A Day in the Life of an SPS Intern

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Reflection on the Summer - Aug 11, 2008 at 4:55PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Hallo everyone!

The internship is over and I can't believe it. The last few days at ACP were a blur. Jenna and I were trying to get everything done before we had to leave. Not all of the supplies were in and we weren't quite finished with all of the lesson plans. But we got all of the things done that we could. I'll start with the weekend like usual, and go from there.

On Saturday, Barbara and I went to the Muppet exhibit at the International Gallery. It was uberly cute! There was a bunch of stuff on Jim Henson's early works and a ton of his drawings. And it didn't focus overly much on Sesame Street. After that we went home and watched Labyrinth, which I had never completely seen before. We spent the rest of the day lounging around. Sunday Barbara moved out and I spent the day doing laundry, cleaning up, and talking with friends at home.

Monday morning we worked on writing some cheat sheets. Then in the afternoon we went to NIST for a tour. It was really awesome because we saw some of the standards. Tuesday, we finished up the pictures and videos we needed as well as the introduction video. And I put together the first draft of the user's manual. That night I went out to eat with my friends Stef and Joel for dinner in Old Town Alexandria. It was a cute place. It just made me realize how much I'm going to miss DC even more.

Wednesday was the final breakfast with everyone from ACP. It was nice just to sit there with everyone like on the first day and eat bagels. Sitting there outside on a beautiful day with good food and friends talking. It was a great way to end a great summer.

This summer has definitely been my favorite summer experience. My last two were spent in REUs, but this one really made me learn about myself. And I think I learned a lot about others in the process. I think it also made me grow up a bit too, although I don't think I'll ever completely do that, haha. I came in thinking it was going to be hard living in a city and having to commute so far every day, but I miss it so much right now and I've only been home for three days. I know I could live in a place like DC and work in a place like ACP. If I ever decide that research or teach isn't working out that's where I'll be. I loved working at ACP. Everyone I met was wonderful and I learned something from everyone I met. I know that I'll miss it so much over the next few weeks and transitioning back into school is going to be hard. I'm so grateful that I had such brilliant teachers like Gary, Kendra, Jack, and Liz. And the Education department was the best in the building. You all were awesome! Y'all took me under you wing and made me feel like I was a part of it all. I really hope that I get to see you in November! And what can I say about the interns? We've been through a lot together. The fights, the laughs, the meals, and the Metro rides. I'll miss you all. Thanks for sharing this experience and being there when you were needed.

Until next time,
Mary


Week 9 - July 28 - Aug 11, 2008 at 4:54PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Hello!

I can't believe that this is the last full week we're here. And my family is here! This entire weekend I spent being a tourist with them. That was exciting since I hadn't seen them since May. We went to the Air and Space Museum and the Holocaust Museum. Sunday was the picnic at the White house and it was a blast. We played Rock Band and ate delicious food. I also spend the weekend putting together the great photo montage (see the SPS website to take a look at it).

Jenna and I spent Monday trying to finish up the presentation and get the last of the lesson plans and documents done. We met with Kendra and finished up the presentation. I also had my first conference call for The Nucleus with the assistant editors. It was kinda hard to hear, but it was nice to be able to finally meet everyone even if it was only over the phone. Tuesday was practice day, which meant all the interns were at ACP and we got to critique everyone's presentations. They were all very interesting. And we ate Chipotle for lunch! Afterwards, Jenna and I took the comments we got from Gary and Kendra and revised our presentation.

Wednesday was the big day. It went smashingly! We got to meet some former interns as well as some people from both NASA and NIST. One of the guys that sat at our table was a former SOCK intern. It was great to meet interns that are now making their way in the world. When we were done, Jenna and I still had to work on writing some things.

Jenna was gone Thursday and Friday. I spent Thursday cramming in as many things as possible. We still had a list of "Things to be done by Friday" and I thought that they could be done. Boy was I wrong. Jenna came back to ACP Thursday afternoon and we stayed until after 7 to get things done. We knew it was crunch time. Then Friday I continued typing as fast as my short fingers could go.

