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Benjamin PreisBenjamin Preis
Tufts University
AIP Mather Policy Internship: Representative Bill Foster's office (D-IL 11)

I am a junior at Tufts University, studying both Physics and Peace & Justice Studies. I love these two diverse fields. With Physics I try to understand how the universe works, from the smallest hadron to the largest galaxy. Peace and Justice Studies informs me about how society works, and encourages me to think critically about how we can move towards a more just and peaceful society.

I am very excited to work as an AIP Mather Policy Intern this summer through SPS. I believe that policy does a great deal of shaping what research is conducted, and I value the time to learn about how the process works, and to affect this process myself. In the past I have worked at Thermo Fisher Scientific at the intersection between science and education, and at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile, learning how human rights can be impacted by the government. These experiences have allowed me to further develop my understanding of how government and society interact and impact each other. I am so looking forward to working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC this summer, and learning more about the process of science policy.

View Benjamin'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
  • Week 10
  • Final Reflections
Week 1, June 2-8, 2014

Arriving a Bit Late to DC

Unlike all of the other interns, this past week I arrived in Washington, DC to begin this amazing summer. I arrived late due to a confluence of events: I was leading a cultural exchange/learning trip to Mumbai, India with Tufts University — where I go to school — until May 29th. Kendra was kind enough to allow me some time to recover from jetlag before beginning. Additionally, though I’ll be working for a Representative this summer, I do not begin working with him until June 23rd. Thus, I have some unstructured time with my internship before I begin with the Congressman.

I arrived in DC on Thursday evening, moved in, and met the other interns for the first time. On Friday, I went to the American Center for Physics to do paperwork with HR, and meet Kendra and Jennifer Greenamoyer (She works for the American Institute of Physics as their Government Relations Liaison. She places Mather interns with their Congressional office or committee every year.) In the morning, I sat in for the introduction to the AIP/SPS Executive Committee Meeting, where I learned quite a bit about the SPS/AIP relationship, and much more about what AIP does. After meeting with HR, I sat down to meet with Jennifer and talk with her about my next two weeks. It seems as if I have free range to do a project of my choosing. I could write an article for Physics Today, create a “Physicist’s Guide to Washington, DC,” or something completely different; I have yet to decide. I also chatted with the Washington correspondent of Physics Today for an hour before lunch with the executive committee.

In the afternoon, I did some research on Physics Today and about my Congressman before chatting with Courtney, a former Mather intern who now works at SPS, about my work this summer. It was very informative. If anyone wants a Capitol tour, I will apparently be qualified to give one! After work, there was a lovely dinner with the Executive Committee of SPS, followed by a stargazing event on the mall, and a tour of many of the monuments there. It was quite eerie to end up at the WWII Memorial on the D-Day anniversary. Quite the first day at work!

Saturday was a lively day. In the morning, a few of us went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I met up with friends from home for a parade and a lovely afternoon, before heading back. In the evening, I continued to trying to cover the introductions I missed during the first week with the fellow interns.

On Sunday, there was a STEM Fair outside of DC where we all went to work some really cool demos. It was pretty impressive to see hundreds of kids and young adults at a local county STEM fair. I am always in awe of how much kids know.

In the coming week, I’ll be starting my project, and hanging out with Jennifer at some meetings and events on the Hill!

~Benjamin

Week 2, June 9-15, 2014

"Doing Things and Meeting People: My First Real Week"

On Monday, I met with Kendra for a shortened reproduction of the orientation, in which she went over all of the information about SPS, AIP, and APS that I missed due to my late arrival. At the end of the meeting, we discussed what I should do for the next two weeks, and she suggested that I meet as many people as I could: APS/AIP fellows, my Congressional representatives, and the APS Government Relations staff. We also discussed what I should do. In addition to a Capitol Tour, it was agreed that my Physicist’s Guide to DC would be a perfect assignment for these next two weeks. Thus, I left my meeting with Kendra with the very specific instructions to "do things, and meet people." In the afternoon, I planned what things I would do, e-mailed/called the people I would meet, and that was my last day in the office for the week!

