Peter Davidson, Sophomore, BS Aerospace Engineering

Hey reader! I’m Peter Davidson, a current sophomore here at Embry-Riddle. As much as I love this school, I wasn’t born here, so let me tell you a little bit about myself. I come from the chilly town of Hudson, Ohio (about 30 miles south of Cleveland). I made the 2000 mile trip all the way from Ohio to Prescott for a reason, and that reason was to become an amazing aerospace engineer. Besides working toward my degree in Aerospace Engineering, I am also an Air Force ROTC cadet, and I’m heavily involved with the cadet wing here at Embry-Riddle. I look forward to sharing my experiences as a student and cadet with you as the semester goes on!

Between my hours of studying and other activities, such as commander of the Det. 028 Honor Guard, I find the best ways to enjoy my free time. I have such a large group of close friends here at Embry Riddle, something unique that the atmosphere of Riddle provides. Whether it’s catching a movie, going to the famous Speed’s Deli, or hiking the dells, there is always something to do in Prescott for the adventurous!

I hope you will continue to read my blog as the year goes on. I will be giving you a firsthand account of what life is like here at Embry Riddle. You may find that some of my posts may be reflections of campus life, or perhaps they will be about what I learned in my classes, or simply what we did in Leadership Laboratory in AFROTC. Regardless of what the topics are, I hope you find them enjoyable to read and receive a genuine account of what it is like to attend Embry-Riddle Prescott. So read on about my experiences as they happen to me, and learn why I consider Riddle the perfect school for myself. Enjoy!

Jason Kopczynski, Junior, BS Aeronautical Science

Hi! My name is Jason Kopczynski. I am from the awesome and sunny southern California, and I am definitely excited to be a junior here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ! I am pursuing the Aeronautical Science major with a minor in Aviation Safety, as well as earning my flight certificates and ratings to include the Commercial license with the multi-engine and instrument ratings.

I also work in the Admissions Department as an Admissions Counselor Student Assistant and a Social Media Student Assistant. To add more fun into my college career, I am involved in a number of clubs like the Music club (drum line and jazz band), Air Line Pilots Association ACE club, Flight Safety Foundation. Additionally, I am the President of Catholic Campus Ministries and I am also an Assistant Scoutmaster in a local Boy Scout Troop here in Prescott.

I hope that you find what I do as a student as exciting as I am to live it! I also hope that you are able to learn more about what it is like to be an Aeronautical Science/flight student here at Embry-Riddle. Enjoy!

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.

Ricky Arvizu, Senior, BS Aeronautics

Hey there! I’m Ricky Arvizu. I was born and raised with skyscrapers on my driveway and the beach in my backyard in beautiful southern California.  I’m super stoked to currently be completing my senior year here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ where I study Professional Aeronautics/Aviation with minors in Aviation Management and Applied Meteorology.  I am also hoping to graduate with a dual major in Aviation Safety Science.

Besides school work, a lot of my time is spent working for the university in the Office of Admissions as the Senior Campus Ambassador/Tour Guide as well as a Social Media Student Assistant and New Student Orientation Leader.  I also work with the nationally recognized community service and leadership development organization Silver Wings where I currently serve on the Southwest Regional X Staff.  If life wasn’t exciting enough, I just completed an amazing once-in-a-lifetime summer internship with JetBlue Airways in New York City, where I hope to continue working upon graduation next spring.

Besides full time school and working almost full time, I do enjoy spending lots of whatever free time I can find with some of my closest friends and my teammates on the Air Force Honor Guard Team (who have basically become like family to me).

You have a front row view to my life as a college senior as I reflect back to all the memories that have made me who I am, the experiences that have placed me here today, and the thrilling months still to come ahead.  Welcome to my blog! 

Handy-Dandy College Tips

As is my annual tradition, this last blog before the end of the semester is going to be all about what I have learned this past year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University! I am nearly finished with my junior year, and even though I thought I learned everything there is to know about ERAU last year, I somehow managed to learn even more about college life this year! So here it goes, my little gems of knowledge that I have collected this past year:

1.  Always be prepared (time-wise and otherwise) for emergencies (such as a broken down car) and realize that it does eventually happen to everyone. No one is immune to bad luck, unfortunately.

2.  The SGA Office in the Student Union has a free candy drawer, and when you’re lucky, there are sometimes Goldfish. Take advantage of this as often as you can!

3.  There are always going to be blocks on your schedule that you have to remove before you can actually register for classes. Don’t wait for the day of registration to go see your advisor! Chances are, everyone else and their dogs are going to be waiting in line too and you probably won’t get all of the classes you wanted.

4.  Join as many clubs as you can. There are awesome clubs like Zumba Club, Poker Club, Harry Potter Club, Sky-Diving Club, Ballroom Dancing Club, and so many more! You get to make new friends and the activities are always fun!

