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Programs & Awards  
2009 SPS National Interns
2009 Interns | Past Interns | About the Program

  • Introduction
  • Online Journal
  • Final Presentation
Mary Elizabeth Mills Mary Elizabeth Mills
College of Wooster, Wooster, OH
Internship: SPS SOCK/American Institute of Physics History Center
[an error occurred while processing this directive] Hey y'all!

My name is Mary Mills and I'm one of the returning interns. I will be graduating from the College of Wooster in May with a Bachelor's in physics. Next year I'm headed to Miami University for a Master's in physics education research. Last summer, I worked on the SPS SOCK and The Nucleus; I'm still the current associate editor for The Nucleus. This summer I will be working at the AIP History Center as well as working on the SOCK again.

I'm from Cincinnati, OH and in my (very little) free time I enjoy watching lots of movies, reading science fiction or fantasy novels, listening to/making music, and attempting to teach myself guitar. I'm a pescetarian (I eat fish and seafood but no other animals) and I love cooking breakfast food. In fact I don't think anyone else in the world loves pancakes as much as I do. I had a blast last summer and I am pumped to return to amazing DC and to meet everyone.

-Mary

Mary Elizabeth Mills Mary Elizabeth Mills
College of Wooster, Wooster, OH
Internship: SPS SOCK/American Institute of Physics History Center
Final Reflections Friday, July 31st Friday, July 10th Friday, June 19th
Photo Album Friday, July 24th Friday, July 3rd Friday, June 12th
Friday, August 7th Friday, July 17th Friday, June 26th Friday, June 5th

Friday, August 7th

Entry

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Friday, July 31st

On Sunday, Leslie, Raina, Scott, and I all traveled to Ann Arbor for this summer’s AAPT meeting. The flight was OK, but there was a crazy old man and lots of little kids. We arrived safely and Leslie, Scott, and I ventured to the hotel only to find out our rooms weren’t available yet. We spent some time waiting around the lobby and we out to get some lunch but thankfully they rushed our rooms and so we had time to relax before our poster session.

I love doing poster presentations. They are always tons of fun because you get to talk to a bunch of different people. SPS poster sessions are especially awesome because everyone comes knowing that you are an undergraduate (or were) and that you have done something in outreach. Therefore, they aren’t just coming to see what’s in their field. And in explaining things, you always get to see another side of things and get new ideas. I saw some people that I met last summer and they came to talk and see what I did this summer and what was new with the SOCK. My advisor for grad school also came to see my poster and learn about my summer. After the session, I went to dinner with Kendra, Raina, Scott, Leslie, and Chris. Dinner was delicious but I accidentally knocked over my water glass almost into Kendra’s lap. When the waiter came to help us clean up the mess, he asked if I wanted another glass of water. I told him yes, but I didn’t really trust myself with it. So he brought me a paper cup with a lid. This was quite amusing, because I had NOT asked him to bring the water in a paper cup with a lid. Chris and Leslie had to leave to go man the APS booth in the exhibit hall and so when the rest of us were finished we headed over to the exhibit hall to check things out and get some dessert.

Monday, I planned a schedule of a bunch of talks I wanted to go to. Raina and I started the day off right by going to the First Timers’ meeting. There we met some multi-timers and got some breakfast. After, Dr. Blue was giving a talk on something she had implemented in intro labs at Miami, so I went to hear it. I stayed in that session until it ended and then headed over to the symposium on plasma physics. Raina and I met back up at the Young Physicist’s Meet & Greet. We met some undergrads from China and talked to them through lunch about the differences in studying in China and the US. I also met a grad student from NC State who knows a good friend of mine. After, Raina and I split up and I went the PIRA session, which turned out to be one of my favorite sessions of the entire conference. I learn a lot about how to handle different age groups. I also learned a demo about gravity and a water bottle that I’m dying to try. When that session was over, I headed over to the Millikan Award session; the talk was about teaching physics to everyone and making it more accessible to people no matter if they are special needs or brainiacs. I then joined back up with Raina for a session of invited talks about women in physics; this was the best session of the entire conference. I did a lot of research of the status of women in physics for my women’s studies class last semester and I was really excited about this session. Raina and I met up with Kendra in the session and we went out to dinner with Gary and some PER people he knew. Raina, Kendra, and I all headed back to the hotel and we watched Watchmen, which is a great movie.

