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.

So Long!!!!

I am officially signing off for good. It has been an awesome four years blogging for all of our readers out there but, its time to go!! I am happy to say that I have a job now, in the “real world” as the professors at ERAU like to call it.

As some of you know from my previous blogs I got my job through AFROTC, which I was involved in over the last 4 years at Riddle. It is a great program and if you are willing to give it a shot you can learn a lot about yourself while securing a future position in the Air Force. Not everyone makes it through but, boy does it feel good if you are one of the lucky ones who does!

With that said, Thanks again to everyone who read my blog, and to the amazing staff who help us bloggers post our stuff online! Now I get to go somewhere cool to do something fun!!!!! Bye 🙂 🙂

Advice for our Newcomers in 2016!!!

 

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Hey there everyone it’s that time of year again where we welcome our new freshman!! Being a freshman in college can be an uncertain time for those moving far from home so a few upperclassman have contributed to provide our newcomers with some great advice.

From Shelly (Senior) –The major question that freshman always ask me is what they should bring to college. Here is a list of the stuff that I found pretty useful:

  1. Printer
  2. Computer
  3. Earplugs or noise canceling headphones (trust me these are a necessity!!)
  4. A car 🙂
  5. 3 Flash drives (you will probably loose or break one so having back ups is key)
  6. Sturdy Back pack
  7. A few plates, cups, one pot, one pan, and one set of silverware
  8. Pictures of the family
  9. A rain coat and an all weather coat for when it snows
  10. A good pair of boots that can handle rain or snow
  11. Lots of sweaters!!!! (the weather can be crazy cold during the winter)

From Bryan (Junior) — People always ask me what they should get involved in as a freshman so they can make a lot of friends. What I did was join a fraternity, so far its been pretty sweet and I really enjoy it. The fraternity gives me chances to help in the community and connect to other fraternity members in the US. The connections have really helped especially as I am starting to look for jobs and internships. Oh and, getting a job on campus helps a lot too.

It’s me again! I hope that this advice from some of our other upperclassman has helped, please feel free to ask any questions I’m sure I can find someone to answer them for you!!! Thanks for reading 🙂

The Heart of Prescott: Exploring Downtown

In this Vlog, Colton and his wife Madeline explore the sights and events offered by downtown Prescott as a popular destination for students. From old fashioned candy shops to lemonade stands, downtown Prescott offers something for everyone to enjoy. Check out the Vlog below!

 

 

Drop us a comment or suggestion with ideas for what you’d like to see next!

 

 

Confessions of a Sophomore & Getting Married

This is the tale of my Sophomore year; surviving the gauntlet, working off-campus, and… getting married! In this vlog, I (Colton Campbell) take you through the lessons I learned my sophomore year and share some of the footage I captured during Fall of 2015 and Spring of 2016. Enjoy, and as always feel free to leave comments and suggestions!

 

And here is a few pics of my beautiful bride, Madeline (: We don’t have the photographer’s photos yet but Maddie’s sister snapped these during the wedding.

Photo May 21, 11 59 10 PM Photo May 22, 12 09 30 AM

Stay tuned this summer for more video blogs! If you’d also like to see more photo blogs, let me know in the comments below!

Great Opportunity – the NASA Intern Program

Hey everybody I just got back from an awesome NASA Symposium in Tucson where my research partner and I presented on the topic we have been investigated this past year. The conference was a lot of fun and it was cool to see tons of other projects that interns from all over the state have been working on.

My Research Partner and I at the Symposium

My Research Partner and I at the Symposium

Our research looked into annular wings and devices which can be used to control the aerodynamic forces acting on them. The experience working with NASA’s intern program was super cool and I highly recommend that any ERAU student interested in doing research to get involved with the program. Here’s where you can find out more.

After the symposium ended we got to check out one of the largest mineral collections in the world which was housed on ASU’s campus. The exhibit is incredible and it was so interesting to see so many rare specimens.

