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2005 SPS National Interns
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Morgan Halfhill Morgan Halfhill
Austin Peay State University, TN

Internship: SPS Outreach/Physics Today
Online Journal
Week of August 2, 2006 Week of July 15, 2006 Week of June 24, 2006
Week of July 29, 2006 Week of July 8, 2006 Week of June 17, 2006
Week of July 22, 2006 Week of July 1, 2006 Week of June 10, 2006
Where Are They Now?

28 July 2010

Five years ago I had a great summer internship at AIP working on the Student Outreach Catalyst Kit (SOCK) as well with the Physics Today Online career folks. That experience brought me to D.C. for the first time, and I knew I wanted to come back to the area after I graduated with my B.S. in Physics.

After graduating in May 2007, I joined the Maryland Air National Guard and attended graduate school at The George Washington University (whose dorms I stayed in during my summer internship in '05) where I completed my M.S. in Engineering Management.

I now live and work in the D.C. area at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory! I'm a newlywed enjoying her big kid life, and am very happy with my decision five years ago to pursue a "non-research" internship opportunity in the nation's capital!

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August 2 , 2005

My Last Day at AIP—Aug. 2nd 2005

Well Hello and Goodbye!

This is my last day at AIP. I have been busy trying to make sure that all goes well with getting things in order so that everyone can get to the info. that they need next year from me.

This past weekend I had fun in Raleigh visiting Mike. We didnt do anything super exciting, but as always, it was nice to hang out with him and relax.

Only two days left in the city. Tomorrow we all meet for breakfast and then I leave to fly to Nashville at 3:45.

Whats next for me....

Mike and I are headed off to the summer AAPT meeting in Salt Lake City on the 6th (two days after I get home). Once we are back, I start training as a resident assistant at Austin Peay...and then school starts. I am looking forward to my junior year with a good new outlook on what it is I want to do. I am ready to work hard and have some fun.

I will be busy...in my sorority, sps chapter, college republicans, housing....but it is always exciting.

I am so very greatful to have had this opportunity. Thanks to everyone who made my stay so enjoyable...esp. Gary, Liz, Jack, and Bonnie. AIP has some great people, and DC is a fun place. I will miss it....but who knows....maybe I'll be back someday!

Until later!

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Week of July 29, 2005
And so it begins......my weekend that is, more specifically the last weekend of my internship. I guess you could call it a beginning to an end.

This past weds. we had our final presentations. They all went smoothly (check them out online) and the feedback was good.

This week has been kind of wierd, lots of excitement and at the same time trying to wrap my mind around the fact that in less than a week I have to attempt to shove everthing I own at GW into my suitcases, manage to zip them up, drag everything to the air port, go through the shake down at security (since my name is spelled wrong on my reservation) and make it back to Clarksville in one piece...only to turn around less than 48 hours later and fly out to Salt Lake City for the summer AAPT meeting.

At least at that point I will not be traveling alone anymore. Mike is going too.

Speaking of traveling and Mike....I am flying out to see him in Raleigh tonight. I brought my suitcase to work and I am leaving to go to the BWI airport this afternoon. I am excited to go see him...even though it means leaving DC on my last weekend here.

In any event, I need to get back to work...time's a wastin' and I have some stuff to get done!


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Week of July 22, 2005

Hey Hey Hey!

MMMmmm I love hot chocolate....nothing's better on a rainy Monday morning at 8:30.

Well, this is the last full week of my internship. It's gone by pretty quickly, but that s not what this journal entry is about. This one is about the previous week/weekend.

Last week was very busy that s for sure!

Weds. Evening we (Gary, John Layman, Rebecca, Mika, Lindsay, Bridger, Matt, Kendra (the new APS intern) and I) went to a great Mediterranean restaurant where we ate all kinds of food. Each dish (we had approx. 3 dishes per person) was served on a small plate, which was placed on a lazy susan that covered almost the entire table. We just spun it around and took little bits of any dish that looked appetizing. It was pretty neat. After dinner, we went to the Arena Stage to watch the musical Crowns which is about African-American women and the hats they wear to church (and the stories behind them). It was lovely! There was awesome gospel music and lots of clapping and dancing. I must say its probably the best thing I have been to since I've been in D.C. (Thanks a million John!)

