On the cusp of the Prescott border into Prescott Valley, sits Glassford Hill and its corresponding Glassford Summit Trail. Although a fairly popular, multi-use path with much foot traffic, the hike isn’t overcrowded nor did I feel the uncomfortable pressure to walk faster. It is great trail to get outside and hike, not too strenuous and not too steep, rated at roughly 964 ft. of elevation. I appreciate this hike because I can enjoy nature whilst also being able to socialize with a hiking buddy without losing too much breathe.
As a 4.6 mile out-and-back trail, Glassford Summit Trail is a great morning hike where you can be sheltered in the cool shade until you reach the top of the hill to feel the warmth of the morning sun. It has a gradual incline with a few switchbacks constituting the trail. The climax of the hike offers generous views, overseeing all of Prescott Valley.
Glassford Summit Trail is unique in its ability to educate on the history of Glassford Hill and the surrounding natural structures, with its numerous plaques and descriptions scattered throughout the trail. Targeting a different audience than Granite Mountain, Glassford Hill hosts many seating options throughout the journey for anyone wishing to rest or picnic. In this fashion, I recommend taking friends and family on this hike, for it offers a little bit of everything the casual hiker is looking for.
Welcome new students to the fall semester! As you have likely noticed, the ERAU college experience is much different than its high school counterpart. Traversing this new university can be challenging, but I have comprised a few pieces of advice I would have liked to know prior to being immersed in the university’s community and hopefully it can help you:
Of course, meet new people! It is more difficult to make friends in the later years of college. First-years tend to be more enthusiastic and open to new, friendly faces. You can do this by getting involved in clubs / organizations / Greek Life to find friends of shared interests. It is also a good way to form relationships with your professors out of the classroom, as each organization has a faculty advisor. Although we are not the most athletically-driven university, if you enjoy sports, I encourage you to join intramurals, with games starting 9/20 this semester.
On-campus jobs outweigh off-campus jobs in most aspects, as I have personally encountered. While your hours will vary depending on the school job, all positions prioritize your status as a student and will work around your class schedule. I have cycled through a few positions, including writing for Horizons, being a Temperature Taker, and a Student Media Assistant. Other common jobs on campus are tutors, TAs, graders, tour guides, Mailroom workers, Sodexo employees, and various assistant positions (located on ERNIE > Workday > Search ‘Find Student Jobs’).
Try things out and take advantage of the opportunities presented. For example, if you enjoy helping students transition into college and desire free housing, consider applying to be an RA for the Housing Department. If you have leadership qualities, like to be involved, and can talk to students of all walks of life, look at joining the SGA. Try new opportunities out, and if you don’t enjoy it, move on. It is better to try it now then to regret not being involved by the time graduation rolls around.
Meet with your Academic Advisors. While often overlooked, our Academic Advisors are great resources to ensure you stay on track to graduate over the years, the main goal of college. For an accurate assessment of your progress and how many credits the Registrar has you recorded for, go to ERNIE > Campus Solutions > Academic Advising > Academic Progress > View ERAU Report. The Registrar is the office that either approves or disapproves your credits for graduation, so ensuring your files are in alignment with theirs can be worthwhile in forecasting your schedules.
Overall, enjoy the ERAU campus and community because time
does fly by quickly, as is a common phrase our parents like to enlighten us
with as students. Good luck this semester!
the network of trails that constitute Prescott’s National Forest, the 7.9 mile
Granite Mountain trail is a great option to hike. Driving past the Prescott
Walmart and Starbucks, this trailhead is located roughly 20 minutes from
campus. I personally enjoy this hike for the peace and quiet it provides, with
minimal foot traffic, especially in the scorching heat of the summer season. The
breathtaking views you are rewarded with at the top of the mountain aren’t too
Contrary to my previous hike at Thumb Butte, Granite Mountain is quite a long and more rigorous trek; so much so, that I was sweating at the bottom of the hike and chilled by the heavy wind at the highest climax of the path. I prefer Granite Mountain over Thumb Butte simply because Granite Mountain offers more opportunities to climb and explore when reaching the top of the trail, unlike Thumb Butte that is blocked off with signs and fences.