5.  As weird as this sounds, you should actually look at the fliers posted around campus in passing. Sometimes there are awesome under-the-radar activities going on that are not widely broadcasted.

6.  Don’t hesitate to go to Health Services when you’re sick. Even though school and homework are so important, staying healthy is important too! Don’t put off your health because you’re busy! (Such as so many other lessons in life, I had to learn this lesson the hard way!)

7.  There is not one single way to get ANYWHERE on campus. All the sidewalks are like zigzags, so don’t waste your time standing at the crossroads wondering which route is faster. Just pick one and chances are you’ll get to class on time.

8.  The quiet room in the library is a great place to study, especially when you don’t want to be bothered by tons of people making noise! However, if you’re a library-style-social-butterfly, the top floor is where you can study while you hang out with friends (hello, study groups!).

9.  Take advantage of being able to sleep in (yes, sleeping until eight is considered sleeping in!) In the real, working world, you don’t get that luxury!

10.  Take chances! Don’t be so risk averse that you miss out on all the fun and miss out on awesome memories. College life is the best kind, so make sure to enjoy it while you can, because it sure flies by!

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

-Ferris Bueller

One last thing before summer: Finals.

With the end of the semester approaching, one things stands between students and summer: finals. It is amazing how one word strikes fear in the eyes of most students. However, instead of dwelling on the negatives, I would like to briefly tell you about my classes this past semester!

First off is Principles of Management, which our professor is also a business consultant. I really enjoyed this course. I have always found that managing things (marching band as drum major in high school or senior patrol leader in boy scouts both having 100+ members) to be fun and interesting and this is basically what the course was! The next class after a lecture was a case study or an exercise that followed the same concepts that were in the chapter, but applied to real-life situations that sometimes our Professor dealt with! That really but a unique spin on the course.

Next is Flight Physiology which was very interesting to learn about how the various parts of the body relate to a flight environment and how the body can provide illusions that lead to spatial disorientation!

Aircraft Performance was a great class, technical, but helpful. The big project of the semester was to do a paper on an aircraft and make performance charts based off of the data that you found. This was difficult, but it was a great learning tool of how the various bits of data change the parameters of an aircraft’s performance!

Lastly, I took Turbine Engines. I really did not know hardly anything about a turbine engine before taking the class, and now, I know so much that I can get nerdy around one! This was basically the professors goal – to beat the turbine information into our heads so we can be intelligent when talking about turbines. The big thing is this class was the term paper on a turbine engine of our choice. I chose mine to be the PW150A, which is found on the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400. And surely enough, I know that engine inside and out!

Overall, this semester was great. I learned a lot in each class (I know this sounds cliche, but I am completely serious!). I mainly took a lot of core classes for my major this semester and I am pleased with the education I have received thus far! Next week is finals, then I can enjoy the relaxing and fun summer! If you have finals, or midterms coming up, may you have the best of luck!

Junior Year: (Almost) Complete!

It’s crunch time once more. Finals are coming up next week, and just thinking about it ties my stomach up in nervous knots. On the bright side, IT’S ALMOST SUMMER! All college kids love when summer comes around! Here in beautiful Prescott, AZ, the weather could not be any more perfect. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, a cool summer breeze blows through the trees… and all the Riddle kids are cramming in the library for hours. Figures. I feel nocturnal during finals week, because I literally come out of the library only when it’s dark and time to go home to sleep. So, to take a break from studying, I am going to blog about my final impressions on the classes I took this past semester.

Social Psychology was great. My professor was so fun, and she teaches the subject really well! I love psychology classes, and this one did not leave me disappointed. We learned so much about people’s behaviors and thought processes. It will really come in handy in my job someday! Chinese class was also a lot of fun. I feel like I have learned so much about the language and the culture! I’m excited to continue to take it next fall. Quantitative Methods II was interesting; business Calculus for a GSIS major? Sure, why not? Intelligence and Technology was also a fun class to take. We learned all about spy gadgets and satellites and cool shenanigans having to do with technology. Yes, we did learn about the cool stuff like:

…concealed transmitters…

…lipstick pistols…

…and hidden cigarette cameras! Awesome, right?

International Relations was also really interesting. We learned a lot of theories concerning international relations, including Realism, Neo-Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, and more! And what’s better is that we are reading a book in class called “Theories of International Politics and Zombies“. It is a really awesome book describing how the different international theories would come into play if there was a zombie outbreak! It is definitely epic.

I’ll never pass up an opportunity to put a picture of Michael Jackson and his horde of the undead into a post. So here it is. And the best part is, it has to do with International Relations! Excellent.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed all of these classes, I would have to say that my favorite class this semester was Microeconomics with Dr. Carreras. He is an AMAZING professor. I have learned so much from him, and it turns out that I’m pretty good at microeconomics, too! I am one of the few students that has taken the class to get 100 percent on one of Dr. Carreras’s exams. I’m pretty happy about that!

