Scuba Diving with Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation in Greece

by Tristan Richardson, Forensic Biology

The Forensic Biology degree program at Embry-Riddle contains coursework and skills that are relevant to a wide variety of fields, as I discovered this summer. I have considered many career paths during my time at this university, as the major is diverse in its applications.

This summer I decided to branch out into Marine Biology, as I have always had an interest in this field and have experience as a Scuba Diver. I knew that I would love to have an experience that was truly international, as I hope to someday work abroad. For these reasons, I chose to Intern with Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation, located in the islands of Samos and Lipsi, Greece. This incredible location opened my eyes to the diversity of options completing field work and has helped me to narrow down my career path.

With this internship I was able to shadow and learn from graduate students from all over Europe, as well as work on my own long-term project. My project assisted with the recovery, protection, and replanting of the seagrass species Posidonia oceanica, an important environmental engineer. This project took nearly 2 months to complete, culminating in me leading the replanting action day with the assistance of 10 other interns and supervisors. With great autonomy, I could also assist with multiple other projects and surveys when my schedule allowed, including those regarding Environmental DNA, mapping of Pinna nobilis, and the impacts of microplastics. Filling out weekly reports and completing presentations for this internship also greatly prepared me for employment in the field.

All my coursework at Embry-Riddle assisted me with the completion of this internship. The knowledge of the research process and the understanding provided by the biology courses and technical report writing came into great use. Being able to use the knowledge one has learned in the classroom proved to be very rewarding. I am very happy with what I’ve done during this internship, and I believe this internship will greatly help me with upcoming classes, as I now have a greater background and expanded knowledge base with which to solve problems.

Rolenn Manufacturing Internship Inspecting Medical Devices

by Daisy Hatcher, Forensic Biology

This summer I interned at Rolenn Manufacturing, Inc. from May to July. Rolenn is a medical device manufacturing company that specializes in making parts for medical devices and implants. They work with many customers internationally making parts for devices that will eventually help save people’s lives. My role at Rolenn Manufacturing was an inspector. As an inspector, we have to inspect all the parts that are shipped by Rolenn. My specific role as an inspector was to inspect a part known as 60000591-001, known as 591’s for short. This part is extremely small, with a diameter of about 1.880 mm to 1.910 mm to be exact.

I also learned the process of the stages of inspection and how to fill out the related Quality Assurance paperwork. While I only did the final inspection for the parts at Rolenn, I did learn the overall process of production and inspection. I was trained and involved in the inspection and shipping part of the process. Inspection involved using a microscope and computer to measure dimensions of very small parts. Once the parts were inspected, they were cleaned and shipped with 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% deionized water. The parts were then weighed and averaged to make sure the correct amount was being packaged and sent to the customer.

To complete the process, the parts are shipped by the inspection department along with all the associated quality assurance paperwork. I learned that it takes many people and pieces of a puzzle to ft together to have this process run smoothly. The classes I have taken at Embry-Riddle really prepared me for work assignments. At Rolenn, we had to keep up with due dates which parts had to be shipped out. Organizational skills and rules I learned int he lab helped me to prepare for this internship.

My experience with the cooperative education/internship program at Embry-Riddle was great. All of the assignments made sure I was getting the most out of my internship experience and helped me along the way. The learning objectives we had to prepare beforehand were extremely helpful in guiding me in the direction I wanted to go throughout this internship. They allowed me to set goals that I wanted to achieve while interning and kept me accountable. The reports have allowed me to share what I have learned over the summer. I enjoyed everything that came with this internship and it showed me that I am more than ready to start a career working in a lab environment.

Internship at Lemuel Martinez’s 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office

by Dante Gurule, Forensic Biology

On the summer of May 2019 I interned at the Lemuel Martinez’s 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There is a DA office in each of the three counties including Sandoval, Cibola and Valencia. I worked for Sandoval County as it was the closest to my house. At the DA office there are many attorneys that work under Lemuel Martinez. These attorneys represent the State in criminal cases for all cases whether it be a felony or misdemeanor offense. During this internship I got to assist these attorneys with building case files, as well as observe them in both the District court, for felony offenses, and Magistrate court, for misdemeanor and below offenses. In preparing cases I would work with the different legal assistants and take on my own cases as I would prepare them for a variety of attorneys. Most cases I prepared were domestic violence cases including battery, deprivation of property, violation of restraining orders, etc.