Tuesday was an exciting, but long, day. It began at 8:30am, with my arrival at the Federal Center SW Metro Station. I was attending the morning meeting of NUFO — the National User Facility Organization — in which Jen would show scientists how to talk to members of Congress and their staff. However, that meeting was taking place on the North side of the Capitol building, and I was on the South side. I began to walk, but in the process, it began to rain; I was without an umbrella. I arrived to the meeting soaked, but luckily, I dried off – mostly – by the time I accompanied one of the scientists to her meetings with the Senator’s offices from her state.

What is NUFO? A "National Facility" is one of the nationally sponsored laboratories (e.g. Los Alamos, Fermilab, CERN, etc.) and a "user" is someone who is not employed by the lab, but uses it, such as a university professor. These labs are important because they have costly and important equipment vital to the research of thousands of people, even those who are not employed by those labs. NUFO exists to serve as a network and a resource to those users, and every year they host an expo at the Capitol to show Congress what it is the funding for the National Facilities actually creates.

After the Congressional meetings in the morning, I met up with six of the other interns for lunch, and to help set up for the NUFO expo. We unloaded a truck full of boxes, and moved them upstairs. We scrambled to set up TV stands and the TVs which would sit upon them. We ran like maniacs; we got lost in the very confusing Rayburn House Office Building. It was quite the afternoon. We also helped check people into the event, but had some free time, during which I got ice cream in my House-Office-Building-to-be. I also explored the expo, which was very cool! There were demonstrations of linear particle accelerators, double pendulums, a 3-D TV demonstrating how grape vines grow; NUFO contained very interesting and engaging demos. Bill Foster also came to give a speech, which was fantastic to see. After the very successful expo ended, we helped break down the TV stands, re-box the TVs, and collapse in exhaustion. By that time, it was 8pm, making it an 11.5 hour day. To thank us for our work, NUFO brought us out to dinner at a delicious Greek restaurant, and by the time I returned home, I had been out of the dorm for upwards of fourteen hours.

Wednesday was much slower, as I needed a break after such a hectic day prior. In the morning, I headed to the National Building Museum, to see whether their exhibit on preventing Natural Disasters had anything related to Physics. It did, and it was a gorgeous museum and exhibit — I highly encourage anyone who visits DC to go. In the afternoon, I met with the APS Fellow, Paul, who told me about his path through undergraduate and graduate school, and his eventual landing in Washington DC as an APS fellow. I am now, unexpectedly, considering a PhD in physics. I really cannot believe how easy it is to meet with people here; everyone is so willing to have informational interviews.

On Thursday, I began the day with a visit to the Koshland Science Museum, a small science museum run by the National Academy of Sciences. I ultimately decided that it would not be a top target for the physicist's guide, but I did meet two very nice men there who gave me quite a bit of advice for my guide. In the afternoon, I headed to the Library of Congress to find some books with facts about DC, and enjoyed treating the Jefferson Reading Room as my office.

Friday was a great day. In the morning, I met with Tyler, who works for APS in their Public Affairs office. An incredibly nice and engaging guy, he was wonderful to talk to, and shared quite a bit of insight on his workings in DC. In the afternoon, I went to the National Academy of Sciences and met with Alanna, the Senior Program Associate there, and Janice, the Archivist. They showed me around the NAS (open to the public!) an absolutely gorgeous building, and told me about the various collections they have and the history that the building has seen. I would highly encourage anyone who visits the Lincoln Memorial to take a quick side-visit over to the building. After work, I met up with some friends from school to watch Chile take Australia down in the World Cup!

Saturday was a peaceful and relaxing day for me. I went to Georgetown Waterfront Park to sit in the grass and finish my book, before walking down M Street to watch the tourists shop. In the evening, some SPS interns watched the England-Italy game, cooked dinner, and hung out for the rest of the night.

