Washington high school students tour Prescott campus

By Isabelle Meboe
Special to Horizons

Editor’s note: Raisbeck Aviation High School (RAHS) is a public school next to the Museum of Flight (MoF) in Seattle. Western Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is an enthusiasts’ club hosted within the MoF itself, offering high-school level students from the West Coast up to five credits of aerospace-centered college curriculum. Both organizations send select students to attend a multi-day Embry-Riddle Prescott tour every summer. Meboe was one of these students. 

The most impressive aspect of the ERAU tour this year was not the propulsion lab or the flight simulators. What stood out most was the sense of family and true passion that each student and staff member demonstrated.  

This is clearly seen at all levels. Dr. Frank Ayers, ERAU Prescott Chancellor, took time out of his schedule to have lunch with our group. “The best part of my job is my daily interaction with our students,” said Ayers. “I love to share in their successes, to see their projects take shape. My wife Debbie and I live on campus, and we take the time to get to know all of our students personally.” 

“ERAU seems very focused on what its students need to learn in order to fulfill jobs later on,” according to RAHS sophomore Natalie Briscoe, who went on the trip. “Professors and students are able to interact and get to know each other on a personal level; they clearly want the best for their students,” she observed. 

ERAU made us feel at home instantly, as if we were already living there and not high school students. Everyone showed a true curiosity for what we want to do with our lives, asked questions about our studies, and showed some serious Eagle hospitality. 

On the second day, Dr. Krishna Sampigethaya of the Cyber Intelligence and Security Lab (CIS) postponed his flight to Seattle to present us a detailed and interesting informational session about CIS. We were impressed with the investment of current faculty in our group and their above-and-beyond efforts to familiarize us with the school. 

In the recess between lunch and our AXFAB tour on the third and last day of the trip, two wandering students stopped to greet us. Upon learning that we had a spare ten minutes, they voluntarily toured us around as much of the building as they could, answering our questions until our official tour guide arrived.  

There was a noticeable balance of opportunity and responsibility at ERAU radiating from both the students and the professors. All of our tour guides showed enthusiasm and respect while presenting us their home. 

Though the campus has a few key focus areas for many in the student body, tour guides made an effort to show everything ERAU has to offer. “They made sure to touch on all aspects of the school and didn’t focus on one subject. They made sure everyone was included,” said RAHS sophomore Max Welliver.  

In addition, our tour guides gave us a depth of experience that’s not found everywhere. “Most colleges just introduce you to the engineering lab,” said RAHS senior Heidi Yagen, “whereas Embry-Riddle hands you earmuffs and says ‘Welcome to our lab, care to watch a demonstration?’” 

The hands-on aspect of the school was taken to the next level for us; we got up close and personal with a machine-gun sounding propulsion system and flew Cessna 172s over Arizona. 

“Students who attend RAHS thrive in a rigorous academic environment, and ERAU is a natural progression for those who want to continue that style of learning,” said the Assistant Director of Regional Admissions, Jennifer Borge. Yagen agreed: “I loved the fact that it was RAHS in college form.” 

We students from RAHS and WAS appreciated the focus and duration of the tour experience. “That increased the amount of detail that could be added to virtually every part of the trip,” said RAHS senior Evan Grilley, “whether it be the campus tour, talking with the current students, or just getting a handle on the atmosphere of the university itself.” 

We have so much appreciation for our ERAU student tour guides: seniors Allie Brown (Aerospace Engineering), Ryan O’Connor (Aeronautical Science and Captain of the 12-time national champion Golden Eagles Flight Team), and Moritz Wienke (Aviation Business Administration, AFROTC, and RAHS alum), as well as John Moore (Admissions Staff). Having them on hand to answer all of our questions was incredibly special. 

Meeting successful and connected students from a high-quality university in person was extremely encouraging and made the thought of college more attainable for those of us feeling the pressure to make plans for our higher education. 

“Nothing makes me happier than seeing the students that I’ve been working with (for one, two, three, or even four years) make their dream of attending ERAU come true,” said Borge. 

Final Approach

Out and About: Thumb Butte Hiking

By Oliver Davis
Correspondent 

Prescott is a great place to get out and explore the outdoors.

Some of the most beautiful places are just a couple minutes from Embry-Riddle, though students seldom find the time to go out and see nature instead of the inside of their textbooks.

