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Christine Zaruba Christine Zaruba
St. Mary's University, TX

Internship: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Online Journal
Week of July 30, 2006 Week of July 9, 2006 Week of June 18, 2006
Week of July 23, 2006 Week of July 2, 2006 Week of June 11, 2006
Week of July 16, 2006 Week of June 25, 2006  
July 30 , 2004

Week Eight

Whadaya know! It's Friday afternoon and I'm actually getting my journal done on time! See Tracy, I can do it! :)

It s hard to believe that this is the last full week... I swear it hasn't been 7 weeks - not even close. I gave my presentation for the third and fourth time this week. It went ok. Neither were quiet as big as I had expected them to be. We also went on the AGU tour and we met Jack Hannah there. Ok, not really, but the Lobbyist guy there, Peter, sure does look and sound like him. Not quiet as weird though...

We also went to see Crowns on Wednesday and that was absolutely AWESOME!!! I laughed; I cried (mostly from laughing too much) and froze my feet off. It was great. (Thanks Jack!) After the show we tried to go to Bertucci's, the pizza place we all went to the first night we were there. We wanted to end it the way we came in. They had just stopped serving though, so we had to go to Friday's instead. We had a great time a! nd our server, Rae, was really cool. She was quite a character...

Now I'm sure this weekend is going to just fly by since there are so many places we still want to go see. It's funny - no one ever told me that 8 weeks wouldn't been nearly enough. Liz asked us to include a few sentences of "wrap up." I figure the best way to do this is Letterman style:

The Top 10 things I learned from my internship in DC this summer:

10: The Metro is your friend! (As long as it's not rush hour, you're not trying to ride the red line, and no stations are on fire...)

9: Munson Hall is a great place to live (as long as you don't forget your card when you go to do laundry).

8: Two words: Express Bus.

7: Despite what my autopilot seems to think, the Orange line to New Carrolton in fact will NOT get you everywhere you need to go.

6:Maryland is not Texas. It does rain here in the summer. A lot.

5: NEVER shop for groceries when you are hungry. The Vic card doesn't save you THAT much money...

4: Don't be fooled by crosswalks. Pedestrians take their lives into their own hands when their foot hits the pavement...

3: The view from AIP is great (you get me Heather).

2: Forget Disneyland, I m going to NASA!

And the Number 1 thing I learned on my internship in Washington DC this summer is...

PACK LIGHTLY! You're gonna buy a TON of stuff once you get here anyway, so throw an extra pair of undies in your pocket, grab a camera, bring a big empty suitcase, lots o cash and be done with it!

And finally, a few things I've learned that I'll carry with me:

  1. Life's too short to be shy, stick your hand out, slap a smile on your face and start talking.
  2. Do more stuff with everyone as a group - you always have a ton of fun and you'll wish you had done it more when it's all over.
  3. The correct answer is YES when anyone says "Do you wanna..." There's not nearly enough time to see and do everything, so take every chance you get.
  4. Get phone numbers and email addresses because you'll met a whole slew of people you won't be content to leave. And finally
  5. Work hard and play harder. Impress the *heck* out of people you work with M-F and let your hair down and be 12 on the weekends. Be impressed by stuff. Say "Gee Whiz!" and don't care who's listening.

Ok so I've said "And finally..." a dozen times already, but one last THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone, especially Liz. Thanks for losing your notes and calling me a second time and thanks for making me feel better every time I talked to you. You rock.

Well, this is the part where I usually say "...until next time..." but there just isn't, huh. Hey Tracy, if I promise to get my reflections in on time, can I stay a few extra weeks?... I'm sure gonna miss it. All of it. From weekends of exploring and late nights of laughing to hour and 15 minute commutes and expensive food. It was amazing and I've had a blast... Truly, truly, thanks.

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Date: July 23, 2004

Week Seven

This week was jam packed with stuff to do. I managed to complete my presentation (that I ended up giving 4 times!), get a ton of work done, rehearse the presentation, conduct the NASA tour for the other interns on top of going shopping (yet again) and visiting the zoo. I really liked the zoo, but I was surprised at how small it was. I thought it would have every creature you could ever think of, but it didn't. It was really nice though, and I still had a great time. I managed to take a role and a half worth of pictures too, so it can't be all that bad, right?

Creating my presentation wasn't too bad - Fred was out Monday, so that's what I spent the day doing. I got most of it done and finished it up on Tuesday morning. Then I presented it for the first time to the other people Fred is working with. It went over well and they had a few suggestions, so I made some final touches Tuesday night and was done. But my computer has a newer OS than any of the other computers I ran it on, so it always messed the fonts up and the background I made for it. And it was tricky getting it off of my computer at work, since that computer didn't even have a CD burner... But - it all worked out and I had to make some more modifications (deletions...) after the rehearsal on Thursday morning.