Tuesday, I decided to sleep in a bit, but still got a full day in. Raina and I attended the Klopsteng Award lecture about physicists as public intellectuals. After, we headed over to the Crackerbarrel for grad students in PER. It was nice because I met a lot of people in the field, although, everyone on the panel was interested in teaching as a professor/going into academia or were already there. They were also all from big research institutions. I do not want to teach at a collegiate level and I’m not going to a school with a huge group so I felt a bit like I didn’t fit in. It also made some of their advice not applicable to me. However, I did meet a bunch of young physicists in my field and now have a good idea of where I might go if I decide to go on to a PhD. I joined them for lunch and learned a bit about what it’s like to go to a big school and have a large research group. It was also nice because they all knew each other and so they could recommend people to talk to. After, we headed to the Award Ceremony, which was my second favorite session at the meeting. Raina and I wanted to interview Deborah Roudebush who was the winner of the excellence in pre-college teaching award. However, we weren’t able to meet up with her. After, I headed over to another session on gender and physics and met up with Kendra. Gary, Kendra, Jim Stith, and all the interns went out to dinner at this great restaurant that had delicious vegetarian options. It was nice to be in a town with lots of veggie-friendly choices. After dinner, Kendra and I headed over to the first Borders ever (it’s on campus) and looked around. We then met up with some people to hang out.

Wednesday turned out to be one of those days where nothing goes right. I woke up too late and then had to pack and take a taxi to the conference. Thankfully, I was meeting one of my sisters for lunch. We went out to a good pizza place and talked for a while; it was nice to catch up. After lunch, since I had missed most of the sessions I wanted to see, I headed over to a session with a bunch of miscellaneous talks. They were pretty good and I saw an undergrad that was at our poster session last year give a talk that updated their research. I then headed over to see a talk given by a visiting professor at Miami. Kendra and Gary were also in that session since Kendra had given a talk earlier in it (which I unfortunately missed). I met up with them and Lyle gave Kendra and me a ride back to the hotel so we could get ready to make our way back home and they could talk about Adopt-a-Physicist. That afternoon, we sat around the hotel until we had to go to the airport. When we got to the airport, the ticket line was horrible, I got searched, almost lost my boarding pass, got yelled at by a TSA guy, and our flight was delayed an hour and 20 minutes. Needless to say, I was glad to get back to DC.

Thursday, we had to get up early to go to the NASA tour. It was a pretty good day except it was miserably hot and I was exhausted from the conference. I was glad to get back home and go to sleep.

Friday, we went into work for the second to last workday. I finished some stuff for the exhibit and sent it to Ada and Greg for site building and proofing. I also worked on trying to get some of the random stuff that needs to be finished for the SOCK. I feel like we are really behind and don’t think we’re going to get it all finished before we leave. I hope that we’ll have a great last weekend in DC and I’ll get some last minute sightseeing done.

Until next week,
Mary

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Friday, July 24th

Hallo everyone!

This week was full of fun events! The weekend started off slow, but relaxing. I was going to meet up with some friends from school, but because my phone is dumb, it didn’t end up happening. So, I spent the weekend watching movies and catching up on some reading.

Monday, I worked all morning on getting my poster for AAPT done. My department offered to print it and ship it to me so I need to get it done since we leave Sunday. It was done by noon and I really think it looks good. That afternoon, Scott and I met with Gary to wrap up what we did at MRSEC last week. After that, I worked on revising my lesson and finishing up the little parts of the SOCK that just need to get done. I planned out everything and had a mini-heart attack when I realized what all needs to get done.

Tuesday, Erin, Raina, Brian, and I went to a House hearing on “Encouraging the Participation of Females in STEM”. This was a great hearing to go to because this is one of my research interests. It is also what I did a paper on in my Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course last semester. I went back to work that afternoon energized and pumped up. I spent the afternoon working on the rest of the SOCK and reformatting some things in the User’s Guide.

Wednesday, I spent the morning working on some stuff for the SOCK some more. There is just so much other than the lessons that has to get done. I really want to get most of it done by the end of the week. That afternoon, Kendra, Gary, Raina, Scott, and I met to talk about our posters and the AAPT meeting. I can’t wait to get to Ann Arbor.

Thursday, I finalized my poster and then sent it to Jackie, the secretary of our department at Wooster. She printed it for me and sent it to the hotel in Ann Arbor. I’m excited to see it in print form. I worked on more of the stuff for the website. I have to get a layout to Ada by Friday and I’ve got the skeleton of it, but I need meat now. In the afternoon, I met with Greg, Jennifer, Melanie, Julie, and Scott about using the library/archives to make my stuff more juicy. I found something awesome; there is a website with a printable 3D magnetosphere that you fold and put together yourself.

