I arrived in DC today at 3:20 pm. My connecting flight from Chicago to DCA was late for about 50 minutes. Some problems occurred in the ignition engine of the aircraft which took a while to resolve. I knew that I could board a metro from the airport and I did so. I decided to take the metro instead of a shuttle cab because I was a little bit nervous about the cab fare. Dr. Shastri (Physics faculty at Minnesota State University Moorhead) went to France lately, and he paid a high fare there from his way to the city. Later he explained it to me that hiring a cab is as same as having the privilege of owning a car with a skilled driver, which is arguable in some context. Surely, things are little different in Europe. I have not travelled outside of Minnesota in the past three years. I think that should justify my anxiety. When I came out of the Foggy Bottom-GWU metro station, it was already hot and little humid, which is rare in Minnesota. It was enjoyable but tiring at the same time. I got to see Meredith and Melissa at the entrance. We are living in the City Hall. I think that it is a pretty decent place to live in. There is a small balcony attached to my room and one can see the sky and get some fresh air in case s/he needs to.
I went to "Whole Foods"(grocery store) this morning. I figured out that the google map application in my cell phone is not very efficient. I got to meet one of my old friends in the afternoon. Thomas, Ryan, Binayak and Jonathan joined our intern team in the late afternoon.
Today was the first day at the ACP (American Center of Physics). It was the orientation day for new interns. I had some trouble in finding the ACP building. I forgot to print the direction from the College Park Metro station to the ACP. Also I did not bring Kendra’s final reminder note for orientation. I know this is different, if you are carrying a smart phone with you, but I am not a big fan of cellular devices.
I finally got to meet Kendra, Dr. Olsen, Dr. Gary White and many others (including Dr. John Mather who shared the Nobel prize with Dr. George Smoot in 2006), as well as staff members of the AIP. It was great to see that they came down to wish us a good luck and success. I like Dr. Mather's viewpoint on writing, as he thinks it gets better in time. Later in the afternoon, I was handed in the NSF proposal for Career Pathways project by Dr. Olsen. I will be working on Career Pathways project which basically aims to create a successful career workshop that will allow undergraduate physics majors to be more confident and knowledgeable about their career plans, career choices and so forth. In a nutshell, the outcome of this project will help undergraduate students get an overview of what they can do immediately after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physics.
It was my first day at work. I spent one hour in the morning talking about my understanding of the NSF proposal with Dr. Olsen. He also went over his research project on chaotic behavior seen in fluid dynamics for another two and a half hours later today, which I would like to explore myself (with Dr. Olsen's assistance) for my own interest. I met Tracy and Elizabeth later this afternoon. I have to consult with them on the layout of "Career using physics" part of the SPS National website. I went to a place named "Yo-yogurt" later this evening with my new intern friends.
Most of the day was spent reviewing four different physics department reports that were submitted in 2011 and 2012. Thorough analyses will be part of my project. I have not mentioned it yet that I am enrolled in a 2 credits physics class for this internship program. So I have to tie this report analyses with my internship class. I am going to attend a STEM career fair on Friday.
I polished my resume and did a little bit company background research today.
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I went to a STEM career expo this morning, as I mentioned earlier. This STEM expo was organized by Equal Opportunity, the career magazine for minority graduates at the Ronald Reagan Building. There were about 30 booths of potential prospective employers, including two graduate school booths that I checked out for my own interest. I was definitely nervous in the beginning, but after taking a step into the first booth, it got easier. All of the representatives were approachable and in most cases I got to have a one-on-one interaction with them. This was my first professional job fair. The most important lesson I learnt today that one should have done effective background research on a particular job s/he is looking for and most importantly write his/her resume accordingly. My sincere thanks to Dr. Olsen and Dr. White for giving me advice on business etiquette; it made me confident to converse with all of those prospective employers.
Later in the afternoon Dr. Olsen took us to the 2012 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Annual Poster Session and Reception in the Rayburn office building. It was absolutely an amazing experience to meet great teachers from all over the country. I conversed with a few fellows there. I cannot resist talking about two of them in particular here. Timothy S. Spuck, K-12 science instructor at the Oil City Area Senior High School, has been teaching earth science and astronomy for over twenty years and he was awarded numerous awards for his teaching and his research work. He published “A Voyage through the Radio Universe” in which he and his students used the Arecibo Radio Telescope (Science Teacher 2004). The other distinguished fellow was Shelly Hynes, who taught physics and astronomy at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. She is serving her fellowship in Antarctica, which seemed to me quite adventurous. She mentioned Dr. White’s name as well. Shelly and I have similar research interests. I am glad that I joined this gathering and got to meet all talented teachers from across the nation.