With an elevation of 1,656 ft. and scarce shade, the Granite Mountain trail can be either a relaxing morning hike or the next test in expanding your hiking endurance, depending on your skill level. No matter your abilities, I highly recommend trying out the Granite Mountain trail. Make sure to pack lots of water!
Arriving in Prescott, many college students experience a slower, traditional small-town vibe. Yet, when Christmas or patriotic holidays roll around, Prescott awakens. It is a festive Hallmark town, colored with cheer and décor. This 4th of July was no different. Drawing people from all over Arizona, Prescott was bustling with numerous events, like the World’s Oldest Rodeo, the 4th of July Parade, Northern Arizona’s Annual Tattoo Fest, and, of course, a fireworks show.
To kick off the weekend, Prescott hosted the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Surprisingly, this was a culture shock like no other, a country culture shock if you will. I was not prepared, cowboy hat and boot-less. In awe, I watched as cowboy after cowboy competed in various horse-riding and animal lassoing events. Many times, I had to Google the competition I was watching, for I had never seen such a thing. But, like the large crowd of country folk in attendance, I was entertained and thoroughly enjoyed my time.
The annual 4th of July Parade processed down the streets of the downtown Courthouse Square, ultimately testing my parallel parking skills. Hundreds of Prescott locals showed up to support our veterans, lining the streets with red, white, and blue. The streets were overflowing with retro cars, local law enforcement, motorcycles, and tons of floats, from our own Golden Eagles Flight team’s float to a Democratic float, sporting a huge cutout poster of President Biden. If this puts into context how busy it was, I had to risk getting kicked by a flipping cheerleader just to cross the street for a coffee.
Unbeknownst to most, the Northern Arizona Annual Tattoo Fest was taking place at the Prescott Resort and Casino. Although daunting at first glance, the fest was a creative chaos; the air filled with the nonstop buzz of the needle as people were getting tattooed left and right. After spending many hours browsing the line of booths, I left the resort reflecting on all the life stories that were shared and souvenirs I collected. It was a welcoming environment, and I’m appreciative of this glimpse into the tattoo world.
To complete the weekend, the fireworks show went off over Watson Lake. While the fireworks were grand and explosive, the fair-like activities prior were more enjoyable in my opinion. Since the pandemic, I have forgotten how the simple activity of picnicking with friends could be so fun. And, the grand finale of firework burst after firework burst made the trek back to the car in the dark worth it.
Overall, Prescott’s support and applaudable effort in celebrating this holiday weekend was a pleasure to partake in. Growing up in a city, I do miss the hustle and bustle of typical metropolitan life. Seeing the town rise to the challenge made me appreciate the community we are a part of, here, in Prescott, Arizona.
Receiving scholarships is no easy task. Neither is applying for them. Yet, we, as students, do because the chance we could receive one is enough to motivate us to apply. I remember when I first toured Riddle, back in the days of 2018, and met a girl who applied to numerous scholarships and received so many that she didn’t have any student debt when she graduated. I aspired to be that girl, to have that perseverance.
Of course, the ERAU Financial Aid Office offers many good options, but they are only the starting source. I’d say, about 80% of applying to scholarships is dependent on your self-determination. Some students receive competitive scholarships through their ROTC programs, if that is what you like to do. I am not one of those students. Initially, I looked for programs through the clubs I was active in. Sometimes, clubs and national organizations may be funding scholarships for their members. I found that there were quite a few in aviation clubs, although despite going to an aeronautical university, I knew little about. In Cyber Defense Club, a group closely related to my interests, I learned about a few opportunities supported by WiCYS and applied to those. Sadly, no luck.
