It is hard to believe how quiet things seem now that I am back in Wisconsin after some really awesome physics fun in College Park, MD, at the American Institute of Physics. Now I am back to the quiet farm fields and village streets of the 'greater' Platteville area. What a change it is from the constant activity of the city, which I have now begun to get used to. I will indeed miss all the friends that I have made at AIP but I am looking forward to keeping in touch and I will be seeing many of them at the upcoming Sigma Pi Sigma and Winter AAPT meetings which will be held in the Chicago area. I cannot wait, but until then I have to push on to complete my degree at school.
Ah, what to do for our last weekend in Washington, D.C? Well for the Texans and me we were going to do a little catching up on our understanding of history by hitting the National Holocaust Museum. Wow talk about a really heavy topic to hit early in the morning. I had never fully grasped the impact that the holocaust had on the Jewish people until I saw all of the images and information at this museum. It is indeed scary how the influence of a single man as a dictator could allow the masses to follow in the systematic annihilation of a people. It is scary how reason can disappear during times of war.
After spending most of the day at the museums, I figured it was time to check out the D.C. nightlife once more before heading out of town. Most of the crew were more up for a movie since site seeing had taken a bit of a toll. Myself I had a little bit of energy left so I figured one more crack at Mr. Smith's, the piano bar I discovered a few weeks ago in Georgetown, should be in order.
Indeed, upon entering what is dubbed "the friendliest saloon in town" I was greeted by people singing "Sweet Home Alabama". I immediately got caught up in the very friendly atmosphere and before I knew it I was singing at the bench right next to the piano man, Jon Adelson, singing to such classics as "The Gambler", "Hey Jude", and "Bye, Bye Miss American Pie" just to name a few of the classics. It was indeed an awesome way to end a Saturday night.
On Sunday, Paul found out that there was a Medieval Times, which was within driving distance not too far south of Baltimore. Therefore, who could resist seeing knights in armor engaging each other in jousting matches and sword fights for the honor of the king and queen? I was definitely in on this one. Therefore, Jenna, Dan, and I all climbed into Paul's car and survived the Beltway Sunday traffic to Baltimore. Man was the place really cool when we got there. I was surprised that it was located in a mall of all places. I thought it would be a separate building or outside especially since, they have a fair amount of animals performing at the show. Ah but it was indeed a really neat experience. We rooted for our home team knight who was the Yellow and Black Knight. He must have been new to the game, as he did not last too long in the final jousting matches. While cheering for our knight, we had a feast of a dinner given to us including dragon meat (tastes like chicken to me!), cooked swine, cheese, potatoes, pork ribs, and other delicacies from the time period. It was really a good time to be kings for an evening.
Ah, but the next day I had to remove my crown and shake the jousting matches from my head and get back to work on revising a couple of my write-ups which I had turned into Becky last Friday. In addition, I would need to copy all the files that I had at work onto my external hard drive so I can help with PhysicsQuest while still off from school. However, I did have to do a little recounting of my weekend adventures to Becky, Jessica, and the rest of the crew over in APS Membership. Before long, though it was Wednesday and we were all talking to Liz, Gary, and Jack, at our feedback session for the internship. We had a good talk about what additions could help future interns and what key things made our internship a good experience.
After that I had to get up to 4th floor for a lunch party that the crew from 4th floor APS had put together for fun as a kind of good-bye for Jessica and myself since it was our last week at the office. Man did they out do themselves! Every thing under the sun was there including watermelon cut by Kerry and fresh produce from Gabe's garden. After the fun there, I had to pop around on second floor to say good-bye to my friends in AIP Education. It was indeed some good fun but it always seems like the time goes by too quickly and then we have to go. Oh well, tis part of the intern life I guess, but I do promise to stop on by next time I am in town. Plus I owe Doug another run at our favorite China Buffet!
Now for looking back, I have to say that the SPS Summer Internship program is still one of the best internship programs that I have come across. This program has such a variety in where you can be placed to use your physics knowledge, from R&D at NASA and NIST to Physics policy/outreach at AIP. For myself, I have been looking to apply my Engineering Physics degree in the nontraditional sense in education and outreach. Last year I concentrated on learning what was all involved in designing, developing, and working on an outreach program. This year I furthered that experience by working on developing extension activities for the 2008 PhysicsQuest. I also began to focus more on seeking out those who share my passion and to locate areas of employment for my career interest in applying my skills in the education/outreach field. My experiences in working at the office and attending the two conferences over this summer were indeed invaluable in guiding me to where I need to go in my academics and once I graduate with my B.S. in Engineering Physics.
I thank you all for the tremendous help that you have given me and the support that the physics community gives to its aspiring Physics students.