to expose us to different life lessons and career
paths and to learn from their incredible experiences. The program was also
designed for the interns to become a close community. Every second outside of
the office was spent exploring nearby cities and climbing Colorado mountains
until we felt like a family.
I could not have imagined a better place to be an
intern. ERAU provided me with both the personal and technical skills in order
to succeed this summer.