Thursday all the interns (plus Gary, Liz, and Bridger's boss Ganesh) went on a tour of the Pentagon. It was only about an hour long, but it was pretty cool. The tour mostly showed a bunch of stuff in the hallways that was donated to the Pentagon over the years, plus some history was given. We went to the middle courtyard where we saw the ground zero hot dog stand, and we were eventually taken to the small memorial set up inside the pentagon where the 9/11 attacks occurred. I must say, though I know there is tons of history in that building, the most eerie feeling came in looking out a window that was part of the gaping hole in the Pentagon only a few years ago on Sept. 11th.

After the Pentagon tour, the interns all went back to Foggy Bottom to get our stuff for work. A few of us went to eat lunch at Lindy's (a local college-student dive ) where we found out that London had been hit by four more bombs (which luckily weren't mixed properly so they didn't detonate). It was awful that it happened two weeks ago, but here it was happening again! The thought was unusually enraging. I can't believe some people are indoctrinated into so much hate. I can't believe that some people would be blaming terrorism on America! For anyone out there reading who happens to buy into the ideology that terrorism is somehow America's fault .let me tell you something: terrorism wouldn't stop if we left Iraq this instant. Terrorists have been slaughtering innocent people in America and around the world for decades. Not because we were in their countries for oil but because they hate the Western culture and the freedom it stands for. So maybe instead of complaining about how Bush stole a 2000 election or what a dumb redneck he is, you should show a little support for the first real effort to stamp out global terrorism.

And now that I'm done ranting.

Friday, Gary and his family hosted a barbecue for the interns and Ms. Liz and her family. Mike came in from NC on Friday and got to attend. It was nice to get together outside a workplace and just hang out. The burgers were great but the company was better! Thanks Gary!

Saturday, Mike, Bridger and I went to Sandy Point St. Park in Annapolis where we went to the beach. It was a HOT day, but we had fun playing with (and losing) a giant pink ball. We relaxed and Mike and Bridger played some football before we left. When we got back (and after we cleaned up) Mike and I went to dinner and a movie. It was nice to get to hang out with him like we would back home (not running all over the mall to every Museum).

Sunday was relaxing too We bought a couple National Geographic videos from the Spy Museum gift shop and watched one before Mike had to leave. The rest of the night I spent reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer s Stone. Mike and I just started reading the books. He is on book four and I am trying to catch up.

And that brings us to this morning where I am as I said before enjoying hot chocolate and getting ready to work on my final presentation.

Have a fabulous day!


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Week of July 15, 2005
Buenos Dias!

Another week has come and gone. I must say this week went by rather quickly, but I'm not complaining.

Yesterday Mika, Rebecca and I went with Gary to the Gates Millennium Scholars Graduate Institute where we put up an SPS booth. It was interesting to mingle and talk to all sorts of people other exhibitors and undergrads alike. Lunch was fabulous (especially the very large slices of yummy cheesecake).

Other than yesterday, I have been here working on sorting out the answers to our Sigma Pi Sigma email "survey". Heard from a couple of Austin Peay Alumni, so that's neat. It looks like we might actually get some "usable" company names out of this endeavor to try to post on the Career Network site....and by the way, if I haven't done so already, I encourage y'all to take a look at the site and see what's available in the job market these days, even just out of curiosity ( www.aip.org/careersvc ). If you have any constructive suggestions and/or comments, email me mhalfhil@aip.org !

I'm not quite sure what the plans for the weekend are. Lindsay is going to a family reunion, and Bridger's dad is in town. I need to get myself out of bed this weekend and get some sightseeing done...running out of time.

Next week is going to be very busy, we are going to see "crowns" (a show), touring the pentagon, having breakfast with senator Harken, and having a cookout with Gary's family next weekend....plus Mike is coming into town next weekend as well, yay!

Okie dokie, back to work....but T G I F!!!!


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Week of July 8, 2005

Friday July 8 | Tuesday, July 5

Friday, July 8

I must say that I failed to remember to do a journal entry on Friday...but then again I was also trying to get to a bank to get a money order. My weekend started out bad, and didn't get much better.

Friday afternoon I left work a few minutes early to try to get to a bank before it closed and to drop of some pictures I had taken over the fourth of July weekend. I stopped by a CVS on "L" street and dropped my pictures off (1 hour photo). I was told the photo clerk would not be in until 6pm that evening and though they don't close until 9pm, they might not be ready. I settled then on picking them up the next morning since the lady at the counter said they would be put in first thing if they weren't ready on friday night....(to be continued)

I next headed to the Bank of America across the street where I was told that a fee for two money orders would be $14 and that I could get them cheaper by going to a CVS which only charges 89cents each. I went to two CVS's, both of which were unhelpful saying either "We don't do money orders" or "The machine is broken"....both of which I took to mean..."I don't feel like actually taking the time to get one for you". So indeed I did end up back at Bank of America paying a ridiculous amount for my money orders.