Today is my first weekend in DC. I went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum this afternoon. It was pretty crowded today. I saw many Girl Scouts were heading to the museum at the Smithsonian metro station. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum reminded me of Kolkata’s Science City. The Science City authority opened a new division on space exploration lately (mid 2000s most probably). Although this museum is solely meant for the space science and aviation and it is larger than the subdivision of Kolkata’s Science City. I had loads of fun there. I enjoyed exploring various instruments of past space expeditions (such as Viking mission, Apollo, and Pathfinder). It is what intrigued me most. I was thinking of Dr. Winkler’s words (Physics faculty at Minnesota State University Moorhead, my advisor) about exploring space and what magnificent role the mankind has been playing since the first Great War. I watched two shows in the planetarium there. Our university installed a digital projector last year. I’ve seen full–dome movies before, but the show about “Dynamic Earth,” narrated by Liam Neeson was entertaining. I am not going to write much about the show because I don’t want to spoil it for others!
Today I went shopping at the Men’s Wearhouse. I purchased some business outfits there. On my way (on K-street), I found an Indian restaurant where I would like to have a lunch with my intern friends in the coming week. I went to see Prometheus this afternoon, and it kind of met my expectation. I am not going to write anything about the movie, again: spoilers!
I spent the whole day working on Friday’s site visit report. I got some feedback from Dr. Olsen and I tried to incorporate his comments into my report. Dr. Craig (Department Chair, Physics & Astronomy Department at Minnesota State University, Moorhead) and Dr. Cabanela were at the ACP today to attend an AAPT conference. It was a great pleasure to meet them here in Maryland. They came upstairs around 10:30 am. They also got to meet Dr. Olsen and chatted little bit about the AAPT conference.
I spent the first half of the day working on my report. Then I had a meeting with Roman Czujko, head of AIP's Statistics Division, who is helping me identify the unique criteria of a Physics department that helps to produce successful physics graduates where most of them choose a career other than graduate school.
I revised my report today. I will be meeting Roman tomorrow, so I had to do some reading for that.
The meeting went well today. We set up some goal for the next meeting (which is tomorrow at 2 pm). In terms of categorizing unique features seen in a particular department, it stands out to me that a combination of social choices, which can be considered a SMP (Standard Maximum Problem). I will see if I can solve that optimization problem without using any explicit data. I did not know that an international student is also eligible to apply for a federal job under the OPT (Optional Practical Training) work authorization. I created an account on the "USAjobs" website and one of my tasks is fiddling around with keywords for finding a job that will be suitable for physics majors.
It was a gorgeous day today. I made a spreadsheet based on the criteria that we identified yesterday. I also have to contact Bonnie Feldman (Manager Career Network) and Justin Stewart (Sr Marketing and Sales Representative) later this afternoon. Both of them will be a great resource to guide me through finding the right keywords for searching a job with a bachelor's in physics. I do not have any big plans for the weekend. I may go to the Smithsonian but I am not sure about that yet.
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It was a nice sunny day today. Instead of visiting the National Zoo, I went to the Eastern Market today. The Eastern market has a fresh food public market. I thought it would be fun to check out what the market offers. Traffic was slow there and reminded me of North Kolkata. I realized today that DC is smaller than Kolkata. Actually I was off by a factor of ten! I misread the number of people who live in DC. I misread it as about six million, but it turns out to be six hundred thousand (only). It was oddly disappointing to me.
What a surprise! I received an email from my aunt this morning. My aunt is in Leeds, UK and thus far (during my three and a half years stay in the US), we have communicated through classic paper mail and telephone. She uses email-service for work primarily. She decided to get an Internet connection at her home recently, which I think is a neat idea. In my technical report writing class, and in cyber ethics class, we discussed the efficiency of email and its downside. The downside is that it lacks an essence of personal touch. This is arguable but like many other new things, we should give it more time before jumping to any conclusions.