The Sandoval District Attorney’s Office

The majority of my classes for my forensic biology degree did not provide much knowledge for this internship as my degree has a heavier emphasis on the sciences. However, the mock trials done in both my Instrument Analysis and Trace Evidence class as well as my Investigative Methods and Forensics Science class allowed me to understand the procedures and components of a trial. My Intro to US Legal System and US history classes gave me a good foundational understanding of our laws and constitution. I think it’s important to note I am yet to take the procedural law class for my degree which would have been very useful. I think my class work did show me the importance of forensics in law and how they coincide.

This internship was important for both my career and educational plans. After I graduate I plan to go to law school and this internship at the DA office not only introduced me to what Attorneys do but also allowed me to put my foot in the door to intern again with them while in Law School so I could get more hands on work with the Attorneys. This internship was overall a great experience and I am glad I got to work there.

The Magistrate Courthouse
Sandoval County District Court

Opportunities with Honors

I’m Alexis Hepburn from Lake Stevens, Washington. For the past three years at Embry-Riddle, I have devoted myself to engagement with my campus community through mentorship, leadership, and research. As an Honors Program student on the research track, I have been able to cultivate my newly formed skills as a future Aerospace Engineer. The Embry-Riddle staff and faculty foster an environment of academic rigor, engaging hands-on experiences, and the potential to grow personally and professionally. The Embry-Riddle family continually rises to the challenge of providing the optimal undergraduate career.

In the late spring of 2018, I contacted Dr. Daniel White in order to pursue a potential mentor relationship. His experience in electric propulsion both in industry and an academic setting supported and aligned with my longtime interests. Upon our first interaction, he encouraged me to visit his office so we could begin a research project of our own. I was amazed at his openness and enthusiasm to teach me the things that I’d been missing, having previously been solely dependent on scholarly literature. With his assistance, we began working on a single-stage bismuth fed stationary plasma thruster.

A stationary plasma thruster is a form of electric propulsion used most often on satellites for long duration missions. The fuel source is usually an inert gas which is heated to the point of becoming a plasma. The engine operates via energizing and ejecting the plasma with help from the Hall Effect, which describes the relationship between an electric and a magnetic field. 

Work station

After a few short weeks of preliminary work sessions filled with whiteboard ‘chicken scratch’, spreadsheet configurations, and computer-generated models, we were ready to submit our proposal to the Undergraduate Research Institute (URI). URI is an unparalleled resource for students because it allows them to pursue their research interests in a supportive and resource-laden environment.

3D Model of the assembled engine

The Embry-Riddle professors are confident in their students and therefore, Dr. White encouraged me to submit our preliminary design to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) national Energy and Propulsion Forum in August. Upon acceptance to this conference, I will now have the opportunity to present and publish my research among some of the industry’s leaders. I will have the context to grow my network, represent my university, and display my work among future colleagues.

One of the benefits to Honors Program students is that we are invited to apply for awards, fellowships, and scholarships through the National Collegiate Honors Council. This year, I was thankful to have been accepted as a 2019 Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship recipient, where I will seek to address the potential improvements for miniaturized Hall thrusters for long duration satellite missions.

I owe much of my success and appreciation to my mentor, Dr. White, who has continuously gone above and beyond during the planning and development of this research. I would also like to thank the Honors Program Director, Dr. Boettcher for her continued interest in my success which was often delivered in well-timed encouragement and constructive critiques. Finally, this would not have been possible without the patience and diligence of the machinists, rapid prototyping lab technicians, research librarians, and the College of Engineering administrators.

Find me on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexis-hepburn

Designing a Container to Transport Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser

At the beginning of the school year, Chris Raatz pitched a Capstone project working with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The project was to work with the Ground Operations (Ground Ops) team out of Louisville Colorado, the team he had been a part of for his internship that summer. The Ground Operations team wanted an ERAU Capstone team to fully design and validate a container to be used to transport the Uncrewed Dream Chaser (UDC). The team was then selected and formed, and a team lead was chosen. Maggie Mueller became the team lead, with team members Chris Raatz, Madison Sartain and James Robinson. From there the team had to brainstorm ideas for what the container would look like. Weekly phone calls with the Ground Ops team helped to define the project and hone in on what the container needed to accomplish. The first iteration of the container, called the UDC Transport Cover (UTC), was a simple box with a draw-bridge door.