And it continues....at 1 o'clock on Saturday afternoon I venture to the CVS to pick up my pictures, and since they have been open since 9am...I fully expect them to be done, but, alas, they were not. I was then told that they "MIGHT" not be done saturday...the clerk and I agreed that she would call me when they were done...which, of course, she DID NOT do.

So needless to say that when I finally did pick my pictures up at 1 on SUNDAY (nearly 48 hours after I turned them in) I was highly perturbed and after I had a talk with a manager and paid about a total of $5 for both sets of pictures and my two picture cds, I felt a little better.

So, that was my weekend...of course I did other things like see "War of the Worlds", but none of those come to mind when you're mad about ONE HOUR PHOTO people.

The whole weekend would be a total loss had I not slept in tons and enjoyed every minute of it! :0)

And now....I start my week!


Tuesday, July 5

Today is tuesday July 5th. Week had a three day weekend for the 4th of July. As I said in my earlier journal entry, I had visitors this weekend...not the E.T. kind...just my dad and my boyfriend. We had a whirlwind weekend of sightseeing. It was fabulous. Here is a rundown:

*Saturday: Mike and I picked Dad up form the airport then we dropped his stuff off at my room. We went to see Arlington Cemetery where I ran into a girl in my sorority from back home (strange coincidence!). After seeing the changing of the guards (AWESOME) and JFK's grave site and doing a lot of walking, we went back to the hotel and relaxed. We had pizza and watched some news before we went that evening to the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. They were BEAUTIFUL at night. I took some pictures, but they will in no way do them justice.

*Sunday was an EARLY morning. We were lined up at the Washington Monument by 6:45 AM to stand in line to get tickets to go in. We were close to the front of the line, but by the time they opened the ticket window up at 8:30, the line was ridiculously long. We got tickets for the morning, and grabbed some tickets for the rest of the intern gang for later that afternoon. After going up in the Washington Monument (which was very crowded) we went to the Holocaust Memorial and saw an exhibit titled: Deadly Medicine. It was good. I called ahead and reserved us tickets for the fourth to see the permanent exhibit. We finished the day with a trip to the American History Museum (very neat).

*Monday (the fourth) we traveled to Pentagon City to get dad some shoes that wouldn't kill his feet and then we went to the Holocaust Memorial to see the permanent exhibit. There were people everywhere! After that (around 3:30) Mike staked out a spot for us by the Washington Monument to see the US Navy Band and Kathy Mattea while Dad and I ventured to find us food. Once that mission was accomplished we spent the rest of the day camped out on a sheet between the WWII memorial and the Wash. Monument. The music was good and it wasn't horribly crowded (I expected worse). We had a wicked awesome view of the fireworks! Can't beat being in the nations capitol for fourth of july plans. Mike left last night and made a VEY TIRED drive back to North Carolina. I got up with Dad this morning and had breakfast with him before he left for the airport.
All in all it was a great weekend. My legs are sore from all the walking but I would do it again in a second. I loved having my Dad and Mike here. They are a lot of fun and it is nice to see familiar faces....besides it was the fourth of July! After a long weekend, the plan this week is to get as much as possible done...speaking of which I had better get started!


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Week of July 1, 2005


This has been kind of a crazy week. Weds. I unfortunately was WAY "under the weather" (to put it nicely). I didn't make it to work, and I felt like a lazy bum the whole day....a lazy sick bum.

Yesterday (thursday) we all went to NIST with Gary for a tour from Bridger and Lindsay. Their labs were neat and we got to hear a short talk by their group leader Eric Vogule. We also got a tour of the clean rooms at the new Advanced Materials Laboratory of which the most memorable part was the "suiting up" we did....and the pretty pictures we took in the booties, gloves, face masks, and bouffant caps. Vogue here we come....

Today my boyfriend Mike is at work with me. It is awesome to have him here. It makes work a lot more enjoyable to have him here in person as opposed to looking over at his picture all day. Physics is his thing too, so its not like he is bored...or at least he does a good job of not looking it. I am excited for a nice three day weekend filled with more than its share of walking, humidity, crowds, and sightseeing...especially the fireworks. YAY!

Well we are closing early today (3:30) for the weekend so I had better get back to work!


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Week of June 10, 2005

Well, well, well, I can say that this has been one of the most interesting weeks of my life for sure. I traveled alone for the first time, I experienced MASS transit for the first time, I came to DC for the first time, I dropped boxes with third grades for the first time, and that's only the tip of the iceberg. The best part about it is that I still have seven and a half weeks more.

