Forensic Biology Internship at the Phoenix Police Department

by Rachel Hammons

Hello everyone! My name is Rachel Hammons and I am a recent graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona majoring in Forensic Biology.

Me with a Kevlar bullet proof vest on during one of my ride-alongs where we met with DPS.

The summer after my graduation (2022) I had the opportunity to be an intern at the Phoenix Police Department. During my time at the department, I was fortunate to work under many advisors in numerous departments including the Community Engagement Bureau, the Phoenix Police Crime lab and the HR fiscal department. In total, I was working alongside officers, office workers and forensic scientist IV supervisors.

Coming into this internship, I had a better understanding of the forensic science aspect of law enforcement but I was able to gain more knowledge about the fieldwork that goes into responding to calls. During my time shadowing different departments, I was able to go on a helicopter ride along, patrol ride-alongs, shadow each specialty in the lab, conduct preliminary analysis of evidence, participate in community events and the POPAT, and shadow dispatch stations. I learned more about the whole process of a call in place, protocols in the lab and how evidence is properly handled. I am incredibly honored to announce as well that I was the first intern back in the laboratory since COVID (roughly 2 ½ years).

Overall, my education at Embry-Riddle has benefited me in this internship greatly. Classes that I felt were a significant help to my success in this program were Investigation Methods, Analysis & Trace Evidence, Forensic DNA, Courts & Criminal Justice and Intro to US Legal System. Each of these courses had a significant impact on my success. I felt that the law classes were beneficial when conducting ride-alongs and for handling paperwork and the science-based classes have been very helpful when touring the labs because I was provided with a basic understanding of each of the processes and how they impact each section.

This image was taken from the email sent out the entire Phoenix Police Laboratory.

This internship has had a positive impact on my choices for future career aspirations. Prior to the internship, I did not have an interest in the law enforcement/sworn side of investigations. During the internship, I was able to work with recruiters and partake in the POPAT that is required to enter the academy. Since I was an intern and college graduate, I was part of the first group of applicants to be tested using a traveling POPAT exam for recruiters to take on the road to test applicants. I was also able to take the standardized POPAT, and once I noticed I passed both, I knew this was a career I could lead into.

My top priority, though, is to still enter and work in the crime lab. I have been able to make many connections with forensic scientists and learned that many of them were volunteers themselves prior to being hired in the lab. This has provided me with reassurance that I am on the right track to being an official employee of the department.

With my major, I am confident in either of the two choices I have at hand since I have been prepared for success from Embry-Riddle.

Preparing for a Summer Internship During the Height of COVID-19

by Grace Day

Hi! My name is Grace Day, and I am a senior Aerospace Engineering student here at Embry-Riddle, Prescott. On campus, I am involved in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority as the former Member Development VP, the Membership VP, and most recently the Chapter Life VP. I also am a part of the Women’s Ambassador Program as the Treasurer and former Public Relations VP. I work part time (up to 25 hours a week) as a Campus Ambassador, a tour guide, for the admissions department and I am a TA/grader for a few engineering classes. On top of my work, full engineering course load, and some sleeping, I am also still a part time intern for Lockheed Martin Space in Waterton Canyon, Colorado.

I have spent my past summers as an engineering intern at companies like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin gaining valuable experience and making lifelong friends. I spent the summers after my freshman and sophomore years in Redondo Beach, California working as a Systems Engineering Intern for Northrop Grumman and this past summer as a System Engineering Intern for Lockheed Martin up in the Denver area. I was fortunate to be able to work in person during the pandemic, however it was a much different experience than my previous internships.

For starters, I was the only intern in my area while most of my coworkers were at least a few years out of college. Many people worked part time from home, but my work required I be in the office on special computers, meaning somedays I was the only one in until lunch. I also supported a very fast paced, always changing team that focused on system architecture. Architecting a space system is not an easy thing, it requires so much background knowledge and experience, something I did not have. Before the summer started, I reached out to my manager asking what I could do to best prepare for my summer in Denver. My manager suggested I learn a program called Systems Tool Kit, or STK. The program is a modeling software for any and all types of systems from airplanes, to submarines, to spacecraft. The company offers free online training and licenses for students and professionals, so I jumped on it right away. This was all right after COVID-19 shut down our university and allowed me a bit more free time to focus on learning STK.