Today, I need to finish my slides and present them to Ada to see what else I need. I also need to send my text to Greg to get it proofed. I also need to work on the SOCK manual. I think I’ll have to find some time to work next week even at the AAPT meeting. We leave on Sunday and I can’t tell you how excited I am. I get to see my potential grad school advisor and some friends and family. Saturday we are going to be touristy since we all realized we leave in three weeks. Whatever we do, this will be a great weekend.

Until next week,

Mary



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Friday, July 17th

Hello everybody!

This week has been great! The weekend was wonderful and just what I needed to recharge and get energized about the last few weeks of work. The wedding was beautiful; I got to see some alums that graduated before me that I haven’t seen for years. I also got to see some unexpected friends that I didn’t know where coming. On Friday, I hung around the physics building, saw some research lectures, and got to go berry picking with one of my professors. That evening, I saw some of my sisters and my closest friends. I got to hang out for a while and catch up n everyone’s summer. Saturday was the wedding and the Physics REU annual pie picnic at one of our professor’s houses. I was so excited to get to go! It was nice to have a relaxing evening with delicious food and close friends. I brought a Galileoscope with me and we attempted looking into it. My thesis advisor was really excited to get to take it apart and see how everything went together. I think everyone enjoyed it although it has a very small field of view and so unless you are familiar with it, it can be a little tough to use. Sunday, I spent relaxing with friends and three of my close fellow physics majors and I went out for breakfast at our classic breakfast spot. The best part of the weekend, other than seeing all of my friends and having a change to relax, was not having to cook and knowing how to get around town even though I didn’t have a car. Before this weekend, I was feeling rather burnt out and tired of the city, but after I was ready to get back to work.

Monday, I flew back to DC. The flight was good and my layover in Detroit was not too long this time. Even though I didn’ particularly enjoy not having a direct flight or flying Northwest, it was nice knowing that when we fly out for AAPT, I will know where to go since we are flying the same airline and to the same place. I got back really late and went to bed right after walking through the door.

Tuesday, I had to buckle down and do my part of the final presentation. Presentations were Friday, but I had to be done by Wednesday for practice. I spent all day working on it and trying to get everything to flow with Scott and Erica’s sections. That night was the opening of Harry Potter!! Erin, Laurie, Raina, Daniel, and I all went to see it. I loved it but think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been less exhausted. I definitely need to see it again though.

Wednesday, we had presentation practice and so everyone came to ACP. It was really hard getting up and then staying awake the entire time since about half of us went out to see Harry Potter and didn’t get home until well after three in the morning. All the presentations looked good and I knew Friday was going to be great. We have a lot of really good presenters this year!

Thursday, I spent all morning making corrections and making sure everything flows well for the presentation. Erica, Scott, and I went over everything a couple times and then did a run through for each other. I was really excited about Friday. I enjoy presentations and especially like our’s because we do one of our lessons in the middle. That afternoon, Scott, Gary, and I met Erica at MRSEC to test Scott’s high school optics lesson. The students were so smart and we had so much fun with them.

Friday was the big day. We all had to be at ACP bright and early to get everything set up. I unfortunately was up late the night before because I was working on the photomontage. This year’s isn’t very good, but we still have a few weeks left so I’m going to re do it the last week. I did find a new band that I like – Math and Physics Club. If you have not heard their stuff, I highly recommend you check them out! The presentations went very well. And one of the guys I met a couple of weeks ago at the Einstein Fellows poster session on the hill, named Steve, came to see our presentations and brought me some cool Galileo/IYA stuff including a TV special and a t-shirt. I was uber excited to go home and watch the special! Tonight, everyone is talking about going out to Dave and Busters to celebrate. I’m not so sure about going. I might just sleep. And who knows what will go on this weekend.

Until next week,
Mary

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Friday, July 10th

Hello everyone!

This has been an exciting and busy week. The weekend was lots of fun because of my friend being here for the Fourth. On Friday, we spent the early part of it relaxing and catching up on sleep. That evening, Erica, Raina, Specks (my friend), and I meet a Wooster alum for dinner at a seafood/sushi restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. The sushi was amazing! After dinner, we walked around Old Town and got some ice cream.