Then, I moved online. Gauging my status as a college student from my metadata, advertisements were popping up with sources of scholarship search engines, like FastWeb and Scholarships.com. Having had applied to many scholarships prior, I was tired of asking my professors for glowing recommendation letters, answering essay questions, and writing slightly tweaked cover letters for each scholarship. The minimal requirements for the generic scholarships online were greatly appealing, so I applied to many. Yet again, I had no luck.
At this point, I had an Excel spreadsheet of over 50 scholarships I had applied to. Fatigued but still determined to not have student debt, I traversed on. This was around year two of college, so I had already started accumulating debt. I decided that I needed to look outside my previous methods. I turned within my College of Security and Intelligence and Department of Cyber Intelligence and Security specifically. Perfect timing! Dr. Sampigethaya, the Department Chair of Cyber Security, was just promoting applications to the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program. In 2019, our Cyber Lab was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense Education, Cyber Defense Research, and Cyber Operations by the DHS and NSA, making ERAU students applicable for this program. Recognizing the magnitude of this opportunity, I jumped right into the application process. Five months later, I received a phone call, a scholarship, and a post-graduation job! In retrospect, the process of scholarship applying doesn’t seem that rigorous; however, when I was in it, it was horrible. The longer it takes to receive scholarships, the more debt you accumulate. If you have many disappointments like I did, don’t give up! Working hard now can only benefit your future self, and honestly your bank account.
The scholarship application process is challenging; if you need assistance on any step, a smart move would be contacting the Office of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships. This ERAU Office can support you in just about all aspects of the application process, from formatting your resume to requesting recommendation letters from professors. To contact them, please email email@example.com.
Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Security Agency.
No doubt, the town of Prescott is known for its numerous
outdoor activities and hiking opportunities.
With such a well-known presence that ERAU even named dorms
after it (T1 and T2), Thumb Butte is an ideal trail. Located in the Prescott
National Forest, Thumb Butte Trail #33 is a moderate hike for people of all
Hearing such appraisal in town, I too ventured out to the Thumb Butte. Once at the trailhead, I was instantly forced to make a decision that would greatly affect my hiking experience. Choosing to hike up the left or right route first, since it is a loop, would either be a more difficult steep climb or a nice gradual incline, respectively. Of course, representing the rebellious youth, I chose to start off with the difficult left side.
Honestly, the upwards half of the 2.5-mile loop was the ultimate thigh killer, paralleling the soreness one gets after leg day. The 700 ft elevation gain, fit into one mile of switchbacks, was no simple walk in the forest, pun intended. It was quite the struggle.
However, it was worth a quick sweat and soreness. The views
on the climb up and opportunities to keep climbing higher were superb and
greatly appreciated. Being a well-maintained concrete path, it was nice to see
a chance to continue up an unbeaten path.
If you are considering hiking “Thumb Butt”, as I humorously call it, ensure you check the forecast prior. Living near the mountain, I have done this hike a couple times a month over the years and have made the mistake of hiking in wet and snowy climates; so, don’t follow my lead unless you enjoy involuntary sliding and sloshy shoes. Overall, as proven by my consistent return to the mountain, I recommend this trail for a day when you have the desire to hike but may not have the time to take on a longer adventure.
Embry-Riddle of course has exceptional flight training, a beautiful campus, and lots of fun activities available in and around the Prescott area. But what about the classes?
In high school I was not by any means the type of student that absolutely loved going to class. I wasn’t a bad student but can remember spending a lot of time watching the clock and waiting for the bell to ring.
Things changed after my first couple days at Embry-Riddle. Suddenly class became not only really interesting but incredibly fun! As an Aeronautical Science student with a Business Administration minor, I have gotten the chance to learn a lot of genuinely intriguing topics in the classroom taught by some absolutely brilliant professors who carry a wide range of industry experience. I went from looking at the clock waiting to leave, to looking at the clock not wanting to run out of time. In the Embry-Riddle classroom, I can say with certainty pretty much all of my professors have been kind and understanding, have had a strong desire to help students succeed. The best of all is that they come from a lot of diverse backgrounds with a ton of industry experience.