Sadly, I did not see any intern friends around this afternoon. I went to Rasoi (an Indian restaurant on K-street) all by myself, which was not my initial plan (but now looking back at it, I think that it was a wise move). Rasoi has a weekend buffet option that starts around 12 pm. The food was okay. Meanwhile, I will be looking for a decent place where my friends and I can dine out together without regrets. I went to the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian Museums of Asian Art, later that afternoon. Both the Freer and Sackler galleries have good collection of Middle Eastern, South and East Asians artifacts. There was a painting exhibition on Mount Fuji. “Raj Kapoor and the Golden Age of Indian Cinema” was being exhibited in the auditorium of the Freer Hall. I also went to the National Air and Space museum and explored the “Space-age” division of the museum. Later, I decided to watch Hubble-3D in the IMAX theatre of the museum. I have never had a chance to watch a 3D movie before and I liked it a lot.
When someone is looking for a job on the web, it helps to know particular keywords that bridge the skills that one already possesses and the job in which s/he is interested. By tweaking the keywords a little, one will get different search results. I created an account on “USAjobs” last week. Today, I typed a few different key words and spent two hours looking at the outcomes. My typed keywords were: “Physicists,” “Image Processing,” “Astronomy and Space Science,” “Mathematical Physics,” “Research and Development,” and ‘Defense.” I chose “defense” as one of the keywords primarily because I figured that there are many job opportunities out there in defense related fields that hire students with a bachelor’s in Physics. After lunch, I spent time looking at the job opportunities that are posted on the “SPS Jobs” website.
I had a meeting with Bonnie Feldman (Manager of the Career Network) this morning at 11 am. It went well. We chatted a little about what you should do before attending a job fair. It boils down to reviewing a company’s Annual Report, but for obvious reasons one does not need to go through the entire report. I realized that in the past, often times I ended up gathering useful information but I was unable to tie that into my cover letter effectively. Here is an example: I applied to Caltech’s SURF program this summer. Cindy Norberg (Assistant Director of the Career Development Center of Minnesota State University Moorhead) read my cover letter and told me that I did not add anything new in my cover letter. She said that I was retelling what significant role the SURF program played in my cover letter but that is not be the main purpose of writing a cover letter. It is an art and not an easy task. Later Bonnie went over my field report and we discussed about the recommendations that I wrote about “How to prepare before attending a job fair?” She took time to explain to me how the APS, Physics Today and the SPS job search engines are interrelated. She also mentioned Peter Fiske, who is well known for his career advice to scientists (physicists). He gave a talk at the Annual APS March meeting in Boston and Dr. Olsen met him there. Later Dr. Olsen and I decided to order Fiske’s book on job searching tips for scientists. I also set up a phone-in interview with a professional career consultant this afternoon. The consultant will give me feedback on my resume and guide me through writing a cover letter, which I think will be a good learning experience for me and students who will be part of the “Career Pathways” project.
I also attended the ACP picnic this afternoon. It was fun.
I had a meeting with Roman this afternoon. We went over two different physics department visit reports. Obviously there are some common features among the six different department visit reports. I personally liked how active the SPS chapters are in those respective schools, and that many of them offer a capstone course on resume writing and careers.
I had a phone interview early this morning with a career consultant. She sent me a questionnaire that took me almost the whole day to answer. Later in the afternoon Dr. Olsen informed me that I would be joining the last 15 minutes of the weekly meeting that he has with Kendra, Roman and Dr. White (the Career Pathways team) to give updates on what I accomplished that week.
I went to Federal Center SW this evening just to explore a new part of DC. I did not know that NASA’s administrative building is located there.
Today was mostly spent doing some free writing and looking for a job fair that I would like to attend before the internship program ends.
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|Temperature data logbook of an anonymous researcher
Today I went to the Marian Koshland Science museum. The Marian Koshland Science museum had two interactive exhibits on climate and how human beings develop and grow in time. Thomas and I spent about three hours there, exploring all sorts of educational activities. Many interactive activities were connected to the databases of the National Academy of Sciences. We had loads of fun there. To the right is a picture of an anonymous researcher’s data log that shows how temperature data had been recorded for over 150 years. We went to the Smithsonian Institution, Donald W Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture later this afternoon. There was an exhibition on video games which displayed how video games from different time periods evolved into today’s wonder world of the PSP and the XBOX.
