Final Reflections: Furthering my career interests

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Friday, August 9, 2013


Katherine Stankus

This summer internship with the Society of Physics Students has been a wonderful experience. As a Mather Public Policy Intern, I not only learned how science policy is conducted at the national level but also furthered my career interests.

My internship with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology allowed me to learn first-hand how things are done on the Hill. More specifically, this was through our participation in conducting written informative research for staff members and attendance at hearings and markups. From my internship experiences, I learned the importance of not only being an involved citizen but also being an informed citizen. In addition to my internship duties I also had the opportunity to meet several different representatives, go to various receptions and luncheons held on the Hill, and meet some influential people in society.

Overall, the Society of Physics Students summer internship program was a fantastic experience. The different summer internships helped to demonstrate the different career paths a physics student can pursue besides academia and research. In addition to the internship, students participating in this program were able to meet other physics students from across the country and live in Washington DC for the summer. Coming from the West Coast, I was excited to be able to work and live in Washington DC. On the weekends, the other interns and I were able to explore many of the different DC tourist attractions such as the Mall, Smithsonian museums, and monuments. Some of the most memorable events of the summer included the 4th of July fireworks at the Mall, going to a Nationals Baseball Game, going to a classical music concert at the Kennedy Center, seeing the band “She and Him” live, being invited to breakfast at the U.S. House of Representative Dinning Room with Rep. Bill Foster an Dr. John Mather, meeting Bill Nye, and going on a Segway Tour of the city.

As a recent graduate, I plan to work for a couple of years in my field. Since returning back to the Pacific Northwest, I have begun to apply for several different jobs related to my interests in environmental issues such as atmospheric science, climate change, clean energy technologies, and policy. This internship experience has not only helped me learn more about science policy but has also helped me solidify my desire to find a career that is both meaningful and will help contribute to finding solutions to global environmental issues.

Through this summer internship program, I have met some wonderful people and have had some great experiences. Therefore, I encourage all undergraduate physics student to apply for the Society of Physics Students Summer Internship Program.

Katherine Stankus