Final Reflections: New Adventures

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Friday, August 14, 2015


Connor Day

AAPT meeting with the UMD TerrapinIt's all over! I have returned home to North Carolina with my family after such a fun and enriching summer in the nation's capitol with SPS. My final week of work began with three days at the AAPT summer meeting at the University of Maryland. The AIP History Center had a morning session on the second to last day of the conference at which the intern team presented. We gave an overview of the motivation and goals of our project, discussed some of the specific content, and explained our goals for the future of the teaching guides. I think we sparked some good questions and discussion after the session; I was very proud of our work and how quickly we were able to put together the talk! I knew afterwards that we were well prepared for our SPS presentations just a few days later.

One of my professors from Agnes Scott was in College Park for the AAPT meeting, and I was very glad that she got to attend my presentation at the meeting! We went for lunch afterwards to catch up, and she gave me some great advice regarding my next adventure - California! My friend and fellow SPS intern Aman is headed to San Jose State University to start her master's in aerospace engineering and needed a roommate, so I have decided to move cross-country to live with her and start my career in Silicon Valley. The whole idea emerged out of a joke, as both Brean and Aman were looking for roommates for next year and California sounded a lot better than Philadelphia. As I thought more about it, I realized that right now is a time in my life in which I can do something spontaneous like this and easily get away with it. I am a little nervous about the move, securing a place to live, and most importantly, finding a full-time job that is the right fit for me and pays the bills. However, my family is fully supportive of my decision, and I am incredibly excited to embark on this new adventure. There are almost too many opportunities in and around San Jose for a recent physics graduate, and it has been a bit overwhelming to get started. Nevertheless, my position this summer helped grow my professional network that is essential to my budding career, and I am sure I will continue to tap into this network while getting settled on the west coast.

The interns after presentation dayI was able to say thank you to many of the new people I met this summer at the SPS intern symposium on our last official day as interns. All of the interns did an excellent job with their final project presentations, all of which were well rehearsed from our day-long preparation workshop the day before (and some panicked edits that evening as well). It was a great experience to show off our hard work to many people who have supported the interns' endeavors this summer and to celebrate the group's accomplishments!

I stayed in the city for a final week after our work was over to visit some more of the tourist sites one last time and to have some fun. Some of the highlights of the week were the food, going to the giant ball pit exhibit at the National Building Museum, and going to the Jazz in the Garden event one last time at the National Sculpture Gardens. Brean and I were also treated to lunch that week by our mentor Greg, who has been a pleasure to get to know this summer and has been great to the intern team.

As for now, Aman and I are well into searching for an apartment, and I am continuing to prepare and draft resumes and cover letters to send to many employers in Silicon Valley as I look for my next place of work. Graduate school is likely in the cards for me within the next few years, but I want to use the time in between to find hands-on opportunities that clarify the direction I should take in my further studies and research. I am still very much interested in pursuing physics; however, I have missed my music side quite a bit while I was in D.C., and I hope to see if I can get a piano studio going again on the west coast!

All of the SPS staff and internsBrean and meMy fellow SPS interns and the SPS and AIP staff have been thrilling to work with this summer. These organizations bring in and support such a smart, driven, caring, and fun group of people, and I know I have made lifelong friends and colleagues in everyone I have connected with since May. My work here has well reinforced one of my top values in my career: surrounding myself with people who I truly enjoy working with and being around! This has been easy this summer. (I'd like to especially thank and congratulate Brean for putting up with me on a daily basis.)

I am looking forward to keeping up with what the future holds for all of this year's interns. We all have so many excellent talents, and it has been incredible to work with such an inspiring and group of my own peers. We're already starting to plan reunions! As the SPS internship program continues, I am excited to follow the journeys of many more classes of interns. Next summer will be here before we know it!

Final ramen outing the night before presentations
In the ball pit "beach" at the National Building Museum
The intern team, the history workshop teachers, and our mentor Greg (back left)

Connor Day