The tour here was great, once I finally managed to find Carl. He did an awesome job of taking us around and showing us everything, everyone really enjoyed him. And to my surprise, Barney ended up being the one to give us the tour of DDL. He did a really great job too. He's always a ton of fun and it was nice of him to take the time to do that for us. All of this I can get done in a week, but Heather and I can't seem to eat all the ice cream we managed to buy! Not a drop! Hey, if anyone out there wants any ice cream...

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Date: July 16, 2004

Week Six

Well, here we are at the end of another week that just seemed to FLY by! Where to begin...

Well, last weekend Heather and I went to see Monticello and ride pedal boats in the tidal basin. We had a really REALLY great time - it's probably been one of my very favorite days here. We had planned to bring bread with us to feed the critters there, but we managed to forget it when we left the apartment anyway. It was funny when we walked up to the counter to rent the pedal boats: we told the lady that we would like it for two hours. She looked at us and asked if we were sure. We said we were, so we set out on our very merry way. (P.S. - it's only $8 per hour - well worth it too.) We both wore our bathing suits because we were both itching to get in the water, but one of the rules was "no swimming." Yeah, right. There were 10 rules posted on those things and I think we broke all but 3.... We aren't rebels or anything, but come on, do you really expect me to keep my hands and feet inside the boat at all times when I am but inches away from the water??? COME ON!

While we were paddling around, we ran in to a bunch of ducks. We wanted to feed them, but we didn't have any bread. I had taken some beef jerky with me for a snack though, so I decide to share it with the ducks... And DARN if they didn't gobble it up too!!! They followed us around nearly half the basin, they did, so we fed them a few more times. Who says ducks don't eat meat...

Once our two hours were up, we went back to dock the U.S.S. Duck (that is what we named our boat) and got a picture to remember the day by. The woman at the rental booth was very surprised to see we had lasted 2 full hours so we all got a good laugh out of that. Then we went to take pictures of Monticello (the Jefferson Memorial). It was really cool. I think we both took a gazillion pictures. We walked around some more and then headed to Pentagon City to get a few groceries. We stopped at Aunti Ann's and got a pretzel dog and a dutch ice -MAN ALIVE that's good eatin! I highly recommend it - it's just in the food court right there in the mall.

On Sunday, we went and did a bunch of shopping. We had both been pinching pennies lately, so we had to purge ourselves of all of all the moderation. And purge we did! :)

As far as work goes, I've been staying busy on the computer still and we are ever so close to finishing the paper. The hearing on Capital Hill was interesting too - and boo Mr. Wyden (D) from Oregon, boo! We don't believe a word you said! As far as the NIST tour went, I was pretty surprised to see so many similarities to NASA (NASA is still better though, tee hee hee...) Well, it's been a great week, and thanks to everyone for making it so.

Until next time...

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Date: July 9, 2004

Fifth Week

And so, another busy week comes to a close. And what do you know... I actually remembered to do this on FRIDAY!!! Last week was kind of slow, but Fred and I go together on Wednesday to see where we were in the paper and came up with some more things to do. Fred is really happy with how the paper is taking shape and is very VERY encouraged with the results I'm getting.

I'm looking forward to the weekend - as always. I think that my roomie and I are gonna go on the Hauntings tour tonight and go to see Monticello tomorrow and do Pedal Boats in the Tidal Basin. I'm looking forward to the water. I'm a fish you know. If given the choice to be a bird or a fish, I'd go with fish. Plus, I've been pretty good about pinching my pennies lately, and quiet frankly, I'm ready to EXPLODE!!! I wanna spend some serious cash! Heather and I were looking at these little DC books we got at the Smithsonian and we found a couple of shops that we really wanna visit. Plus, there's this place called Fire and Ice at Union Station that I wanna go back to - but it could be dangerous... I'm taking BIG bucks could fly out of my wallet in that place. Gee, I'm in Washington DC and all I talk about is going shopping... Do I sound enough like a girl yet? No? Oh, well, I do wanna get a cute little pair of shoes, or two, or three... (Or if you're Heather, six! :)) Anyway, I'm sure it's bound to be a great weekend, one way or another. I'll fill you in later...

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Date: July 2, 2004

Fourth Week

Well, this week was definitely not quite as busy as previous weeks. I had basically finished all of my work on by Tuesday and Fred didn't really have anything else that he needed me to do right away. So, he had me read out of a physics optics book on Wednesday. Thursday though was a bit more interesting. Fred was gone - he took a couple of extra vacation days to go to South Carolina. But that was the day that his high school intern started. It was my job to show her around and introduce her to all of the people that I met. I showed her how to use Simion and Kaleidagraph and showed her what I was working on. I also spent a long time trying to iron out some kinks for the NASA tour. It is amazing the amount of paperwork that can go in to getting someone of center for 4 hours! All in all though, it wasn't a bad week. We'll see what comes up next.

