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.

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

by Dante Gurule, Forensic Biology

In 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

Chloeleen’s Internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The sign right at the entrance to JPL.

During the summer of 2018, I had the privilege to work as an intern at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). It has been a lifelong dream of mine to work at JPL and I got to live it as a part of the Integration and Test team on the Mars Helicopter Project (which will be headed to space on the Mars 2020 mission).

This is a model of the helicopter that was brought out for a presentation at JPL about the project.

You may think “Wow, she must have done a lot to get an internship at JPL!”. However, my resume was as built as any inexperienced college student. One thing to keep in mind is don’t dismiss activities or projects done in high school; an engineering project I did in high school is what caught my JPL mentors’ attention when they decided to contact me for a phone interview.

One my first day, I was extremely overwhelmed because the project was well underway, and I needed to catch up. My mentors were very understanding and welcomed any questions I had throughout my internship. I was tasked with assisting with testing as well as writing procedures for future tests.

Outside the lab where they did the shock testing that I participated in.

Aside from work, JPL held several activities for interns the entire summer, like speaker events, short movie series, and facility tours. My most exciting experiences as an intern were: (1) participating in the NASA Summer Intern Challenge, (2) being interviewed for an article highlighting some projects at JPL, (3) participating and watching any Mars Helicopter test activities.

This picture was taken early on in my internship. This was my original carpool group.

One thing I learned from my experiences at Embry-Riddle is to be patient because hard work and a little luck will pay off. I’ve had some hard semesters where I thought I wouldn’t make it through a class, but I studied hard and got the grade I needed on the finals. The curriculum that was most helpful to me during my internship at JPL was Technical Report Writing. While different JPL projects have their own formatting requirements, I used what I learned to section the procedures I was writing, make sure that the steps were detailed, and ensured that there was enough information for each step with images, callouts, and tables.

This picture is the mission control for space flight operations. It is where NASA’s Deep Space Network is operated. It was named after the former director of JPL, Charles Elachi. The room
right next to this one is the room that JPL broadcasts from for mission landings, like the
Insight Landing that happened in November.

Logan Skurdal’s DRAM Product Engineering Internship with Micron Technology

Over the past two summers I have had the privilege of interning at Micron Technology, a world leader in innovative memory solutions, in my home town Boise, Idaho. Let’s just say there is a reason I went back a second time – working there is awesome!

During my internship I was a DRAM Product Engineer working on designing test programs and gathering component-level data to detect errors and debug DRAM modules. The techniques and application of many design tactics and programming practices that I have learned over my first three years at Embry-Riddle helped me immensely during this time. For example, my knowledge of circuit theory from my Linear Circuits course and lab directly translated to a quick understanding of a DRAM module and what to look for when one of the modules wasn’t passing tests. In addition, my classes in coding (such as C and MATLAB) helped me quickly pick up Python, the language I used over the summer to develop and contribute to programs already being used throughout the department.

Picture of myself (middle), my supervisor (left), and mentor (right) down in our lab.

Work at Micron was also made much easier by the great group of people I was surrounded by each day. Over a simple 3 month period (6 months including last internship) I met multiple people who I still keep in contact with today and genuinely treasure as some of my good friends. A couple of times a month we would all get together and play board games and simply have a great time. Along with getting to work on some great and emerging technology, these connections with my coworkers are a reason why I highly recommend Micron as a place for anybody to work at and/or get an internship for a fantastic summer!

Jumping in to an internship can be a scary experience. However, I can honestly say I was well prepared through the help of my coursework from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I am look forwarding to learning as much as I can my last year here at ERAU so I can be the best engineer possible!

Picture of all the interns at Micron for summer 2018

International Internship with Vive Peru

The forensic biology program has so many possible career options, which may cause some difficulty in finding an internship if a career path is uncertain. Thankfully I have always known I wanted to work in the medical field so this was the perfect internship for me. My internship with Vive Peru combined my love of travel with my desire to learn more about the medical field. With this program, I was able to shadow doctors from several different specialties in multiple hospitals and clinics in Trujillo, Peru, assist with large medical campaigns, and volunteer in a small community adjacent to Trujillo.

