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  • 01:01:39 pm on March 21, 2012 | Comments Off on Pancakes. Sign Language. Community. | # |

    I am surrounded by beauty . Sign Language .

    Pancakes.chocolate chip pancakes

    Community .

    On Tuesday, in the University Center, I was present to a different kind of greatness.

    Not greatness as in “superior.”

    Greatness, in the sense that equality is present.

    Tuesday is “Free Pancakes” day! Pancakes, of varying flavors, and COFFEE!

    It is truly a gift.

    A friend of mine was serving pancakes to everyone today, and he knows Sign Language. He and two other students started signing and telling stories, while the rest of us “listened” in and interpreted what we could! Meanwhile, people are connecting in other ways- reading the scribe while eating pancakes, catching up while eating pancakes, exchanging ideas and goals while eating pancakes….


    In these moments, I have an undeniable sense of community.

    I ran into Anthony Cordova, Director of MOSAIC (Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness, and Community), while eating– you guessed it– PANCAKES!

    MOSAIC is a safe place for students to engage in discussions about social identities, cultures, experiences, and viewpoints.

    We spoke about how people are what get us through the day. Our agreement on this statement made me realize– UCCS would be nothing without its community. It would be buildings, just material taking up space. Same with other universities. As well cities and states!  COMMUNITY is the other common denominator. colage

    So, with my math tutor skills:

    UCCS            People

    _____ + _______   = Amazing College Experience!

    Pancakes   Community


  • 10:31:22 am on October 19, 2011 | Comments Off on At One with UCCS. | # |

    I remember when I’d walk the halls of my high school ( Go Centennial Bulldogs! ) and sit in the desks and have lunch in the cafeteria– I had this sense of “this is a part of me.”

    Some would call it pride.

    But for me, I call it One-ness.

    I feel that here at UCCS. As cheesy as it sounds, this campus is a part of me– it has really begun to define me while at the same time I have started to define UCCS too.

    When I pass the clock tower, walk through the UC, or eat at Clyde’s- I really feel at home.

    It’s a hard feeling to describe, but we have all felt this feeling before- whether it’s at home or grandma’s house, the passenger seat of your best friend’s car, or your favorite spot in the sun at the park– we’ve all felt ” At One” with someone or something.

    Go Mountain LionsI love everything about UCCS- it’s perfections and imperfections. I love the way the clock tower sort of sounds a little off key at times– yet at the same time each time I hear it– I am reminded of when I heard it for the first time freshman year. It gives the campus this “regal” and “academic” feeling whether it’s off key or not.

    I loved how when I was a freshman- I could get from my dorm floor (Second Steamboat aka Steamy) to 1st vail without ever touching the pavement outside. (Because of the awesome connecting bridges.)

    I love how you can call professor’s by their first names. I love the cheer we do at Blackout Night when the Mountain Lions make a basket– ‘Boom! U-C-C-S!’

    I love the people. I love the students, the faculty, staff and the visitors who are all enthralled by our campus.

    UCCS Rocks!

    There ain’t no way to hide my LION eyes!

  • 11:50:35 am on July 19, 2011 | Comments Off on Amazing Summer at Marshall Space Flight Center! | # |


    Where to begin.

    This summer has been phenomenal !

    Skydiving– twice– once in Alabama and once in Tennessee.  I’m definitely planning on getting skydive certified.

    White water rafting on the Olympic rated Ocoee River in Tennessee.

    Camping in Georgia.

    Beachin’ in Daytona Beach, FL and Cape Canaveral, FL. (still have yet to go beachin’ in LA and San Diego, CA)

    Space Camp.

    Lots and lots of dancing.

    Tubing and Canoeing in Tennessee.

    Touring the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) and OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility) and being within 5 feet of Shuttle Discovery.astronauts


    Inside tours of  NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Stennis Space Center, NASA Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX- Texas, SpaceX- Florida, the famous Arnold Engineering and Development Center, and still have yet to go the the Joint Propulsion Conference in San Diego, CA,  get tours of SpaceX- California, ATK, Mojave Air and Space Port (in the Mojave Desert)  and United Launch Alliance.

    And I did all of this with 12 other amazing space freaks like me from across the country!

    This summer, I am taking part in a senior level internship program called the NASA Propulsion Academy at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

    It has been AMAZING. The research my team is doing is along with the Thrust Vector Control (TVC)  Lab.

    A quick example of some of the work this department of NASA does is the following:

    If you have ever watched a Shuttle launch either in person or in a video, the shuttle does what’s called a “Roll maneuver” shortly after clearing the launch tower.

    (watch the final STS 135 Launch of Atlantis here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aKYeRSYLB0 — at about 23 seconds into the video is when the roll maneuver occurs).

    The new attitude (orientation of the vehicle) after the roll allows us to carry more mass to orbit, or to achieve a higher orbit with the same mass.  The new attitude also allows the crew to fly a less complicated flight path if they had to execute one of the more dangerous abort maneuvers, and allows the crew to see the horizon, which is a helpful part of piloting any flying machine.

