I took my first forensic science course as a sophomore in high school and it immediately sparked my interest. I began looking around at careers that tied forensics and biology/chemistry together and Embry-Riddle gave me exactly what I was looking for with the Forensic Biology program.
Over the Summer of 2022, I had the wonderful opportunity of working with the Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office. From May to July, I gained extensive hands-on experience working with the medical examiner, pathologist’s assistant, and investigators.
I spent most of my time learning and assisting with both external and full autopsies. During external autopsies, I would take photographs, toxicology samples, and log property/evidence in the Medicolegal Death Investigations portal. I would have the same responsibilities during full autopsies, but in addition, I would assist with eviscerations. This included taking organ weights, sewing up the body, taking fingerprints, and cleaning down the autopsy room. I was also taught how to remove the brain and shown how to take out other organs. The autopsies were an incredible learning experience, and I gained a lot of hands-on knowledge.
Later, I learned how to remove other organs with the help from the pathologist’s assistant. When I wasn’t assisting with autopsies, I was packaging toxicology samples or helping the investigators with any tasks they needed. I proofread reports, organized case files, filled out case forms, and uploaded documents.
The most exciting work with the investigators was going out to scenes. During my internship I was able to go to scenes with the different investigators. I assisted with writing down information and helping transport the body.
One of my final tasks was to complete a presentation on environmental pathology. It was a neat little presentation and I got to cover many different concepts. I presented to the medical examiner, pathologist’s assistant, and investigators in the final week of my internship. I learned a lot of new information and was able to share that with the rest of the office.
The most challenging aspect of working at the Medical Examiner’s office was getting used to the routine protocols for every individual case. It’s important for everything to be done a specific way and with great care. It took some time to fully adjust, but I was apart of an amazing team that guided me along the way. With the hands-on experience I gained from this internship, I’ll be working towards crime scene investigation after graduation and eventually a position in a crime lab.
There were many different courses at Embry-Riddle that helped me along my journey as an intern. Most notably, the anatomy, trace evidence and forensic courses provided some prior knowledge that coincided with my work as intern. Some of the labs also helped when it came to proper biohazard and decontamination protocols. There were many opportunities to apply what I had learned to a real-world example.
The Medical Examiner’s office provided a great deal of experience, and everyone was willing to help me grow as an intern. It was an incredible experience to work with the medical examiner and pathologist’s assistant on the variety of cases and I know this internship will help me with any future endeavors.
My name is Kylie Cantrell. I am a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott Campus, earning my degree in Forensic Biology with a minor in Security and Intelligence Studies. I chose my major because I have always been fascinated with forensics. I took a forensic science exploratory in the 8th grade and have always had the goal to learn more about the field.
In the summer of 2022, I interned for Freeport-McMoRan at the Climax Mine in Leadville, Colorado. My title was an Industrial Hygienist for the Health and Safety Department. At Climax, I learned how to sample heavy equipment (haul trucks, graders, loaders, drills, etc.) for dust, silica, and diesel particulate matter (DPM) in the cabs. My project was to study the ventilation systems in the heavy equipment during sampling to see if I can make the air cleaner in the cabs for the operators. I used SKC Airchek Pumps with several kinds of filter cassettes to test for the particulates in the air. I wrote notes about the weather, the condition of the equipment, where the sampling pumps were set and anything else that may be important to note. After the sampling period is over, the cassettes are sent to the lab. Documentation such as the pump number, notes taken in the field and results are all added to software called Cority.
When sampling the mine for dust/silica and DPM, I would normally choose 3 pieces of heavy equipment per sampling day. In the image here, the tubes on the right are attached to the cyclones that hold the media that trap the particulates I am testing for. The large white container is what I would use for calibrating the pumps. There is a blank filter on a cyclone inside with one tube connected to a pump. The other is connected to the calibrator (the device with two yellow caps). There are also dosimeters in the picture which are placed on the shirt collar of an operator to check the noise levels they are exposed to while operating the equipment.
The reagent we used releases carbon disulfide which can be harmful to Climax employees. The pump above the launderer has a 226-01 filter that traps the carbon disulfide as the pump runs. The sampling period is approximately 5 hours, and the results are sent to a lab for analysis. In the images above, I am holding a Photo-Ionization Detector (PID) that measures the carbon disulfide in the air and gives immediate results. Both methods are used because the pump will sample over a longer period, whereas the PID gives real-time data. Since the molybdenum is not flowing in the launderer at a constant rate, the carbon disulfide levels can differ within a couple of minutes or a few hours. It is important to see both sets of data.