STK offers three levels of training from a basic understanding of the software to very specific situation-based modeling protocols. I chose to do it all. The first certification took me about one week to learn and consisted of an 8-hour exam at the end. I passed this course and moved on the intermediate level, which took me a bit longer. Right before I started the second level STK posted a blog announcing the first 100 people to pass the exam would win a free t-shirt with the logo. I jumped right into the training and after two weeks of learning I took the next 8-hour exam and passed (and got my free t-shirt).

The last certification is student’s choice where you pick four of seven categories to master. The seven track options are Track 1: STK Essentials, Track 2: Analysis Workbench, Track 3: STK Coverage, Track 4: Aircraft, Track 5: Communications, Track 6: Spacecraft Trajectory, and Track 7: Space Environment. I chose to pursue tracks 3, 5, 6 and 7 because they were most applicable to my job and my interests. It took me about 4 days to student for each one and a 4-8 hour exam at the end. As I passed each one, I got a small cube, shown in the image. One I passed all four required for the last certification, I was awarded with the large glass cube, a certificate, a pin, and a lanyard.

Glass cube options from Analytical Graphics, Inc.

From doing this course, I was extremely prepared to go into my internship as a useful employee, and help my team win many proposals. Even now as a part time intern through this school year I have been able to help out whenever I can.

I just signed my full time offer to be a System Engineer at Lockheed Martin with my same team and am very excited to be moving up there in May of 2021! It has been an amazing almost four years here at Embry-Riddle and am so happy for the education I have.

Thank you so much for reading about preparing for internship during COVID-19!

From Embry-Riddle Student to Forensic Investigator

My name is Veronica Rodriguez. I am a senior majoring in Forensic Biology with a minor in Psychology. What made me interested in majoring in Forensic Biology was wanting to understand the fundamentals of forensics. I had the mentally that it is just like the television shows. Unfortunately, it was not what I had expected. It challenged me in so many ways. I am truly thankful for everything that I have learned with this major. It has taught me to work for the truth and to find the facts. I choose Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University due to its amazing reputation. It also has a great Biology and Chemistry Department that has been very supportive in the process. Throughout my courses at Embry-Riddle it has prepared me for one of the best experiences in my educational career.

In the summer of 2020, I was able to obtain an internship with Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office in Prescott Valley, Arizona. I was hired as an intern and my duties were to assist the medicolegal death investigators (MDIs) and the forensic pathologist. This office is unique since the MDIs not only investigate their cases and go to scenes but, they also help perform autopsies with the forensic pathologist as well. I was super nervous at first since I had no idea what to expect on my first day at the office.

After being more comfortable at the office, I attended death scenes and interacted with other law enforcement agencies to conduct proper investigations. I learned how to properly document photos of the decedent, property, and evidence with a digital camera. I was really proud of myself that I was able to apply what I have learned in my courses to real life. I also learned the process of how the MDIs produce reports, gather information, and create death certificates. Other responsibilities I had during the internship were to perform autopsies, take toxicology specimens, and take fingerprints of the decedent on my own.

Documenting body bag seal to prove that it was not tampered with.

Embry-Riddle has prepared me for this internship with the courses I have taken. Anatomy and Physiology has allowed me to understand the different organs and the functions of the body. It has also taught me how the body is supposed to work and what happens when something goes wrong. Trace Evidence and Investigative Methods and Forensics allowed me to understand how a scene is investigated and how to collect evidence in a way that preserves it; this knowledge was useful when I had to retrieve fingernail clippings from a homicide victim. Procedural Law and Evidence course allowed me to be familiar with the importance of search warrants, chain of custody, and the Arizona statutes that apply for the Medical Examiner’s Office. Being able to apply the knowledge from my courses further reinforced what I have learned and made it clearer during my internship.