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We then headed off to the Pima Air Museum and checked out the hundreds of aircraft stored there. It was breath taking to see so many aircraft all in one place, all perfectly restored to their original condition.

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If you ever have a chance to stop in Tuscon there are tons of awesome things to see and do. The best time to check them out is at a research symposium so get involved here during your time at Embry-Riddle. If you have any questions about our research on annular wings or on the fun stuff we were able to see and do please feel free to ask!

AFROTC – Answers to Your Questions

Hey there everyone per request I am dedicating this post to answering some important questions about AFROTC at Embry-Riddle Prescott!

  1. This is a major question: How do I join ROTC?
  • There are a few ways to join. You can apply for a scholarship at the AFROTC website and if you get the scholarship you will bring that here to Embry-Riddle OR you can simply sign up! I recommend signing up with the detachment well before you arrive on campus. However, if you are not sure about it until the last minute or even part way through a semester you can probably still join.
  • When you join I highly encourage you to attend “zero week” it starts a few days before the “normal” students arrive on campus. Being at “zero week” allows you to get an edge on all the other cadets as you receive uniforms, basic training on marching/customs/courtesies, and you can get all your in processing paper work done. It saves you a lot of time and stress later.

2. Is everyone who joins guaranteed a scholarship?

  • Unfortunately, no. If you do not come in with a scholarship you compete against your classmates to receive one. So keep in mind that you must perform well during your first semester, this includes keeping your GPA up! With that said Detachment 028 is well known for getting tons of scholarships and awards so this is definitely the best detachment to join!

3. How should I prepare?

  • The best way to prepare is to exercise!!!!!!!!!!! We take a physical fitness assessment known as the PFA. It consists of a 1.5 mi run 1 minute of pushups and 1 minute of situps. If you can’t pass a PFA you can’t stay in the Detachment so please come prepared! We want to help you succeed as a cadet and fitness is the one factor that you have ABSOLUTE control of.
  • If you can join a JROTC unit to prepare then you will already have a basic knowledge of AF drill, customs, and courtesies. If not, don’t worry about it. We will teach you when you arrive 🙂

If you have additional questions please feel free to ask them below or give us a call at 928-777-6600 you will directed to the AFROTC office where you can get all the info you need!!!! Thanks for reading!

One Month Left!

Classes are finished on April 29th and as it stands we are a month away from Summer break!!! We are all really excited to be finishing up this semester but, I wanted to give y’all a brief update on what I’ve been doing this past few months.

The major project I’ve been working on this semester is the Detail Design of the aircraft that my team conceptualized last semester. The detail work began with building a 1/48 scale model of the full size aircraft and testing it in the closed circuit wind tunnel in the Tracy Dorlyand Wind Tunnel Lab. Testing was not only super fun but, informative too. We tested parametric variations of the model to determine the maximum and minimum aerodynamic loads it would receive. Our test results came out just as we had expected and we are happily feeding them back into the design right now to see what improvements to the original design we can make.

The 3D Printers used for making our model parts!

The 3D Printers used for making our model parts!

Once we finish that we will be working on our final presentation which will take place on April 29! If you are visiting the University on that day make sure to have a look at all the interesting Senior Capstone Presentations. If you are looking into engineering you may be working on a similar project in the future 🙂

Other than that I have just been doing regular school work, AFROTC, Space Grant Research, and volunteering. It has been a fun, crazy, and somewhat relaxed semester all at the same time. If you have any questions about what the average day in the life of a senior at ERAU is like feel free to ask! Thanks for reading everyone!

Explore Sedona – The Weekend Getaway

Sedona, one of the most iconic cities in Arizona, lies just 1.5 hours north of Prescott. With it’s towering red rock formations, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and bustling village Sedona is the perfect weekend getaway or day trip for Embry Riddle students. Check out the video below as Colton show’s off some of Sedona’s beauty!