On Sunday, I unfortunately had errands to do, and so it was none-too-interesting of a day. However, in the evening the SPS Director Toni invited us all to her house to watch the season finale of Game of Thrones. Though I had never seen an episode, I could not say no to such a kind invitation, and was glad I accepted! Not only did I enjoy the show, but it was nice to get to know more about Toni and hang out with the interns more. Now for another week of doing things and meeting people!

~Benjamin

Week 3, June 16-22, 2014

Exploration and Conversation: A Continuation of Week 2

This was quite the week! I continued my foray into writing the Physicist’s Guide to Washington, DC with continuous exploration this week. On Monday, I went to the Jefferson Memorial early in the morning. Someone had recommended it to me the previous week, and I wanted to visit before I forgot. In the basement of most of the memorials, there are small museums about the lives of the person above. In the Jefferson memorial, much of the information focuses on Jefferson as a lover of science. A thing which I learned: he was the President of the American Philosophical Society, the most important scientific society of its day in the US.

After the Jefferson Memorial, I walked my way back to the Mall by way of the FDR Memorial and the MLK Memorial, neither of which I had seen before. Both were striking in their commitment to recollect the work that was done by these great men over the course of their lives.

In the afternoon, I considered going to the National Air and Space Museum, but I was frightened by the line. Tour bus upon tour bus offloaded upwards of 40 students at a time, and I knew that I would not last. Instead, I headed south to NASA Headquarters. Although only the lobby is open to the public, I was able to see a small exhibit on CO2, and Dr. John Mather’s Nobel Prize on display. As he created the policy internship I am doing after winning the Nobel Prize— which he was awarded in 2006 for his work on Cosmic Background Radiation — it was a very cool thing to see. After that visit, I receded to my ‘office’ to escape the heat, and wrote down all that I had seen today for the further compilation of the guide.

Tuesday and Wednesday were my hottest days yet in DC, and I could not bring myself to venture outside more than was already prearranged. On Tuesday, I had an early meeting with one of the AIP fellows, Mark, who talked with me about why he decided to do this post-PhD. His answer was phenomenal. He wants to “build bridges” between the science community and Congress. Beyond that, though, he understands that unless scientists are involved with policy, Members of Congress will not understand why science is important, and thus, it is necessary for him to be there such that Congress will continue to stay informed of what good research is, and why it is important. On Wednesday, I met with my Representative, Mike Doyle. That was also great. I chatted with a staff member for a while, who told me about his work on the Hill and talked to me about Mr. Doyle as well. When Congressman Doyle did arrive — he had been on the Floor of the House — we chatted about how he represents Pittsburgh, which was quite fascinating. In between those meetings, I continued to work on the content and format of the Guide, given that I simply couldn’t willingly venture into 95º, humid, weather.

Thursday was a great day. In the morning, I went to the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art. Einstein Portrait? Check. Einstein Bust? Check. Edison, Franklin, Jefferson, Oppenheimer, and others grace the walls. The museum also houses an original telegraph and phonograph, designed by Morse and Edison, respectively. Additionally, it is a beautiful building, and probably my favorite space in Washington thus far. In the afternoon, I headed to the National Museum of American History. Half of the museum, the half dedicated to American Culture, is closed for multi-year restorations. For the most part, I was rather disappointed with the half that was open. I was not very engaged or drawn in. Further, there was nothing scientifically interesting. Oh well — one disappointment out of all of the touring I have done is not so bad. Plus, it may just be due to my exhaustion following the morning’s museum trip.

Friday, my last day before I begin working endless hours on the Hill, began with a tour of the Capitol. The guide was engaging, and it was interesting, but it was not a particularly long tour. Nonetheless, I’m glad to have done it. In the afternoon I was again prevented from entering the National Air and Space Museum due to excessive school children. It appears as if I’ll have to go early some Sunday morning.