Macerating remains to be sent to University of North Texas Center for Human Identification.

This internship has allowed me to find a career path that I really enjoy. I have had many great memories and experiences, and it will be something that I will never forget. Once I graduate, I want to get my certification in the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation. I was recently hired at the District 7 Medical Examiner’s Office in Daytona Beach as a Forensic Investigator/Forensic Technician. If it weren’t for my education at Embry-Riddle I wouldn’t have been able to obtain an internship that later landed me a job!

My Experience at Northrop Grumman as a Freshman

by Devon Kisfalvi

A picture of me at Willow Lake near the Embry-Riddle Campus.

My name is Devon Kisfalvi and I’m a part of the class of 2023. My major is Electrical Engineering with a minor in Systems Engineering. My amazing internship experience started January of 2020 before the start of the Spring 2020 semester. This internship wouldn’t have been possible without Embry-Riddle. I had just finished my first semester of freshman year, and became a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Club on campus. Through them I was able to get a membership with IEEE, learn about the 2020 IEEE Rising Stars Conference, and was able to attend. There I saw Northrop Grumman had set up a table. I went over and introduced myself, and after talking with them they asked for a resume. One of the managers from the Gilbert, AZ office who was at the conference offered me a summer internship.

The internship started May 2020 and was amazing! Even though coronavirus affected most of the in-person events being held, Northrop Grumman was able to still offer multiple opportunities for the interns to meet people and learn more about the company. During my internship I was working with the avionics team on two different projects. The first was working with the internal research and development team on looking for new parts to improve one of the critical systems of a satellite project. This research involved replacing one of the components that would have to be specifically constructed to meet the requirements set by Northrop Grumman and NASA. I communicated with a handful of companies that manufacture those components to ensure that they would meet Northrop Grumman’s and NASA’s requirements.

The second task I worked on with my mentor was collecting documentation for the Landsat 9 (L9) team on the Integrated Electronics Module (IEM) focusing on End Item Data Package (EIDP), which is the final stage of after environmental testing. The documents that needed to be included were parts lists, assembly drawings, among other reports.

Construction of the Landsat 9 at Northrop Grumman.

Even though I was just a freshman, the relevant coursework I have taken so far helped me out a lot, like Intro to Engineering (EGR 101), Digital Circuit (CEC 220), and Digital Circuit Design (CEC 222). EGR 101 has helped develop my teamwork skills to effectively communicate and work with teams of any size. CEC 220 helped me understand the coding of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), logic of electrical circuits, and how logic circuits connect to create complex devices. CEC 222 helped me understand the basic components of electrical circuits and how they worked. All these classes helped me with my internship.

The Landsat 9 that I worked on at Northrop Grumman.

Even though you might only be a freshman there is still a possibility for you to be able to do an internship with a company. One thing that employers look for is how you act and how you present yourself. One key aspect is communication, both verbal and written. Anyone can come up with amazing ideas, but you need to be able to communicate them. You also will most likely be working with teams of people and you need to be able to communicate with your team to be successful. You also have to remember how you present yourself to employers. You must be professional, but you also must be yourself. Go into any possible situation with a smile and make sure to introduce yourself. Start a conversation with them. For example, you could ask a question about the company or something specific that interests you. This shows that you are interested in their company, and leads them to asking you questions about yourself. Embry-Riddle has helped me out so much and as you stay open and professional, anything is possible.

Internship During the Times of COVID

by Stephen Mouhanna

My name is Stephen Mouhanna and I am a Senior majoring in Software Engineering. This past summer I got the awesome opportunity to intern with Microsoft as a Software Engineer in the Cloud and AI Security Group. I was born and raised in Washington State, growing up 10 miles from Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. As a Senior in the Software Engineering program at ERAU, working as a developer for Microsoft is a dream occupation for me.

Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington

I belong to an organization known as Lime Connect which partners with companies in providing scholarships and internship opportunities for high school Seniors and college students. Microsoft is one of those partners and they reached out to me through email. They said after reviewing my resume, they thought I would be a good fit for their internship program and if I were interested, I should apply. I did and a couple weeks later they scheduled an online test to check my coding skills. If you pass this test, then you move onto a phone interview. The phone interview mainly consisted of questions regarding why I am interested in working with Microsoft and what I know about the company. At the end of the interview the recruiter asked me two tech related questions. Both questions involved me explaining a certain piece of technology. The first question was no issue, but the second was to explain what threads are and what they are used for in a computer. I was honest in my reply stating that I did not know the answer, however I made sure to mention that I would be taking an operating system’s class during the Fall semester where I would learn about threads. The recruiter seemed happy with that answer and told me that I would hear back on my results in just a couple weeks. A couple weeks eventually turned into a month and I was starting to wonder if I would ever hear back but finally I got a message in my inbox informing me that they would be interested in doing a second round of interviews with me; this time in person at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

I was overjoyed with the news. To prepare for the next round of interviews that was just a couple weeks away I got the book Cracking the Coding Interview. This book breaks down interviews by company and what questions are typically asked by that company. It was a great buy because several of the technical questions I was asked were directly out of the book. this was all extremely exciting because this was the first time that a company has flown me anywhere. I was contacted by the Microsoft Travel team which organized everything I would need for a round-trip flight and two-night stay in Washington State. After I confirmed my travel plans with Microsoft, I then spoke with my professors about the class time that I would be missing and makeup work.

I was nervous the morning of my interviews when I arrived at Microsoft Building 111. I spent some time with the other recruits at a pre-interview breakfast. While we ate the organizers talked about the company and what to expect throughout the day. After breakfast, each interviewee was assigned a room where the interviews would take place. We would spend about an hour with one interviewer and then the interviewers would rotate to another person. I was interviewed by four different employees that all worked for the same group. Two of the employees asked questions about me and my background and the other two asked me more technical questions that involved me writing code on a whiteboard that was in the room. When writing code on the board we could write in any programming language that we wanted. Most of the other interviewees chose to write their code in Python, I decided to go with C# as that what I was most familiar with and I knew that it was the main language used by many Microsoft developers. All in all, the interviews took about 6 hours from arrival to leaving the building with breakfast and lunch included.

I flew back to Arizona satisfied with my performance during my interviews. I was told that I would hear back in about two weeks. Luckily, I only had to wait about three days when I got a call from my recruiter congratulating me on my job offer. All I had to do to accept it was go to Microsoft’s career site and sign the document digitally. I worked with my recruiter to flesh out some details such as start date and I could relax for the rest of the school year knowing I had a job for the summer.

Not long after accepting my offer I was assigned the team I would spend the summer working with. I was contacted by the team manager who wanted to introduce me to the team briefly over a video call. Since I was going back to Washington State for Christmas break, I suggested that maybe we could do an in-person meeting instead. They thought it was a great idea and I got to have lunch with the team in one of the Microsoft cafeterias. My mentor from the team gave me some documentation for a tool that I would be using to review before I came back for the summer. They also gave me a tour of the building that I would be working in.

Unfortunately, I never got the chance to work on the Microsoft campus because the pandemic began before my start date. Microsoft employees were ordered to work from home beginning in mid-March and they still haven’t returned. Currently they have a tentative return date of January 2021. A decision was made to move the internship program to remote internships. This caused managers to scramble to reinvent how an internship was done. Interns who were not living in Canada or the United States would lose their internships for this summer and for those close to graduating they would be put into the system to be considered for hiring.

When Embry-Riddle went to online classes in March 2020, I decided to move home to Washington State to finish my classes and do my internship. In April, I was contacted by my mentor on the team and we kept in touch via email until my start date when he could officially talk to me over Microsoft Teams. All my computer hardware was shipped to me prior to my start date. The team administrator had sent me an email notifying me to be on the lookout for a box of components to be delivered within two weeks of my start date. Every time a package would come to the door I would run down and interrogate whoever had brought the package in if it was coming from Microsoft or not. The box of hardware happened to arrive only a day or so before I was due to start, resulting in many points of false hope at seeing a delivery truck pull up to the house only for it not to be the package I’d been anticipating.

