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2012 SPS National Interns
2012 Interns | Past Interns | About the Program

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Name Binayak Kandel
Adelphi University
Internship: NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology)
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I am Binayak from Kathmandu, Nepal. I am graduating from Adelphi University in May with a Physics degree and a minor in Economics. I am a returning intern, and I would say that last summer was one of the best summers I have had in the US. This year, I am very excited to be an SPS intern again, to spend another summer in the DC area, and to meet the other SPS interns.

~Binayak

Name Binayak Kandel
Adelphi University
Internship: NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology)
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
Final Reflections  

Week 1, July 20, 2012

Finally I got my work authorization. Thank you USCIS for taking such a long time to process my application. If any international student who is graduating next year and reading this journal, my only advice is apply OPT sometime on February. Otherwise, you will suffer like me. I know so many people who have jobs or some kind of internship but could not start it because they do not have OPT yet.

As soon as USCIS approved my application, I emailed Kendra and NIST and they were kind enough to have me back in DC. I received my OPT card in mail on Monday morning and left for DC that afternoon. I was so happy and excited to be back in DC with fellow interns.

Tuesday I went to AIP and finished necessary paperwork with the human resource office and I was ready to start work at NIST. The first day of the work was really eventful. The automated heating system we made last year was broken and was not working for few weeks. I was lucky that I fixed it on Wednesday. Everyone, including me, was happy that it is up and running. I spent Thursday and Friday putting data together that were recorded a month ago so that it is easy to analyze them.

Thursday evening Yaw Obeng, my supervisor at NIST, his son and I went to the AIP for a BBQ organized by the executive director and CEO of AIP Fred Dylla. I was happy to meet everyone from SPS and other offices at ACP. Towards the end, we had a little chat with Dr. John Mather about his trip to Nepal. On our way back home, we made a plan to watch The Dark Knight Rises on Friday night. It is going to be a fun night. 

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Week 2, July 27, 2012

This week I spent most of my time learning how to use a TDR analyzer, LeCroy WaveExpert 100 H. We did calibration of the machine but we could not take data from our sample because of a connector problem. I hope we get to play more with this machine next week. We also had some problem with the chiller in our automated heating cycle system. So we replaced it with a new chiller, which is working as we expected, without any loud noise. Besides that I also put together a huge number of data files so that it will be easy to analyze.

On Thursday, we went to the Physics IQ Test at the University of Maryland, College Park. It was a fun evening. On Friday, most of us went to the NIST for a tour. We saw some world class Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs) and many other labs. After lunch, both Tom and I gave tour of our respective labs. After the tour, I went straight to Chinatown to catch bus to NY.

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Week 3, August 3, 2012

After 9 hours on the road, I arrived in DC on Sunday night. The weekend was fun. I went camping with some friends from NY. Monday afternoon, we had tour of the Capitol by Allen and Jonathan. The amount of information that Allen and Jonathan know about the Capitol Building is amazing. Overall tour was awesome. The highlight of the week was the White House tour. Thank you Jon for making it happen.

At NIST, I played around with the LeCroy TDR and tried to make some measurements after some calibration but I did not get the expected data. I spent all Wednesday afternoon by taking S11 measurements of samples by using Vector Network Analyzer (VNA). After four hours, I finally finished taking all 160 measurements. I spent most of Friday playing with LeCroy WaveExpert and reading its manual. At the end of the day, I sent an email to the technician at LeCroy hoping we could get some kind of technical help from him. I hope next week, we figure out our problems and start taking some measurements.

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Week 4, August 10, 2012

We were all busy this week. We had our presentations on Tuesday. So many of us were busy making presentations and giving final touch ups to them on the weekend. But some of us found some time to go kayaking on Sunday. Even though it was hot, we all loved it.  On Monday, Melisssa turned 21. I have never seen her that happy.

Monday, I spent most of my time revising my presentation with my advisors. On Tuesday, we had our presentation and I was so happy that my advisor, Yaw Obeng, came for my presentation. After the presentation Kendra and Tom took us to the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia, home to the Discovery space shuttle. I was so happy to see the Super Sonic Concord and many other planes. Our last dinner at the Founding Farmers was fun too.

