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Nicole Quist

Brigham Young University, SPS Sock Intern

Nicole is working on the SOCK (Science Outreach Catalyst Kit) with fellow intern Caleb Heath for the first half of the summer. The second half of the summer she will incorporate SOCK lessons in to the NIST Summer Institute for Science Teachers during July.

View Nicole's Final Presentation.

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Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Final Reflections

Week 9: Fat and Poor
August 5-9, 2013

Saturday night was really fun because I went out to my friend Julie’s house to go to a party. It was a glow-in-the dark paint dance party out on a farm in Virginia. It was a lot of fun, but we grew tired of it quickly, so we went cosmic bowling afterword because we glowed. It was a really fun night.

This work week has been back at ACP. We are working on finalizing the SOCK instruction guide. It is fun to be back at ACP with the other interns. I have also been working on the final presentation for the summer. I still feel like we have so much to do and so little time.

Monday I replaced my computer screen that broke two weeks ago. I felt like a champion because I did it all by myself. I love it when I can be handy.

We also had our final outreach on Tuesday at the University of Maryland. It was for the Physics Summer Girls Outreach Program for rising 9th graders. There were about 14 girls and they were all so smart. We were able to test our modular “theremin” activities. It was really helpful and we learned a lot of new things. That evening, we went out to dinner as a group because it was Dayton’s last night. It’s always so fun to hang out with the group.

I was finishing exploring the city this week. I went to the American History Museum and the national portrait gallery. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed looking at art. It was really interesting. I also tried Good Stuff Eatery for the first time with Jamie and Darren. It was SO good! It is probably a good thing we didn’t discover it earlier or else we would have been fat and poor.

Week 8: I'm just a bill...
July 29-August 2, 2013

I can’t believe how quickly time is passing. We only have a week and a half left, which is crazy. I am really enjoying the projects I have been working on and really like the other interns. It will be so sad to go our separate ways in just a few weeks. This week also signifies an end to my time at NIST. It has been so amazingly fun and a great learning experience. It has also inspired me to think about possible directions I want to go with my career.

But, before we get to all of that, we’ll start with the weekend. On Friday night, my cousin, Becca, arrived from Boston to DC. We had a quiet evening in.

Saturday was fun. Becca and I went to Ford’s Theatre and took a tour. It was really interesting. The national park rangers do the tour and our guide did a fabulous job. He was VERY animated and a quite good storyteller, so it was very captivating as we listened to how everything played out that evening. We then grabbed lunch before heading to the International Spy Museum. My friend, Julie, met up with us there, and it was really cool to see all the old spy equipment and to hear the stories. After the museum, we were pretty tired, so we grabbed milkshakes at Ted’s Bulletin and headed home.

Sunday, went out to Toni’s house for dinner and to watch the Wizard of Oz. It was really fun. Burgers were delicious and it has been a very long time since I watched the Wizard of Oz.

The work week has mostly been focused on wrapping up the Summer Institute. I have been working on going though the assessments from the teachers of all the activities that they had done. It has been interesting to see the difference of opinion for the same activities. Overall, the reviews were very favorable. I am back at ACP focused on the write ups for the SOCK activities.

I also did some fun things with my cousin, Becca, this week. Monday night, we walked around to all the monuments. It was really nice. Wednesday, we went on a tour of the pentagon. It wasn’t that great of a tour. The fun part was that we organized it through my grandma’s cousin, so we had a navel officer meet us at the top of the metro escalator. He got us through all the security without even the slightest check. I don’t know what my grandma’s cousin does, but clearly it’s important.

Thursday my cousin, Becca, left to return home to Boston. It was also my last day of work at NIST. It was sad to turn in my badge and to leave. I really loved working there and working with Mary. It was really incredible to work with all the teachers and the scientists and to make so many amazing contacts.

Friday, we had a tour of the capitol and the Hill interns took us to their office. It was really interesting. I find politics and policy really interesting, but I feel like I am not very well educated. I learned a ton about the process of turning a bill into law and the ways that the interns are involved. I was kind of bummed that I can’t apply for the SPS Mather Internship in the future.

Week 7: Happy Birthday Alexandria, VA
July 22-26, 2013

Friday night, I came home and crashed hard. It had been an exhausting week and I really needed the down time.

Saturday night, I headed out to Alexandria, Virginia, to help the city celebrate its birthday! My friend Julie and I decided to walk around the city a bit before heading to the party. We grabbed dinner at the Fish Market. At the party they gave us free cupcakes! The symphony played while they shot off fireworks, and they also fired the cannons. It was really cool. However, the highlight was a little boy named Oliver. He was about 18 months old, and he came up to Julie and started sitting in her lap. Pretty soon he was hugging Julie and me and sitting on our laps. He was so adorable.