Opening my hardware shipment.

The hardware I was given included a Microsoft Surface, docking station, a nice monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I worked with my mentor who helped me get oriented with the code base and threw in some useful tips about the tools I would be using. There were some minor hiccups relating to being remote but overall, it was a smooth on-boarding process.

My team had one meeting every day where we would talk about what our plan was for that day. My end goal for the summer was to create a data aggregation and insights tool so that my team could better understand how our service was being utilized. I would work with my mentor, talking with him every few days, creating a road map on how to reach this goal. My first task was to access the usage data for our service using CosmosDb. Once I could access the data, I would have to present the data on our website. From there I gradually added insights on the data, which compiled useful information about the data.

Doing the back-end of the website was easy for me because it was all done in C#, however I do wish I had known more JavaScript before my internship. JavaScript would have been a huge help adding more functionality to the website and would have given me more tools for adding graphics to the site like various charts.

I got to learn about a lot of tools that typical software developers use. One of these tools being Key Vault which is used as a way to access what we call “secrets” in code. A secret is a string that we don’t want just anyone to have access to. A typical secret would be something like a connection string to a database or an authorization key. one last interesting tool was our internal deployment visualizer. This tool is my favorite by far. Not because it’s a particularly interesting tool but because watching my service deployment progress gave me an intense feeling of satisfaction and pride to know that I was able to contribute something meaningful to a company as important in the tech field as Microsoft.

Visualization of the Deployment of my Service

The last week of my internship was a busy week of what is called “Intern Check-Out”. This included recording myself giving a PowerPoint presentation of my project since we were unable to meet in person. The Leadership Team viewed the intern presentations then we were assigned a Q&A session with the Leadership Team. Since we didn’t know what questions were going to be asked, we needed to be prepared and make sure our projects worked so we could demonstrate them. Check-out time also included reviews from my manager and my mentor. I was given feedback on my strengths and weaknesses. Then my manager gave me an invitation to come back next summer and intern with them again. I immediately said yes but I was warned it was up to HR if I could return to the same team even though my manager put in a request for my return to them. I have committed to returning to Microsoft, but they will not tell me where I have been assigned until later this Fall.

During my internship I applied and was accepted into the Microsoft Student Ambassador Program. If you are interested in a software engineering position at Microsoft please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to expand on my experience or help you in applying for your own Microsoft internship. You can reach out to me at

Honeywell Urban Air Mobility

By Henrik Hoffmann

Hi, I am Henrik Hoffmann a rising Aerospace Engineering senior, and during my junior year I had the privilege to work on the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) project with Embry-Riddle’s Undergraduate Research Institute (URI), which was sponsored by Honeywell Aerospace for the fall and spring semester. Through the support of the URI, Dr. Johann Dorfling, and with the support of Honeywell engineers, UAMs flight testing and data analysis started at the end of our summer internship and is planned to finish during the 2020 fall semester.

The purpose of this project for my junior school year and summer internship was to characterize the power requirements, climb profile, and descent profile capabilities of various simulated UAMs. I also helped define required UAM flight capabilities, most efficient flight paths, and UAM limitations. Multiple configurations and concepts of UAM aircraft are being proposed, designed, and built by a variety of companies such as Airbus, Joby Aviation, Kitty Hawk, Lilium, Terrafugia, Uber Air, VA-1X and Volocopter. Concepts for these UAMs include multirotor, fixed wing, and rotating rotor wing designs.

Me (third from right) with the rest of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University UAM Team after presenting to the Honeywell representatives.

To join this project, our team had to submit a resume and letter of recommendation to Honeywell to get an interview. Our team consists of six Embry-Riddle students, our mentor Dr. Dorfling, as well as multiple Honeywell engineers. The major job of our first semester was to submit a survey to Honeywell that included a design of our drone, flight test plans, wind tunnel test plans, and a characterization of our drone compared to previous UAM designs. During the second semester we built our UAM, and 3-D printed a compartment designed to better help predict and characterize UAMs similar to ours.