The classes at Embry-Riddle that really helped me were Instrumental Analysis and Trace Evidence, Biochemistry, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and General Biology and Chemistry. Trace Evidence prepared me to write a chain of custody on all the samples turned into the lab. Biochemistry was useful in understanding how the human body reacts with different minerals being inhaled such as elemental dust and silica. Anatomy and Physiology gave me a basic understanding of how silicosis forms and affects the alveoli in the lungs. General Biology and Chemistry are important for any industrial hygienist to know the basics. Although my internship did not pertain to forensics, I was able to put my major and minor to use. I also got to learn a lot about the mining industry and work around some very cool trucks.
This experience has opened my eyes to new possibilities and I really enjoyed my time at Climax. I am very interested in the mining industry and I would love to continue with Freeport-McMoRan after college. I enjoyed working with so many people from different departments and working together towards one major goal. There is always something new to learn in mining!
The summer after my graduation (2022) I had the opportunity to be an intern at the Phoenix Police Department. During my time at the department, I was fortunate to work under many advisors in numerous departments including the Community Engagement Bureau, the Phoenix Police Crime lab and the HR fiscal department. In total, I was working alongside officers, office workers and forensic scientist IV supervisors.
Coming into this internship, I had a better understanding of the forensic science aspect of law enforcement but I was able to gain more knowledge about the fieldwork that goes into responding to calls. During my time shadowing different departments, I was able to go on a helicopter ride along, patrol ride-alongs, shadow each specialty in the lab, conduct preliminary analysis of evidence, participate in community events and the POPAT, and shadow dispatch stations. I learned more about the whole process of a call in place, protocols in the lab and how evidence is properly handled. I am incredibly honored to announce as well that I was the first intern back in the laboratory since COVID (roughly 2 ½ years).
Overall, my education at Embry-Riddle has benefited me in this internship greatly. Classes that I felt were a significant help to my success in this program were Investigation Methods, Analysis & Trace Evidence, Forensic DNA, Courts & Criminal Justice and Intro to US Legal System. Each of these courses had a significant impact on my success. I felt that the law classes were beneficial when conducting ride-alongs and for handling paperwork and the science-based classes have been very helpful when touring the labs because I was provided with a basic understanding of each of the processes and how they impact each section.
This internship has had a positive impact on my choices for future career aspirations. Prior to the internship, I did not have an interest in the law enforcement/sworn side of investigations. During the internship, I was able to work with recruiters and partake in the POPAT that is required to enter the academy. Since I was an intern and college graduate, I was part of the first group of applicants to be tested using a traveling POPAT exam for recruiters to take on the road to test applicants. I was also able to take the standardized POPAT, and once I noticed I passed both, I knew this was a career I could lead into.
My top priority, though, is to still enter and work in the crime lab. I have been able to make many connections with forensic scientists and learned that many of them were volunteers themselves prior to being hired in the lab. This has provided me with reassurance that I am on the right track to being an official employee of the department.
With my major, I am confident in either of the two choices I have at hand since I have been prepared for success from Embry-Riddle.
My name is Mayra Bibiano, a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering – Astronautics major at Embry-Riddle, and from May 3rd to 5th I went with the VEX Robotics Gold team to compete at VEX Worlds 2022 in Dallas, Texas for the first time since 2018. Yet the team’s road to Worlds was a lot more complicated than you think, so how exactly did we get there?
If you don’t know, VEX Robotics is a club on the Prescott campus, with a Blue Team [ERAUB] and a Gold Team [ERAUG], that allows students from different majors and years to collaborate with one another to build and program two separate robots to compete with other teams in VRC (VEX Robotics Competitions). These competitions change year to year and this year, the competition was called Tipping Point. Two teams compete against one another to gather the most points on a 12-foot by 12-foot field. Each round is 2 minutes with a 45-second autonomous period and a 1-minute and 15-second driver-controlled period. Teams compete to score points by stacking rings onto mobile goals and by balancing these goals and/or the robot on a central platform. Teams can also earn bonus points from higher scores in the autonomous period.
Our ERAUG team made two robots: the smallest robot, Jeef, was a robot that lifted mobile goals with pneumatics as well as getting onto the platform itself. Our bigger robot, Berky, was designed to get rings into the mobile goals that were around the field.