The weekend was relatively quiet. I read books and I purchased more books. (Second Story Books in Dupont is fantastic as is Kramer’s Books.) I hung out with the other interns on Saturday night and parts of Sunday. I watched the World Cup USA-Portugal Game, but otherwise, did not do much. I had to conserve energy to start work on Monday!

~Benjamin

Week 4, June 23-29, 2014

My First Week on the Hill

Monday began rather slowly as I was told by the office to arrive at 10am, I suppose as to avoid the morning rush. I entered into a small foyer, greeted one of my two co-interns, and met with the legislative correspondent (LC) for my intern orientation. He is the staff member who is the first point of contact for all constituent correspondence that comes into or goes out of the office – a massive and important job. The intern coordinator with whom I had been in touch up until that point was back in the district for the week, but I was given clear instructions nonetheless.

Within minutes of the meeting’s end, I was whisked up on a tour with a local Illinois family led by the intern whom I had met that morning. It was a pleasant tour! Although I had gone on a Capitol Tour the previous Friday, I did not realize how much better a staff-led tour would be. In addition to the Rotunda, Old House Chamber, and Crypt, we get to show visitors the Old Senate Chamber and Old Supreme Court Chamber – an undeniably cool experience. In the afternoon I was put straight to work with the LC, and left at 6pm. The hours are quite long! When we’re in session, I work 8:30am-6pm; when the house is out of session, 9-5:30pm. There is a lot of work to be done!

The week continued to roll by. I drafted letters, wrote internal memos, and went to a hearing about the future of manned space exploration – the recommendation: go to mars! I am legitimately enjoying my time in the office, and the staff members are great. On Friday, we said goodbye to our science fellow, who was off to work elsewhere. It was sad to see the other scientist in the office leave, but it was a great going-away party!

This week was not without its challenges, though. As I arrived without the intern coordinator present, I felt somewhat unannounced. I am officially here to explore the world of science/physics policy, yet I am also just an intern. I was not sure what had been communicated to the office, and had to find a way to balance my interests with the reality of the position. Ultimately, I was able to arrange a meeting with the legislative assistant who deals with science/energy/environment policy for the following week which gave me something to look forward to.

There was definitely some adjustment to the culture as well. Coming from the world of the physics, I was surprised by my instructions on the first day: “It’s lunch time, go eat!” – alone, I thought? It was not personal, I know, just a surprise. Further, although I certainly work long hours, most days the staff are there before I arrive, and stay after I leave. I am glad I’m here for the summer doing this internship. The work that I am doing is just as important about learning about the culture. I am here to learn after all. Not only do I want to learn about science policy, but I want to learn about the life and culture of being a staff member on the Hill. Is this something I can see myself doing in the future? I’m not sure.

The weekend was rather quiet, but lovely nonetheless. I have a paper I need to write for school – due this previous winter break – and I headed to a coffee shop to spend Sunday working. My way of discovering things in DC: googling “best ___ in DC” and reading the Washington Post or other newspaper articles that appear. I found a slideshow of the 24 best coffee shops in the area, and want to try them all (except for the one that banned laptops)! After working a tad, I read in Meridian Hill Park while listening to a group play great music. What a lovely afternoon. I am very much enjoying DC, and can imagine living here at some point in my life. As the weekend drew to a close, I prepared myself for a slightly quieter week, as we were out of session.

~Benjamin

Week 5, June 30-July 6, 2014

The Week of the Fourth

Week two in the office was pretty great. On Monday, the intern coordinator Gary returned from his week in the district. Though I thought he was in his mid-forties by the tone of his email, it turns out he is not much older than me. Gary is great – very nice, funny, and I'm happy to have him as my primary supervisor for the summer. Monday consisted of a few letters and memos, as well as a meeting with Gary in Rep. Foster's office. This meeting consisted of some catching up, as well as me requesting to have quite a few days off to go on visits to the locations where the other SPS interns work.

