Monday, September 5, 2016By:
My internship with AAPT ended more than three weeks ago. Still, I find myself nearly every day using the skills I was learning and applying this summer. When I talk to people about science, or think about what I want to do after graduation, or plan my senior thesis, I am thinking as someone who has some experience and knowledge about what it means to teach science - in both a practical and philosophical sense. My experiences attending and running professional development programs, speaking to teachers, and learning from the AAPT staff about their methods and projects has given me a really fantastic perspective on science education and science practice as a whole.
About a week ago, when I was dropping off my brother at college for his freshman year, I met a high school physics teacher who shared a lot of the same ideas and interests that I do. He and I talked about teaching, and when I mentioned AAPT he was pleased that I already had a relationship with the organization and we talked more about the work that the organization does and how it impacts teachers. This is one of those connections that I might not have made without my experience this summer, and it didn’t take long at all!
Working with SPS and the other interns was also a pleasure; I am very happy to have met so many people this summer that are interested in so many different aspects of physics and science as a whole. That by itself was an enriching experience, because it is so easy to fall in with those who study the same things as you and approach problems the same way. To talk to the other interns, most of whom were working on totally different and unique projects, was always interesting and rewarding. The SPS staff were also so wonderful and generous, always happy to talk about whatever seemed important at the time and even give advice or share their own experiences with physics and other sciences.
I am now beginning my final year of college, and I feel like this summer has helped me to broaden my options for what I might want to do after I graduate. Whether I end up teaching, continuing to study, working in research, or something completely different, I know that the work I did and the things I learned this summer will help me to get somewhere that fits my interests and needs as a student of science.