Wednesday was kind of a sad day. It was the farewell day for most of the interns. We all went to the ACP and filled out surveys and said goodbye. But it was not my last day since I started just few weeks ago. Some of the fellow interns left on Wednesday whereas other left on Thursday. So I was by myself on Thursday night. But I went out with one of my friends from NIST that night. It was fun. Friday was an eventful day even though I was tired. I finally took good TDR measurements at NIST. But as soon as I arrived to the dorm, I started packing because I had to move out from the GW Housing to the new place at the Georgia Avenue. So this weekend will be tiring. Moving out and moving in - not fun at all.  

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Week 5, August 17, 2012

Last Saturday was a busy day. I had to make two trips to the new place from the GW Dorm. By the end of the day, I was really tired. I met so many new people at the new place. So on Sunday, I went to the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial with my new friend, who is living at the same place, from Sudan. He just came from Saudi Arabia to learn English and he had never been to those monuments before.

Monday was not a good day for us at the NIST. Last week I was so happy that I got good measurements on TDR. But on Monday “RF Guru” at NIST told us that we are not using proper cables to make measurements. Now we need to either buy new cable or buy new connectors and use one of the old cables from VNA. Because of this set back, we spent the rest of the week doing heating/cooling cycles and took measurements. On Friday evening after NIST, I am going to New York to see my friends. This weekend will be fun for sure.

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Week 6, August 24, 2012

My weekend in New York was awesome. But on Sunday evening I had to head back to reality. As soon as I arrived DC, I saw an email from my supervisor saying the data we took from VNA was wrong. We did not realize that we used the wrong calibration file while taking data. So my Monday started with calibration of VNA and taking measurements.

Taking measurements was not fun at all. I had to measure all the samples all over again. By Wednesday, I finished re-measuring all the samples. But on Thursday, we started revisiting one of the old methods to take data, using WaveGuide. Placing samples on wave-guide and taking measurements was one of the hardest things I have ever done this summer. It is an art to place samples on WaveGuide for measurements. By the end of Thursday, I was able to take few measurements. On Friday, I was more comfortable with this technique. So for the next week, I have to take a lot of measurements using WaveGuide. That will be fun!

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Week 7, August 31, 2012

After a long week of re-measuring data, I had the best dinner on Saturday at the Himalayan Heritage, a Nepali restaurant at Adams Morgan, with my friends from New York.  But my week started with taking measurements using WaveGuide. Even though I hated it last week, I am getting used to with it and taking data is getting better. But on Tuesday, we figured out that the WaveGuide we are using is not in the best condition. Along with WaveGuide, the heating cycle was also going on. So I switched back to S11 measurements from the samples after they went through 1500 heating/cooling cycles. This morning, I finished taking measurements from those samples and now I am excited to go to New York for the Labor Day weekend. I hope I get to go to one of the US Open Tennis games this weekend. 

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Week 8, September 7, 2012

A weekend in New York is always fun. This time was more fun because it was a long weekend and I got to spend more time there.  I was planning to go to the US Open tennis but the tickets were so expensive that I could not afford to.

This week started with the arrival of the connector to the bigger waveguide. So I started cutting samples into smaller pieces and started taking measurements. Taking measurements from this bigger waveguide is much more easier. After taking measurements, we started cycling “as received” samples. The heating cycle should finish by this weekend.

Oh well! I have less than 2 weeks at NIST. I cannot believe time went by so fast. I feel like I moved out of the GW Housing yesterday but it has been almost a month. This means my time in DC is getting shorter and shorter. It is not fun at all. 

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Final Reflections

My summer started with some turbulence but the end was as smooth as silk.

Because of some paperwork issues I started my internship in mid July. I would like to thank Kendra, my SPS family, and my supervisors at NIST for waiting my OPT approval for more than a month. I am so lucky to have such great mentors.

Like last summer I got an opportunity to learn more, have fun, and meet some awesome people in the DC area.  I had an opportunity to live in the hostel for more than a month. It was a great experience on its own.

Furthermore, working at the NIST helped sharpened my critical thinking skills in a research lab. I got an opportunity to learn new technologies and work with the smartest people I have ever encountered. After this summer internship, I feel like I have grown up in so many aspects.

Overall this summer had lots of ups and downs for me but if given a chance to re-live those nine and half weeks in DC, I would live it over and over again. Thank you SPS for making my summer memorable once again.

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Name Binayak Kandel
Adelphi University
Internship: NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology)
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share
Final Presentation

Application of Time-Domain Reflectomoetry to Detect Interconnect Failures

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