There are plenty of noticeable landmarks that can be seen from campus, like Granite Mountain or the Granite Dells right across the street, but there is one more shape in the skyline that is the most unique.

Thumb Butte stands tall to the south of campus, and its peculiar shape makes it even more distinct.

The most common thing to do in the Thumb Butte area is to hike up to the top of the mini-mountain and take in its breathtaking views.

There are, however, many other hikes that one can do in the same area besides the short yet steep hike to the top.

Thumb Butte sits in the Prescott National Forest, which is home to hundreds of miles of trails available for use.

Many of these trails begin only minutes away from the Thumb Butte parking lot.

The variety of trails allows hikers to choose between a short in-and-out hike that can last less than an hour, or an all-day adventure that could leave you over a thousand feet above Prescott with amazing views of the surrounding Bradshaw Mountains.

The trails are also available for mountain biking and horse riding, so there are plenty of different ways to explore the forest!  

One particular spot offers what is arguably the best view in Prescott.

One can hike up to it, but it is much easier to drive up a long dirt road which goes to what is referred to as the Sierra Prieta lookout.

Follow Thumb Butte road past the parking lot for approximately 3 miles along an extremely bumpy road until coming across views that go for miles beyond Prescott.

There is nothing better than witnessing the sunset from this point where almost nothing could distract from its beauty.

Whether it’s going for a short hike or to see miles of mountains in the distance, a day in the Thumb Butte area is unbeatable.

Final Approach

Column of Whatever

By John Mills
Diversions Editor

It is always a challenge when I sit down to write this column, because I never know for certain what I want to talk about. This week, I’m sitting down to write this after its due because I completely lost control of my schedule this week, so that doesn’t help matters much.

But it does give me a fairly good topic to talk about—and that’s how to manage stress when you have more obligations than time seems to allow.

Junior and senior engineers are thinking one of two things right about now. Either, “I figured this out a year ago, what’s the big deal”, or “oh god, everything is on fire, please help.” A lot of people on this campus have, whether by necessity or simply good luck, how to manage their lives when everything is on fire. I sort of have.

Most of the time, regardless of how much I have to do, I find the time to knuckle down, get it done, and be ok. Sure, there’s stress, but its like dishes in your sink.

You know it’s there, and you should handle it, but the world isn’t going to end if you put it off for another few hours while you finish something up. Then sometimes, you have stress like the dishes in your sink inexplicably caught fire, and you need to handle it NOW.

I had a dishes on fire scenario approximately an hour before writing this when I realized I had to write it and two other articles that were due the day before. Oh, and I had blocked out the time I spent writing these for other, unrelated work.

Suddenly my plans for the day went  out the window as I had to spend an hour and a half writing what I hadn’t accounted for. It was not a comfortable feeling.

So what is the solution in cases like that. Well, first, put out the fire. In my case, I had a bit of slack that I didn’t want to use up, but was forced to out of necessity. So, in this case, putting the fire out meant writing the articles I thought were due in a week, including this column. But what if you can’t put out the fire on your own?

Well, things get more complicated. The first task is to calm down, because you can’t fix something if you’re panicking. I realize that telling someone to calm down is pretty much the exactly opposite way to get them to calm down, but that’s too broad a topic for a 500 word column.

Regardless of how you get yourself to be able to think rationally about something, you need to figure out priorities. Sometimes, you just need to let those dishes burn for a little while while you go find a fire extinguisher. Okay, the metaphor is breaking down a little, but the point is this: There will be times when you cannot possibly get everything you are obligated to get done, done.

When this happens, prioritize, hope you have some slack somewhere, and knuckle down and get to work. It will be over one way another soon enough, you just have to weather the storm.

Final Approach

Camera Science #6: Balance

By Joseph Grosjean
Photographer and Photograph Editor

Last semester we learned the basic principles of taking a photograph, such as light, the aperture, how lenses focus light, and what happens when you press the shutter of a DSL-R camera.

We finished the semester by learning how a light meter works, how to read it, and we even looked at a few examples of how to use it in the real world.

This semester we are going to wrap up the beginner series by looking at some basic composition techniques.

You have already learned one major technique: Depth of Field.

 Depth of field is a really easy way to create some visual interest in your photographs as the technique creates a bit of mystery and makes the image feel a little more three-dimensional.