The rest of the weekend was pretty relaxed. And Monday started another week! I continued my work at NIST, which I  write about each week. It can be read here. The sad news was that on Tuesday I broke my computer. The good news is that the computer functions just fine, however, the screen is completely ruined. So, I have been looking into whether I want to buy a new computer or just buy a new screen.

This next weekend should be exciting because my cousin, Becca, flies in on Friday night!

Week 6: Fly Me to the Moon
July 15-19, 2013

This week has been crazy. It was fun spending the weekend with my cousins, but the trip back to DC was a bit of a mess. My flight from Atlanta was delayed. Because of the delay, we arrived late, and I had less than twenty minutes between when I stepped off the plane and when my connection was to push back from the gate. I was told the wrong gate, so I headed to another terminal. Luckily, I checked the boards and found my gate was back where I was originally. I walked straight onto my plane.

My flight headed to the runway, and then we stopped. The captain came on and explained that he had been told by the tower that they couldn’t take off for 35 minutes, which was annoying. My friend Amy, who was there to pick me up, had just been told by a police officer to move and had to circle the airport about two minutes before I was ready. It took her about half an hour to make it through the traffic and back to where she was originally waiting for me. I arrived home at about midnight and hurriedly went to bed.

Monday started the NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers, which I was helping with. Most of my adventures can be found here. I really enjoy working with the teachers, and I am learning so much about NIST and techniques for teaching science. I really enjoyed the Ballistics Lab Tour. They let us try on the bulletproof vests and they let us take a test shot at one of the vests they were testing. It was a really cool tour.

On Wednesday, we got to take a tour of NASA. It was really cool. The first thing we saw was a giant sphere that had different images projected on it. We looked at earth pictures showing flights around the world, pollution and other things. We also toured a facility that had very large equipment, including a four story clean room and a giant centrifuge, which were being used for the new James Webb Telescope. We also talked with Darren’s adviser, which was really interesting. He has had an amazing career.

I also had a really fun time with my friend, Candice. She was in town for a few days, so we went out to have dinner together for and then grabbed ice cream on Monday night. Tuesday we went and saw Despicable Me in the park, which was fun. All the fun tired me out, because I ended up staying up pretty late every night and waking up pretty early.

I can’t believe how quickly this summer is flying by. I am having such a great time and I am learning a lot.

Week 5: Georgia Bound
July 8-12, 2013

Saturday we went to the Folklife festival put on by the Smithsonian. They had booth set up about the Americas, fashion, as well as a bunch of booths for Hungry. It was fun walking around and seeing all the displays. They also had food, so we got some Chicken and Waffles and fresh fruit. It was fun but really hot. The rest of the weekend was pretty relaxed.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I was focused on helping Mary prepare for the Summer Institute. I had to finish ordering supplies, unpack the boxes of supplies, and reorganize them. I also worked on an evaluation that we will be giving  the teachers to help make the summer institute better. I am also in charge of finding a good way to document the week and provide the teachers a way to find that information. So we discussed ideas and different types of online resources we could use. Right now we are thinking of using a blog and pinterest. We’ll see how that turns out.

Wednesday night, I flew to Atlanta! My cousin and his wife just had a baby boy named Hans. He is SO cute! Since I am here on the east coast, I decided this was a good opportunity to come and see him and visit my cousins before I move to Oregon for the fall. My trip to Atlanta will be for four days and it should be fun.

Thursday was the fourth of July and was pretty uneventful. It has been raining in Georgia, so the fireworks were canceled. It was nice though to spend time hanging out with the family. We played Dance Central on Kinnect and Betrayal at House on the Hill. It has been a really fun trip and I am really glad I got to see my first cousin once removed. I will get home just in time for the summer institute to start, which should be a crazy adventure.

Week 4: Ahoy Matey
July 1-5, 2013

Friday, Caleb and I went out to NIST, where I will be doing the other half of my internship. We met with Mary, my new mentor and talked about how we were going to incorporate the SOCK with the rest of the program. We decided that we would do a demo show for the teachers and then have them build an optical theremin. I also met Brian, one of the teachers from a previous summer institute who returned to NIST this summer to work with a scientist for a few weeks. We left NIST at about 1:30 to head back to ACP so we could finalize our supply list and send it to Mary.