Once the spring semester rolled around, we were ready for our competition. Our first ever competition for the 2021-2022 school year was held on March 5 at the ERAU (Embry Riddle Aeronautical University) Prescott Campus. Our ERAU Gold Team won Tournament Champions, the Excellence Award and the Design Award. Under normal circumstances when seven teams attend our competition, we would have automatically gotten a spot at Worlds, but because we only had five teams in the competition we were not selected.
During that competition, our team attempted the Skills Challenge, where the two robots try to score as many points as possible without another team on the field. From this, we ended up ranking 33rd on the VEX U World Skills standing. From here we found out that if we ranked higher, we would be able to get a spot in Worlds. The team decided to practice getting a better skill score to secure our spot at Worlds and on March 15 we were given the opportunity to do another skills challenge and ended up improving by over 50 points. With that, we waited to see if we were given an invitation. Four days went by, and we got the best message from our president: “We are going to Worlds!!” The whole team was ecstatic because we did it without even knowing we could make it, but we did! After that day, we excitedly spent the whole month completely rebuilding our robots so that they would be Worlds ready.
The first day of Worlds was just checking in, practicing and fixing anything just in case the robot moved a lot on the trip to Dallas. The next day was the first day of matches. That day was the most stressful and exciting day of the whole week. Our first three matches, losing two and winning one, really got us into a flow where we realized there were inconsistencies in our build and our program. From there we practiced nonstop. The only time we got a break was during lunch because the whole day was changing batteries, grabbing tools, grabbing robot plates, running to a practice field, running back to the match fields and so on. After that day, winning two out of six matches, we finally had time to breathe and think about how we could improve the next day.
That last day came, and I told everyone before we started our three matches, “No matter what happens today, let’s just have fun.” We won our first match of the day by 100 points and got off to a great start, but then ended up losing our last two matches. We may not have won most of our matches, but I know that those last couple of matches were the most fun we had the whole time. Not worrying about winning was such a good way to renew our energy and just have fun.
We ended up placing 30th of 37 teams in our division as well as ranking 25th in the skills standing. Looking back on our work this past year, and in years past for a lot of the team’s members, we are so happy with the experience we had at VEX Worlds. Our team gained a lot of problem-solving, time management and teamwork skills while working under pressure. With this, I know the team will be in good hands in the years to come with this experience.
I am currently a 4-year Aerospace Engineer student and graduating in December 2022 and this will be my 4th year in the VEX Robotics club and the 2021-2022 year I was the Team Lead. When I first joined the team I was interested in building robots because I had done it in middle school, but now it’s just a fun hobby and working with the team is always very fun. This club has allowed me to work on my team collaboration, organizational skills, leadership skills, and project management which will help me in the industry.
If students decide to join the VEX Robotics club, we teach students how to build and program a robot. You don’t even have to be in a similar degree. Because of all the hard work the team has done throughout the years and the experience we have gained, we were able to go to Worlds. I know that in the coming years our team will be well cared for. I cannot express how proud I am of the team as well as how grateful we are for the experience.
My name is Paige Thompson, and I am a rising senior studying Software Engineering on the cyber track. Software engineering has always been something that piqued my interest since my dad is a data scientist for IBM. Embry-Riddle seemed like the perfect fit for joining the women’s NAIA soccer team while pursuing a degree in software.
This summer, I completed a 10-week internship at Aerojet Rocketdyne located in Canoga Park, California. I was contacted through email by a recruiter after completing an online application. I accepted an offer and was placed on the Avionics Software team. Luckily, my brother lives in the area, so my living situation was covered for the summer. If this weren’t the case, however, there were many different intern groups who found and rented a house together for a few months.
I came in with the first group of interns, with all the others starting in groups every two weeks. Most of my fellow interns attended big schools like USC or Georgia Tech, so it was pretty neat being the only intern out of 50 that was representing a small school. I was also the only software engineering intern at the whole company, with the exception of one other in Huntsville, Alabama. The interns were all very social and nice, and we ate lunch together almost every day. Intern focals were assigned to us as well. They set up weekly socials and tours for us to get acquainted with the company and also see what we might want to venture into work-wise. Some tours included the materials lab, the rocket garden, and the space room.