I got up late this morning. I was obviously tired. I decided to go the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History around 2 pm. It was a nice sunny and gorgeous day today, so I wanted to take an advantage of that. The Natural History museum has several sections and one can possibly spend an entire day just focusing on one particular section. Surprisingly, the paleontology section did not attract me at all. I remember when the movie Jurassic Park came out in 1993. I was about five years old then. I think everyone likes dinosaurs. I did not forget to check out the Dinosaur 3D IMAX presentation later. I had seen the 2D version of the movie before, but I really enjoyed seeing it again on IMAX. Along with many other facts, I learned today that the Hope diamond was originally found in India!
My day started a little slow paced this morning, which actually helped me to concentrate better this afternoon. I did some writing today. The report, I worked on the last week and the week before about the career fair was a technical report with formal features. Now- I have been assigned to compose a story based on the same topic, with a less formal tone. Also, the version is supposed to narrate a story which will help the readers to visualize what actually happened. I found that to be a difficult task. I took a couple of literature courses for non-English majors, but was never actually happy with my response papers to a specific story. I do like short stories, but poetry is my favorite.
Other things I did today: The consultant, whom I spoke with last week, set an appointment with a professional writer who will rewrite my resume and cover letter. The writer gave me a follow up call at 3 pm. I also registered for another job fair which I will be attending in July. I finally turned in my thank you letter for the scholarship that I was awarded by the SPS National this year. I spent some time planning the ACP building tour for my other intern friends who are not working here at the ACP. They will visit us this Friday, June 29. I met Paul Guinnessy (Manager of Physics Today web design) this afternoon and found out that he is one of the supporters of the Marian Koshland Museum.
I had a meeting with Roman this morning. We chatted about what job fair I should consider attending because the one I looked at yesterday- asked me to provide some sort of security clearance that would not be easy to obtain unless my current or former employers chose to get this for me. I am still hoping to attend another job fair in July, as it will give me an opportunity to explore how wisely I can spend time there with proper guidance and right preparation. I contacted Charles Day (online Content Editor of the Physics Today magazine) today and he agreed to meet with interns on Friday afternoon.
I finished my informal report and turned in it to Dr. Olsen. I went to a lunch meeting with Bonnie Feldman (Manager of the Career Network, who is helping me with the Career Pathways Project) and Randy Nana (Publisher of Physics Today) this afternoon. We went to a Mexican place named Pollo Fiesta for a follow up. The food was really delicious.
I had an early morning meeting with Roman. We talked about what keywords will be useful for applicants with a bachelor’s in physics to try out on job sites. I attended Dr. White’s farewell party later this afternoon. When the SPS chapter of our school (Minnesota State University Moorhead) was awarded the Student Organization of the Month Award, he congratulated us, and posted his hearty wish on our club’s blog site! I will never forget that.
I will be spending the day with all of my intern friends today, on a tour of the ACP building. We will be meeting with Becky Thompson-Flagg (Head of Public Outreach, APS), Stephen Benka (Editor in Chief of the Physics Today magazine), Bonnie Feldman (Manager of the Career Network), Beth Cunningham (Executive Officer of the AAPT), Angela Keyser (Executive Director of the AAPM), Catherine Meyers (Media Services Writer, AIP), Jenny Lee( Media Services Writer, AIP), Charles Day(Online Editor of Physics Today), Roman Czujko (Director Statistical Research Center, AIP). Ryan, one of the other interns will take us to the Niels Bohr Library & Archives. I am looking forward to it. Later, in the evening, we will go to see the Music Man. I heard all good things about that musical and I am a little excited about it.
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|At the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard
Yesterday was quite an eventful day. I spent the day with my non-ACP intern friends. We got to meet some personalities from the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). Matt (Physics Quest, SPS intern), Melissa (SPS-SOCK intern), and Meredith (SPS-SOCK intern) demonstrated some physics activities very well. Matt is working on developing activities related fluid dynamics this summer, whereas both Melissa and Meredith are developing outreach activities on invisible fields, such as the magnetic field and the gravitational field. I enjoyed viewing the Music Man last night. Overall, the stage performance and coordination among the actors was brilliant and I had fun.
When we got back to City Hall last night, it started raining, and later it was accompanied by a thunder-storm. I was definitely tired because I did not have any clue about the storm until I turned on the television this afternoon. I went to a Thai restaurant, named Mai Thai this afternoon. The food was good. I did not feel like going anywhere, but I ended up in the Smithsonian Institution, Center for American Art and Portraiture. I spent some time at the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, which was opened to the public in 2007. The courtyard basically connects the art museum with the portrait gallery.
|Water Fountains at the World War II Memorial
I went to the National Mall this evening. On my way to the Lincoln Memorial, I stopped by the World War-II memorial. The water fountains at the World War-II memorial looked really great. The sky was partially clear and the moon was in waxing gibbous phase. These all were very soothing and relaxing to me, and I spent almost half an hour there.
