This week, #ERAUColton takes us to the wind tunnel, a photo shoot with the Prescott mayor, adventures in the Prescott snow, and gives us a sneak peek at his AE capstone project!
Want to know what life is like on campus and in Prescott from a student’s perspective? Join Aeronautical Engineering (AE) student Colton Campbell every Tuesday as he takes us through his spring semester! You can also follow his adventures at #ERAUColton
I rarely paid much attention to the concrete in my everyday life, except to determine whether or not it would be there to catch me if gravity decided to work. I knew that it came from a mixture of what I thought was dirt and water, and that it was used to build things like skyscrapers, bridges, and sidewalks. Little did I know that this “dirt” was actually cement, and that people’s lives depend on how well it was made.
This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work for a cement plant as a quality control intern, learning the chemical and physical components that goes into making cement. This internship was designed to further my knowledge in my degree program, forensic biology. Though the two seem unrelated, the education I received in my courses, both in the lab and in the classroom, proved invaluable to learning and utilizing the chemistry used to make cement. In return, working at a cement plant provided important lessons that I can apply for the rest of my life.
My first few weeks at the cement plant consisted of training and obtaining my miner’s certification through MSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration. I learned the layout of the plant, safety procedures, and how cement was made. This process has many steps, and each of these steps are tested and adjusted to ensure that the cement will be of good quality, as determined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
There is physical testing, which requires making and testing concrete made from the cement, and chemical testing, which is done to check the actual composition of the cement. I mainly focused on the chemical testing. I learned how to manipulate various reactions to gather information, something I did in my chemistry courses at ERAU. These results were actually recorded and used, so I learned how important thoroughness and accuracy is in real-world applications.
I learned how to work in a professional environment, and how important it is to be able to critically think and solve problems. It was an experience I enjoyed!
My summer at the Endophyte Service Lab at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon has been an enlightening and very knowledgeable experience. This opportunity has provided me with the experience to greatly increase my knowledge and understanding of skills in the areas of chemistry, toxicology, and teamwork, as well as closely relate to my future aspirations of becoming a forensic biologist.
Working with these professionals as well as other students who have common interests with me in achieving their goals has been extremely knowledgeable and eye-opening as to what my future career entails. I have learned many helpful lab skills and techniques that would relate to an actual forensic analyst’s career as well as how to use machines such as Mass Spectrometry and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and Fluorescence, as well as extraction techniques and finally how to analyze the data they generate.
My job was to perform extractions of lolitrem B, ergovaline, and ergotamine mycotoxins from various grasses used for feeding livestock. The process for one extraction typically took about 3 hours and involved a lot of micropipetting, centrifugation, and drying of solvents on an N-Vap instrument. Measurements had to be extremely precise to obtain accurate results since it was on a microliter level. One tiny little air bubble could ruin the rest of the process and generate inaccurate results!
If it weren’t for the practice and knowledge I obtained from my courses at Embry-Riddle, such as Foundations of Biology 1 and 2, General Chemistry 1 and 2, Organic Chemistry 1 and 2, Microbiology, and Genetics, I would have never been prepared for the massive amounts of micropipetting I had to perform as well as any of the terminology or basic skills needed to achieve good results at my job. My courses gave me the confidence to be successful at the Endophyte Service Lab, and my experience in the lab gave me the confidence and knowledge to further pursue a forensic biology degree.
by guest blogger Gleb A. Liashedko, Sophomore (class of 2019)
Aviation Business Administration (minor in Industrial Organizational Psychology)
This summer I interned at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, Nevada. LAS is the 8th busiest airport in the nation and is the hub into Las Vegas. I was hired on as a “Management Intern” for the airport. My supervisor was the Assistant Director of Aviation for Airside Operations.
This experience has been an incredible look into the “behind the scenes of an airport.” Throughout the summer, I had a unique opportunity to shadow most of airport divisions. Every week was a different department and a different shift. My favorite divisions were: Airport Operations Coordinators, the Airport Control Center as well as LAS Ramp Control.
In addition to shadowing airport divisions, I also did a few projects for the airport:
• Holding Pads Refurbishment Project – I connected the resources together to come up with a plan on how the airport plans to replace asphalt holding pads to concrete. In the end made a presentation and timeline for the FAA, Airport Operations Coordinators, Airfield Maintenance as well as the contractors involved.
• Everbridge presentation to the airport director – Researched a new program that the Airport Control Center wants to utilize for their mass notification communication and created a presentation that was presented to the airport director.
• Assisted in the implementation of the airport-wide survey for nearly 1,400 employees. Also participated in physically conducing the survey.
• Conducted a Ramp Control Efficiency Study for the airport which provided written recommendations for the FAA as well as LAS Ramp Control to improve operations. Provided statistical data of the ramp control efficiency. Conducted this study with my Intern counterpart Adin Herzog.
How did I get selected?