For my role, I was tasked with automating tests for a Data Acquisition system that was used on the rocket test stand. The application was called DDACS, which ran in lieu of a rocket engine fire test, collecting and analyzing data. It was created by some veterans in the company, so there was a heavy learning curve to it. It dealt with reading Ethernet packets, creating Win Plot scripts and making sure the rocket was safely operating. Working with several different programs written in Visual Basic, I used C# in Visual Studio for testing. This proved to be challenging, especially considering my direct mentors were also newly hired. Nevertheless, the fact that we all were relatively new meant we seemed to be learning the software together, which was nice to know that I wasn’t alone in that respect.
My other project was updating a Hardware-Software Interface Document for the Engine Control Unit on the RS-25. This document had many slight changes that I had to find and note. For example, some stated boundaries were different by only 3 degrees, and some pin names had changed by only a letter or number. After noting these changes, it was to be sent to NASA for approval. Working on document tasks would not normally excite many people, but it was the perfect side project for me.
On my last week, it was Intern week. This consisted of many socials and guest speakers. We had an In-N-Out truck one day and cornhole set up for the whole week as well. Because of COVID, the company could not gather all of the interns, but we had a few interns from Sacramento fly in for the week. There were Intern meet-and-greets as well as fun games like trivia and hangman. I met many wonderful people from all over the nation, and I plan to keep in touch with a few of them.
My time at Aerojet Rocketdyne was rewarding and taught me way more than I could have expected. The people who work there are very welcoming and very passionate about what they do. I even met a Riddle grad who’s been at Aerojet for 15 years. We had fun comparing our school experiences. If you have the opportunity to work there or are passionate about rockets, I definitely recommend applying!
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!
My name is Veronica Rodriguez. I am a senior majoring in Forensic Biology with a minor in Psychology. What made me interested in majoring in Forensic Biology was wanting to understand the fundamentals of forensics. I had the mentally that it is just like the television shows. Unfortunately, it was not what I had expected. It challenged me in so many ways. I am truly thankful for everything that I have learned with this major. It has taught me to work for the truth and to find the facts. I choose Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University due to its amazing reputation. It also has a great Biology and Chemistry Department that has been very supportive in the process. Throughout my courses at Embry-Riddle it has prepared me for one of the best experiences in my educational career.
In the summer of 2020, I was able to obtain an
internship with Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office in Prescott Valley,
Arizona. I was hired as an intern and my duties were to assist the medicolegal death
investigators (MDIs) and the forensic pathologist. This office is unique since
the MDIs not only investigate their cases and go to scenes but, they also help perform
autopsies with the forensic pathologist as well. I was super nervous at first
since I had no idea what to expect on my first day at the office.
After being more comfortable at the office, I attended death scenes and interacted with other law enforcement agencies to conduct proper investigations. I learned how to properly document photos of the decedent, property, and evidence with a digital camera. I was really proud of myself that I was able to apply what I have learned in my courses to real life. I also learned the process of how the MDIs produce reports, gather information, and create death certificates. Other responsibilities I had during the internship were to perform autopsies, take toxicology specimens, and take fingerprints of the decedent on my own.
Embry-Riddle has prepared me for this internship with the courses I have taken. Anatomy and Physiology has allowed me to understand the different organs and the functions of the body. It has also taught me how the body is supposed to work and what happens when something goes wrong. Trace Evidence and Investigative Methods and Forensics allowed me to understand how a scene is investigated and how to collect evidence in a way that preserves it; this knowledge was useful when I had to retrieve fingernail clippings from a homicide victim. Procedural Law and Evidence course allowed me to be familiar with the importance of search warrants, chain of custody, and the Arizona statutes that apply for the Medical Examiner’s Office. Being able to apply the knowledge from my courses further reinforced what I have learned and made it clearer during my internship.
This internship has allowed me to find a career
path that I really enjoy. I have had many great memories and experiences, and
it will be something that I will never forget. Once I graduate, I want to get
my certification in the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation. I
was recently hired at the District 7 Medical Examiner’s Office in Daytona Beach
as a Forensic Investigator/Forensic Technician. If it weren’t for my education
at Embry-Riddle I wouldn’t have been able to obtain an internship that later
landed me a job!
My name is Devon Kisfalvi and I’m a part of the class of 2023. My major is Electrical Engineering with a minor in Systems Engineering. My amazing internship experience started January of 2020 before the start of the Spring 2020 semester. This internship wouldn’t have been possible without Embry-Riddle. I had just finished my first semester of freshman year, and became a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Club on campus. Through them I was able to get a membership with IEEE, learn about the 2020 IEEE Rising Stars Conference, and was able to attend. There I saw Northrop Grumman had set up a table. I went over and introduced myself, and after talking with them they asked for a resume. One of the managers from the Gilbert, AZ office who was at the conference offered me a summer internship.