On Saturday the Fourth, Specks and I went to the National Fourth of July Parade. I always love going to be parades because I’m a band geek and I enjoy listening and critiquing their music and uniforms. Specks is a band geek too, so we had fun together. We unfortunately missed the bagpipers that are near the front of the parade since we got there late. After we grabbed some lunch and took a nap. That night we went to see the fireworks; we tried getting to the Lincoln, but we left late and ended up on the concrete in front of it. It would have been a great view except the people in front of us stood up. We had to look around them. This year I used the rainbow glasses and the fireworks looked so amazing. Although, for the finale, it is difficult to see anything except bright.

Sunday, we went to the grocery. We picked up some yummy food to cook because Specks was leaving that night. For dinner, we cooked what we bought and my roommate joined in. Specks left and I cleaned everything up and got ready for the next week.

Monday, we had a meeting with Kendra about where we were with the SOCK. We’ve made some good progress but we’ve got so much to do. That morning I worked on making getting some of the research done on distances out from the Earth for things like the magnetosphere, radiation belts, and commonly known satellites.

Tuesday, I met with Greg and I received a new assignment – to map out 6 slides for how I want the website to look. I feel like I’m kind of behind but hopefully I’ll get it all done.

Wednesday, I worked to get the slides for the website done. I used powerpoint and they look very crude, almost like a 10-year-old could have done better. I hope that they will understand what I mean. I’m having a hard time picturing what I want it to exactly look like. As for the SOCK, I’m working on revising my lesson plan to get more physics into it. I’m working on having high school students prove the depth of a crater depending on the drop height using either energy conservation or kinematics. The energy conservation would be way to hard, but I kept getting stuck and ending up not with what I was expecting.

Thursday, I came in early to get some last minute stuff done for the website slides. I had a meeting with Greg and Ada, which I think went well even though my slides looked horrid. I now have a better plan of action and know pretty much what needs to get done to polish everything off. I left work early to go home and then go to the airport. I was really excited to get to Wooster and see all my friends. I’m staying in the Physics REU house so I’ll have lots of fun.

Today is Friday and I’m sitting in my old physics building, Taylor Hall. It feels good to be back and see everyone. Tomorrow is the wedding and tonight I get to see my best friend from school. I’m so excited!

Until next week,
Mary

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Friday, July 3rd

Hallo Everyone!

I can’t believe that the internship is halfway over; this summer is really flying by! Last weekend was a great weekend. Friday night, one of my sisters, named Specks, got in town and we met up the next day. Saturday, a bunch of us went out to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. I was ecstatic about Wales being there and hopeful that I would get to hear some bagpipes. By luck, we got there just in time to see a contemporary folk band playing and they had a set of Welsh pipes. After listening to the band a bit, we moved on to the actual exhibit. My friend and I wandered over to the language tent and Laurie joined us to learn how to pronounce the alphabet. We met up with most everyone else and went to dinner in Chinatown. On the way there, I ran into a good friend and physics graduate from Wooster. She coincidentally was walking past the Chinatown Metro Stop right as we were there waiting for some of the guys. It shows how small the world really is! Sunday, we just sat around watching TV and relaxing.

Monday, I got some more proofing of bios for the History Center exhibit. I also read a few oral histories; they are fascinating to read because you get a better understand of who they were by the way they answered questions about themselves and their lives. That evening, Specks and I went out to dinner for her 21st birthday at a nice Italian restaurant.

Tuesday, I read more oral histories and got a few really interesting fact, like: Sydney Chapman was an avid biker and to travel to a meeting in 1939, he rode his bike from Montreal to DC. I enjoy reading things like this about famous scientists because it shows they are just like you and me. However, I don’t think I would ever ride my bike from Montreal to DC, but hopefully you understand what I mean. In the afternoon, I worked on my lesson for the SOCK. I’m writing a lesson on craters and learning about their formation using a tub of flour and tempera paint.

Wednesday, I went into the library and used the archives to read even more oral histories. I also started taking what I’ve gathered and rewrite the bios even more. That afternoon, I really buckled down and got the lesson for elementary and middle schools almost done.

Thursday is the last day of for this week because of the Fourth of July. Today I read even more in the library. Hopefully, I’ll be done reading and can start putting things together early next week. As for the SOCK, I just finished the elementary/middle school lesson. Next week I’ve got the write the high school lesson, the cheat sheet, and get everything proofed. I also really need to start on my poster for AAPT since it’s coming up faster than I can believe. And presentations are only two weeks from today. Tonight, Specks and I are going to meet another one of our sisters for dinner and catch up for a while. It will be nice to see her since it’s been almost a year.