This weekend is our last. I have no clue what's in store and I'm excited but sad. Barbara and I are planning on going to the Muppet exhibit, which I'm really excited about. Hopefully it's going to be a fun weekend.

Until next week,
Mary


Week 8 - July 21 - Aug 3, 2008 at 11:26PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Greetings,

Last week left off with me getting ready to go to Edmonton and hoping to see Mamma Mia. Well, Jenna and I didn't get to see it because it was sold out by the time we got to Georgetown. So I was disappointed but as I still hadn't finished my laundry or started packing I was quite relieved that I was going to have time. Or so I thought. We ended up going to dinner with everyone at Friday's and it took almost an hour to get seated inside. It was delicious as always however and almost worth the wait. We finally got home and I got to work packing.

Saturday, Logan and I got up early (after being up until 2) and headed off for the Metro to the airport. It took forever to get a train but we were still at the airport way ahead of time. This proved to be good because our flight got rescheduled and pushed an hour back. No problem with the connection in Toronto though because we were going to have a layover of a couple of hours anyway. When we got to Toronto, however, we just made it to the gate in time to see Kendra sitting there (with the same shirt on I was wearing, haha). We sat down for a few minutes and then had to get up to board. The planes we were on were really cool – they had screens in the back of the headrests and you could choose what movie, tv show, or music you wanted to listen to. It made for a comfy flight. Since we were lucky enough to be on the same flight as Kendra and she had family in Edmonton, we got a ride with them. They were really cute; definitely your typical Canadians. We finally got to the dorms and set out to find food. We learned that it doesn't get dark until around 11, which was nice but confusing once we got back to the States. Kendra, Logan, and I went out to a pizza place and had some amazing pizza. Which was the first thing Logan and I had eaten in almost 12 hours. After eating we walked back to the dorms to settle in and go to sleep.

Sunday morning, we slept in. Which was a good thing since I was exhausted. Logan and I went over to registration to check-in and get our sweet AAPT bags. We saw Dr. Layman and Bruce. It was nice to see some people we knew. We then got some food and hung around the dorms for a while. That night was the poster session. There were a good number of us and the room was kinda small. But it was a lot fun. I didn't talk to many people, but the people I did talk to seemed very interested. And I did get some ideas and suggestions. One good one was how to make Boomwhackers out of golf club protectors, which we are using in the SOCK. After we presented our posters, we played Jeopardy. I've never played it before so I was really excited. My team came really close to winning, if only it weren't for Becky and Jessica. After everything was taken down, we headed over to the opening reception to get some food and see the exhibit hall. There we saw even more people we knew and talked for a bit. That night we went out with Becky and Jessica.

Monday we got up bright and early to go to the first timer's breakfast. It was a great way to get introduced to the meeting. We met some people from other institutions – the two guys at our table were both teachers. After that we went to some talks. The first one was geophysics and about oil and gas in Alberta. It was from Shell Canada and a good presentation. After that we went to the plenary, which was ok. I was hoping it was going to be more on the subject rather than selling his DVD. But we got them for free, which was a plus. After lunch, we went to a couple other talks. They were also a bit disappointing. Interesting, but not what I was expecting. We then went to hear a talk give by Michio Kaku, author of a book that I've wanted to read. He was being given an award. The talk was good, but again something was missing. After that we went to the Young Physicist Meet and Greet and talked to a few people our own age. As Justin went off to dinner with some people he met, Logan and I went to listen to some talks about physics and movies and pseudoscience. The first was really good, the second not so much.

Tuesday we slept in again. We headed to the Student Union to get breakfast and t-shirts and then to meet up with Kendra. We decided to take the day off and go to a festival – The Taste of Edmonton. The food there was delicious. And there was a bunch of different kinds. I mean obviously that's what it was about. We have a bunch of "Taste of" festivals at home so I get it, but the food was really good. After eating, we headed back to listen to a talk on the international year of astronomy, which was good. The talk made me feel really good about myself because I remembered most of it from astronomy class. We then went to listen to another talk given by someone receiving an award, Eric Mazur. It turned out to be the best one I heard the entire conference. He is a great speaker and very funny. That night we celebrated Jessica's birthday and her last conference.