The internship started May 2020 and was amazing! Even though coronavirus affected most of the in-person events being held, Northrop Grumman was able to still offer multiple opportunities for the interns to meet people and learn more about the company. During my internship I was working with the avionics team on two different projects. The first was working with the internal research and development team on looking for new parts to improve one of the critical systems of a satellite project. This research involved replacing one of the components that would have to be specifically constructed to meet the requirements set by Northrop Grumman and NASA. I communicated with a handful of companies that manufacture those components to ensure that they would meet Northrop Grumman’s and NASA’s requirements.
The second task I worked on with my mentor was collecting documentation for the Landsat 9 (L9) team on the Integrated Electronics Module (IEM) focusing on End Item Data Package (EIDP), which is the final stage of after environmental testing. The documents that needed to be included were parts lists, assembly drawings, among other reports.
Even though I was just a freshman, the relevant coursework I have taken so far helped me out a lot, like Intro to Engineering (EGR 101), Digital Circuit (CEC 220), and Digital Circuit Design (CEC 222). EGR 101 has helped develop my teamwork skills to effectively communicate and work with teams of any size. CEC 220 helped me understand the coding of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), logic of electrical circuits, and how logic circuits connect to create complex devices. CEC 222 helped me understand the basic components of electrical circuits and how they worked. All these classes helped me with my internship.
Even though you might only be a freshman there is still a possibility for you to be able to do an internship with a company. One thing that employers look for is how you act and how you present yourself. One key aspect is communication, both verbal and written. Anyone can come up with amazing ideas, but you need to be able to communicate them. You also will most likely be working with teams of people and you need to be able to communicate with your team to be successful. You also have to remember how you present yourself to employers. You must be professional, but you also must be yourself. Go into any possible situation with a smile and make sure to introduce yourself. Start a conversation with them. For example, you could ask a question about the company or something specific that interests you. This shows that you are interested in their company, and leads them to asking you questions about yourself. Embry-Riddle has helped me out so much and as you stay open and professional, anything is possible.
My name is Stephen Mouhanna and I am a Senior majoring in Software Engineering. This past summer I got the awesome opportunity to intern with Microsoft as a Software Engineer in the Cloud and AI Security Group. I was born and raised in Washington State, growing up 10 miles from Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. As a Senior in the Software Engineering program at ERAU, working as a developer for Microsoft is a dream occupation for me.
I belong to an organization known as Lime Connect which partners with companies in providing scholarships and internship opportunities for high school Seniors and college students. Microsoft is one of those partners and they reached out to me through email. They said after reviewing my resume, they thought I would be a good fit for their internship program and if I were interested, I should apply. I did and a couple weeks later they scheduled an online test to check my coding skills. If you pass this test, then you move onto a phone interview. The phone interview mainly consisted of questions regarding why I am interested in working with Microsoft and what I know about the company. At the end of the interview the recruiter asked me two tech related questions. Both questions involved me explaining a certain piece of technology. The first question was no issue, but the second was to explain what threads are and what they are used for in a computer. I was honest in my reply stating that I did not know the answer, however I made sure to mention that I would be taking an operating system’s class during the Fall semester where I would learn about threads. The recruiter seemed happy with that answer and told me that I would hear back on my results in just a couple weeks. A couple weeks eventually turned into a month and I was starting to wonder if I would ever hear back but finally I got a message in my inbox informing me that they would be interested in doing a second round of interviews with me; this time in person at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
I was overjoyed with the news. To prepare for the next round of interviews that was just a couple weeks away I got the book Cracking the Coding Interview. This book breaks down interviews by company and what questions are typically asked by that company. It was a great buy because several of the technical questions I was asked were directly out of the book. this was all extremely exciting because this was the first time that a company has flown me anywhere. I was contacted by the Microsoft Travel team which organized everything I would need for a round-trip flight and two-night stay in Washington State. After I confirmed my travel plans with Microsoft, I then spoke with my professors about the class time that I would be missing and makeup work.