Saturday, I got up early to go to Eastern Market for their Farmer’s Market. They had beautiful produce. I got a carton of tomatoes, squash, peas, strawberries, blueberries, and 5 peaches for a little over $20, which I thought was great. I went home and Jamie cut my hair before I headed off to a Nats (Nationals) baseball game with Julie. The game started at noon, so it was hotter than anything. It was fun though. I’ll be honest; I mostly go to baseball games for the food and company, especially since it is a slow paced game.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we worked on finalizing the order list for the SOCK and worked on writing up instructions. We ordered the materials, but decided we had to scrap the laser harp because it was going to cost too much and we aren’t sure we could build it in time. We do have more types of sensors like pressure sensors and bend sensors.

Tuesday, Ro, Jamie, Darren, Caleb and I grabbed a bite to eat before heading on the Boomerang Pirate Cruise of the Potomac River. It was two hours of fun, although it is surprising how warm the city is even after sunset, so it was a little sticky and hot. We had a lot of fun and got to see some of the beautiful monuments.

Wednesday after work I went straight to the National Museum of Natural History. It was really neat. I saw dinosaurs, a giant squid, a whale, a giant sloth and the hope diamond, to name a few. It became more fun when I started to text my sister and friends some of the fun facts I was learning.

Thursday was my first day at NIST. The first order of business was getting my badge and my computer account set up. It wasn’t until almost the end of the day that I realized that I had the wrong name on my badge. They accidentally spelled my last name Quiet, which seems like a message to me. I had to leave work early to go to a reception at ACP. It was really fun to meet with the members of the development board.

Friday was a busy day. I worked on ordering parts and Mary and I went through the schedule for the Summer Institute. I also left early because we had a dinner with the SPS Executive Committee. After dinner we all headed downtown to see Capital Steps. It is a musical comedy show about politics. They make fun of both democrats and republicans, so it is completely offensive to everyone. It was really funny and a very fun night.

Week 3: Laser Light Show in the Cafeteria
June 24-28, 2013

Last Friday after work all the interns, except Fiona who hadn’t arrived yet, went to the Symphony. It was aconcert of the National Symphony Orchestra with David Hardy on the cello. I got to sit on the side with the harp. I couldn’t see super well, but the harpist was amazing. It reminded me of how much I love playing harp. I hope I can find a harp shop in DC where I can go play a harp sometime.

I went to bed early Friday night so that I could meet up with my friend, Julie, in the morning.  We grabbed the metro to Eastern Market. We got BlueBucks, or blueberry buckwheat pancakes, which are apparently famous. They were really good. We took a little turn about the market to see what was being sold before heading to the Newseum.

On our walk we saw the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. We also walked past a soap car derby down Capitol Hill, which was cute. The Newseum was really cool. They have a really neat hall of the front page of newspapers on important days around the world. They also had a really cool exhibit on the FBI and another one on 9/11.

Monday started my third week of work. What? How did that happen? We had our first outreach on Tuesday at Tuckahoe Elementary, so Monday was our day to prepare. It was midafternoon when we were starting to feel ready for the three, one hour classes of 40 third graders the next morning. Then Toni got a message from our Tuckahoe Elementary contact. Because it was the last week of school, they only had time for one hour with all 120 third graders. Eeeek! Some of the activities we were planning on doing would be chaos with that large of a group.

We decided we would still do the outreach but we modified the activities. Instead of measuring the length of the room with different sized sticks, they would measure the lengths of equally long ropes. We kept the LED vs. Laser demonstration we had used before and the laser-sound demonstration. It was a little thrown together, and had a possibility of being a disaster.

Tuesday we arrived early to set up the cafeteria. Ro, Jamie, Christine, Caleb, Toni and I did the outreach. It went really well. I was surprised at how excited the kids were about measuring rope. They were really smart kids and I saw multiple methods for measuring. It was great. They were very involved and I think they had a good time and learned a lot. It could have been better organized on our part, but I was really happy with how well it went. Toni took us out to lunch and then the rest of the afternoon and week was spent working on pricing and organize the materials for the SOCKs.

It has been a fun week. I am really excited for the adventures to come. Pretty soon it will be July and I will be working at NIST. Crazy!

Week 2: Rockets, sensors, and lasers, Oh My!
June 17-21, 2013

Friday we ended up not going to the outdoor concert because it was raining so much. Instead we went to an Ethiopian Restaurant called Etete. They had these really good appetizers that were like Indian Samosas. We got them for free when we order an entrée because of our InternsROCK cards. Then we headed to the Krispy Kreme on DuPont Circle because it was National Doughnut Day! Doughnuts always taste better when they are free. Nikki left before we went to dinner to spend the weekend at home, so I had the whole room to myself.

Saturday was very chill. Ro made us breakfast before we went to Target to pick up a few things.  We chilled in the afternoon before going to get dinner at a Mediterranean place. Alexandra was in the city looking for housing, so we met up with her to eat before she went home.

