Final Reflections: An amazing summer

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


Benjamin Preis

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 Preis