Another important and fundamental composition technique is called the Rule of Thirds.

This another easy technique the creates visual interest by adjusting the balance of an image and weighting it to one side.

“But Joseph, how am I supposed to add weight to a digital photograph? I can’t exactly glue lead weights to my prints like in the days of film.” 

The balance that I am talking about is not a physical one, but rather an imaginary one. Look at the image:

Which way are your eyes drawn? To the left because that is where I wanted you to look.

What did I do to make you look there? I blurred the rest of the image using the Depth of Field technique, so you would ignore the background and foreground, leaving the subject as the most detailed and different looking object in the scene.

But why draw you to the left? Why not leave the subject in the center? You place the subject off center to generate visual interest. 

No one wants to look at a boring photograph. 

To counteract the weight of the subject, a large area of negative space (area without much visual interest) is added.

Even though the negative space is lighter, with enough of it the image becomes balanced.

Remember, positive space is typically darker, heavier, and contains the subject.

Negative space is lighter, so more is needed to balance the positive space.

An image that is balanced can convey a feeling of peace while an unbalanced image can leave the viewer unsettled.

This can be extremely useful when trying to convey an emotion through a photograph, but this is beyond the scope of this article.

Now coming full circle to the start of the article, the Rule of Thirds.

Break your image into thirds both horizontally and vertically so you have nine rectangles.

Placing the subject along one of the two vertical lines is a safe bet.

The intersection points are a great place to put the focus of the subject like an eye if you are doing a portrait.

So take a look at some photographs and see if you can spot the rule of thirds in any of them.

Look at some of your own photos and see if you were using this technique without realizing it. 

Next issue we’ll learn how to give a constructive criticism to a variety of photographs, so we can improve our own picture as well as others.

Final Approach

Column of Whatever

By John Mills
Diversions Editor

The 2018-2019 school year is starting, and I want, in my own way, to welcome the new students to campus. And since I have my own little box to stand on, I can do just that.

So I present to you the Salty Senior’s Guide for Freshmen. Buckle up kiddos, your year is about to be nothing like any college movie.

The first thing to know as a freshman is that everyone will lovingly blame all of the school’s problems on you.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not-great dining hall food, their own bad grades, or boring professors; somehow, it is your fault.

Hang in there though, because by the time the spring semester comes around, they’ll be back to blaming it on “the administration,” that amorphous, poorly understood blob of bureaucrats that is actually responsible for all their ills.

The second important lesson is that you won’t get to the classes relevant to your major for quite some time, especially if you’re an engineer.

For all you Aerospace Engineering, Aero majors, guess what? You won’t even be looking at something shaped like an actual airplane until your junior year at the earliest.

Buckle up for idealized wings that are more rectangle than anything, and more unnecessary background knowledge than you thought possible.

Global Security and Intelligence Studies majors, it’s not going to be that different.

Prepare to slog through courses that give you the background and skills you need to not fail when your Intelligence Analysis, Writing, and Briefing professor has you prepare and deliver a twenty minute brief on a subject you’ve spent the last week frantically putting material together for.

The third lesson is that Riddle is not like real (re: big) universities.

Due to a relatively small, and incredibly specialized population, many of the things that could be expected at say, CalTech, Harvey Mudd, or MIT, much less ASU or any other state school, are not present.

Switching majors here is hard because none of the colleges have any overlap: switching from Global Security to Engineering or vice versa will set you back at least a year from your projected graduation date.

That being said: if you’re unhappy in your major, talk to your friends and advisors and see what the best move is.

Fourth, and perhaps most important is that you find something to do that is not schoolwork. They say everyone needs a hobby, and it’s more or less true.

That hobby should somehow involve other people. It’s all too easy to sit in your room, go to class, get food, and go back to the room, and never really talk or interact with anyone.

There’s a ton of clubs on campus, so go find one and find something to do.

You have the rest of your life to ignore other people, don’t let the four years of easy socializing disappear behind you without taking part.

Freshmen, your years here are likely to be many things: difficult, maddening, frustrating, hilarious, enjoyable, and full of friendships you don’t get outside of an academic setting.

Make the most of it now, or you’ll wish you had when you graduate. I’m walking across the stage in just a few months, and it’s all gone by too fast.