The professional writer, who is working on my resume, sent me the first draft of my resume last Friday evening (June 29). She rewrote my resume in such a way that it highlights my skills first, and my education and accomplishments afterwards. I proofread my resume and made a couple of minor changes and attached it to my reply email. Bonnie Feldman (Manger of the Career Network) shared some job search sites with me last Friday. I spent some time looking up jobs on those job sites today.
Dr. Olsen suggested that read the abstracts from the last AAS meeting, which was held in June in Alaska, as that will help me pinpoint my research interests in graduate school. My intern friends and I got off at Columbia Heights this evening to check out Pete’s Newhaven Style Apizza. I must say that it was a very good decision as I have not had good pizzas since 2nd of June.
I edited my informal job fair article this morning and got a chance to discuss it with Dr. Olsen later. I think that this draft was much better than the one I turned in last week. Right now, my report lacks transitions that will help the reader to anticipate what is coming next and why I chose to stop by one particular booth right after I was done visiting another. I also figured out that I did not clearly explain what a potential jobseeker should research before coming to a job fair. The main emphasis should be on the job posting that one is interested in. If one can back up his/her thoughts on why s/he is the best fit for a particular job with relevant examples, then s/he can stand out from the rest more easily.
It was a gorgeous, sunny day today. I went to the National Mall this evening to see the fireworks. At first, I was thinking of going to Rosslyn, on the other side of the river, as I heard that one can see the Capitol building, the monument and the Lincoln Memorial from there at the same time. The metro was crowded, so I went to the National Mall. I enjoyed watching the fireworks a lot, and I think that it was one of the best fireworks exhibits that I have ever seen in my life!
|On the way to the Lincoln Memorial.
I did some rewriting this morning. The professional writer responded to my e-mail on Tuesday. I agreed not to use my middle name in my resume and also not to provide as many details about my talks and poster presentations. The writer told me including my middle name in my resume is little old fashioned these days, of which I was completely unaware of. I have been working in my resume for the last year, and I think that things which seem nontrivial to us can make a difference in a recruiters’ decision.
I registered for a job fair this afternoon. I will be attending it on August 2. I was looking forward to attending one in July, but it will not make any sense for me to attend a job fair that requires security clearance. Later in the afternoon, I met the Career Pathways team and briefed them progress on my resume, my informal report and my fiddling around with the keywords on various job sites. Kendra informed me that it would not be hard to arrange a career workshop for the students at the end of this summer. I am meeting Roman tomorrow afternoon.
I will give the professional writer some feedback on my resume and cover letter today. I think that it is almost done. I have to share my reference list with her. I must say that the letter she wrote is precise and to-the-point. Undoubtedly writing a good cover letter is a craft.
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|At the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
My intern friends and I went to the Hishhorn Museum and the Sculpture Garden and the National Archives this afternoon. It was a very hot and humid day today but we had fun. I particularly enjoyed seeing the experiments with light, background, and glasses, in the exhibit called “Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space”. A specific piece of artwork, named “Light in movement” done by Julio Le Parc drew my attention. The museum building is circular in shape. You can have a great view of the city from the top floor of the museum building. The National Archives preserves many historical documents. The main attractions are the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution, which are located in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. I felt very content there.
A Metro train was derailed near the West Hyattsville Metro station on Friday. The Metro authority had to temporarily shut down the train services on both the green and yellow lines to fix it. Due to that, the green line was only functional up to the Fort Totten Metro Station. Previously I had planned to go to the Astronomical Society of the Greenbelt, but I could not get there on the train because the stop is after Fort Totten. My updated plan was visiting Rock Creek Park and the planetarium. The nearest metro station to the park is Friendship Heights. When I finally got off there, it was already 2:00 pm. The heat and humidity made me change my plan, and instead of going farther, I went to an Indian restaurant named Indique Heights. The food was delicious and I must admit that they serve very authentic Indian vegetarian dishes. I wish to go back there again with my intern friends.
|A side view of the entrance to the National Archives
Dr. Olsen gave me some feedback on my informal site visit report this morning. I spent the rest of the morning and the first half of the afternoon editing my article. I’ve been learning a lot about professional writing and publications these days. The main feedback had something to do with the organizational structure of the article. It took me a while to edit the draft. Later in the afternoon, Roman and I got together and talked about the spreadsheet that we’ve been working on for the past few weeks. We added a new feature to it. There are fourteen common features that we have seen among departments that prepare students better for careers. I also got back to the professional writer and confirmed the final version of my resume and the cover letter.