Tuesday was also a rather good day. I met with our Legislative Assistant who does science/technology policy to talk about her work, and what I may be able to do with her. She’s wonderful, and we talked about what I may be able to do within my responsibilities as an intern. I do really like the staff of the office – they’re nice, smart, engaged people. It’s very cool to see how this office works when the House is both in- and out-of-session.

The week flew by, since we had Friday off for the 4th of July. Memos were written, letters drafted, and I started giving tours! After going on three tours and tour training – I felt ready. I definitely enjoy talking and walking around during such a long work day. Plus, who could complain when their job is to walk around such a beautiful building? Though I know less than the official tour guides for the Capitol, we get to take our constituents to various rooms that are not on the typical tour. Did you know that the Supreme Court was housed in the US Capitol until 1935? Or that the capitals of the columns in the capitol are corn, wheat, and tobacco leaves?

On Friday, I spent the morning of the 4th hanging out and reading a new book, Americanah. In the afternoon, I joined the other SPS interns to hang out on the mall and wait for the fireworks. We nabbed a seat right in front of the Washington Monument, and had a fantastic view when the sun set. What a great day. Over the weekend, I continued to explore the city with the interns. I brunched, explored, and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

~Benjamin

Week 6, July 7-13, 2014

Work, NIST, and Meetings

This week was not altogether that different from last. I went to events, continued to write memos and draft letters. Overall, there were no complaints. I’m learning my way through the underground tunnels and confusing hallways of the Capitol. On Monday, Jennifer Greenamoyer – my supervisor from AIP – came down to the Hill and we grabbed lunch. We chatted about my adjustment to work, what I’m enjoying – what I hope to continue to improve over the next few weeks. I am continuing to get assignments from the legislative director, which is pretty interesting. Although the work does not necessarily coincide with my background, I am certainly learning a lot. On Wednesday I went to an event relating to financial services. In a room full of regulators and staff, I did not exactly feel like I could ask any knowledgeable questions, but I certainly learned a lot, and reported back to staff on what was discussed.

Another great thing to happen this week was scheduling lunch with Congressman Foster. Since my internship is funded through the John and Jane Mather Foundation, I have a rather close relationship with Dr. John Mather. Dr. Mather and Congressman Foster having a shared background in physics, means that Rep. Foster has had lunch with Dr. Mather and his interns every summer. Ashley (the other Mather intern) and I set that up this week for the last week in July. I am extremely excited to get lunch with both of these great physicists.

On Thursday, I took advantage of the Congressional Intern Lecture Series, and heard a lecture by Rajiv Shah, the director of the US Agency for International Development (US AID). It was fascinating to hear about how the US hopes to advance international development. Moreover, it was great to get out of the office bubble. Eavesdropping on the conversations of other interns, I had the opportunity to listen to different opinions, which is always a valuable experience.

I really am enjoying this internship. There are such immense opportunities for learning. Through my research for letters and memos, I am learning about a wide variety of issues about which I knew nothing before. Lectures, briefings, and hearings allow me to interact with and learn from leaders in various fields. Finally, working with the staff members has taught me insight on what it is like to work on Capitol Hill, and all that is involved with this possible career path.

On Friday, I got to enjoy the perk of being an intern with the American Institute of Physics: a tour of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. SPS has twelve internships this summer: two on the Hill, two at NASA, two at NIST, and six at the American Center for Physics. As part of our responsibilities, we take the others interns on tours of the institutions in which we work. Ben and Kelby both work at NIST, and we toured the campus and saw their offices. This included such highlights as: the original kilogram and meter, multiple scanning electron microscopes, and a nuclear reactor. A very, very cool Friday.

Over the weekend, I sadly did not do much. I had come down with quite a bad cough, and decided that my best course of action was to sleep and relax.