First iteration of the UTC

This was the design that the team presented at the Preliminary Design Review in December. This project is under a Non-Disclosure Agreement with the company, so the presentation was only open to ERAU faculty. Shortly after this presentation, in late January 2019, several members of the Ground Ops team decided to come visit us and work with us for a few days on the project. This was very beneficial to the project as well as to the team members to be able to work with professional engineers and get feedback. The design was going well after this, however, the week before spring break, the Ground Ops team decided that they needed to change the concept of operations for how the UTC would be loaded. They told the team that instead of using a door, they would like to crane the payload in, which meant that the top five sides needed to be removable. At this point in time the UTC had changed slightly to have barn doors and chamfered edges.

Second iteration of the UTC

This was a difficult change for the team, however we faced it head-on, with the knowledge that big changes would be passed down to us in our engineering careers and we would have to find a way to figure it out. At this point, James and Chris were able to take a trip to visit with another company that is designing a piece of equipment that has to interface with the UTC. This meeting with Fulcrum Engineering in Fort Worth Texas was very informative and helpful in order to get the redesign on the proper track. After several weeks of working the redesign, the newest model has chamfered edges and a separate floor plate.

Newest iteration of the UTC

The team also designed, constructed and tested a four foot square container with a unit cell of the UTC wall in order to figure out what the heat transfer through the wall will be. The UTC has to be able to control its environment due to the fact that it is transporting spaceflight hardware. Being able to get our hands dirty with welding, cutting, insulation and assembly was great!

The team also had to opportunity at the beginning of April to travel to the SNC office in Colorado to spend two days working with the Ground Ops team and getting feedback on the redesign. The Ground Ops team was very helpful in ensuring that we had all different types of engineers from structural to heat transfer to electrical to meet with to ensure we could get all of our questions answered. The office is very nice and the people are great to work with. We also got to see the test article that was dropped at Edwards Air Force Base and successfully landed on the runway (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDEKSPOLXAc).

The ERAU team at SNC (left to right: AJ Bradley (SNC), James Robinson, Chris Raatz, Maggie Mueller, Madison Sartain, Kelly Diaz (SNC))

For the remainder of the semester the team will be working to complete the design and finish up the details of the container. We are excited to send our design to SNC for final review and for it to be built and used to aid in the mission of the Dream Chaser!

ERAU Students Perform at Chinese New Year Celebration

Happy Chinese New Year, Year of the Pig, from ERAU’s Chinese Program! The date this year is Feb. 5th.

On January 26th, ERAU’s Chinese program, Choirs, and Project Pengyou Eagle Chapter successfully co-organized and performed at the Chinese New Year Gala at the Chandler Center for the Arts. This is the 3rd year in row ERAU presented at the biggest celebration show organized by Eastern Arts Academy for traditional Lunar New Year in the Phoenix and Chandler area. Arizona Senator John Kavanagh, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke, a Representative from the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, and our own Vice Chancellor Dr. Rhonda Capron attended the event. In addition to over 40 ERAU students, around 20 ERAU student parents, relatives, and Prescott community members were also in attendance.

Sixteen students in Dr. Hong Zhan’s classes and three students from the ERAU Choirs presented a fabulous show. In front of 1,500 people, Ben Robinson, a student in Dr. Zhan’s literature class led a recitation of contemporary poetry, entitled Nostalgia, followed by a very famous Chinese song: Admiring the Ocean. The song was led by three ERAU Choir singers: Rachael Bradshaw, Hannah Bryner, and Rebekah Bryner. Our students’ performance and their high level of Chinese proficiency were highly praised by the show directors and audience members. As one director commented, “when listening to ERAU students reciting poetry, I could not tell that they have foreigner’s accent in their pronunciation.”

Our students had great time at the event, starting with authentic Chinese food supported by Project Pengyou Eagle Chapter. Students enjoyed the Chinese performing arts, and appreciated the opportunity to see how Chinese people organize an event and communicate in real life. This event helped them understand the foundations of Chinese culture.

Thank you to Dr. Matt Haslam, the HU/COM department chair, for supporting transportation to the event. Many thanks to the Project Pengyou Eagle Chapter for providing the funding that allowed students to enjoy authentic Chinese food.

Thanks to Mr. Johnathan McNeely, ERAU Music Coordinator, for directing the song.

Last, but not least, thanks to Dr. Rhonda Capron, our own Vice Chancellor, for attending the event to support our students on site.

Photos provided by engineering student Ken Crawford (a GSIS/Chinese student), Mark Dehoff, and others.