Reading the first three chapters of Peter Fiske’s book on finding a career in science left a positive impression on my mind, and it lasted the entire day. I revised my article this morning. Bonnie dropped by my desk this afternoon and asked me if the professional writer had finished working on my resume yet. AIP arranged an employee appreciation lunch this afternoon. Liz Dart Caron (Director of Corporate Communication for AIP) asked me to name three famous Indians (and they had to be my favorite at the same time) that everyone should know. In reply, I said King Ashoka (the great emperor of ancient India), Rabindranath Tagore (the first Asian who won the noble prize in literature in 1913) and Sashi Tharoor (the second youngest Secretary General of the United Nations, 2006) would be my pick. It was fun because I had never thought about this before.
The professional writer sent me the final version of my resume and cover letter today. The career consult agency assigned an online networking expert to me, who will be working on my LinkedIn profile. I made some changes in my article and I hope to send it to Roman and Kendra tomorrow. Roman suggested that I check out a laptop and spend some time at the library, as I told him that I prefer to write in a quiet place. Later in the afternoon, I set up an appointment with Tracy Schwab (Education Communications Manager) and Elizabeth Hook (Education Communication Specialist) who will be helping me work on the “Career Using Physics” website.
I finished editing my report and emailed it to Kendra and Roman. Tracy, Elizabeth, Dr. Olsen and I met this morning and discussed what needs to get done in order to make the new career information on the “Career Using Physics” site easily accessible to students. I showed the meeting attendees some website links that are potential electronic resources for initiating a job search and getting ready for interviews and so forth. Later, in the afternoon, I went to the Niels Bohr library and started writing a report on the common features that have been identified by Roman and I, among the physics departments that the Career Pathways team visited to learn about career preparation for students. I am meeting with Roman tomorrow at 10 o’ clock in the morning about this. In the weekly progress meeting, Kendra asked me if I see any difference between the two versions of my resume, the one written by the professional writer and the one compiled and typed by me. I see a significant difference between them, especially, inthat the professional writer used words that not only describe what I did in a job, but also reflects my ability and self-confidence as a person. Before the meeting was adjourned, I told Kendra that I’d write a one page reflection about my experience working with a professional writer.
Roman and I met this morning. I sent him the first draft of the department features report. Soon I’ll be looking at materials that will go in the resources binders for students who attend workshops. The online networking expert finished editing my LinkedIn profile. She provides me with a guidebook on online networking. My updated version of the LinkedIn profile looks much better and it represents me and my professional side very well. I found the reading lounge of the library to be very quiet and it helps me to concentrate better when I write.
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|A deer crossing the road
Peter (one of my non-intern friends) and I went to Le Pain Quotidien for brunch. I had a delicious chicken sandwich there. It was a cloudy day today. We decided to check out the Nature Center and Planetarium at Rock Creek Park. Rock Creek Park is administered by the National Park Service and it is connected to some other parks of surrounding cities (such as Silver Spring in MD). I really enjoyed our visit to the park. Despite a deer crossing the road,we did not get to see anything exciting. The Nature Center and the planetarium are small and ideal for toddlers.
I relaxed all day at our dorm today. I’m on chapter of 7 of Peter Fiske’s book, which is about the career options open to scientist). I’ve never realized that finding a job as a scientist is considered by some to be really challenging because national labs have a limited number of openings each year. Again, if someone is good at selling his/her skills and experience, s/he should not have hard time finding a job in other sectors, such as in finance.
|At the entrance to the Nature Center and Planetarium
Today, I started working on a possible exercise to use in a career workshop for students who are pursuing a physics major. Dr. Olsen helped me to brainstorm some ideas for workshop topics, such as how one should get started looking for a job, and how to self-assess one’s skills and abilities. Roman and I met later today. We decided that a skills self-assessment would be a good Career Pathways workshop activity, as a typical career workshop would probably not cover that.
