About Maddie


Global Security

I decided to come back to study GSIS at Embry-Riddle, which I love. Coming from an aviation family and going to an aviation school rubbed off on me and I decided I wanted to get my private pilot license for airplanes, which I did this summer.

Junior Year Is Over!

High Five after I passed my Private Checkride!

Hello Blogosphere, I know I went a while between posts there! I got so swamped that I had to take some time off. I have to admit that this was a very, very busy semester for me. I didn’t really get a chance to sit back and think about everything that I had done. Looking back on the semester, I realize that I accomplished a lot! Since I last wrote, I made it through checkride season and finally got my Private Pilot Certificate for Rotorcraft! Yay! I also got the opportunity to go to HAI’s Heli-Expo in Las Vegas which was mind-blowing. My picture even made it into the rotorcraft pro magazine, woo! Another one of Embry-Riddle’s students Celeste Hadley also had a picture of her accepting a scholarship from MD helicopters which is awesome! I also turned 21 during finals week, and still managed to get an A on the final I took the next day. In fact, I got A’s on all my finals! I’m pretty proud of myself.

My course load this semester was made up of RS 300: Observing Asian Cultures, SIS 328: Intelligence, Analysis, Writing, and Briefing, and LCH 102: Mandarin Chinese II. It was the highest workload I’ve had from 9 credits, ever. On top of that, I was doing Private II ground and flight, which kept me really busy as I studied for the three stage checks/checkride I had this semester. Intelligence, Analysis, Writing, and Briefing (or IWB, as we call it) is basically an advanced Intelligence Writing course, which I’ve touched on before. Basically, we learned about methods by which to condense and present data in a concise manner. We also continued to write intelligence briefs about a country of our choosing, to keep our writing skills sharp. Mandarin Chinese was also a continuation upon the course from the fall semester. We learned at a faster pace this semester, and practiced putting together more complex sentences.

Our presentations are not as boring as this one apparently was.

RS 300 was my most difficult course. There were 5 female students in the course, including myself. That’s some girl power!! During the course we would have focus weeks on different countries or regions within Asia. Every class period, each student would give a 15 minute presentation on a specific topic about the culture of the region we were focusing on that week. Our presentations were on topics such as religion, folklore and myths, cooking and eating practices, history, war and revolutions, popular culture, and global business interaction. Writing two fifteen-minute presentations every week was a ton of work. On top of that, we were also assigned reading from our textbook and some multiple choice questions to answer from that. But I’ve mastered the art of going from nothing to ten slides with notecards and talking points in about 3 hours, which I predict is going to be a valuable life skill for me (At least I hope so). But whoever coined the saying that whatever you put into an activity is what you get out was absolutely right. Not only did I learn a ton of information from this class, I also learned to appreciate the fact that we have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. All of the information that I learned was a direct result of our own research, and it made me realize that I don’t need to get a PhD to become educated on a subject matter.

Favorite Classes!

This week, I get to tell you all about one of my favorite classes I’ve taken in all my time at ERAU! It was difficult to pick just one of the incredibly interesting classes that I’ve taken, but I decided to blog about COMM219: Speech. This class is required for a lot of our majors on campus as a way to help you improve your public speaking skills. I had this class with Sally Blomstrom as a professor, who was an absolute joy to learn from. I highly recommend taking any course that she teaches. Over the course of the semester, we completely broke down the speech writing process and studied lots of different ways to effectively or ineffectively deliver a message. We wrote different types of speeches, from informative to persuasive. We also studied ways to add or detract from the message using varying types of media. Overall, the course made me much more comfortable speaking in front of my peers.

My favorite of the projects we took on in this course involved local elementary students. Their teachers submitted ideas relating to the science, technology, and engineering fields, and groups of students from our class got to choose a topic and put together a presentation about it. My group got “Electricity” as a topic. It was a really great exercise in tailoring your presentation to a very specific audience. Not only did I actually learn about electricity and alternative forms of energy, but it was so fun to be able to hang out with elementary school kids! They all had such interesting questions and we all felt like we were helping the future generation get interested in science.

After every major assignment, Professor Blomstrom would ask us to submit a self-review of how effective we thought we were and areas that we thought could have used improvement. Most of the time in classes, you move on past assignments without having much time to reflect on what helped or didn’t help you earn that grade. If you earn a bad grade, you simply tell yourself that you need to work harder next time. But having a purpose to sit down and really evaluate where you went wrong and where you went right in an assignment can keep you from “working harder” at making the same mistakes next time. I felt that I improved more throughout the semester because of these self-review assignments. My takeaway piece of advice for this week is not to count out your general education classes! They can be some of the most enjoyable and informative classes that you will take, if you have the right attitude.

Stick Around in the Summer!

Summer is the best time of year for activities in Prescott. Not only is the weather gorgeous, but normally you have more free time to get out and do stuff outside! Some of my favorite summer memories are from camping trips or hiking trips. It’s so much fun to get away from town for a little while and explore nature. For this reason, I think it’s a good idea to stay on campus over the summer instead of going back to your home town for the summer break. It’s also a really good time to get a couple of classes out of the way so that you can take a lighter load during the semester.

The underground lava tube!

There is a cool spot to camp and hike near Flagstaff called the Lava Tubes. It’s a big underground cave/tunnel that you can hike into, and there are dispersed camp sites around the area. A couple of summers ago, a group of admissions employees went camping there together and it was a ton of fun!