This week consisted of a lot of information intake. I found out that I will be working on several things while at SPS. Part of my time consists of working with the Career Services Network. Essentially I am helping them analyze their website (which allows employers to post jobs, and job seekers to post resumes), and trying to find out what it is we can do to match them up better and find out what jobs are most in demand.

The other half of my time will be working with outreach/policy. The several events on tap so far include third grade classroom outreach (dropping fun boxes and analyzing the data), the Coalition for National Science Funding Seminar (CNSF), the 2005 Student Outreach Catalyst Kit (SOCK), and a hearing on capitol hill next week about nuclear reprocessing.

Basically, I am trying to get my hands into anything and everything I can around here because I realized pretty recently that materials science is pretty much out of the picture as far as grad school is concerned. I know I won't be happy sitting in a lab all day running experiments and writing papers. This is so much fun, so now the mission is to find out how to make a career out of it. I know it will involve me swallowing my pride when I get comments from other students and scientists who say that what I want to do isn't science, and that I am not really a physicist. That's not the case at all. I will always be a physicist, but without someone to relay what happens in the lab to what happens in the world, the whole system falls apart. Say GOODBYE to funding if you can't break it down to the money holders on capitol hill (or other places) that what you are doing in the lab is valuable and a sound investment. Not to mention that if you don't do outreach, there won't be a good influx of new scientists.

And now that I have rambled for a while, I will say that one of the more memorable parts of my week has nothing to do with outreach and/or policy. It has to do with a commute to work gone terribly wrong. Tuesday morning Matt, Mika and I were on our way to work. When we made the transfer to the metro-line we take to work, we got on the train going the wrong way....so at the next stop we got off and got on the train going the right way, BUT when we got back to the stop that we messed up at the first time, Matt got confused and got off the train...and Mika and I followed shortly. Once we finally got to work, we ended getting on the wrong shuttle bus (not our fault), so needless to say we laughed a lot and don't make those mistakes again.

Since I am sure I have officially bored everyone to death, I will stop writing now, and get back to work!

~Morgan Halfhill

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Week of June 17, 2005

June 13 | June 17

June 13, 2005
The start of another busy week.....and no rest was found on the weekend.

This weekend my boyfriend of 13 mons. (Mike) came to DC to see me and to work on some SPS Chapter stuff. We spent Saturday at both the Natural History and Air & Space Museums. Sunday Matt, Mike, and I went to the National Zoo. The weekend ended with a trip to Walmart (which was tons of fun seeing as it took us approx. 45 min to make the 20 min trip!) Mapquest failed me miserably... (that's my way of saying I didn't do well with reading the directions). Needless to say the weekend was tons of fun, but it did have its drawbacks: LOTS of walking and a little bit of a sunburn.

But alas, it is back to reality as I start week two here. I have lots of projects which I am totally excited about. The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) seems like it will be tons of fun, and I have lots to do with the Career Network and the 2005 SOCK. I now have to write an abstract to present a poster at the 2005 AAPT summer meeting. This is the VERY abbreviated version of my schedule, but I am looking forward to it. You don't come to DC to be lazy!

Did I mention I'm tired?...guess I should get home and get to bed!

June 17, 2005
Howdy Y'all!

Well, it's week two or rather the end of week two, and I must say that I have had tons of fun this week. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it turns out you can have fun while on an internship in DC....who woulda known...:0)

This past weds. we did more outreach with the third grade class. I am pretty sure they thought the lesson was neat, and they especially liked their "take home" gift (we gave them einstein cubes).

Yesterday (thursday) we went to a constituent breakfast for Senator Feinstein (D, Calif.). Seeing as I am a republican, I didn't expect to be thoroughly impressed or to agree with what she had to say...but I figured I would give it a shot. Might learn something after all right?! I did learn something...looking at all of her interns, I could not find one obviously ethnically diverse member. That isn't to say there wasn't one, but if there was, I didn't see them. They all seemed to be stereotypically upper middle class white people (majority male) from significantly good colleges (princeton, amherst, columbia...)....need I say more? YES! Her entire STAFF was the same way. I once again comment that I could be wrong, but the fact that I couldn't tell leads me to think I am most likely not. (its that science stuff kicking in...if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, its most likely not a pig).