I spent some time looking for journal articles about skills self-assessment. There are some journal articles out there that talk about why self-assessment is a crucial thing in one’s career, but I’ve not found a single journal article that will be particularly useful for physics/science majors.
Roman showed interest in visiting the Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) campus, where I go to school, and talking to physics majors, faculty and office staff. I contacted the current officers of the SPS MSUM chapter, and the faculty of my university about this. APS arranged a webinar on the Physics GRE later this afternoon. I attended the webinar and it was good.
The possible career workshop exercise to help students identify the skills that they already have involves the following six categories: 1) Lab experience, 2) Programming, 3) Complex problem solving, 4) Advanced Mathematics, 5) Communication and 6) 21st Century skills. Here 21st century skills refer to what sort of person someone is and how they interact with others. This particular skill set connects three boarder areas: cognitive, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Dr. Olsen suggested that I work on the introductory section of the career workshop activities, specifically he asked me to add some general questions about whether students are interested in working with people or if they get motivated when they work with instruments.
Kendra and I met earlier this morning to talk about what to put on a Career Pathways poster to display at the SPS congress. She suggested going over the profiles of people that are listed as hidden physicists in Radiations magazine to look for interesting people to feature. The good news is that she was happy with my article about visiting a job fair. Later in the afternoon, I met with Roman. We talked about the 21st century skills that have been identified by the National Academies. We decided to continue our discussion about this on Monday. In the weekly progress meeting, Kendra, Roman, Dr. Olsen and I discussed which of the remaining tasks can be completed in my last two weeks. The highest priority things are career workshop activities, assembling materials for the “Career Using Physics” website of the SPS, coming up with a final draft of the common features seen in the physics department visited by the AIP’s Career Pathways project team, and my reflection on working with a professional writer on my resume and LinkedIn profile. I wish that I had more time. I attended a barbecue at ACP this evening and it was fun.
I set up an appointment with Tracy and Elizabeth on Tuesday to talk about what resources will go on the SPS’s Career Using Physics website. Kendra and I will get together on Tuesday afternoon and talk about the Career Pathways poster at the SPS Congress. Later in the afternoon, I started working on my reflection paper about working with a professional writer. I checked with Dr. Craig (MSUM Department Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy) later this afternoon and we talked about my project outcome, how long the project report will be and a possible date for my oral presentation. My intern friends are going to see Dark knight rises this evening. I want to see it in the IMAX Theater, and I’ll see if I can get any tickets for the next weekend or the weekend after.
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Peter and I went to a Vietnamese place named Saigon Bistro LLC today. The food was really good. Along with many other things, Peter informed me that Saigon is the name of a Vietnamese city.
I went to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum this afternoon. Both my father and my elder brother have the common hobby of philately. My dad has an extensive number of stamp collections from different countries including India, China, the UK, Magyar Posta (former Hungary), CCCP (former Soviet Union), etc. Philately primarily educates us about a country’s history and currency. I bought a packet of collector’s edition stamps with a theme of nonpolitical stamps of the United States of America. Among many other exhibits, I really enjoyed “All systems at work,” which summarized how postal history evolved in time and inspired inventors to create new devices and technologies.
I reread and edited Amanda’s (the SPS Career Pathways intern from 2011) materials on career resources and emailed them to Tracy, Elizabeth and the Career Pathways Project team. These will go up on the SPS Website. Roman and I met this morning. Roman explained to me how some intrapersonal skills help an individual employee perform better in the workplace. He gave an example of how time management and self-monitoring helps employees meet deadlines and stay focused.
Tracy, Elizabeth, Dr. Olsen and I met this morning to talk about the resources that I assembled this summer for SPS’s Career Using Physics website. Elizabeth said that those web resources will be in such a format that students actually spend time to read the useful tips. I decided to add two more pieces of information that will be helpful in the job hunting process. They are: “How to make the most out of a job fair” and “How to start an effective online network.” Later in the afternoon, I met with Kendra. We spent time on the layout of a “Hidden Physicists” poster, which will be displayed at the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress in Florida.
Since Dr. Olsen is out of the office tomorrow, the weekly progress meeting was held this afternoon. The Career Pathways Project Team and I discussed which activities can be finished by Friday, August 3. I finished working on “How to make the most out of a job fair” and started writing the other piece. Roman gave me some tips on writing another informational piece on a strategic job search, but I do not know if I will have time to start working on it.