If nothing else, don’t just treat these years as stepping stones to a career, because they can be so much more.

Final Approach

The Coming Dawn 

Brandon Dudley
Online Editor 

A chill overcame Boris as he leaned against what remained of the wooden wall of The Drunken Dancer. Embers softly simmered amongst the ruins from the fire that had destroyed the once-grand brawling tavern in the wake of Kor’s attack upon the city of Menzysii. Trying his best to control his breath in the frigid night and pressured circumstances, Boris leaned further into the wall.  

A creak from the weakened wood threatened his position in the still night. The patrolling automaton just outside of the tavern’s remains turned a mechanical head towards the sound and began to stride rhythmically in that direction.  

With a silent curse, Boris readied the makeshift cudgel in his right hand for the oncoming foe. It had been roughly a week since the fall of his city, but in those critical days he had learned much about surviving in this hostile environment. Being the primary person leading the rescue operations in the city ruins, he had needed to learn fast.  

As the shadow of the automaton passed through the doorway just ahead, Boris leapt with an elegance unknown prior to his current lifestyle. The large man had once worked as a dock worker in the city harbor but had always weaseled his way into the easier and less work-intensive jobs. Years of such tactful avoidance had left him lazy and unfit; something he had regretted greatly in the wake of the assault.  

The automaton let out a mechanical grunt in surprise as Boris attacked and attempted to raise its arms in defense, but it was too late. Cudgel met with metal and cudgel won. A bright spark of blue energy erupted from the head of the automaton as its head exploded in a flurry of shrapnel.  

Acting in quick succession with Boris’s strike, a dwarven woman leapt from the side opposite the doorway and caught the automaton as it fell from the attack. Easing the body down, Elena pulled the body to where she had come from and set it into the shadows. Then, with a thumb that was crooked to the side from past life experiences, she let Boris know they were safe to proceed.  

Boris looked to the group huddled behind him and gave a toothy smile, waving them forward. He did not know what fate had brought him to this point in life, smuggling people he had never known out of a warzone. He had never been much of a charitable man in his past life or one to go out of his way for others. The docks had been a dog-eat-dog world at times, and that ruthless existence had shaped Boris into what he had become.  

But the invasion had changed him and in these dark days, despite it still being a dog-eat-dog world, he knew if he did not change his ways that he and the rest of his people might die out completely.  

Off in the distance, a beam of light began to emanate upon the horizon as the sun began its slow descent up. And so it was that a once lazy and selfish man continued to lead a party of seven out of the ruined city of Menzysii.  

Final Approach

Lynda Roberts Tribute 

Lynda Roberts pictured on right, Laura Alexander Supervisor of Scholar’s Cafe Prescott campus pictured on left

“ Lynda made each and every day at Embry Riddle a special day with her Disney-eskapproach to life, she could engage anyone in conversation and more often than not spread laughter along the way.  She actually worked at Disneyland in Anaheim and had met Walt Disney on more than one occasion, and it stuck with her that magic, as she could love you without even knowing you, especially if you were an Embry Riddle Student or employee.” 

-Christine Repp 

“Lynda Roberts worked for me for about 3 years at ERAU. She worked at ERAU Dining Services for over 15 years. Lynda was this ethereal person who seemed to touch everyone around hers’ life. No one who knew her ever forgot her.  She was so special. I saw her about 5 days before she passed.  I did not think she was going anywhere. She still had a radiance about her and concern for everyone but herself. I thought hospice might be wrong.  I know she would still be here if her body had not given out. She loved all the students here even more than they loved her.” 


-Rebecca Rother 

“Dear Campus Community, 

I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Lynda Roberts. She was a wonderful person, a great asset to our newspaper and campus community for her many years of creative contributions to Horizons. “The Lunch Lady,” we sometimes called her—always preparing something savory in her kitchen full of ideas! She gave so much to student life on our campus, and expressed in words her love of ERAU like no other I have known… RIP Lynda!” 

-Dr. Alan Malnar 

“Lynda had such a kind soul and never failed to put a smile on the faces of all that knew her. She contributed greatly to Horizons for as long as I knew and always loved writing for us. She had the sweetest heart and always greeted me with hugs and kind thoughts. I will always miss her smiling face and her caring spirit.” 