Sunday, I got ready for church and then took the Metro up to the DC 2nd Singles Ward. The other interns left at about the same time as me for the outreach at the STEM fair. After church, I headed home to change my clothes before taking the Metro out to West Falls Church to meet up with my friend, Julie who lives there. She invited me to have dinner with her and some friends. They made pizza on the barbecue which was super cool and delicious. We also had homemade ice cream. When I got home, I heard from the interns that the outreach went well, which is good news. 

Monday started a new work week. This week we are really focused on brainstorming ideas for the SOCK. We really need to figure out what we are going to do for the kit this year. It is quite a difficult subject because it is involved in every aspect of science. We spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday doing a lot of research and brainstorming. Thursday we built an optical theremin, which has been our inspiration for the laser harp we hope to build. Today, we are working on putting together the demo show we will be doing next week at Tuckahoe Elementary School on Tuesday. Eeek! It’s so soon!

We went straight to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum right after work on Monday. Jamie and I met up with Darren and Alec there, which was really fun. Darren and Alec work at NASA, so they know much more about space than Jamie and I do. It was fun having a little tour from them because they are so excited about space. I especially enjoyed Darren’s fun facts.

Wednesday night, we grabbed dinner at Sweet Green before finding the outdoor movie at NoMa. They were playing The Italian Job, which I had never seen. Since it had been raining, some of the grass was a little wet, but Alec, Alexandra, Christine, Ro and I decided to stay. I found my friend Samantha, so we watched the movie with her and her friends.

It is crazy how fast this week has gone. I am starting to have a hard time keep track of the days. I am really enjoying my experience and am learning a lot.

Week 1: How do you make scrambled eggs?
June 10-14, 2013

This week has been quite a whirlwind. I flew out to DC on Sunday and took a taxi to GW. In celebration of my arrival, the heavens opened and it started to pour. In the sixty feet it took to get from the cab to the Amsterdam hall, where I checked-in to my room, my jacket and suitcases were soaked through. Luckily, while I was checking-in, the rain stopped and I walked the four blocks to my new dorm room. I spent the rest of the evening unpacking, before my roommate Nikki came and we started to get to know each other.

Monday was our first day of work. Orientation was quite a wealth of knowledge. We had the privilege of eating lunch with Dr. John Mather, a Nobel laureate.  It was really interesting to talk to him about science policy, education and his work at NASA.  After lunch, we headed off to our different assignments. Toni took Caleb, Alexandra and me out to NIST, where I met my supervisor for the other part of my internship, Mary Satterfield. We also took a tour of the NIST museum and some of the labs, which was really cool. That evening, I met up with a friend of mine who was in town for a wedding and we had dinner.

Tuesday was our first real day of work. When we arrived, Toni quickly got Caleb, Jamie and me started on building a laser sound demo for the outreach event on Sunday. It is so sweet! The music player modulates the intensity of the laser, which is shot at a solar cell. The solar cell turns the light back into a signal which is played by the speaker. Caleb and I started going through the boxes of old SOCK kits later that day. After work, I went out to Virginia to meet up with an old college friend. We had dinner and then she kindly took me shopping. Now I have a pillow, yay!

Wednesday, Caleb and I worked on a second demo for the outreach event. It uses diffraction glasses to look at the spectra of LEDs vs a laser. We used poster board to create a display. After work, we all went out to dinner and told hilariously bad jokes. I really like the other interns, and we have a blast hanging out together.

Thursday, we worked on finishing up everything for Sunday. We all left early to attend the Einstein Fellows Poster Session and Reception at the Russell Senate Office Building. The Russell Building is beautiful and being by all the senator’s offices reminded me of the great city I am living in. It was really nice to talk to some of the educators who participated in the fellowship. It reminded me of why I am excited to go into education research.

Friday, we got everything else for the demo show loaded up and ready to go. We also started brainstorming for the SOCK. For the SOCK this year we are partnering with NIST and our focus is on meters, sensors and detectors. We’ll see what we come up with…

This evening we plan to attend a free concert in the park and explore the city. This week has been a amazing, as evidence by the lack of sleep. There is so much to do in DC! I am excited for the work and the adventures this summer.


Nicole Quist

Hello! My name is Nicole Quist from Los Altos, California. I recently graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with my Bachelor's in physics. I worked as a teaching assistant which is where I discovered my passion for education as well as physics. I will be attending Oregon State University in the Fall where I will be pursing a PhD in physics. I hope to pursue research in physics education.

Outside of school, I enjoy traveling, sharing a good meal with friends, good conversation, playing harp, and reading. I am excited about the projects I will be working on for SPS national and the opportunity to explore DC this summer.

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