Embry-Riddle Forensic Biology student travels to Peru to assist in vaccinations

Due to the nature of the program, shadowing doctors in hospitals in a foreign country, it was very structured and the only decisions I could make was which doctor I wanted to shadow that day. However, creativity could be used for the volunteer efforts. I could do all of the decision making for what activities we were going to do with the children we worked with, with only one constraint: the activity had to be related to public health. Due to the structure of the program, the learning objectives were set out for each of the hospitals we visited based on what the previous volunteers experienced in the past.

My microbiology course at ERAU was beyond helpful when working in the lab and explaining what was going on to my interpreter who did not understand any medical or biological sciences. I was able to point out differences between the way the labs run in Peru versus what we were taught in class. Many of the differences throughout the hospitals and clinics, not just in the labs, were due to lack of funding and supplies. It was definitely a culture shock to see the lack of sanitation and sterilization, but that only happened because they did not have enough supplies to use a new set of gloves or dental tools or even agar plates for each patient.

I am so grateful for this internship and opportunity. Peru was a beautiful place with beautiful people. The program does an amazing job of connecting volunteers with the community and making a real difference in the community. Many of the patients at the free medical campaigns said the only go see the doctors when these medical campaigns were held as they could not afford to see a doctor otherwise. The children in the community where I volunteered are so grateful for us and were so sad to see us leave. Learning about medicine and watching doctors work was amazing but seeing the change that my contribution made to the community was much more fulfilling.

Forensic Biology Student Internship at Prescott Animal Hospital

As an undergraduate student, finding internships in the medical field can be tough; most medical facilities are unable to grant undergraduate students an internship because they already have contracts with medical schools. Knowing this, I approached my biology professor, Dr. Eaton, to see if she had any creative ideas for an internship. I was pleased to hear that she had several and the one that popped out to me most was an internship at an animal hospital. Before I knew it, I was sitting in the office of the office manager at Prescott Animal Hospital discussing internship timelines and objectives.

My Embry-Riddle Forensic Biology internship at the Prescott Animal Hospital

The way we decided to design my internship experience was to start with simpler tasks and work my way up. This gave me ample opportunity to get to know the hospital and to really get the most out of my experience. I spent time in patient rooms, lab, radiology, dental, and finally worked my way up to the surgical suite.

Each area was exciting for me and I learned something new every day– whether it was something medical or about the equipment or myself or individual patients. Although I enjoyed each aspect of my internship, my favorite part was the surgical suite. Dr. Skinner was the surgeon I followed almost exclusively and he made the surgical experience exciting and loaded with information to learn. Dr. Skinner took the time to explain each task he performed whether it was which suture he used or the direction in which he cut the surgical site. I couldn’t be more thankful for the time I spent in surgery with Dr. Skinner; he was a wealth of information and experience. One of my favorite parts of surgery was that even when everything was planned and carefully thought out, if the body (after being opened up) showed that it required a different plan of action Dr. Skinner and his colleagues were able to assess the situation and revise any techniques. This took constant vigilance and it was amazing to see the gears in the doctors’ head turning in order to figure out a solution.

After the summer of working at the animal hospital and confirming my love for surgical medicine, I was thankful for all the experiences ERAU gave me to prepare me for my time at the hospital. Because of the classes I took at Riddle, I was able to be a part of the conversation and understand the terminology being used. I am so grateful for all I learned and hope other students are able to experience something so wonderful as my time spent at Prescott Animal Hospital!

Playing in the Dirt

Stage One of making a fuse bead on the fusion machine – Heating

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.

One of the days I was particularly dirty from mixing cement samples for testing.

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).

Stage Two – Mixing

Stage Three – Setting Into Molds

The Final Product

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.

The materials necessary throughout the cement making process

The heating tower viewed from the cement silo

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 Internship at the Endophyte Service Lab at Oregon State University

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.

My Internship at McCarran International Airport

by guest blogger Gleb A. Liashedko, Sophomore (class of 2019)
Aviation Business Administration (minor in Industrial Organizational Psychology)

gleb-carThis 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.

gleb-flight-deckIn 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.

gleb-doorWhat 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.

gleb-funAs 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.

Internship at Garmin

ryan-airplaneby guest blogger Ryan Bishop, Senior in Engineering

“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.
ryan-equipmentryan-desk       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. ryan-cable 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.
ryan-garmin        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, ryan-awesomemy 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.

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