-Julia Mihaylov, Horizons Editor in Chief 

Featured Features Final Approach

Camera Science #5: The Viewfinder, Light Meter, and Exposures 

By Joseph Grosjean, Photographer and Photograph Editor
Final Approach 

Last issue we looked at the final point in the exposure triangle, ISO, and what to avoid when adjusting this setting. This issue will cover how to use the viewfinder, a light meter, and some basics on how to apply the exposure triangle to create a perfectly exposed image. First, we will look at how an image is formed on the viewfinder: 

After light passes through the lens of the camera it is reflected by a mirror inside the camera body. This mirror is in front of the shutter and flips up when the exposure is taken. After reflecting off the mirror the light then passes through a pentaprism housed in the top of the camera body. The pentaprism flips the image so it displays correctly. Finally, the light is then projected onto a screen in the viewfinder. Below the viewfinder there is a string of numbers and letters. These provide the photographer with what settings they are using such as shutter speed, aperture size, ISO, and a light meter. This screen can move back and forth by turning a knob so that the information at the bottom is in focus. 

The light meter is a sensor that detects how much light is in an image. It does so through the lens (TTL) rather than an external sensor on the camera body. In the early days of photography, the light meter was exclusively a handheld device with a gauge on it. A lot of film photographers still use this type of light meter as their cameras do not have one built in. Film camera manufacturers did begin to include built-in light meters, usually a needle inside the viewfinder to the side of the image, towards the end of the 20th century. Today the light meter can be found digitally displayed in the viewfinder and on the camera body LCD screen.  

The light meter displays a relative scale showing a bar on the (-) if the image is underexposed and a bar on the (+) if the image is overexposed. A properly exposed image will have a single line under the (0). See the examples below: 

To have that properly exposed reading on the light meter you must adjust the settings of the exposure triangle until balance is achieved. Do not do this randomly though, remember the effects that each setting has: if the shutter speed is too slow, motion blur will occur. If the aperture is too large, depth of field effects will be added. If the ISO is too high, your image will appear grainy. 

When I adjust my settings I typically begin with opening my aperture all the way as depth of field effects are often desirable and are unnoticeable unless the focal length is high, and the subject is close. Next, I set my ISO to 100 for most circumstances, and will only raise it if my shutter speed will be too slow, causing motion blur. I then adjust my shutter speed until the light meter reads a perfect exposure. If the shutter speed is less than 1/80s then I will raise the ISO, but typically no higher than 400. Keep in mind this is a general way to set your camera in manual mode but is by no means the law. If I am trying to get an effect, say star bursts or motion blur, then I will adjust the aperture or shutter speed first, respectively, then everything is set after. 

Go out and try this. If you think the image is overexposed or underexposed, do not be afraid to leave the light meter behind and experiment. Remember, the reason photographers use manual mode is to create interesting images that cannot be made when the camera chooses the settings. 

Featured Features Final Approach

Column of Whatever: Step Away from the Keyboard Once in a While 

By John Mills
Diversions Editor  

The internet has some problems. Also in the news, water is wet, the Pope is Catholic, and there will be continuing unrest in the Middle East. What I want to focus on is the popularization of ideologies as holy writ.

I’m not the first to comment on these issues. I missed the mark on that one by years. However, like everyone, I like to think my opinion has merit—and yes, I see the contradiction with my previous sentence.  

The volcanic dumpster fire that was the 2016 election brought some things to the forefront that hadn’t been quite so clear before. In the context of this column, I’m talking about the magnifying power of the internet.

More specifically, the power that a relatively small group of people, likely not far north of half a million by the time of the election, can have on the national discourse. It’s not uncommon to hear the Reddit and 4chan “memed a president into office.”

There is some unfortunate validity to that. Not in so much as they did a great deal to help Donald Trump’s campaign, but to slew the national discourse from something that could resemble issue-based discourse into a competition as to who could fling the most trash at the other side.

Hillary Clinton did herself no favors by continuously acting throughout the campaign like she had the whole thing in the bag from the start, but the amplifying voice of the internet, good and bad, should not be dismissed.  

Moreover, the power that the internet has in radicalizing and calcifying ideologies into something that is not to be questioned but obeyed must be recognized. There have always been people on the fringes of the political spectrum, left and right.