This weekend’s going to be a ton of fun. We’re going to the National Parade, fireworks, back to the Folklife Festival, and maybe some museums. And next week I’m going to visit Wooster for a wedding!

Until next week,
Mary

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Friday, June 26th

Hello everyone!

This week has been a week full of meetings. That may sound dreary to some people, but they were really interesting and a great time to make connections.

Over the weekend, I didn’t end up doing anything but stay at home while everyone else went out. I had a horrible migraine. Thankfully, Monday morning I felt much better. One exciting thing did happen though. We celebrated Brad’s birthday; Erica baked him a delicious cake.

Monday, Erica was here and we laid out who was going to write what in the user’s manual in the SOCK. It was good because I prefer things to be organized and planned out. Now that we have everything planned, I feel much better about what’s going on with the SOCK. As for the History Center, Greg and I talked about using the biographical data and oral histories to get more information and a see the human side of the science. That night almost the entire group went out for half-price burgers at Rumors. It’s nice that we hang out a lot this summer; we always get along well when we’re in a big group. There was a terrible accident on the red line of the Metro and thankfully, none of us were involved. We don’t have to take that part of the line to get to and from work. Everyone’s family and friends were calling all night to make sure they were all right.

On Tuesday, Erica was back to MRSEC and I spent most of my time in the library working with the biographical files and reading oral histories. I think it’s really cool that I get to read files and forms that famous physicists wrote themselves years ago. It makes me wonder one day whether me or one of my friends will be sought after by the History Center. That evening, a few of us went out to dinner to celebrate Jose’s 21st birthday. After we went out to celebrate.

Wednesday was the start of the meetings. Most of editors from ComPADRE were at ACP to discuss how it has improved in the last year and what we can do this year to better it. Scott, Raina, and I attended the meetings most of the day. It was great this year because we worked with the editors more and got sit down and talk with them. That afternoon, I read a bit more of an oral history on Merle Tuve.

Thursday we went back to meetings in the morning. This was the best day because I got to talk with two of the editors – Vince from PER-Central and Ramon from Advanced Labs. It turns out that Vince, who does PER, went to graduate school at Minnesota with my advisor-to-be (at Miami). He will be going to AAPT in a month and in the future, so I’ll see him throughout the years at conferences. It’s always great to make connections like that! That afternoon I worked more on reading Tuve’s oral history.

On Friday, AAPT held a New Faculty Conference at ACP. Scott and I went down to listen to some of the talks. One was interesting on bettering lecturing in Astronomy classes. The AER behind it was fascinating. Before we went down to the meeting, I talked to Greg about my plans after grad school, about Galileo, and the magnetosphere. I was excited to learn that he went to grad school at Toronto and his wife at Queens, which was my first chose. During the afternoon, I read a couple of things Greg gave me earlier that week and caught up on some things that needed to get done. Scott and I also turned our abstracts for AAPT into Gary and then registered for the conference. I can’t wait until Ann Arbor!

This weekend, one of my sorority sisters is coming into town and will be staying with me next week. Her birthday is Monday so I think this next week will be a ton of fun.

Until next week,
Mary

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Friday, June 19th

Hey  everybody,

This week has been extra busy and things are finally starting to settle down into a pattern. Erica was gone for the entire week working at MRSEC so Scott and I had to fend for ourselves SOCK-wise. Monday morning had me reading the book I started last week by DeVorkin. It’s a really interesting book but I’m having a hard time getting into it. I think it’s because the page layout is like a textbook and that automatically makes me have a hard time reading it. In the afternoon, Scott and I met to determine the table of contents for the SOCK and narrow down what we wanted to buy for the rolling lesson. We finalized what we wanted to put in the lesson for the Galileoscopes. After work, we went to a pub called Rumors for half-price burgers, or in my case a fish sandwich. I think Mondays have officially become half-price burger Mondays instead of make food Mondays.

Tuesday, I had a meeting with Greg and we decided it was probably not best for me to try to make myself read the book since I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Instead, I have to use it along with the Jame Van Allen book from last week and another book by Van Allen as resources to accomplish three tasks. I will be making a timeline of important tasks relating to the magnetosphere, a network chart with mini-biographies of people who influenced Van Allen/those who were influenced by Van Allen, and 5 draft slides for the website. It’s going to be a lot of work but I’m having fun using the library and history center’s resources. I think it’s fascinating; looking up information about famous physicists, especially when it tells you quirky details about them you wouldn’t learn in class. That afternoon, Scott and I left early to go to a Science Café in Rockville. This month’s topic was transgenic plants and animals. We ate dinner, listened to a short lecture, and then discussed what we thought about transgenically modifying animals, like making fish fluoresce. It was a very interesting discussion and the food was great. That night a bunch of us watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to get ready for the release of the sixth Harry Potter movie in July.