I emailed Kendra a list of people who I would like to invite to come to my presentation on August 7. I spent some time editing my Twitter profile, as Twitter is becoming popular in professional networks and job searches. Finally, I looked at the Choice job fair site to check whether the organizer has published a list of companies that will come to the job fair on August 2, which I will be attending. The site has not been updated with the list of companies.
I am going to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today with my intern friends. Binayak and Thomas will show us their labs and their research. We’re also expecting to witness some cutting edge measurement research done at NIST. I am excited.
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I went to the International Spy Museum today. I had loads of fun there. The museum is big and it has various exhibits that cover spy training and spy stories of different time periods. I went to Mayor Kabab House later in the evening. The food was very delicious.
I joined my other intern friends, Kendra and Elizabeth on a Capitol Building tour today. Allen (SPS Intern, Mather Policy) and Jonathan (SPS Intern, Mather Policy) informed us about the historical and political background of the Capitol Building. I enjoyed that very much. We also attended a hearing in the Senate chambers where Sen. Bernie Sanders’ was speaking. It was an amazing experience for me. Later, we visited the offices where Jon and Allen worked.
I worked on the Career Pathways department feature report today. There was an ice-cream social for AIP employees this afternoon, which I did not forget. A webinar was arranged by APS on science advocacy today. Crystal Bailey (Education and Careers Program Manager, APS) allowed me to attend this webinar live from her office. I learned why scientists should be actively engaged in policy decisions. I also attended “From the Quantum to the Continuum” a talk given by Piers Coleman at the Omni Shoreham Hotel later this evening. It was fascinating to learn that Einstein proposed a theory of “molecular conduction chains” to describe super conductivity.
I had a meeting with Roman this afternoon. He informed me that he would like to visit our campus in the spring. I started working on a reflection paper about this internship program later this afternoon, which I will turn in when I get back to Moorhead, Minnesota. Kendra and I met this afternoon and discussed the list of Hidden Physicists that we will feature on a Career Pathways Project poster. I am attending a job fair tomorrow in Rosslyn. I reworked my resume and resume title to target the positions of test engineer and data analyst in preparation for this.
I attended a job fair organized by Choice Career Fairs at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn. I spent about an hour there. It was less crowded that I expected. I talked to a couple of representatives there including Dell AppAssure. I felt confident and prepared this time. When I got back to the American Center for Physics (ACP) later this afternoon, it was raining cats and dogs. I met with the PIs of the Career Pathways Project and Toni Sauncy (Director of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma) later this afternoon. I’ll start working on my presentation tomorrow.
I finished working on the last piece of information that will go on the Career Using Physics website for SPS. This is a list of useful websites for job seekers with a Physics background. Kendra and I also met this afternoon and we talked about what I should include in my presentation.
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A practice session for our presentation was arranged this afternoon. I was a little bit nervous in the beginning. I got some feedback and I hope that it will go fine tomorrow.
We presented about our internship work this morning. It went well. I learned a great deal about my other intern friends’ work. We went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center this afternoon. Later in the evening, all of my intern friends and I went to a place named Founding Farmers. The food was delicious and we had a great time there.
It was my last day today at ACP. Toni, Kendra, Tom, Elizabeth and I went to a place named Spice Six this afternoon for my farewell lunch. I am going to miss ACP and all of the wonderful people that I got to work with. Jeffrey Lee (a former SPS intern, now a graduate student at the University of Maryland) gave me a tour of his lab this evening. It was quite an eventful day for me. When I got back to GWU, Meredith, Matt and Tom had left already. I started packing at 8 pm and it took me almost three hours to finish.
I had a smooth journey back home. I met with Dr. Sizer (Mathematics faculty at Minnesota State University, Moorhead) at O’Hare airport. I took a mathematical writing class with him. He shared his own experience writing a mathematical paper and getting feedback from publishers. I checked into my dorm room later this evening.
I went to my storage area this morning and moved out my stuff. I met with Dr. Shastri and Dr. Craig later in the afternoon. Livingston Lord Library (our school library) will be closed this weekend, so I went there and checked out two books related to mathematics courses that I am taking this fall. I am going to the Paul P Feder Observatory with Dr. Craig later tonight and hope to meet with Dr. Winkler there. We’re planning to see how far we can reach using the SBIG SGS Spectrograph. This is my last journal entry. I’ll be writing a reflection in two weeks, but it will not be a daily log of my life. Thank you for reading this far.
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