The fact that a professor has experience in the industry is not something I thought too much about prior to coming to college, but I can say it is the principal thing that have made classes enjoyable for me. Getting to hear a presentation made by a retired military or airline pilot about the aircraft they flew and the experiences they had or listening to an interesting business lecture from someone who held a real-world management position at one of the world’s largest corporations are experiences that I have had and greatly cherish. It makes the classroom feel a thousand times more interesting.
Lastly, one of the great parts of going to class in my mind is the manageable classroom sizes. The largest class I have ever had at Embry-Riddle had somewhere near 40 people in it, and I have only ever needed to take a couple of those. That is nothing like the 300-person lecture halls I had worried about when coming to college. Our average class size is around 25, but I can tell you that there are many classes you will have much smaller than that. I have had numerous labs and other classes that seated around 9 or 10 people. For me, this really was the way to learn. I like to be a part of the class, raising my hand often and having a professor who knows my name and respects me as a student, not just be a number in a large crowd.
brings with it a lot of cool experiences. You will have a lot of fun at
Embry-Riddle doing a lot of activities outside of the classroom. Like with any
college, however, there will be a part of your day that will be spent in class.
Why not attend college at a place where the classes are genuinely fun and
Hi again! I am Cooper Eastwood, an Aeronautical Engineering sophomore and co-investigator of the Embry-Riddle Suborbital Reusable Vehicle. The whole world put itself on pause and everyone felt the effects. I know that at my home in Los Angeles many businesses and everyday workers have been forced inside due to the pandemic. Online learning, commerce, and communication became the new norm. I and many others have witnessed the whole world adapt and change in only a few months. Now almost a year later much has changed but the goal is always the same: to get to space cheaper and more often.
The Embry-Riddle Suborbital Reusable Vehicle (ERAU-SRV) team transitioned completely online during the summer period. Gaurav Nene and I stayed on task even in different parts of the country through video calls and scheduled meetings. Our small integrated team dynamic allowed us an easy transition as we can continue working diligently on the next steps of development whenever necessary. During this time, we submitted the lengthy and necessary documentation for unguided commercial suborbital vehicle launch approval at Spaceport America. We coordinated documentation with the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. Then in June 2020 we received the launch approval for a future date in 2021. We are taking our two-stage launch vehicle past the Karman line, or 100 kilometers, and to do so we need to launch from an FAA licensed facility. As New Mexico begins the process of allowing more frequent travel to their federal sites, the team will be at Spaceport America to observe the launch facilities and finally meet the ground support members.
To get the final funding we needed to finish the vehicle. The College of Engineering, the Undergraduate Research Institute, and Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus opened an opportunity for student projects to win grant funding by presenting in front of the Board of Alumni. Dr. Ron Madler, Dean of the College of Engineering, extended an invitation for us to further our research and break new ground with this brand-new alumni collaboration. We submitted a proposal to the board, bidding for a chance to present. This contained our preliminary design review, our FAA package, and the AIAA published technical report regarding our avionics. We qualified as one of the top three finalists and in under a week we made our presentation. Once the dust settled, we were awarded a grant to accelerate our work! With this new thrust of momentum and enough funding to purchase the rest of the booster stage, the next step in our engineering method was to verify our vehicle.
We required a launch test of our sustainer to accomplish six objectives: verify performance and our trajectory models, qualify the structural components, validate the recovery system, validate performance of telemetry, gain experience with pre-launch operations, and gain post-launch operations experience. After five days of integration we put the vehicle on the pad at Friends of Amateur Rocketry launch site in Mojave, California.
On December 19th, 2020 at around 12:30 PM, the rocket was launched and experienced a recovery system failure at apogee which was addressed in a 35-page post-flight report. The sustainer surpassed its goal of 31,666 feet – exactly 6 miles. The vehicle was only partially recovered due to ballistic reentry, however we received two sets of flight data from our identical on-board computers. Every piece of the rocket was sifted from the sand, meticulously inspected, and documented. By finishing the in-depth report we completed five of our six objectives and proved that we could take the step forward on construction of the booster stage to launch at Spaceport America.