Wednesday Logan and I basically didn't sleep and then woke up very early to get to the airport. This is definitely a day I do not want to repeat. To get to the airport we crammed into a shuttle. We did know one other person – Bruce. We ended up being at the airport extra early. After eating breakfast and sitting there for a long time we finally boarded and got to Toronto. And that's where things went downhill fast. Basically, they cancelled our flight to DC and so we had to rebook. But they didn't tell us until after we had gone through customs and checked our bags and stuff. So, we had to go back and get our bags and go through everything again. We finally got a flight from Toronto to Montreal to DC. However, when we got to Montreal, none of the people's luggage going to DC was at baggage claim. A very nice Air Canada worker (and what seems like the only one) finally made a call and got our bags 5 minutes before we were suppose to board. Since our flight was delayed it didn't matter. We finally got up in the air and over DC when we had to circle for an hour and they threaten to send us to BWI. But we landed at National and got home 6 and half hours late. Needless to say, we were exhausted and glad to finally be home.

Thursday was full of organizing and getting little things done while I tried to stay awake. I was very, very tired and jet lagged. And my family was on their way into town that evening. I met them that evening and ate dinner. It's the first time I've seen them in two months. I was really excited to see them but so very tired.

Today Jenna is back and we are getting some stuff finished before going to NASA. I am uber excited about today's visit because it has been a goal of mine since I was little to work at NASA. I can't wait! Hopefully I'll be able to stay awake through it through since I'm still really tired.

This weekend is going to be spent doing touristy stuff with my family, yay! But only one full week left...

Until next week,
Mary


Week 7 - Week of July 14 - Jul 24, 2008 at 1:39PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Hallo everybody,

On Saturday Meagan, Logan, Kunal, Daniel, and I went to Philadelphia. We had a great time! We left on a bus from Chinatown, which was kinda sketchy, but we got there and back without many problems. While there we went to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and ate Philly Cheese Steaks at Pat's (well, I got a fish sandwich).

This week was a rushed week because I was getting ready for the AAPT meeting in Edmonton.  Jenna was at MRSEC Monday-Wednesday so I spent the first couple of days trying to get things written for her to look over when she returned. I also spent a majority of my time working on my poster for the meeting. It was another week spent calling or being called (don't forget all the emails) by Logan. We also had a fun photo session for my poster that turned out to be slower than expected. Sorry and thanks to all those involved! I hope you had fun. I apologize to APS on the fourth floor because I armed Becky and Jessica with the musical straws. At least that side of the floor won't be as quiet anymore. So maybe it's your own fault. It's always too quiet when I go up there any way.

Thursday Jenna and I went to MRSEC to test out the elementary sound lesson again. It went mostly well. There were a few problems here and there but it was a ton of fun! The kids were uber cute and had a blast. We went back to ACP to eat lunch, work for half an hour, and then go to the Pentagon! All the ACP interns met up with Paul and Kunal at the Pentagon metro station to go on our tour. Our tour guide was a Marine and pretty funny. I thought it was awesome. We had a little time after to get out of work clothes and then go back to College Park to meet Liz at the metro to go to the Dylla's for a BBQ. That night was so much fun!! The food was delicious (especially the dessert) and we met some people from work we didn't know. After eating, Linda brought out a surprise – WATER GUNS! She joined in on the fun as we sprayed each other and then ganged up on the Texas crew who decided not to play. Kendra and Tracy even picked up some guns and took part. We then sat around talking and attempted to dry off in the almost oppressive humidity. Thursday was definitely the best night of week - a thanks goes to the Dylla's for being awesome!

Friday was the most rushed day of the week as I still needed to finish my poster. The backroom was finally finished and earlier in the week the education department decided to fold t-shirts and eat lunch together. So around 11 we all went to the new office where the backroom used to be and we sorted and folded all the t-shirts. We then ate Chipotle together (yum!) while discussing what shirts to take to the Congress in November. After lunch we packed all the ones for the Congress up and moved the rest. I went back to work on my poster. Jenna and I ended up staying until almost 6 because I wasn't done and we were going to see Mamma Mia before I left for Canada. We missed the showing that we wanted to see. Hopefully we'll catch the next one because I really want to see it.

