Another Battle with Mother Nature

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Monday, July 15, 2019


Sariah Mevs Phipps

California has been going through a drought for over 10 years, so growing up I learned to really appreciate the rain whenever it came. I really love the rain, but unfortunately it doesn’t rain in DC. Instead, the sky opens up and sends a mighty waterfall to purge the city of any hope of getting to work dry. I was hit by this mighty waterfall last Saturday on my journey to get a cupcake. Apparently Mother Nature was very displeased that I ate that cupcake because she sent another flood to wash me away. Even though I took the metro instead of walking, I ended up with soaked shoes, pants, and shoulders. I guess an umbrella can only do so much. On top of that, I exited the metro on an unfamiliar side, so I got very lost and ended up 20 minutes late to work with no way to contact my advisor (mother nature claimed the life of my phone last weekend). But as always, I refuse to let nature get the best of me! I discovered a heater that had apparently been underneath my desk this whole time and was able to dry my socks and shoes with it! On top of that, all the interns had lunch with Liz (the CEO of OSA) so we got free food!

As for work, I was asked to update the arrival and departure list for the OSA’s Seigman School in Finland. On it, I looked at the flight information of the attendees and added their flight information so that my advisor knew whether or not she should schedule them a train. The next thing I did was update the housing list. I mainly had to make sure that those who were on the attendee list were registered for housing. After that I was given my next big project. I was given a list of 314 women who had received an award from OSA and asked to check to see which of them did not have a wiki page. I was able to get about 100ish women done before I left work.

On Tuesday, I didn’t have work because all of the SPS interns went on a Capitol Hill tour! Gia, the intern that works there, led us on an awesome tour where we were able to see learn about how the government works and see the beautiful architecture of the Capitol. My favorite parts were looking at the statues of the 13 colonies and seeing all the beautiful paintings. Andrew and I were even able to get Capitol shirts from the gift shop! At the end, we even got to speak to the only senator who is a physicist, which was pretty cool.

On Wednesday, I finished searching for wiki pages for all the women. In the end, 240 out of the 314 women did not have a wiki page. I sent the excel sheet back to Marcia (the one who gave me the project) and she arranged the list of women in order of importance. I was asked to research information on all the women marked with a 1 and try to gather enough information to make a wiki page. This was actually a lot harder that I thought it’d be because some of these women had almost no internet presence.

Thursday was really exciting because I had the NASA tour! Anyone who knows me knows it’s my dream to work at NASA, so I was pretty happy that I got to tour there. The first thing we did was go to a Jamboree where different people in NASA had booths presenting their research. The one I was most interested was the research on the gravity of two black holes when they merge together. I was shown models of the devices that NASA used to measure their data and shown charts of what they had measured. This is what I would most be interested in doing, so I asked them to give me advice on the path to take. They ended up taking my information and told me where to apply for an internship next summer!

After the Jamboree, we looked at the libraries and walked through a lab. It was really cool to see the people in what looked like quarantine outfit conducting research. It was actually suits to keep their germs out of the room, because the room was kept so clean that the dirtiest thing in those rooms were the people. We also had Nolan and Terry (the NASA interns) talk about what they do and saw some cool equipment. I got myself a NASA t-shirt and he got a NASA magnet (they didn’t have any shirts left in his size). Overall I had a ton of fun!

After the tour, we had the intern picnic, and of course, Mother Nature struck again. When we got off the bus, the flood gates opened. Luckily, Andrew and I had brought our umbrellas, but the posters Andrew got were soaked! Once we got to the metro, our legs were pretty wet but we were able to keep most of our bodies dry. We all rode the metro to the APS building and I got to see Andrew’s work area. They served barbeque food, so I had roast beef and mac n cheese. I was surprised it was vegan because it definitely tasted like real cheese! Andrew and I played battleship which I was absolutely crushed at, and I watched him play settlers of Catan with some of the other interns.

On Friday, I got evicted! It really wasn’t all that bad, especially since it was a cubicle and not a home. They were having a bunch of new people coming to the 6th floor so I had to move to a desk that is only sometimes in use. It was a little sad to not have my own space but it worked out alright. Despite this, my day was still amazing because it was bring your dog to work day! Every Friday, workers are allowed to bring in their dogs and this was the first week that my advisor had brought in hers! She was such a sweet and calm doggie and I absolutely love her! We also had a work party where we were able to mingle and eat lumpia, cake, and cupcakes! It’s fair to say that I had way too much sugar.

On Sunday, Andrew, Eric, and I went to the national arboretum! We saw a bunch of bonsai trees and beautiful nature. It was nice to get out of the city and enjoy the greenery for a while.

Sariah Mevs Phipps