~Benjamin

Week 7, July 14-20, 2014

A Succinct Week

As we head into the middle of July, there is certainly a routine developing. Tours are given, memos are written and letters are drafted. Work is good, but there isn’t much that I think is particularly blog-worthy. However, this past Thursday, the SPS interns had an opportunity to tour the NASA Goddard campus, which was awesome. We saw telescopes which will detect Cosmic Background Radiation when they are placed in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Since I studied abroad in Chile – and went to the Atacama Desert – those particularly piqued my interest. In addition, we saw the world’s largest operational clean room, which houses the James Webb Space Telescope while still under development. There was an Expo going on for many of the labs on Goddard’s campus so we had the opportunity to see all of the incredible research done there. Overall, it was a pretty cool day, and made me remember why everyone thinks NASA is just so cool.

Over the weekend, I actually returned home for a short visit, which was very lovely. I returned late on Sunday night, ready to take on another week!

~Benjamin

Week 8, July 21-27, 2014

Tours, Presentations, and Work galore!

This was quite a week! Monday began early: a 7:15am arrival to the Pentagon, for our 8am tour. Since our group was so large, we had a tour guide all to ourselves. He was very impressive, and inspired me to walk backwards on all tours that I now give. We learned a lot about the Pentagon, its history and its employees. However, I knew that we were seeing even less than visitors to the Capitol see; so it goes.

As soon as the Pentagon tour ended, we headed to the Capitol for me to give all of the interns a tour of the building. It was quite an event! I took them to every place I am allowed to take visitors, and then they headed to the galleries while Ashley and I headed back to work. In the afternoon, we visited with Ashley’s office to learn about the life of staff members on the Committee for Science, Space, and Technology. Overall, it was a pretty good day, though I was definitely envious of the other interns who had time off.

Tuesday and Wednesday flew by, as I anticipated my girlfriend’s arrival for the weekend. On Thursday, I gave her another lengthy tour, and we met up for lunch while I continued to work.

Friday was a wonderful day; it was the day of our final presentations to the SPS/AIP community. Though none of my coworkers could take work off for the day, Dr. Mather was in attendance for the presentations. All twelve of us told an audience of about 75 people about the work that we completed during the summer, and how we hope to use these experiences in the future. Overall, it was a lovely event, and it was great to see how everyone else’s projects turned out. I really appreciate that SPS/AIP gives us the opportunity to showcase our work to a room full of other scientists and active members in the AIP/SPS/APS community.

Over the weekend, my girlfriend and I explored DC, and I checked some critical museums off of my list. We went to the Air and Space Museum, the National Building Museum (with the BIG Maze), and enjoyed various delicious brunches. It was a fabulous last weekend with all of the other interns.

~Benjamin

Week 9, July 28-August 3, 2014

Our Last Week Together – but two more weeks for me!

This week was the last week for all of the interns but me. We tried our best to do things together every night, which was a great way to say goodbye. I really do feel as if I have made some friends with the other interns this summer.

This week at work was also fantastic, though not necessarily for the work. On Monday, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Congressman Foster with the two other interns from our office. We went to the Member’s Dining Room, and were able to learn more about the Congressman, while he also asked us about ourselves. Overall, it was a very enjoyable lunch. I was impressed by how he tries to bring his values into everything that he does, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to work for him this summer.

On Tuesday, I once again had lunch with Congressman Foster, though this time we were joined by Dr. Mather and Ashley – the other Mather Intern. The lunch was particularly great for me, since I had the opportunity to listen to Rep. Foster tell some stories twice, and other things for the first time. Seeing the two premier scientists talk about their respective interests, research, and thoughts for the future was particularly interesting – and a tad entertaining.

The rest of the week at work was consumed with more memos, letters, and tours, as we finished the last week before August recess. Thursday afternoon was particularly stressful, as it slowly dawned on us that we would all have to come in to work on Friday dressed in formalwear, for recess was going to be delayed.