In other news Barbara and I got the second season of How I Met Your Mother. And my family will be here next week!!

Tomorrow I leave for beautiful Edmonton, Alberta and I'll be gone until next Wednesday. Wish me luck!

Until next week,
Mary


Week 6 - Week of July 7 - Jul 11, 2008 at 2:19PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

¡Hola!

This has been a rather monotonous week at work. Although Sunday we did go on a Washington Monument tour. It was really awesome. When we were waiting in line the park ranger asked us where we were from and he said he would pick where he liked the best. I was really surprised when he picked Cincinnati but I won, ha!

Monday the abstract for the AAPT meeting was due and I spent a good portion of the day rewriting that until it was satisfactory. I'll be presenting a poster on the SOCK and The Nucleus. The rest of the day I finished up writing the elementary polarization lesson because the rough draft for the entire polarization lesson was due on Tuesday. We also had a meeting with Gary in the afternoon to talk about out plans for the rest of the summer and to plan out the reflection/refraction lesson. It's still not penned down but I think we have a better idea of what we're going to do. When I got home Barbara and I watched 6 episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I really think that constitutes as an addiction.

On Tuesday, Jenna and I turned out lessons into Kendra for revision. I started looking for polarized sunglasses online and retractable poles to use for the polarization lesson. While I was looking, I got hit with a sudden eureka. We could just use tension curtain rods! That night Jenna and I decided that was my one and only genius moment of the summer, haha. We went to lunch with Gary to a place called Franklins where I had an amazingly large vegetarian cottage pie. It was scrumptious! We left work early with Jack to meet Dr. Layman at the metro to go to dinner and the theater. Dinner was delicious and we went to see a hilarious play called The Mystery of Irma Vep. There only two male actors, but many characters both male and female. One of the actors originated a part on Broadway in the producers so you know it had to be a great show.

Wednesday we got up and went to have coffee with Senator Herb Kohl and a capitol tour. Senator Kohl was really nice and the tour was cool. We almost got to see the big vote that happened but we missed it by a half-hour. I kinda wish we would have just stayed but oh well. I spent the rest of the day going through the purchases and adding in the new ones. Just getting things organized again. I also started writing the other documents that go into the user's guide other than the lessons. That night I went home with Susannah to have dinner and dye my hair. It is now a dark auburn and I like it a lot! When I got home Barbara and I finished the third disk of first season of How I Met Your Mother but I fell asleep during the last episode in my contacts. Now we'll just have to watch the last one over again.

Thursday I dug deep into the other docs for the SOCKs as I've begun calling them. I got a number of them done. I would have finished more of them, but I spent quite a while reading the National Science Education Standards which are oh so thrilling. It's actually pretty interesting to read about what you're supposed to learn in school. By the end of the day I felt very accomplished. After work, Barbara and I went to Pentagon Row to eat at Noodles & Co. and listen to Gonzo's Nose, a band that was supposed to be an 80's cover band but played more recent music than 80's music. It was kinda disappointing since we went because it was 80's music and because the girl could NOT sing. At least the food was yummy.

Today has been full more docs for the SOCKs.  I've been writing all day and I think I'm going to move onto something else. Tonight we're going to a jazz concert at the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. Either that or I'm going to stay in and go to sleep early. Meagan, Logan, Kunal, Daniel, and I are going to Philadelphia tomorrow but we have to get up at 6:45 to catch the bus. I might need the extra sleep, although I can sleep on the bus. It's going to be a great weekend!

Until next week,
Mary

Post edited July 24, 2008 at 12:18 PM EST.


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Re: Week 6 - Week of July...   (Jenna - Jul 11 2008 at 2:25PM)
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Week 5 - Week of June 30 - Jul 8, 2008 at 9:39AM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Greetings,
This week has been fun because I've actually got out and did a lot of stuff. Monday I finally met Dave. The comPADRE project meeting took up the first couple days this week, (and Jenna was gone) so he was here and we got to talk in person instead of just over the phone or email. He's a great guy! We pinned down the Assistant Editors for The Nucleus. I also got a revised version of the task list and became a admin on the Facebook group. I just need to get some of it done because, as you'll see, the rest of the week got more hectic.