On Wednesday, I started working on the network diagram and mini-biographies. I did not, however, get very far because it’s difficult to find information on some of Van Allen’s grad students. That afternoon, I had a meeting with Greg to show him what I had come up with; I need to reword some of my biographies, but I think it was a good start, especially for brain vomit. (Brain vomit is a really, really rough draft where you absorb something, try to organize it quickly, and then throw it onto paper.) Afterward, Scott and I met with Kendra to lay out a plan for when things need to get done. We also show her our new idea for the Galileoscope lesson. Now, we just need to get things written.
Thursday was an exciting day. We helped the Physics Today Career Network (and got pizza for lunch) by going through their job site; we set up a new account and look for some jobs. Scott, Leslie, and I gave our opinions and they asked us questions about how we’d want the layout and searching process to go. That evening, Leslie and I left early to go change into something a bit nicer. We met Tom, Laurie, and Brian in DC to go to the Einstein Fellows Reception. It was a great opportunity to network and we met a couple really awesome teachers that gave us great advice. After, Brad met us all in Foggy Bottom to get some Indian food. I love Indian food.

Friday has been a scatterbrained day. I started out by practically falling out of the bus. And it just got worse from there. I spilled stuff, dropped things, and forgot items I needed when I left my office. However, I did get some more of the mini-bios finished and I think I’m almost done with the first draft. Overall, it has been a very absent-minded day. I believe that since it’s going so poorly we’re going to head out a bit early. That’s probably a good idea because if this keeps up I’m going to hurt myself or someone else by tripping or knocking something over.

Erin’s at the beach this weekend and I’ll have the room to myself, which will be kind of lonely. We’re talking about going to the Holocaust Museum and the Spy Museum. However, the way today has been, I might just stay in and take a weekend to myself.

Until next week,
Mary

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Friday, June 12th

Hallo all!

This week has been an exciting one. Saturday started out fun because we got to sleep in. That afternoon a bunch of us went to the zoo and got to see all the animals. One of the best parts was listening to Laurie get pumped up about going to see the pandas. After the zoo, we went out to dinner with the SPS Executive Council at Buca di Beppo, a really tasty Italian restaurant. I was extremely excited about going because I got to see Jenna Smith, one of the interns from last year who I worked with on the SOCK. I was also excited about seeing some of the awesome advisors I met last year, like Toni Sauncy and Dave Donnelly (also my boss at the Nucleus). Afterwards, I was way too tired to do anything so I went to bed early.

Sunday, my roommate went home for a party and so I slept in and had a relaxing day full of grocery shopping and watching NCIS on my computer. We also discovered we can get onto a patio on the roof of our building, so we hung out there for a while and talked.

Then the work week started again. Monday, I spent the morning trying to finish reading my James Van Allen book, which I was not successful at. In the afternoon we narrowed down more of the lesson on incline planes we did later on Thursday at an elementary school. It’s been really nice working with Erica and Scott on the SOCK because we all get along very well. That night everyone went out for dinner and I had another relaxing evening at home. When they got back, we decided to watch Prince Caspian from the Chronicles of Narnia. It is an awesome movie and Laurie and I had a lot of fun listening to the beautiful horn parts in the background.

Tuesday was one of the most exciting days of the week. That morning, Gary took Erica, Scott, and I out to shop for everything we needed to take on our outreach/lesson test. We picked up a whole bunch of different items to roll down the incline planes. The ACP picnic was that afternoon. This year it was a little less big and we didn’t do any outreach. But I had fun eating lunch with the Physics Quest people from APS. Raina played violin in the open mike and so we went to listen. We also met another intern in the building that works for AAPM named Eric. He wrote an awesome poem about his first week at AAPM that was hilarious. We left work early that evening because Jack arranged for all the interns to go see a play at Arena Stage. Before we went to see the play, we had dinner with some of their interns and got to learn a bit about being a theater intern. The play was amazing! It is called Legacy of Light and is about Emilie du Châtelet, a brilliant but not well known physicist from France during the time of the Enlightenment, and a modern day astrophysicist, Olivia. It was hilarious and I loved learning a bit about a woman who was very courageous and who did work that was, at the time, very advanced. Thanks go to Jack because I had a blast! That night we came home wiped out, but very encouraged.