So, all in all, this semester has been one wild ride. I can’t believe how going to school can feel so slow at times, and other times it just whizzes by! Only two more semesters left until I’m an Embry-Riddle graduate! WOOHOO! Everyone out there reading this, study hard! You can do it! There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, you just gotta get there!

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.”


Life Changing Decisions

When life throws you lemons…sometimes you don’t have enough time to make lemonade, but you should definitely make the best of it! This semester has thrown many curve balls my way, and somehow I am still getting through it all. The most important thing to remember is to weigh all your options when you have to make life changing decisions.

When my grandmother passed away in January, I was very close to breaking down and dropping out of school, but I knew that was not the right choice. Even though life would have been easier if I moved back with my family in California, I would not grow and be ready to start my own life by peddling backwards. I needed to continue to go to school so I can get my degree. I have already come this far, and I am more than half way through it.

I also got a newer car since my older car was having a lot of mechanical problems. Having a new car payment made it very difficult to pay all my bills and eventually I had to find a full time job. Unfortunately, there were no openings in Prescott, so I had to land a managerial job down in the valley, near Phoenix. This means I had to either drive back and forth to work, but be closer to school or I would have to move down to the valley and drive up to school. I figured, living in the valley would give me a lot more options, especially once I am out of school, so I decided to move down to the valley. Once summer hits, I won’t have to commute to school, so it will be highly worth the move. And next semester I only have Tues & Thurs classes, so it won’t be too difficult to keep up with going to classes.

Even though I have been very stressed out this semester and I have wanted to quit, I keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it in the end and everything happens for a reason. Losing my grandma has been the hardest trial in my life, but I know there is a bigger reason as to why this was her time to go. Unfortunately, I also lost my uncle recently and my spouse in now Brazil, taking care of his ill mother and spending time with family. He will be gone all summer, so I guess taking on this full time job had been my life saver. The best way to get over loneliness and a death in the family is to keep busy. Having a full time job and going to school full time has helped me to stay busy and has kept my mind straight.

I know some people would have done things differently than I, but I feel this was the best option for me. My advice to anyone going through life changing decisions and/or problems is to try to stop for a second and think about your future. Where do you want to be in your near future and how about further down the road? I realized that if I dropped out of school I would be very disappointed in myself further down the road. I also feel that the move has given me a change of scenery and there is a lot more to do down here in the valley.

Never give up on your dreams and always think through your decisions.

Preparation for the Penultimate

The penultimate challenge for Army ROTC students here at ERAU is the JFTX we embark on tomorrow. It comes right after the dreaded Record APFT (final pt test) and before the even more dreaded finals week. We leave tomorrow morning and expect freezing temperatures, frigid wind chills and possibly even some blisters. All in all, its no big deal compared to the real training and hardcore tactics that the Army really does, but for us juniors this is a big test before our final test at LDAC this summer.This whole week has been devoted to preparing for it and trying to cope with all the other schoolwork we are dealing with. I tried discussing with Liesl Hall about some topics in our class but by this time in the semester the competition in classes becomes rather intense, so Liesl and many others become more introverted so as to protect their grades and dignity while studying for finals. It’s a nature cycle of the ERAU college student, but by now I am used to it, and used to Liesl’s sly and silly behavior. We have just finished numerous papers and projects and I even took part in helping some friends with a project about a female terrorist group. My friends Gianna, Casey and Teri were working on a project for the best class ever, History of Terrorism, taught by Professor Austen, and I helped a bit on their project and watched them present.
Now it is getting late and I planned on writing a lot more, but its time to prepare mentally for one of the last challenges of junior year. I can’t believe I’m almost a senior. I am going to say right now that next year my academic schedule will be more relaxed and I’m gonna have all the fun I couldn’t have the first semester of this year and all the other times school and other stuff got in the way!

Diamondback’s game!

Opening day, the official start to the 162-game baseball season, made tons of fans happy as they watched their favorite teams play America’s favorite pastime game! For me, my favorite team is the Anaheim Angles (or to be politically correct, the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem). However, I was not home to watch them play.

Instead, I went to watch the Arizona Diamondback’s play the San Francisco Giants on the second day of opening weekend! Embry-Riddle offers students fun activities to participate in throughout the year and the Dback’s game was one of them. It was only $5 to go! We took the university van’s down to Chase Field and had a blast! We got there an hour and a half early, so we had time to walk around the stadium.

The stadium with the roof closed before game time.

I made sure to get a bag of peanuts, because what is a baseball game without the peanuts! About 30 minutes before the start of the game they opened the movable roof! Here’s what the stadium looks like when it is open!

 I know I was wearing the wrong shirt for the day, but I was supporting the Angels as they were playing at the same time.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Michael Oher, who is the guy the movie ‘The Blind Side’ is based off of! Anyways, the game was great and the Dback’s won 5 to 4! It was a lot of fun and I cannot wait until Riddle goes to another game!