It gets worse, the lady was totally off her game. She didn't have specific or powerful things to say about the policy she commented on and even commented on how she was proposing an amendment to a bill, but that it would lose anyways. What kind of attitude is that? She serves the people, and should have some confidence in what they are telling her they want...if that is in fact who she is representing on the hill. A LITTLE OPTIMISM GOES A LONG WAY!

For simply being a public servant, I did cut her a little slack. She was probably dog tired, is always expected to be on top of things, and has her attention pulled in a million different places at once. All things considered, I am still thoroughly disappointed for the democrats who elected her...and they should be too.

Later on thurs. we went to a house sub-committee meeting on nuclear reprocessing. It was quite interesting to see how the whole thing runs. There are so many "rules" to follow and so much information being thrown back and forth. I really appreciated Jack and Dick talking it over with us afterwards. Their analysis of what happened made everything seem so much deeper....its funny the things you miss when you're not aware of them. I know that's all kinda vague...but suffice to say I had a good time.

This weekend I hope to sleep in, and the whole gang is gunna go out and have some fun tonight and sat. Some swing dancing... some motown...the works. YAY for more fun!

Well, I'm off to work!

Much Love and All That Jazz,

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Week of June 24, 2005

June 21: CNFS Exhibit | June 24: ACP Picnic | June 27

June 21, 2005: CNFS Exhibit on Capitol Hill
Hello All!

Well, what can I say...yesterday was the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) reception on capitol hill. We (Mika, Rebecca, and I) spent all day down there. We first went to a hearing at 2pm (one in which i admittedly fell asleep in....shhh don't tell) and then the reception started around 5. We got to talk to a lot of really interesting people. Its strange what a small community of scientists there are. There was lots of food...and wine (not that I had any), and good company too. I had a lot of fun, and I'm sure Mika did as well. I am definitely tired now though. Last night we didn't get home until after 8, and I didn't get to bed until about midnight...and now it's 7:30 in the morning. I think as long as I can make it through the day I will be alright.

Speaking of Rebecca...she is the new intern. This is her first week here, and she seems to be having fun. We are happy to have such a neat person join our group. I hope she feels comfortable with the rest of us, and that she is having a good time, 'cuz I know I am!
And now I'm off to do work...the fun kind!

Later Days,

June 24, 2005: ACP Picnic

Today is the ACP Picnic, and we are setting up a "rainbow room" (filled with light sources and the ever-popular "rainbow glasses") and a cone-dropping experiment (filled with....you know...things you get to drop). Should be pretty interesting considering there will also be events such as line dancing and bingo and a "moon bounce" for the kids. Oh, and by the way, a few of us (participants shall remain UNnamed, wink wink) filled Gary's office with balloons and a wall of boxes....TGIF Gary!

Since I feel there will be lots of silliness going on today, I thought it only appropriate to write a poem, a Haiku poem to be exact. Here it goes...

Today we drop cones,
and look at pretty rainbows,
and have LOTS OF FUN!

(Okay so my Haiku skills still need some work. Maybe I will try again later!)

T.G.I.F....and a special shout out to "Gary White the Great"!!!


June 27, 2005: Another Weekend

Another weekend has now come and gone. The picnic last friday was fun. The "cone-drop" experiment was half success & half disaster. I did succeed in collecting some reliable data (and in giving out SEVERAL light up pens), but I also failed in keeping track of all the participants and making sure they all checked off the appropriate boxes so I knew which cones they were dropping and what surfaces they were dropping them on. Most times there were rushes of people and only me to instruct/help them. It would have helped to have someone else in there with me to lighten the load. A few of the experimenters were simply too young to write, let alone go through a worksheet by themselves, so I just had them drop the cones, and I recorded the data. All in all, it was a good day for science. You win some, you lose some, and you learn a lot in the process.

It also wasn't a bad day in that I won an Ipod Shuffle in the raffle drawing. (Seeing as Liz has already told everyone she comes into contact with, I have a little secret...) I also won $125 in the raffle. Bridger went up and got the money for me because I figured people would get upset at someone winning twice. (Don't hate me).

This past weekend was nice, not very productive, but nice. I slept in a lot, and Sunday Lindsay and I went to the Folk Life Festival. We saw Oman Folk-dancing. It was awesome. There were audience members up there dancing with them. It was very neat to see so many ages/races/ethnicities/& cultures up there dancing together. Last night was pretty uneventful other than group dinner (which was taco salad). I got to talk to my boyfriend Mike and am so excited for this weekend. Mike and my Dad are coming to see me and to visit DC for the 4th of July weekend! Lots of fun in the plans, and some good family time as well.

Until Later,

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