Tuesday was full of writing letters for the Assistant Editors and writing the lesson plan for the elementary polarization lesson for the SOCK. After work Barbara, Justin, and I went to the Cute Is What We Aim For concert at the 9:30 Club. It was AWESEOME! The Ace Enders opened for them and they were really good too. We had a lot of fun.

Wednesday Jenna was back so we started finalizing the lessons. There was a party for Sonja because she is leaving so we went to that in the morning. I didn't know how awesome she is. Taking care of her daughter who has autism and then starting a school for autistic kids. Wow. After the party Liz, Logan, and I talked about going to the AAPT meeting in Edmonton in a couple of weeks. Logan and I had decided to go and there was a ton of stuff that had to be done that day – plane tickets, dorm rooms, and conference registration. Logan and I started that as soon as we got back from lunch. We got our plane tickets before we left and left everything for the next day. After work Barbara and I went out to a Thai place and then saw Get Smart with two of her friends. It was funny and I can't wait to see it with my family because they will die laughing.

Thursday was exciting because it was so close to the weekend. Logan and I finished getting rooms and registration. Jenna and I started on the boomwhacker lesson. She was working on the high school lesson. We wanted the students to determine the speed of sound using the tubes but they have to way to measure the frequency. And it wasn't coming out right. We found a paper that said there needed to be an end correction of 0.6D because the air at the middle of the tube doesn't know that the ends aren't closed and there is some diffusion. This makes the answer come out beautifully! When we got home, Barbara, Justin, Daniel, and I went to Pentagon Row to eat dinner at Baja Fresh. We also got delicious ice cream at Maggie Moos and sat down to listen to the band that was playing Elvis (yes Justin, Elvis).

On Friday I met up with a one of my sorority sisters from school, Lizzi. Everyone went to watch the parade around noon. I got to see BAGPIPES!! I also critiqued all the marching bands as they went by. The best was definitely the all-state band from Mississippi. Then Jenna, Barbara, Justin, Lizzi, and I went to lunch and then to the folklife festival. We ended up separating. Lizzi and I ended up going to a couple of the museums and walked around the mall until the fireworks. Everyone else had gone home and we attempted to meet with Justin but it didn't work so we sat on the sidewalk and watched the fireworks. It then took me and hour to get home. I met some girls from George Mason on the Metro at L'Enfant and we talked until I had to get off. All in all, it was a great day.

Saturday, Barbara and I slept in and went to the Afghanistan art exhibit at the National Gallery. It was really cool. I want to go back and see some of the other exhibits. It's a huge building though so it will take multiple days.

In other news, Barbara and I have become addicted to How I Met Your Mother. If you've never see it, you should. It's great. I think that's about it for now.

Until next week,
Mary


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Re: Week 5 - Week of June...   (Jenna - Jul 08 2008 at 2:54PM)
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Week 4: Week of June 23, 2008 - Jun 30, 2008 at 3:29PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Hallo everyone,
What an eventful week! This week started out with Jenna's return to ACP (for a week) and the rush to get the poster done for CNSF. Thankfully the poster was finally finished – thanks to everyone who helped out by correcting wording, fixing formatting, or by providing materials! We sent it off with Liz to Staples to have it printed and laminated. That afternoon was the ACP picnic and it was a ton of fun! We had two demo rooms – the Rainbow Room and Science Fun with Boomwhackers and Slinkys. Dr. Layman came to help out. The Rainbow Room when spectacularly, however, the wave room was less than good. We didn't have a lesson plan and had intended to do one or two demos of what we did at Yorktown but that didn't happen. Oh well, I think the kids had some fun with the slinkys and boomwhackers.

