Share Your Story
Browse personal recollections and stories from the past 50 years of FAU.

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Ganson I came to FAU in 1994 as a new graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where I had received an MA degree in Latin American Studies and a Ph.D. degree in History. I had ten interviews that year but the one job I wanted was the one at FAU. I really liked my colleagues, especially those on the search committee, Steve Engle and Mark Rose.

Looking back these past seventeen years, one event stands out in 2004 when the Division of Sponsored Research and Graduate Studies sponsored a world record attempt flight by aviator adventurer Gustavus McLeod (holder of an honorary doctorate from FAU) to fly around the world via the North and South Poles. As curriculum director and flight coordinator on Team Firefly, I worked with a team of aeronautical engineers from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI; the South Korean equivalent of NASA) along with McLeod and photographer Tom Norris. McLeod made two attempts to reach the South Pole in late January/early February 2004 but ran into icing on both occasions. He did manage to set several new aviation records by flying the Firefly, an experimental, composite canard wing airplane to Antarctica across the dreaded Drake Passage at night. While based at Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Argentina, I worked with Antonio Artesano of the Argentine Air Force in making arrangements for McLeod's departure with 347 gallons of fuel on board the airplane. McLeod managed to take off. It was a noble attempt at an elusive aviation record.

Barbara Ganson




My FAU Family

Florida Atlantic University was the name of a U.S. university that I had never heard of before I came to Florida. I had been looking at all universities (and rankings) in the U.S., and it seemed that Florida was the last place I wanted to go for continuing my Master's degree. I had two uncles who used to work for a shipping line cruise company in Miami, and it was the only memory about Florida that I had in my mind: that Florida is the paradise of tourists. It is just like the island of Bali in my country. However, in spring 2011, my perspective of Florida changed.

Rohmaningtyas As a woman from the faraway country of Indonesia in South East Asia, I had been dreaming of getting a better education overseas. I was born in a developing country in a decent family of three kids. My father was a teacher, and my mother was a housewife. Although we originally came from a traditional Javanese family, my parents always encouraged their children to get a good education. Therefore, I went to college by competing for a scholarship from my government. After I got my degree in Community Development in Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia in 2000, I started to search for any scholarships that support Indonesian women who want to study at U.S. universities. However, I ended up working with several international nonprofit organizations in my country. Then I married and gave birth to my now 7-year-old and 2-year-old sons. When the massive 2004 tsunami and the 2006 earthquake hit my country, I joined with several international NGOs to help the survivors get their normal lives back. I loved my work and kept busy with it, but my dream about continuing to study in America never died.

In 2010 my work supervisor suggested that I apply for the USAID Scholarship to continue study in the U.S. So I gave it a try. After almost a year's selection process, I finally won the scholarship. I almost dropped the opportunity when I discovered that I would not be able to go to my first choice of a university in the northern U.S. In addition, it seemed impossible for me to leave my family behind in my country. But my husband and extended family supported my decision, saying "You have to go and you will have another 'family' in Florida." So I flew almost 40 hours from Indonesia to Florida Atlantic University, leaving my husband and children behind because of the scholarship's restrictions regarding dependents. I was very frightened. It was my first time traveling alone away from home. I landed in Florida on New Year's Day 2011, when the school was closed because everyone was still on vacation. Having bad jet lag culture shock and feeling severely homesick, I just wanted to buy a ticket straight to go back home. However, I felt welcomed as soon as I met my academic professor, Dr. Nyhan, who is the Director of the Master's in Nonprofit Management program at FAU. He has been very supportive of my study goal here. I also soon felt very much at home as I met the staff members in the International Student and Scholar Services Office, who greeted me and were very friendly. I had been communicating with Mihaela Metianu and Dawn Wooten before coming here, but had never seen them personally. They even helped me to move into the University Village Apartments, my first college dorm at the FAU, where I met lot of new senior student friends. I still struggled with homesickness and culture shock (including what I call academic and technological culture shocks) for few months, since I had been away from school for ten years. I panicked and did not know how to use Blackboard. Everything is online in the FAU system. But help came from everywhere for an international student at FAU. They knew I was just new at graduate school, and English was my second language. So wherever I go, staff members or other students are always willing to help me. Ms. Lorry and Dr. Darlene Parrish patiently helped me to do academic research and to use the Wimberly Library's unlimited resources. I have also found all consultants in the FAU Writing Center to be remarkably helpful in improving my writing skills. I enjoy participating in swimming, Zumba and yoga classes at the FAU gym. And I enjoy the quiet corner in the Jewish Center of the library, where I go when I have to rush to finish class assignments.

I am now in my third semester at FAU, and I cannot find the right words to express how I do really, really enjoy my time as an international graduate student at FAU. I have found that this university respects multicultural backgrounds very much, and being here has significantly deepened my understanding of the global environment and friendship across cultures. While I have been working toward my academic goal in the MNM program, I have been enjoying my time with other international students. Since I experienced a hard time when I missed home a lot or was dealing with culture shock, I want to help incoming international students from around the world enjoy their initial days at FAU.

I am expecting to graduate in the spring of next year, and I intend to come back here again one day. When that day comes, I will be able to bring my children and proudly tell them: This is my FAU family. Go Owls!

Damayanti Sari Rohmaningtyas
2011 Graduate Student
MNM Program, Florida Atlantic University



I am a 2007 graduate of the Barry Kaye College of Business with a BA in Management Information Systems - Security Track. I am currently a Network Administrator with the City of Fort Pierce in Saint Lucie County along the Treasure/Research Coast. I was recently honored to become a Distinguished Alumnus within the FAU (ITOM) Information Technology and Operations Management Group by nomination of a few of my prior professors. I want to note that my career track would not have been possible without the real world education I received at FAU.

I have continued with my educational endeavors and attribute earning a Master's of Information Assurance degree with honors from Norwich University in Burlington, Vermont, based upon my undergraduate education at FAU.

Best Regards,
Stanley L. Fidge ‘07
Megabyte Concepts
1101 SE Mendavia Avenue
Port St Lucie, FL 34952
(772) 486-6418
sfidge@megabyteconcepts.com
www.megabyteconcepts.com




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