    But essentially, the roll maneuver is the work of TVC! Without the gimballing of the SSME’s and SRB’s  (precise movement of the Space Shuttle Main Engines and Solid Rocket Boosters) then the roll maneuver would be impossible. All the work of the TVC lab.

    My groups research has to do with the Modal Analysis testing of the actuators (machines that move the nozzles of the rockets), meaning we are testing the vibrational properties on what’s called an Inertial Loading Simulator ( ILS). If you have ever heard of the Tacoma Bridge accident, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma_Narrows_Bridge) it was essentially a bridge that got vibrated apart by the wind. The civil engineers did not do enough testing to be sure the material and structural integrity would hold up if it vibrated to certain frequencies. — This is what we want to avoid in the TVC lab at NASA.

    group photo

    " All the different NASA Academies with Story Musgrave, 6 time shuttle astronaut! He spoke to us at our Space Camp and Aviation Challenge!"

    My group’s research has been fascinating to say the least.

    I have been staying at the University of Alabama Huntsville dorms with those 12 other space freaks I mentioned earlier. It’s been awesome ! (Aside from the 3 fire alarms that have gone off.)

    While I love it here, I can’t wait to get back to be-a-utiful Colorado.

    Every time I mention to folks here that I am from Colorado, I either get ” OH WOW, It is SO beautiful there, I want to go back so badly.” or  ” OH WOW, I have been told by many that I have to visit Colorado in my lifetime.”

    Makes me feel pretty proud of the gorgeous state I live in. 🙂

    And I could not have had this astounding experience without the amazing support of UCCS , the Colorado Space Grant, and my professors. They helped me greatly in the application process.

    See ya’ll soon!

    ( I have, unfortunately, adopted “y’all” in my stay in the south.. let’s hope it goes away when I get back! .. Although I DO sort of like to say it.. 🙂 )

  • 03:03:52 pm on April 27, 2011 | Comments Off on Ode to Colorado | # |

    the top

    " After I did "The Incline" at the foot of Pike's Peak, basically, it is made up of endless railroad tie stairs!"

    I really LOVE Colorado weather. Yesterday was my birthday ( no longer a teen!) and it was sunny with light beautiful rains. And today– IT’S SNOWING! Only in Colorado. You know what they say– “If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait 10 minutes.”

    But really.. what’s NOT to like about Colorful Colorado? Sure, the weather can be tough, but I put up with it for all the other trade offs!  Here’s what I love.

    1. 14’ers– These are mountain peaks that exceed 14,000 feet above sea level… that is so cool right?? I have yet to hike one.  There are 54 to choose from!
    2. Vail– Have you ever bonded with a particular location?  Vail is one of them. It is a quaint little town nestled in magnificent beauty.
    3. Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak– It’s always there, even on a day like this when the clouds roll it’s there. Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak looms quietly over Denver and Colorado Springs always reminding us where we live. I absolutely love waking up to the view of Pikes Peak every morning, I have an amazing view from my on campus apartment. I feel like the only way to describe it is ” it looks like one massive tidal wave from the movie 2012″.
    4.  Great Sand Dunes National Monument – The biggest and best sandbox you will ever enjoy!  Very kid friendly too.
    5. The Rampart Range  – Very near suburban Denver is a fabulous getaway just minutes from town.  Mountains, rivers, peaks and valleys, it’s got it all.
    6. Last, but certainly not least, I’m going to call this one, Buena Vista and the Arkansas River Valley.    Rafting, 14ers, old mining towns, fishing, biking, exploring, hot springs, skiing and much much more, but I guess I could say just about the same thing for the previous favorites.

    Now, what are some of your favorites?

  • 10:41:52 am on March 10, 2011 | Comments Off on On my way to the shuttle and… “oh ya, it’s Mardi Gras!” | # |

    Being a tutor at the UCCS Math Learning Center on campus is quite fun. Although having the closing shift is tough sometimes. Being such an avid math lover, it pains me to have to ask the few students who are still working hard at closing– that it’s time to go! But, eventually they catch on, when you’re cleaning down the boards and tucking in chairs, that unfortunately- math time at the MLC is over for the day.

    So after getting off of work a bit later than I planned (I was helping a peer with a frustrating statistics problem despite it was past our closing time– I really wanted to help him solve it!), I decided to take the Circulator shuttle back to the on campus Alpine Village apartments, where I live.

    ThenI heard it! What was it, you ask? ….. MUSIC! One of my most favorite things in the world when it is paired with dancing. So I immediately diverted my path down to Clyde’s! (I knew I could catch another shuttle until after ten that night.)

    Meral wearing maskI was so happy to see some familiar faces down there eating and playing pool, and also pleasantly surprised to see one of our food and dining directors, Russell , up on stage playing in the band!

    They had free red beans and rice, which I swiftly took advantage of, and a fun Mardi Gras special, “Swamp Water” (green Gatorade and sprite).

    I was the proud first dancer of the night– I even asked if I could move some tables around to expedite the dancing process.

    Then, I convinced some friends who I sometimes swing dance with in UCCS Lindy Lions Swing Club–and who I knew were really good –to show off their swing dancing skills.

    I got a cool Mardi Gras mask and of course, some beads (but don’t worry, the beads were just laying on the tables- free to take!).