Wednesday, Erica, Scott, and I showed Leslie and Raina what we were going to be doing at Tuckahoe Elementary the next day. After explaining the lesson, we tested it on some of the SPS staff; hopefully they enjoyed it. I thought it was nice to have others look at and critique the plans. That afternoon, we spent a lot of time going over everything to make sure it was complete and everything made sense. For dinner, we were going to go to a place called Science Club but after looking at the menu, decided not to. We ended up at Chipotle and I ate there, even though I am not a fan. After dinner I was really tired and tried to go to bed early. That didn’t work so I watched NCIS instead.

On Thursday, we slept in and then met Kendra and Gary at the East Falls Church metro stop so we could get a ride over to the school. The lesson went very well and we all had a lot of fun. Mrs. Coffman is awesomely awesome (to quote Legacy of Light); I had lots of fun with her classes last year and knew that this year would be no different. The first lesson was a bit shaky. All the kids were really excited about everything and we had a hard time keeping them calm but I think they had a good time and they learned something which is the goal. The second class was much calmer and we again had a blast with them. Afterwards, Gary took us out for ice cream and we had a debriefing of what happened, how we can improve the lesson, and things we learned. That night, we originally planned to go see the Marine Jazz band at the Capitol, but it was cancelled. Instead, some of the guys went out for dinner while Laurie came over to Erin’s and my room to eat. We met them there after we eat for dessert. Friday’s spicy cupcakes, pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, are yummy! I love anything pumpkin. We spent some time there just talking and hanging out. Our waiter was hilarious and gave Jose and Scott a hard time. We went home and went up on the roof to hang out and sit out in the beautiful night. We went to bed a little late, which caused some problems getting up this morning.

Today, I spent most of the day reading a new book by David DeVorkin a senior curator at the Air and Space Museum. It is a really interesting book about how the military created the US space science after WWII. However, I could not concentrate and Leslie came down to ask about the slinky-polarization lesson from last year’s SOCK. I went up there and talked to the Physics Quest people for a bit about it. Leslie and I ate lunch together outside since it was a beautiful day. Erica joined us and we talked about how things are going for a little bit. This afternoon, I buckled down and got some serious reading done until Scott, Kendra, and Gary got back from an IYA meeting in Baltimore. They, Erica, and I went to talk about things that need to get done with the SOCK and got a few things on the schedule. Today is Erica’s birthday and I don’t know if we are going to go out or anything. Tomorrow a bunch of people are going to Six Flags. I’m going to hang out at home and get some reading done as well as hang out with some friends that live in DC.

Until next week,
Mary

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Friday, June 5th

Hello everybody!

Well, I’m back again in wonderful DC! I’m so excited to be back working again here at ACP. I’ll be working again on the SOCK (SPS Outreach Catalyst Kit) as well as in the History Center. This week has been a great first week and I think that this summer is definitely going be better than last summer by far. Everyone seems to get along and the group really clicks; everyone seems to want to hang out and go out together so I think we’ll have lots of adventures together though out the summer.

 My adventure started last Saturday when I flew here from Cincinnati. Well, technically from Atlanta as I had a silly connection where I almost missed my flight. But anyway, the flight here was smooth and two of my friends came to pick me up from the airport like last year. It was an afternoon of catching up and seeing what’s new in the District. They brought me over to GW where the interns are living and I got into my room. That night most of the interns had arrived and we went out to eat at Froggy Bottom Pub, which has good cheap food and drinks. We had a good time getting to know the basics about everyone. On Sunday, Kendra came by with the Intern Box and we got dishes, pots, pans, and other random but essential stuff. My roommate, Erin who is working for NIST, arrived later that day and we started setting up the room. Thankfully, Erin and I get along very well, which is something I always worry about. We hung around with everyone and played Wii in Leslie and Laurie’s room next door. I think we might all end up doing that quite a bit.

The next day was Intern Orientation and the start of work. It felt so good to be back in the building and see everyone. Orientation was fun and we learned even more about each other and the projects that we are working on this summer. That evening Erin and I made dinner together and everyone talked about what they did at their respective jobs. I’m really looking forward to working on the History Center part of my internship. It sounds like I’m going to have a ton of fun reading books, listening to interviews, and exploring the archives. Unfortunately, Leslie and Scott got some sort of stomach plague that effected them though the next couple of days. Hopefully, now that it’s over no one else will get it.