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Date: June 25, 2004

Third Week

Alright, so I'm the designated DUNCE for the week. Here it is Monday morning and I'm just now writing my journal for last week. (Sorry Tracy!) What can I say... Arlington was calling me a bit more loudly than the computer was on Friday... Anyway it was busy busy busy last week. I made about a million different charts and plots and runs on Simion and Kaleidagraph. I know Kaleidagraph sounds all fun and whiz poppy, like kaleidascope, but don't be fooled. It's not quite as much fun... It's pretty easy to use though, so that's good. I like it better than having to use Excel to make the graphs. It's alright that I've had to make so many though because we are gonna use them for a big long paper that we are writing up, so it's not like I'm just doing them for busy work, I'm just anxious to get to the soldering and stuff on the actual detector.

Ah, ah, yes that's right... I'm talking tools... can anyone say SEARS! :) Another interesting aspect of last week was the dinner situation. After Heather and I were approved for the LOAN at Harris Teeter, we lugged our $187 some-odd dollars worth of groceries back in 2 of my smaller suitcases (This is were I interject the "I told you so" to Heather for her not wanting to bring the biggest one...). It was quite an interesting task of lugging these suitcases - and the other groceries that wouldn't even fit in them - back to the metro station, on and off the metro and up the 6 (yes we counted) stairs to our apartment. Yeah, so my complaints of the crazy elevator were somewhat absent on this trip... :) We did really well though, we didn't eat out to dinner at all last week, except for Friday which we agreed upon before. We made spaghetti, meatloaf, lots of salads and garlic bread, baked potato's and fideos. (Ask Heather how to pronounce it... tee hee... how to say Mexican spaghetti, so ahead and ask her...:) )

Well, I guess that's about it... well, other than that I have finally learned that, contrary to my wishes, I cannot get everywhere I want to go by riding the orange line. Just in case y'all were wondering, the answer is in fact, no. Until next week, Happy Plotting!

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Date: June 18, 2004

Second Week

Wow. Wow. Did I say wow? This sure has been a busy week. It has absolutely just flown by! I can't believe it - I swear that yesterday was Monday! Anyway, it was a really good week. I made a lot of progress on my project. Fred was out 2 days, but I had plenty to keep me busy. I got together with him this morning and he looked at all of the results I had compiled and he was very pleased. He was impressed with all I had gotten done and that everything was coming out so well. We more than confirmed one of his hunches and said that by the middle of next week we'll start compiling stuff for one of the two papers we'll be working on for publication. At first he said he was hopeful about us getting a paper submitted, but now he is sure that it is possible and maybe even more than one. I was excited to hear that. Oh, and note to self, buy an umbrella! Maryland weather IS NOT like Texas weather. It actually rains in June!  :)

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Date: June 11, 2004

First Week

Wow, it's pretty amazing to find out just how much you can experience in a week's time... The week started out with mad rushes to linen stores and grocery stores to find the essentials - bed sheets, pillows, FOOD. It was also a week plentiful in foot pain. Cute and comfortable DO NOT mix.

As far as work went, I started a day late because my scientist, Dr. Fred Herrero, had to pick his daughter up at the airport on Monday - she had been in Italy for two weeks. But on Tuesday we hit the ground running!!! He explained to me a little bit about what we will be doing and how it will get done, but mostly we just talked to familiarize ourselves and he introduced me to everyone on the ground floor of building 11. He showed me the area he had set up for me and the equipment we would be working on.

I had my first official NASA meeting on Wednesday - a Safety Meeting, followed by my intern orientation. I was able to leave early to attend the Reagan processional - now that is something that will never be forgotten... (I've got pictures, I'll bring them ASAP). I went to lunch with Fred and I met his daughters and another scientist, Joe Santos, took us on a tour of the DDL lab on Friday. Very interesting, but the down side is that I had to stand for two and a half hours!!! My feet were killing me and as soon as I got back to the apartment I took my shoes off. Three and a half seconds later, Anthony knocked on my door and he and Allison invited me to go to the Capital Building with them to see President Reagan. We stood in line for a solid six hours, something I NEVER thought I would do, but it was well worth the wait. We were very fortunate though because when it was our turn it happened to be time for a guard change. Amazing, truly amazing. I stood there looking at the coffin, watching the soldiers come change places and all of a sudden feet no longer hurt, backs no longer ached, knees felt no weakness. It was just a moment of pure, honest respect and it FILLED the room. You could nearly reach out and touch it. It is amazing how close you can feel to a room full of strangers...

We went outside and signed the condolence books for Mrs. Reagan and caught a taxi home. Did you know you could get from the Capital Building to Munson Hall in just under 10 seconds... yeah, me neither. Cabby had a lead foot. We made it though and all it cost was some sore feet and six and a half hours of waiting - not a bad deal for something I'll remember for the rest of my life.

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