I was nervous the morning of my interviews when I arrived at Microsoft Building 111. I spent some time with the other recruits at a pre-interview breakfast. While we ate the organizers talked about the company and what to expect throughout the day. After breakfast, each interviewee was assigned a room where the interviews would take place. We would spend about an hour with one interviewer and then the interviewers would rotate to another person. I was interviewed by four different employees that all worked for the same group. Two of the employees asked questions about me and my background and the other two asked me more technical questions that involved me writing code on a whiteboard that was in the room. When writing code on the board we could write in any programming language that we wanted. Most of the other interviewees chose to write their code in Python, I decided to go with C# as that what I was most familiar with and I knew that it was the main language used by many Microsoft developers. All in all, the interviews took about 6 hours from arrival to leaving the building with breakfast and lunch included.
I flew back to Arizona satisfied with my performance during my interviews. I was told that I would hear back in about two weeks. Luckily, I only had to wait about three days when I got a call from my recruiter congratulating me on my job offer. All I had to do to accept it was go to Microsoft’s career site and sign the document digitally. I worked with my recruiter to flesh out some details such as start date and I could relax for the rest of the school year knowing I had a job for the summer.
Not long after accepting my offer I was assigned the team I would spend the summer working with. I was contacted by the team manager who wanted to introduce me to the team briefly over a video call. Since I was going back to Washington State for Christmas break, I suggested that maybe we could do an in-person meeting instead. They thought it was a great idea and I got to have lunch with the team in one of the Microsoft cafeterias. My mentor from the team gave me some documentation for a tool that I would be using to review before I came back for the summer. They also gave me a tour of the building that I would be working in.
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to work on the Microsoft campus because the pandemic began before my start date. Microsoft employees were ordered to work from home beginning in mid-March and they still haven’t returned. Currently they have a tentative return date of January 2021. A decision was made to move the internship program to remote internships. This caused managers to scramble to reinvent how an internship was done. Interns who were not living in Canada or the United States would lose their internships for this summer and for those close to graduating they would be put into the system to be considered for hiring.
When Embry-Riddle went to online classes in March 2020, I decided to move home to Washington State to finish my classes and do my internship. In April, I was contacted by my mentor on the team and we kept in touch via email until my start date when he could officially talk to me over Microsoft Teams. All my computer hardware was shipped to me prior to my start date. The team administrator had sent me an email notifying me to be on the lookout for a box of components to be delivered within two weeks of my start date. Every time a package would come to the door I would run down and interrogate whoever had brought the package in if it was coming from Microsoft or not. The box of hardware happened to arrive only a day or so before I was due to start, resulting in many points of false hope at seeing a delivery truck pull up to the house only for it not to be the package I’d been anticipating.
The hardware I was given included a Microsoft Surface, docking station, a nice monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I worked with my mentor who helped me get oriented with the code base and threw in some useful tips about the tools I would be using. There were some minor hiccups relating to being remote but overall, it was a smooth on-boarding process.
My team had one meeting every day where we would talk about what our plan was for that day. My end goal for the summer was to create a data aggregation and insights tool so that my team could better understand how our service was being utilized. I would work with my mentor, talking with him every few days, creating a road map on how to reach this goal. My first task was to access the usage data for our service using CosmosDb. Once I could access the data, I would have to present the data on our website. From there I gradually added insights on the data, which compiled useful information about the data.
I got to learn about a lot of tools that typical software developers use. One of these tools being Key Vault which is used as a way to access what we call “secrets” in code. A secret is a string that we don’t want just anyone to have access to. A typical secret would be something like a connection string to a database or an authorization key. one last interesting tool was our internal deployment visualizer. This tool is my favorite by far. Not because it’s a particularly interesting tool but because watching my service deployment progress gave me an intense feeling of satisfaction and pride to know that I was able to contribute something meaningful to a company as important in the tech field as Microsoft.
The last week of my internship was a busy week of what is called “Intern Check-Out”. This included recording myself giving a PowerPoint presentation of my project since we were unable to meet in person. The Leadership Team viewed the intern presentations then we were assigned a Q&A session with the Leadership Team. Since we didn’t know what questions were going to be asked, we needed to be prepared and make sure our projects worked so we could demonstrate them. Check-out time also included reviews from my manager and my mentor. I was given feedback on my strengths and weaknesses. Then my manager gave me an invitation to come back next summer and intern with them again. I immediately said yes but I was warned it was up to HR if I could return to the same team even though my manager put in a request for my return to them. I have committed to returning to Microsoft, but they will not tell me where I have been assigned until later this Fall.
During my internship I applied and was accepted into the Microsoft Student Ambassador Program. If you are interested in a software engineering position at Microsoft please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to expand on my experience or help you in applying for your own Microsoft internship. You can reach out to me at StephenMo@studentambassadors.com.
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.