Saturday, everyone else left, while I simply moved across town to my new apartment (2nd and Constitution NE – no complaints!) It was very sad to say goodbye to everyone, and to realize that I would have this coming week more or less alone in the city. Not a fun feeling. Nonetheless, I took Saturday to see my cousins who live in Maryland, and Sunday was spent getting my new apartment in order. I like it a lot, and with being walking distance to work, I am in a great location.

~Benjamin

Week 10, August 4-9, 2014

All Alone

The final week at work was a bit calmer, as we eased into recess. Tours were plentiful – though I cannot imagine who would want to come to DC in August for their vacation. Throughout the week, I wrote my final letters and memos, constantly thinking: Will this be my final memo?

The week ended with my mom coming down, and me giving her a tour of the Capitol on Friday. In the afternoon, the office held a goodbye party for me, which I really appreciated. I did love this office, and can definitely imagine myself coming back to DC in the future.

~Benjamin

Final Reflections, August, 2014

This was quite an amazing summer. I could not have asked for a better opportunity, and I am so glad that I found the SPS Internship program! During my weeks as a Mather Policy Intern, I learned so much. Not only did I learn about the policy process — and myriad topics, from foreign policy to climate change and NASA — but I learned that I can do so much more than be a scientist in a laboratory. There are scientists as Members of Congress, as staff in Congress, in departments all throughout Washington, D.C. Not only that — being a scientist in DC is important! D.C. needs scientists! It was an incredible time learning about all of the ways in which I can use my physics education to help people, students, and physicists.

I had the opportunity to meet so many great people this summer. From my long meeting with my Congressman (Mike Doyle, PA), to meeting with the AAAS Fellows, APS Staff, and AIP Staff, to the Science Policy Networking Happy Hour which Ashley Finger (the other Mather intern) organized. D.C. is the town of the well connected, but it was simply incredible to me how great these people all were. They were interested in me, encouraging of my ideas and dreams, and simply doing really cool work. Meeting them helped me gain a new perspective on possible work opportunities after graduation.

To work in the office of Congressman Bill Foster was definitely a different experience than I expected, but I would not have wanted to be anywhere else this summer. Though I think I had not quite realized what the internship experience would look like, I was able to adjust and excel. In the end, I enjoyed the company of the staff in my office, giving tours, attending briefings and hearings, and researching for memos. It was such a cool experience. I really wish I could just have a badge for the rest of my life, just so I could be in the beautiful halls of the Capitol Building. I suppose one shouldn't make career choices based upon office buildings, however.

Lastly, I am so appreciative for SPS. Kendra Redmond was helpful, caring, and put up with my difficult schedule for the summer, and I cannot thank her enough for the opportunity. Jen Greenamoyer helped me adjust to my internship and was truly a support for me this summer. Toni Sauncy, Courtney Lemon, and the rest of the SPS Staff were all welcoming, kind, and engaged with us as students and adults. Dr. Mather is truly one of the most kind individuals I have met, and it was a pleasure having the opportunity to talk with him so often this summer. It was such a nice environment with SPS this summer, and I wish I had spent more time with the staff.

Overall, this was a phenomenal summer, and I am so glad that I am now more closely involved with the Society of Physics Students network.

~Benjamin

 

Experience Science Policy Firsthand

The primary purpose of the AIP Mather policy internship program (supported by the John and Jane Mather Foundation for Science and the Arts) is to promote awareness of, and interaction with, the policy process in Washington, D.C. for undergraduate physics students.

NASABenjamin and fellow SPS intern Ashley are working in Congressional offices on Capitol Hill, directly engaging in science policy issues and efforts in the nation's capital. As part of their service, Benjamin and Ashley are introducing the other SPS interns to the public policy process by arranging field trips to appropriate science policy events or locales–Congressional hearings, governmental agencies and/or facilities, for example.

 
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