Tuesday, I had a meeting with Greg, my boss at the History Center. He gave me a book on James Van Allen to read. In addition to doing an online exhibit on the magnetosphere, I’m also going to learn a bit about getting history into science classes, which is really interesting to me in a physics education research aspect.

 We have named each day of the week something special. This unfortunately did not happen until Tuesday, although Monday is “Make Food Monday”, where we are going to try to have a family style dinner where everyone will take turns making their favorite dish or something of their ethnicity/eating style. It’s nice to finally have another vegetarian in the program (Laurie). Tuesday is “To-go Tuesday” where we go out to eat (or order in) at some place around Foggy Bottom. That night we walked around a bit and finally decided on Thai at a tiny place, called The Thai Place, right down the block from Froggy Bottom. It was delicious and I had a lot of leftovers for lunch the next day. After dinner, we walked to the White House and then back home to put our food away and take care of some necessities.  A group of us then walked to the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and then finally to the Mall to Metro home from the Smithsonian station. It was quite a walk but definitely a good adventure.

At work on Wednesday, Erica, Scott, and I sat down and talked about the SOCK and one of the lessons we are going to test out at Tuckahoe Elementary next week. We had a great meeting and really bonded. It makes me think that this SOCK is going to be better than ever. Wednesday is “Watch Something Wednesday”. Unfortunately, I fell asleep after dinner while the others went out for ice cream and then watched Dr. Horrible.

At Thursday’s meeting with Erica and Scott, we had even more fun and pinned down a lesson plan for the outreach test next week. The meeting was full of laughing and getting off track, which was good because we bonded even more. If you’re in the mood for a laugh, on YouTube, look up the video of people in Mobile, AL and the leprechaun. Erica and Scott are definitely always up for a laugh and love joking around. Thursday is “PANCAKE Thursday”, my favorite day of the week since I LOVE pancakes. Everyone gathered in our room while I made delicious plain pancakes and Daniel made Spanish Tortilla. His tortilla was very tasty! For next week, I think I’m going to add chocolate chips or fruit in the pancakes. While we ate, we sat around watching funny videos on YouTube. If you haven’t seen the series “Look Around You”, British spoofs on the classic 80’s instructional videos, I recommend looking them up right now. They are hilarious!

Today has been a good day so far. I’m almost done with my first book for the History Center and it has been very good book. I’ve got another one in mind for this weekend when I finish the first one. The education department and all the ACP interns eat Popeye’s and ice cream for lunch. It was nice to sit around and talk about what had gone on this week. We all had to share one highlight from the week. Mine occurred when I was in the pantry on Tuesday; someone on the third floor asked me if I was new in the statistics department. They did not ask me if I was an intern, but the new person in statistics. This made me really happy as I am always mistaken for someone much younger. In fact, when I tell people I just graduated, I am always asked what college I will be attending in the fall, as if I just graduated from high school. I gladly corrected the pantry person and explained I was the new SPS intern working in the History Center. So, whoever you may be, if you are reading this, thank you for making my week a little brighter!

 As for this evening, I am looking forward to seeing Jenna, one of the interns from last year who worked with me on the SOCK. She’s on Exec Board for SPS National Council and they have a meeting here tomorrow. We’re going to be hanging out this weekend, which I am really excited about. The group is also talking about going out to the movies tonight to see the new “Night at the Museum” movie since it takes place in one of the Smithsonian Museums. Tomorrow, we’ll be eating dinner with the exec board and who know what else will go on. Whatever happens, I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun!

That’s about it for this week. Until next week,
Mary

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Mary Elizabeth Mills Mary Elizabeth Mills
College of Wooster, Wooster, OH
Internship: SPS SOCK/American Institute of Physics History Center
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Center for History of Physics and the 2009 SOCK

Abstract
This is the eighth year for the Society of Physics Students Outreach Catalyst Kit (SOCK) Program. With 2009 being the International Year of Astronomy (IYA), this year’s topic is Galileo and it celebrates not only his discoveries in astronomy but also some of his other physics experiments. The SOCK will feature lessons on building a refracting telescope, racing household items down an incline plane, and fun with moon craters. Other demonstrations include day and night observations with a Galileoscope, instructions to build a water clock, and many other topics. In addition to discussion on the SOCK, we will describe the other half of each out our internships by explaining our respective work on cataloguing IYA resources for the digital library ComPADRE, the summer science camps at the University of Maryland’s MRSEC, as well as at the Center for the History of Physics and creating a mini-web exhibit on James Van Allen and the magnetosphere.
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