Tuesday morning we got the posters back and they looked FANTASTIC! They weren't laminated or cut right, but we sent them back and got it done right. We had a practice that morning so I continued meeting people from all over the building as we practiced what we would say for Wednesday night. It definitely helped get the jitters out. The rest of the day was dedicated to making a list of things for the SOCK. Jenna and I realized that we have some things pinned down but we are far from done (and we only have five weeks left/12 days here for Jenna because of MRSEC). That seems kinda terrifying, but I think we are off to a great start and we'll have no problems getting everything done on time. That night Jenna and I made cookies for our fellow interns for helping us with the ACP picnic. They were delicious!

Wednesday was a great day, spent mostly on the hill. Jenna, Meagan, Logan, and I went to the Senate Hearing for the Committee for Energy and Natural Resources. It had two witnesses – the first was Dr. Neil Hirst from the International Energy Agency and the second was Dr. Raymond Orbach from the Department of Energy. Dr. Hirst gave a presentation, from a model, which explained how we could either keep our CO2 levels the same by 2050 or reduce them by 50%. Dr. Orbach then talked about what the DOE is doing right now about what we also to supplement what Dr. Hirst said. The Senators were then allowed 5 minutes each to ask questions. The first one, the Chairman, was very polite and asked some good questions. The second one however, was very disrespectful to Dr. Hirst. He basically told him it looked like they threw the presentation together and spent no time getting the data. He also said that he would never give the presentation to anyone ever again. I think if I would have been in Dr. Hirst's shoes and had just spent the last 6 years working on this model, I would have died on the spot. Jenna and I left right after the Senator finished apologizing to Dr. Hirst because we needed to get to ACP to prep for CNSF.

Wednesday night at CNSF went smashingly. Although it was hard to maneuver a giant tri-fold poster on the Metro and although Meagan almost got smashed in the doors – way to go Logan for prying the bag with the give-aways out of the door – we got there all in one piece and altogether. After  getting to the Rayburn building and getting everything set up, we had a few minutes to take everything in. Our location was probably the BEST in the entire room. We were just inside the door off to the left so as people came in, we were the first thing they could really see. With the help of Jack, Liz, Meagan (who's GREAT at schmoozing), and various other people we were able to talk to Arden Bement (the director of NSF), Kathie Olsen (the deputy director of NSF), Ann Carlson (also from NSF), Rush Holt (a physicist!), Vernon Ehlers (also a physicist!), and many other interesting people.  It was fun getting to exhibit to all kinds of people from various science backgrounds. After we all went out to eat with the Dyllas, Jack, Liz, Jerry, Susannah, and all the interns. It was great getting to talk to everyone outside of the office. Barbara, Daniel, Susannah, Jenna, Jack, and I all talked at our end of the table about science fiction for a while and had a great time. We then went home exhausted and ate cookies and sat on Jenna and Meagan's floor to talk for a bit.

Thursday was a lot less hectic and almost back to normal. Jenna and I met with Kendra to set some deadlines, which makes me feel so much better. I love having a schedule and knowing when things are due. It makes me feel less all over the place. I then spent the day looking through The Physics Teacher online for resources to put into the SOCK lesson plans. We got a lot of things crossed off our list which felt really good. Barbara and I watched a movie last night (instead of me falling asleep at 9:30, yay!!). It's called Copying Beethoven and it wasn't too bad. I would definitely watch it again.

Friday has been about getting more things crossed off the Para Hacer list. We finally decided on Reflection/Refraction as the last topic which is great. We just need to get demos and lessons settled.
This weekend is going to be a blast because we're going to BALTIMORE! Hopefully it doesn't rain too much and stays cool...

Until next week,
Mary

Post edited June 30, 2008 at 3:30 PM EST.


Week 3: Week of June 16, 2008 - Jun 30, 2008 at 3:28PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Greetings,
I can't believe that this is the end of the third week. And yet, it feels like somehow I've been working here for a while. This week was much busier than the last two combined but I feel like I got much less done. It could be because Jenna was still not here this week and CNSF is in 5 days.  So that's what my week has been – working on CNSF. Logan and I have been emailing each other or calling each other constantly. You'd think that I would have his extension memorized by now...

