The End is Nigh

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Friday, August 3, 2018


Brigette Smith

This week at work has been a little different since my main supervisors are away at Siegman International School on Lasers in Sweden. That means I have been mostly working on wrapping up my various projects as I see fit and reporting to the OSAF director. I put together an OSA Discover blog post about innovation school last week, which makes a total of three published postings of my own. In fact, this entire page is all content written by me! Aside from that I finished adding the 2010 Student Leadership Conference attendees to OSA’s database. That was the last year that needed to be added since it was on a separate spreadsheet, which means I have now successfully finished adding ALL of the past Student Leadership attendants into the database! That doesn’t sound like it was that bad of a task but I repeated the process for over 1500 people on just the SLC project alone. I also finished adding the OSAF Awards into the database this week so I hope that is the end of my data entry days. I’m a little nervous about wrapping up my careers project, which is really the last major thing I want to accomplish while I’m at OSA. I’ve been kind of touching on it all summer long, doing research in between my other projects and working on building the website map, but it has been really hard for me to wrap my head around exactly what I want out of it. The goal is to create a resource page on the Optics4Kids website that will allow them to see some cool jobs that are related to optics but the challenge arises in trying to describe what an ophthalmic technician is in words that children can easily understand and still make it sound exciting. This summer has really made me work on my writing and word manipulation abilities which has been really great for me since that has always been my weakness but sometimes I feel like there is smoke blowing out of my ears trying to figure out how to say exactly what I want to. I really want to pull it together very well and make it into something that can help get kids interested in optics for a career one day since there are so many really neat jobs and projects that surround the subject. It has definitely been my most difficult task this summer.

Luckily I’ve been able to take a few breaks from it all this week for meetings that I set up. This summer I have been doing a LOT of networking and going out of my way to meet people, make connections, and ask questions about what they do and how they got where they are. This week I was able to meet with Kim DeRose, a communications specialist at the National Academy of Sciences, to talk about her experience. (Shout out to David Lang for connecting me with so many of his colleagues and just being awesome) We talked a lot about her experience in grad school and how she got into science communications and the doors that it opened up for her. We also talked a lot about how to better develop communication skills and how they can help you as you continue in your career. Being able to communicate effectively with different groups really makes a big difference in your options going forward in life. I also was able to speak with a graduate student at University of Michigan this past week which was really great. We talked about her experience there, how she chose that school, and how she has been able to balance her studies and her extracurriculars that she is involved with. It was a very insightful conversation and I was really impressed with the things she said about the school. Being able to connect with so many different people has probably been the best and most beneficial part of my entire summer. I have learned so much just by speaking to different people about their lives and career paths and has really opened my eyes to all of the different options I have.  I’m really sad that this internship is coming to an end but I am so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to have such a valuable experience here. I am pretty proud of the work I have done and hope I can produce just a few more things before I call it finished.  

Brigette Smith