Immediately after our test we welcomed a new faculty advisor as well as a member of our team. Our previous faculty advisor Dr. Michael Fabian moved on to government research and Prof. Robert Gerrick, Mechanical Engineering Chair, took the role of our mentor. William Knoblauch, a Mechanical Engineering freshman, also became a member of our team by assisting in post-flight analysis and continuing testing research on flight critical hardware. We are in the process of accepting new members aiming to grow hands on experience with suborbital launch vehicles. As our vehicle and team grow, so do our hopes of surpassing our goals.
When the previous post left off, we were anticipating a trip to Portland, Oregon to attend the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Student Conference Region VI and present a 30-minute presentation on our avionics system at the conference. This was cancelled only a week before taking place in March 2020 and was postponed until the same time this year. Now after resubmitting the paper to a judge’s panel for review, it was accepted to the 2021 student conference at California State Long Beach and will be taking place in April.
Being a cross-discipline undergraduate research project gives us the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of engineers who can all contribute to space flight. As we expect many more space launches, the amount of experimental data gained per flight will be exponential. After a successful launch we will be calling on all students and as well as those considering enrolling at Embry-Riddle Prescott to form ideas, build hardware, and program experiments for the vehicle. These will all be taken to space, an environment that can be exclusively reached repeatedly only at Embry-Riddle. If you have a great idea and a goal, you really can get to space with the College of Engineering and the Undergraduate Research Institute’s backing.
My name is MaeLee DeVries and I am a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott, Arizona. I am majoring in Forensic Biology and I am interested in trace evidence, which is why I chose the research topic of trace evidence of makeup. We’ve all seen it on crime shows, there’s a piece of evidence that could not have been found, but somehow the investigators are always able to trace it back to the perpetrator in the end. While that is not wholly reality, it is not completely far from the truth either. Trace evidence can be very difficult to deal with because it is difficult to see, difficult to handle, and even more difficult to avoid cross contamination. However, if done properly, the analysis performed on trace evidence can corroborate stories and determine the truth. This is why I wanted to do this research because the more data there is, the stronger statistical values can be, which can create more conclusive evidence. Hopefully, this research helps contribute to a usable and searchable database for makeup to help investigators speed up investigation processes and be more objective in their investigations. After all, objectivity is one of the main goals of evidence-based research because it excludes bias and seeks the truth.
To be able to do this research, I had the privilege of receiving a Space Grant and being selected to be funded for an Ignite Undergraduate Research Project during the fall semester of 2020. The goal of this research was to support and develop a method for easily distinguishing the morphological and chemical features of various lipsticks and eyeshadow palette samples. There is a lot of data that still needs to be collected in trace evidence analysis of makeup research to fill the gap of information that exists; therefore, this research will demonstrate nondestructive analysis techniques that can help trace the evidence back to its source by providing more data that can be utilized in crime laboratories to assist in solving crimes. As the project leader and the only student on this project, my duties were to prepare the research samples, analyze the samples using a light microscope, Fourier-Transform Electron Microscopy (FTIR), and learn how to use the Scanning Electron Microscope in tandem with an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (SEM/EDS) to analyze the potentially toxic chemicals within and individualistic characteristics of the different brands of makeup samples
In this research my mentor, Dr. Teresa Eaton and I studied three different brands of eyeshadow and two different brands of lipstick. Originally, we were going to study six different brands of eyeshadow palettes; however, due to this being my last semester, time constraints did not allow me to study all of the samples I would have liked to; therefore, we studied palettes from Maybelline, Revlon, and Milani and a red lipstick sample and a pink lipstick sample each from Milani, and Wet n Wild. I did, however, run into some hiccups along the way, which is nothing new if you are familiar with research. First, preparing the samples took much longer than expected due to the meticulous cleaning and recleaning of materials to avoid cross contamination. When dealing with evidence, this is paramount. The second problem I ran into had to do with the SEM/EDS. While I was in the middle of viewing and analyzing my samples, the filament on the SEM/EDS burned out, putting my entire project to a halt. The filament allows for the visualization of the samples because that is where the electron beam originates, which without, the visualization is not possible. Obviously, I cannot research blindly; however, the kind Dr. Lanning (pictured above) came to my rescue, replacing the filament within hours. These roadblocks were impeding, but I got past them and was able to complete what I could of my research.