One of the most well known spots for swimming in the area is called fossil creek. It’s over an hour drive away and a bit of a hike on top of that, but there are awesome cliffs to jump off of into the water. All of my local friends also love to go tubing down the salt river. It’s in the phoenix area, and it takes you about three hours to float from the beginning to the end of the river. You rent tubes for all the people in your group and one extra to put a cooler in for drinks, and you tie them all together and float down together.

The Top of the Waterfall!


Another fun place to hike and camp is called wolf creek. It’s only about a 20 minute drive from our campus, so it’s a lot easier to just go on a spur of the moment decision! Wolf Creek is this big stone waterfall, but you have to catch it at the right time of year for there to actually be any water in it. Unfortunately, we did not do this. But it’s still a really short, fun hike to do. Someday I’ll make it out there when there is running water and report back.


Water Volleyball at Our Pool–Sweet!

You’re also definitely going to want to visit our on campus swimming pool! It’s heated now (yay!!!) and it’s open every day from 11am-6pm. And it’s free and right on campus, so what’s better than that?






One of the biggest reasons that I like to take summer classes is that you take fewer classes at a time, so it’s much easier to get really into the classes you take and learn more. Instead of having class only two or three times a week, normally you will have class everyday for at least an hour and a half. This really allows you to get to know your professor better. Taking summer classes also gives you some freedom to take fewer classes during the semester. If you only take two classes in the summer, that allows you to reduce your course load by three credits each semester. One class can actually make a big difference, especially during midterms or finals week, when you’re studying for all your classes at the same time. If you are a flight student, you have even more incentive to stay over the summer because your tuition is usually discounted in some way. It also gives you the freedom to focus on flying and flight courses without having to worry about your other academic courses.

Update on Junior Year

One of the most marked differences between my high school and college experiences is motivation. In high school, I cared less and less as the years went by. But in college, I get more and more excited about school as the semesters pass. Not only do the classes get more involved and delve deeper in to specific subject matter, but you start to realize that, in a few short years, you will be equipped to go and do this stuff in the real world. This semester, I’m taking private pilot ground I for helicopters, private pilot flight I, COM223: Intelligence Writing, LCH101: Chinese 101, and SS110: World History. I have definitely been the most excited about my classes this semester than any other before. I’ll tell you about my two favorite and most involved classes this week.

Intelligence Writing, taught by Deanna Austin, is easily my favorite class this semester. It’s a great class and Austin is such a great professor. I will take anything she teaches. In this class, we chose a country at the very beginning of the semester and have been assigned various subsequent writing assignments pertaining to it. Every other week, we do “Milestones”, where we collect information about the issues going on in our country. We use these to brainstorm ideas for Intelligence Briefs that we write about once a month. We write briefs on any issue of importance to the country and its relations to the US and the world. The cool thing about these briefs is that we submit them to our school’s intelligence publications, Eagle Eye, so there is a chance your brief could be published! During lectures, we talk about all sorts of topics relating to intelligence writing. Right now, we are going over key assumptions and how to become aware of them in your writing. One of the things that I really love about how Austin structures this class is that we do a lot of in-class activities where she will show us a method of, say, brainstorming, and then we will all take half an hour to practice it and turn in a mini-assignment. It really helps the method stick if you have an opportunity to try it out yourself and then get feedback.

Chinese 101, taught by Yang Li, is a very demanding class. We follow our textbooks very closely in this class, which are broken into lessons that are structured around a dialogue between two people. In each dialogue, we learn a specific skill, like how to ask what date and time it is, or inviting somebody to the movies. Normally we spend one day per week just going over new vocabulary words, one day a week where we give an oral presentation to the class, and one day a week where we are quizzed over the current lesson. One of the things I like best about the structure of this class is that we spend a lot of time speaking out loud, sometimes alone and sometimes together. But the times that we speak individually give the professor an opportunity to correct individual mistakes in our speech, which is very helpful.

This semester has also taught me that the professor can make such a difference in your success and enjoyment of a class. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you is to put some real thought into your schedule each semester. Not just when to take which classes when, that could be its own blog post. Do not write off the opinions of your peers. They can tell you which professors are great and who to avoid, which might be the difference between a semester that you thoroughly enjoy or the one that you spend hitting your head against the wall.

Maddie Roy, Junior, BS Global Security and Intelligence Studies

Hello there! My name is Maddie Roy, and I’m a native Prescottonian enjoying my junior year here at ERAU. I’m currently in the Global Security and Intelligence Studies (GSIS) program with a minor in Aviation Business Administration, and I’m also a helicopter flight student.


My journey leading up to this semester has been a little bit complicated. I took classes here at Embry-Riddle during my senior year of high school, including Introduction to GSIS. I then spent my freshman year at the University of Arizona in Tucson studying Engineering. That

My dad (left) and my flight instructor (right)

didn’t really work out for me so I decided to come back to study GSIS at Embry-Riddle, which I love. Coming from an aviation family and going to an aviation school rubbed off on me and I decided I wanted to get my private pilot license for airplanes, which I did this summer. That got me inspired about aviation and I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in aviation, but this time while flying helicopters! So I started helicopter training this fall and I couldn’t be happier. You might be wondering how I am going to fit that all into one career. To tell you the truth, I have been wondering the same thing. But I figure, being young and having these opportunities afforded to me, there is no better time to follow your passion.

When I’m not studying Chinese characters or memorizing emergency procedures, I like to take advantage of the abundance of activities that nature provides for us here in Prescott. I also work in the Admissions Department as a Tour Guide/Campus Ambassador, leading tours around our campus and flightline, and sometimes traveling to events with our admissions counselors. Having had a fairly unique college experience, I hope to be able to shed some light for those of you out there who are also coming to Embry-Riddle under a unique set of circumstances.