I've been making great progress on The Nucleus editor positions. A number of them came in this week and we're hoping to make a first list of them on Monday. I think we have a terrific group of writers that would make an outstanding contribution to The Nucleus. Everyone who is reading this I have another mission for you this week. If you are an undergraduate and you are interested in physics and astronomy – GO JOIN THE NUCLEUS!!! (www.compadre.org/student) It's a great website that just needs some extra love and attention. Dave, Gary, and everyone who is working on it have been doing their best and I think that they've done pretty great so far. But it needs a jump start to get it going again and that's what I'm trying to do.  So, ready, set, go join!
As for the SOCK, I've been thinking up some more ideas, but I feel weird working on it when Jenna's not here.  And then CNSF took over our lives. But our poster is going to be amazing and we are going to be really prepared to talk to the congressmen, congresswomen, and their staffers.  

Outside of work, I've been spending time working out with Justin in the gym (at work, so not technically outside of work, but, you know). We've also been playing lots of Guitar Hero. Yeah, we probably shouldn't have bought those two controllers over the weekend. And we watched Juno the other night, which is an amazingly cute movie. In addition to all of this, Susannah, a friend of mine from school who lives in College Park, just got a job here at ACP and started this week. We've been hanging out a lot which is great because we don't really get to during the school year. I ate dinner at her house last night and met her family. It was fun and really great to have a meal where I could just sit down and talk to people without worrying about dishes or anything complicated. I mean I had to Metro home by myself, but oh well. And I think I know what I want to do after graduation which is even better.

Speaking of Metro-ing home by myself, tourists thought I was a Native. It was GREAT! And I helped them on the Metro. When I told them I was just here for the summer, they didn't believe me.
One last thing story for today and then I'm off. I was having a bad day starting when I woke up this morning. Then a light up pen made my day. Well, then it was a magnetic car thing, and then tada, a bag of COFFEE!!!!  Haha, its official, the Physics Today people are the coolest people in the building – shout out to Justin! (oh, besides the Education department of course, because that's where I work :] and we're amazing).

This weekend is going to be fun. Tomorrow Susannah is going to come over and dye my hair and hang out. Who know what's going to happen on Sunday. We've got a car and anything could happen!

Until next week,
Mary

Post edited June 30, 2008 at 3:30 PM EST.


Week 2: Week of June 9, 2008 - Jun 30, 2008 at 3:26PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Hello again everyone,

This marks the end of week two. It was a crazy busy but a very fun and fulfilling week. Last week ended with me defying food laws. I am a vegetarian and I believe that means that one doesn't eat any animal no chicken, beef, pork, or seafood. I decided that while I was near a coast, I would start eating seafood again. Now I've only been a veggie for two years this month, but I started off this week sick as a dog.

Monday was Jenna's last day at ACP until Friday. That meant we needed to finalize plans for the lesson on polarization. We hope to include it in the SOCK and we took it to Yorktown High School on Wednesday. Since Jenna wasn't there on Tuesday, I took the lead on the practice. The lesson went amazingly. I don't think that we could have asked for things to go better. The high schoolers actually participated and were active in the lesson. I was amazed at times.

Then on Thursday, the pressure was on. We had to demo another lesson for the SOCK at an elementary school for third graders. And it had to be on waves. And Jenna was not going to be at work. So Wednesday on the Metro ride home and then on the way to work Thursday, Jenna and I brainstormed since she rides the same route we do to UMd. We decided we would instead do a lesson on sound waves and have them make some kind of musical instrument and play with the boomwhackers. Oh, if you don't know what boomwhackers are, you should stop reading this right now and Google boomwhacker immediately as they are absolutely amazing. So I wrote a plan and got feedback from Kendra. However, I had to wait until Friday to get approval from Gary because he was downstairs at an REU conference and I forgot to attach the document to the email.

Friday the 13th (my favorite day ever) came around and it was crunch time. Jenna was back, and the lesson plan was approved. Logan, Jenna, Gary, and I rushed out to buy two different kinds of straws (sorry to everyone in the kitchen, we grabbed some from there ) and got cutting to make pretty awesome musical straws. For as quickly as things got put together, the lesson turned out pretty good and the kids had a great time. And I think if we work a little on the lesson we'll have one we can put in the SOCK.