I analyzed a total of 37 samples viewed under the light microscope and analyzed using FTIR and 41 on the SEM/EDS, so a lot of samples were run, just not all of the samples I wanted to analyze. The techniques used were not invasive, other than the SEM/EDS and were able to discriminate between palettes, but not individual samples. FTIR was not invasive and quick, but only showed a fingerprint, while SEM/EDS was destructive, but showed the chemical composition and only used a very small amount of sample.
Optical Microscopy Images
FTIR Spectra and Data
As you can see, Figure 1, 2, and 3 demonstrate the light microscopic view of a Milani eyeshadow sample, a Maybelline eyeshadow sample, and a Revlon eyeshadow sample, respectively. In my observations, I noted signature red-pink circular particles in nearly all of the Milani eyeshadow colors, which can help distinguish the samples from other palettes. In the Maybelline reflective eyeshadow sample glass-like and other reflective and metallic-like particles were noted, which were consistent with most of the shiny and glimmering samples. The Revlon eyeshadow was fine and fibrous, which was common throughout the more neutral and less glittery and shiny eyeshadows.
Graphs 1 and 2 are both FTIR spectra and show that there is a broad band at around 1000 in both sub-samples 1b and 2b. This was the same amongst nearly all of them, but other peaks helped differentiate between palettes based on what the chemical fingerprint was most likely related to. Most of the sub-samples from Sample 1 (Maybelline) were related to TALC, most of the sub-samples from Sample 2 (Revlon) were related to silicon, and most of the sub-samples from Sample 4 (Milani) were related to paraffin. This simple information is significant due to the differentiation it provides between palettes.
SEM/EDS Images and Data
Figure 4 shows the SEM image of eyeshadow sub-sample 2a by Revlon. The elemental composition is shown to the right demonstrating that there are two heavy metals that were not expected to be within this sample, Tc and Bi. Both are not toxic at low levels.
Figure 5 shows the SEM image of eyeshadow sub-sample 1i by Maybelline, which demonstrates expected heavy metals such as Fe, Cu, and Zn.
Figure 6 shows the SEM image of eyeshadow sub-sample 4e by Milani. Again, expected heavy metal content is observed as well as cylinders of carbon suspected to be some form of microplastics.
Figure 7 shows the SEM image of lipstick sample 16 by Wet n wild. Expected chemical composition is seen.
Finally, Figures 4, 5, 6, and 7 show the images from the SEM and the chemical composition from the EDS for eyeshadow and lipstick samples. Figure 6 shows that there are some heavier more toxic chemicals in the sample compared to the other samples, but these chemicals are not toxic to humans at very low quantities. There were no distinct chemical differences between the palettes other than Sample 2, which had Technetium and/or Bismuth in several of the samples. The SEM images were quite fascinating to look at, and while each sample did look different in its own way, it would be a subjective way to look at evidence and as I said earlier, that is not the goal of trace evidence.
My final results for this research project indicated that the chemical analysis techniques, FTIR and EDS, can potentially differentiate between palettes, but not individual sub-samples, while the optical microscopy techniques, light microscopy, and SEM, may be useful in differentiating between sub-samples in color and morphology. However, as I mentioned above, this process is much more subjective, and it is important to have objective methods of analysis in trace evidence. This analysis is not discriminatory enough by itself to differentiate between individual sub-samples, though it may be useful for differentiating between palettes. In the end, there was ample data gathered that demonstrated elemental, morphological, and spectroscopic properties of the samples for results and future analyses.