Due to Covid-19, our project was not finished over the school year and got pushed into our summer internship. As a result, our internship was conducted virtually, and our project’s progress was slowed. But over the summer, small test flights took place along with error analysis, and I worked with Honeywell Aerospace’s Electrical Power Group in Torrance, California on the Next Generation Jammer Program (NGJ). My work with the NGJ tested mid band as well as low band performance calculation of the Ram Air Turbines Generation (RATG).

Over this summer of 2020, Bell conducted the first customer flight test of UAM designs our team worked on, and I can see where the research my team and I are doing will be implemented in the future. Our team’s UAM project will continue over the 20/21 school year and will include our first test flight. That will allow us to analyze the data to predict the optimal flight takeoff and landing paths for our UAM design. The upcoming Honeywell UAM Team will include a mix of returning team members as well as new juniors to finish off the project. Once our project is finished up the same process will be restarted with another UAM type, and could include multirotor, fixed wing, or rotating rotor designs.

Our visit to the Honeywell location in Deer Valley, Ariz.

The experiences I gained with my team and during my summer internship has been amazing. Working on this project has allowed me to apply what I have learned from the classroom and to see how our work will change transportation around the world. Our internship has also allowed me to experience Honeywell’s corporate environment and further my understanding of UAM. I have enjoyed this project and would highly recommend this opportunity to anyone!

My Summer Internship with The Boeing Company

by Dai Ibrahim

This summer I had the opportunity to work at The Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington. As an Embry-Riddle Software Engineering Student, I was a part of the cyber security product development team. I quickly found out that ERAU students’ reputation precedes us. When I told my co-workers that I attend ERAU, they all praised the university and the students. My team especially loved ERAU because of our manager, Sheila B. Reilley. I had the pleasure to work with Sheila before she retired after 30+ years at Boeing. I will forever be grateful to Sheila for giving me the opportunity to work with her team this summer.

The Boeing sign at the 40-88 building in Everett, WA.

I worked with two different groups within the team over the 12 weeks I was there. At first, I worked for autonomous systems. Within autonomous systems, I worked with my team lead, ERAU Alum Alan Tomaszycki, and the College of Security and Intelligence on developing a multi-discipline capstone project. I was also able to contribute to a patent that is in the process of getting approved.

The space needle park in Seattle, WA.

After that project was complete, I went on to work with the rest of the team in Seattle where I worked on front-end development which is what I am really interested in. I was put on a team developing a front-end for airplane log data that was in JSON format. I was assigned to work with one other intern on the front end while two interns worked on the back end of parsing the logs. My partner and I started by getting requirements from the members of the team that were going to be the primary users. After gathering the requirements, we started by experimenting with the designs and making wireframes and screen-flows that imitated what we wanted the displays to look like and satisfied the requirements.  When the basic design process was done, we started working on use case scenarios. We came up with six different scenarios for how the displays could be used. We then revisited our designs, and we altered them so they would better reflect the scenarios. The software engineering courses that I took over the past three years have prepared me for the real-world applications of the engineering process.

Cold War’s B-47 Stratojet in the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA.

We had weekly meetings with the team and the project leader to go over our designs to ensure that they aligned with the needs of the team. After we got the okay on our designs, the next step which I was in charge of was implementation. I got the data that the back-end team produced, and I used python and TKinter to make the front-end piece. Programming the display was the easiest and most enjoyable part for me. I requested a code review with some of my coworker to get feedback on my program, and I got lots of comments praising my code. My coworkers pointed out that they can tell that I am a software engineering major and not CS like most of the interns because of how maintainable and well written my code was, and how well I documented it. During this whole process, I discovered that the ERAU software engineering classes have equipped me with all the skills and the knowledge that I need in the field and the ability to adapt to new challenges. I was more knowledgeable about the software engineering process that most interns, and I owe it to the SE professors who prepared me to make it all possible.