Other than that I've worked a little more on associate editor applications for The Nucleus. Also Jenna, Logan, and I are presenting a poster for the CNSF (Coalition for National Science Funding) Exhibition on June 25th. Since Jenna won't be there all next week we've got to get it done SOON. So we all have been working hard on that.

Outside of work I've done basically nothing, which probably isn't the best thing. But I've been so drained this week. Around 9 pm every night, I start falling asleep. We have starting watching Firefly though. It's a great show! My goal for next week is to actually get out of my room and actually do something. Tonight we are heading over to Georgetown for dinner and shopping. Hopefully I can meet up with a friend from high school who is taking classes over there. Well, I think that's all for now.

Until next week,
Mary

Post edited June 30, 2008 at 3:30 PM EST.


Week 1: Week of June 2, 2008 - Jun 30, 2008 at 3:25PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Hey ya'll!
This has been quite an exciting week! I arrived in DC on Saturday after an unfortunate delay due to horrid weather here in DC. After getting to see a friend from home who I hadn't seen in forever, I started getting settled in and met everyone. Sunday we got up early to meet Liz and get some goodies. Then we went out to get some food from the grocery and I had my first ride on the Metro. What can I say about the Metro... at first I was terrified, but now I love it! Later that night, Justin and I went on a very long walk to some of the memorials and monuments: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Korean War Memorial, and the White House.  Monday morning was an early morning filled with laughs, paperwork, and lots of acronyms (see Jenna's journal for a list of a few of them).

All of the other interns are amazing. We've had a couple night this week where we got together and did something. For example, the very first night after work we all played Cranium. We found out very quickly that Meagan and Logan are great and probably should never be on a team together again. Tuesday, Jenna, Barbara, and I went out to see a movie. Then last night, we had our first family meal of the summer.  Justin made yummy fajitas (I supplied the black beans and rice to make it veggie friendly) and we watched some funny videos on the internet.
As for work, Jenna and I have been having tons of fun working on the SOCK. It's going to be on waves, so we've been playing around with slinkys. I have the cool job of ordering all the supplies we need. We're going to have to work hard to top last year's SOCK but I think by the end of the summer we'll have given it a run for its money. I'm also doing work on the Nucleus. Right now I'm working on narrowing down the applicants for associate editors. It's going to be a challenge, but I think I'm ready for the task.

Well, I think that's about it for now. As for us, we're off the Nationals vs. Giants game with the SPS Executive Committee tonight. Hopefully we'll have great weather and it won't be unbearably hot this weekend.

Until next week,
Mary

Post edited June 30, 2008 at 3:30 PM EST.


Introduction - Jun 30, 2008 at 3:18PM
Mary Avatar
Mary
27 Posts

Hello everyone!

My name is Mary Mills and this fall I'll be a senior physics major at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio - a small town in northern Ohio. I'm originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I spent my first year at Agnes Scott College, an all-girl's school in Atlanta as an astrophysics and music double major. After participating in an REU at Wooster in 2006, I decided to transfer. Last summer, I worked at the University of Toledo doing an REU there as well. Both summers I have worked in condensed matter despite my love for astronomy.

This year I have become very involved in our Outreach program. I love going to local elementary schools to teach kids about physics and show them lots of cool demos. Next year, I will be the secretary for our SPS chapter.

This summer I am working at the famous One Physics Ellipse - also known as the American Center for Physics - as an intern for the Society for Physics Students. I am really excited about working on the SPS Outreach Catalyst Kit and The Nucleus.

Besides physics and astronomy, I'm involved in the music department. I love playing the French horn and singing. I also enjoy watching movies, reading fantasy and science fiction novels, watching Doctor Who, listening to indie and alternative music, and being a vegetarian.

Throughout the rest of the summer (even though it is already half through) I will, as well as the rest of the SPS interns, will be posting my weekly journal here. You can access mine also at the SPS website: http://www.spsnational.org/programs/internships/2008/mills_journal.htm
Also on the website are pictures and introductions. Follow our Washington DC adventure online and see what shenanigans we're up to! We also invite you to post about you're summer research jobs here. Create a new thread and tell us what's going on at your job!

Mary


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