In conclusion, I hope this is not the end of this research because there is so much potential that this type of research has to assist crime laboratories in reaching the truth faster and more objectively. The opportunity I have had with this research project has yielded great experience and understanding for me in the future. Personally, I want to be a forensic DNA analyst, which must be an objective analysis technique, because the main goal is providing the truth. Not who we think did it. DNA analysis uses databases, which are crucial to conclusions; however, DNA cannot act alone in submission of evidence. Stories and other trace evidence must align in order for the truth to be found; therefore, other forms of trace evidence are vital and necessary. I love science and the potential it holds. After all, it is prepared to provide the truth, if we handle and analyze it properly.
Hi! My name is Grace Day, and I am a senior Aerospace Engineering student here at Embry-Riddle, Prescott. On campus, I am involved in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority as the former Member Development VP, the Membership VP, and most recently the Chapter Life VP. I also am a part of the Women’s Ambassador Program as the Treasurer and former Public Relations VP. I work part time (up to 25 hours a week) as a Campus Ambassador, a tour guide, for the admissions department and I am a TA/grader for a few engineering classes. On top of my work, full engineering course load, and some sleeping, I am also still a part time intern for Lockheed Martin Space in Waterton Canyon, Colorado.
I have spent my past summers as an engineering intern at companies like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin gaining valuable experience and making lifelong friends. I spent the summers after my freshman and sophomore years in Redondo Beach, California working as a Systems Engineering Intern for Northrop Grumman and this past summer as a System Engineering Intern for Lockheed Martin up in the Denver area. I was fortunate to be able to work in person during the pandemic, however it was a much different experience than my previous internships.
For starters, I was the only intern in my area while most of my coworkers were at least a few years out of college. Many people worked part time from home, but my work required I be in the office on special computers, meaning somedays I was the only one in until lunch. I also supported a very fast paced, always changing team that focused on system architecture. Architecting a space system is not an easy thing, it requires so much background knowledge and experience, something I did not have. Before the summer started, I reached out to my manager asking what I could do to best prepare for my summer in Denver. My manager suggested I learn a program called Systems Tool Kit, or STK. The program is a modeling software for any and all types of systems from airplanes, to submarines, to spacecraft. The company offers free online training and licenses for students and professionals, so I jumped on it right away. This was all right after COVID-19 shut down our university and allowed me a bit more free time to focus on learning STK.
STK offers three levels of training from a basic understanding of the software to very specific situation-based modeling protocols. I chose to do it all. The first certification took me about one week to learn and consisted of an 8-hour exam at the end. I passed this course and moved on the intermediate level, which took me a bit longer. Right before I started the second level STK posted a blog announcing the first 100 people to pass the exam would win a free t-shirt with the logo. I jumped right into the training and after two weeks of learning I took the next 8-hour exam and passed (and got my free t-shirt).
The last certification is student’s choice where you pick four of seven categories to master. The seven track options are Track 1: STK Essentials, Track 2: Analysis Workbench, Track 3: STK Coverage, Track 4: Aircraft, Track 5: Communications, Track 6: Spacecraft Trajectory, and Track 7: Space Environment. I chose to pursue tracks 3, 5, 6 and 7 because they were most applicable to my job and my interests. It took me about 4 days to student for each one and a 4-8 hour exam at the end. As I passed each one, I got a small cube, shown in the image. One I passed all four required for the last certification, I was awarded with the large glass cube, a certificate, a pin, and a lanyard.
From doing this course, I was extremely prepared to go
into my internship as a useful employee, and help my team win many proposals.
Even now as a part time intern through this school year I have been able to
help out whenever I can.
I just signed my full time offer to be a System
Engineer at Lockheed Martin with my same team and am very excited to be moving
up there in May of 2021! It has been an amazing almost four years here at
Embry-Riddle and am so happy for the education I have.
Thank you so much for reading about preparing for
internship during COVID-19!