I heard about the opportunity from Dr. Greenman from the Business Department. After I submitted my application, LAS immediately reached out to me to schedule an interview. I reached out to the Career Services (Judy Segner) who critiqued my resume and gave me great advice for the interview. The interview was conducted via Facetime. Interview went very well especially because two Embry-Riddle alumni were on the interview committee.
Did I apply any learning from ERAU?
There were a few moments during the summer where I thought to myself “Oh, I wish I would have paid more attention to this particular topic in class.” Every single class that I took my freshmen year had been applicable to the work that I did—especially excel. If I can recommend something for future interns,k it’s pay attention in your excel class, you’re going to use it one way or another.
I was able to apply my research skills on a few projects throughout the semester. The biggest project of the summer had been the McCarran International Airport Ramp Control Efficiency Study. I conducted the study with my intern counter-part Adin Herzog. I had the ability to interview personnel, collect data and provide recommendations to the airport from the conclusion of the report.
What was the best part?
Having the ability to shadow every division of the airport and get real hands on experience. From driving on the runway during rush hour at nation’s 8th busiest airport to painting taxiway lines at 4am in the morning to giving aircraft pushback and taxi instructions from Ramp Control Tower.
What surprised me?
There were a lot of things that surprised me during my experience. Seeing behind, the scenes of an airport is a very rare opportunity. What surprised me the most is the airport culture. It’s like one big family. Everyone takes care of each other. A good example of this was on my birthday this summer. The supervisors/managers of the division I was with (Airside Operations) had called an important afternoon meeting. Because of the urgency that was emphasized, I hurried to the meeting with my notepad and pen. As I walk into the meeting, the entire room starts singing the Happy Birthday song to me. I was really happily shocked by this. After they were done singing, the Airfield Manager said: “Gleb, our only agenda item for today is your birthday and the ice cream cake!” This was really touching moment. How the people that I’ve known for such a short time went out of their way to get me a custom cake and arrange this little meeting just for me.
How does having an internship enhance my college experience?
Since coming back to school, I am now paying attention more to what my professors are teaching. If the professor says that you will use the learning obtained in class in the industry, I guarantee you will! I can also relate many of the things I learned back into the classroom. Time management, deadlines as well as peer interactions are some of the things which are important both in school and in the workplace. You must be able to work in a team while taking an initiative to go above and beyond with your work. Meeting deadlines is huge, especially when time is money.
As I start my sophomore year of college I can appreciate the learning in the classroom. I know that at some point in my career, the things that I will learn in the classroom (event little things) will be applicable to what happens in the workplace.
This has truly been an incredible experience. I would choose this over summer fun in a heartbeat. Definitely one of the best summers yet.
“Hardware eventually breaks. Software eventually works.”
Many analogies can be drawn from the above quote, but I would like to describe what it means to me. I have spent seven out of the last thirteen years trying to improve my software before the hardware broke. A blue-collar worker sells his physical body a little at a time, while a white-collar engineer sells his knowledge. Having knowledge and experience in both fields now, I have a new respect for engineers and a new drive for my future. I have learned that engineering is much more about how you think than anything learned in the classroom.
As of the beginning of this internship at Garmin, it was my objective to understand the certification process, and the internal processes and programs used at Garmin AT. While the process to certify a product for aviation use is rather simple, the act of gaining the data to support certification claims is a complex process that necessitates a department of 40+ engineers to gain and maintain certification. This is an internal process up to the point of FAA demonstration that requires many tools to remain organized. To track the revision of documents, I had to learn and utilize StarTeam, then do the same with Requiem, as Garmin changed programs during my stay. Issues found during testing were logged in Aviation JIRA, a network-based program that allows for categorization, assignment, and tracking of workflow. In an effort to share the tribal knowledge among its employees, Garmin uses a wiki page, Confluence. Meetings occur on a regular basis to discuss, categorize, and assign tasks, at both high and low levels.
The culture and community is unlike any company I’ve worked for. It is very apparent that Garmin values its employees for much more than just their productivity. Office life is very lax, but also considerate and respectful. There is little daily oversight or feedback, but rather a quiet expectation to accomplish tasks efficiently and in harmony with those you work with for a given project. Although I was an hourly employee, my schedule was up to me. I was not expected to work any number of hours, as long as my work was completed on time. I did have bi-weekly meetings with my mentor to monitor progress and ensure that I was getting the most of my internship.
Beyond the technical knowledge and skills I gained at Garmin, I also learned many things about myself and my place in the engineering workplace. As an aircraft mechanic, I was not very involved in avionics and I never became a pilot. I felt so very out of place working at an avionics giant. Although we all love airplanes, we speak in different terms. From this I’ve learned that specialization is key. We also speak at much different volumes. I am loud, in more ways than one and I know this. From this I’ve learned that if you’re going to be loud, try to do so outside of the visual and audible spectrum, or at least make it of pleasant tone and color. It was a very valuable experience for me and I have a direction for my future.