SR-71 Blackbird in the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA.

I learned so much from my team over the 12 weeks. Most importantly, I learned about the software engineering process for front-end development. I am now certain that I want to pursue front-end development as a full-time career. I was given a return offer to Boeing for an internship next summer with the same team on my last day. I had a blast working with my team this summer, and I can’t wait to see what I will be working on next summer.

The annual Embry-Riddle/Boeing partnership summit at the Boeing Flight Test & Delivery Center in Seattle, WA.

My Summer Internship as a Software Developer for Compassion International

This summer I got to intern with Compassion International as a Software Developer. The Software Engineering (SE) program at ERAU taught me a wide range of skills, so I didn’t really know where to start looking for internships. I applied anywhere and everywhere from large aviation companies to small tech startups. Along the way I realized that the things I had learned went far beyond just academics. While the SE program has provided me with the necessary skills to be prepared for industry, I have learned professional and interpersonal skills through communicating with professors and being an RA. I started to seek positions that would compliment that. I wanted to find something that combined the experience I have had academically with something community driven and people focused. That’s when I found Compassion International.

At the entrance to Compassion International in Colorado Springs.

Compassion is a Christian global non-profit ranked in the top 15 U.S. charities. Their goal is to sustainably release children from poverty. The organization is currently working in 25 nations (Bangladesh, Colombia, Kenya etc.)  with over 2 million children in the sponsorship program at 7500 centers. Compassion also partners globally with 11 countries (England, Australia, Italy, etc.) to provide sponsorship and funding. Sponsors can communicate via letters directly to their sponsor child and the funds they provide go straight to the church and Compassion Center that the child is a part of. Compassion Centers are in poverty-stricken communities and run by local church leaders where a child is fed, clothed, and educated. The goal is to support children in the program from a young age through college/trade school to help break the cycle of physical and emotional poverty.

Exploring Colorado

The role of the USA office in Colorado Springs where I was an intern, is to support the sponsors, children, and centers. This support includes everything from finance management and marketing, to IT infrastructure and data processing including development of education curriculum for each country and a technology system to allow safe communication between countries. I worked as a Developer on an IT team to build an internal application for the global programs and travel department. The team I was a part of does pair programming and Test-Driven Development, so I spent a good portion of the summer building automated user interface testing and working together with other interns. The classes that I had taken in Software Quality Assurance and Analysis and Design of Software Systems were so helpful during the project. It was exciting to know that while I was growing my skills professionally, the application I helped to build has tangible and real effects beyond my personal role at the organization.

Impact Session with the President of Compassion – Santiago ‘Jimmy’ Mellado.

The internship at Compassion was well rounded and amounted to more than just a job. Part of the program is a field visit so I spent a week visiting the Compassion Guatemala National Office and visiting the children there. The purpose of this trip was to provide us with context and into the work that is done in the field and how it relates to the daily office work in the states. In the US Office, I was poured into each week professionally and personally. I learned how work really is more than a title and a set of tasks. An effective workplace is one that cares as much about the person’s individual growth as they do about the progress they make. I was placed with a host family to live with as well as with a mentor in the organization to meet with weekly and seek professional and personal guidance. Each week we had “Impact Sessions” with the executives such as the current and former CEOs of the organization, the Vice President of Marketing and Engagement (formerly responsible for stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut), Vice President of Human Resources (instrumental in the formation of Blockbuster Video, Einstein Bros., and Boston Market). These sessions each week were to expose us to different life lessons and career paths and to learn from their incredible experiences. The program was also designed for the interns to become a close community. Every second outside of the office was spent exploring nearby cities and climbing Colorado mountains until we felt like a family.

A Compassion sponsor child watching as the intern team built his family a new house.
Visiting the home of a Compassion Family in Coba, Guatemala

I could not have imagined a better place to be an intern. ERAU provided me with both the personal and technical skills in order to succeed this summer.

Compassion Summer 2019 Interns after receiving news that we are one of the top 100 internships in the U.S.

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