The Soviets had a good swing at making a functional government out of this kind of political radicalism for over seventy years, but it ended in economic catastrophe and the fall of the largest contiguous land power since Genghis Khan.

Critically, it failed, as extremism and radicalism always must fail. When ideas cannot be questioned or debated, they are no longer truly ideas, they are mental slavery. We’re seeing signs of this all over the internet in general.

Groups of like-minded individuals form a community with good intentions, and then find themselves yelling into the void when someone deviates from what they consider acceptable. Reddit’s r/the_donald, 4chan’s /pol/ board, and some sections of Tumblr are the easiest, most visible, examples of this. To go against the group think in these communities is to invite chastisement and scorn at best, and death threats and doxxing at worst.  

I love the internet. I spend way too much time there. It is a resource unlike any available in the history of mankind before it and holds great promise for the future. But at some point, people need to step away from the invincibility of the keyboard, and go talk to somebody in real life.

Then again, maybe we’d prefer these kinds of people stayed behind the keyboard where we didn’t have to deal with them. Either way, go out and smell the roses before someone burns them for disagreeing with his ideas. 

Final Approach

The Investigation of Burnt Toast  

By: Brandon Dudley 
Online Editor 

The heat of the room was sweltering beyond comfort as stream driven engines pumped their pistons furiously.

A mechanical din bounced off steel walls and a haze of steam hung lazily in the air making it hard to see much beyond 10 feet of oneself.

Within the haze were two figures: one standing elegantly and one kneeling in submission.  

Kor looked to the bound orange robed man before him, a demeaning smile crossing his face at his beaten enemy. “Ah magic,” Kor started, pacing from side to side as he continued to watch the mage. The coat of his tuxedo suit swayed with him as he moved, its tail swishing on the metallic floor. “The manipulation of the elements for one’s own purposes,” he commented, then paused looking down in anticipation  

No response from the mage, still in recluse within his robes with head bowed.  

“Truly unlimited potential within the hands of any who wield it or are brave enough to endeavor into its wondrous realms,” Kor spoke as if it were a rehearsed speech.  

The mage tilted his head up a bit, an expression of defiance on his face. It appeared to Kor that clenched teeth were all that kept back a retort.

The wizened features on the middle-aged man’s face bespoke years of study and time spent practicing the magical arts.  

Kor took interest into this. Tightening his top hat’s hold on his head, Kor knelt down to be at face level with the man.

“What is it? Do you believe my words false?” He inquired, honestly curious.  

“You know nothing. You are blinded by your own falsehoods,” came a disbelieving growl from the captive, shaking his head with the last sentence.  

Offended, Kor exhaled out of annoyance. “Well now, that was rude…” he scoffed.  

“It’s true,” the mage came face to face with Kor showing bloodshot eyes. “You believe that any who wield it can have unlimited power. That those who are willing to be ‘brave’ enough to search its realms can find some vault of untold knowledge. But that’s not how this works. Magic is not something you play around with like a child with their toys!”   

The intensity at which the mage spoke caught Kor’s attention.  

“Magic is the manipulation of chaos, of the bindings to life itself. Not just the elements. And one does not simply do as they wish on a whim. One must be strictly trained and disciplined to handle such things!” the man chastised further, growing red in the face; whether from the heat of his own emotions Kor was not completely certain.  

Kor laughed, “Magic is for the powerful to attain and utilize for the greater good my little pumpkin. And I, the mighty Kor, have mixed magic with machine to create life perfected. How can one be more powerful?” 

“By not being a slave to your own misgivings…” The mage murmured, dropping his head down again, seeming to finally give up. “You may have mixed machine and magic, but this does not mean you have perfected life. What you are doing, is perfecting murder. You are killing nations you deem ‘unworthy’…”  

That was it. Kor had had enough of the man. Calling to his assistant, Kor finalized his decision. “SHAI, please dispose of this man, thank you.”  

Kor stood up and walked away, hands clasped behind back. The man began to say something, but a loud burst of steam cut him off abruptly.  

As Kor left the room he smelt burnt toast, a very distasteful smell at that. His engine room should not smell of such things.

And was that a scream he heard intermingled with the sharp hiss from the steam?

“Guess I will have to invent something to take care of that then,” shrugged Kor as he continued through his city, onto the next prisoner to question.  

 

Final Approach Short Story