Share This:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Mary Ann Mort

Never have I felt more humbled and proud of myself and my fellow interns than when a Congressman acknowledged us at a committee hearing.


It was a Thursday morning and the other interns and I filed in quietly to completely take up the back row in a mostly empty, mostly brown, wooden room. As we whispered about spherical cows jumping over the moon, other interns, congressional staff, and congresspeople trickled in. Ami Bera, the House Representative for the 7th congressional district in California, was sitting directly in front of me at the dias. He gave the room a warm smile which in turn made me beam with elation as I looked at the medical doctor I voted for in the past November election. As the clock ticked closer to 10:00 AM, the finely carved wooden dias filled with congresspeople and the chair of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology began the hearing on in-space propulsion. Once the chair finished his opening statement, Ami Bera announced the panel of experts from NASA and other private space companies that were there to further educate the congresspeople on the issue of in-space propulsion. However, before he did that, Ami Bera acknowledged that all of us SPS interns were there: “You guys represent the future, and that’s why we do what we do.” As I stood with the other interns and the room filled with hopeful applause, I couldn’t help my eyes from swelling with tears. Never before has someone with such political power ever gone to such lengths to appreciate the future faces of science, and I will be forever grateful. Before this day, Ami Bera was just another face and name I had voted for since he seemed more educated and dedicated than his counterpart, but now, he shines in my mind as someone else who cares for the advancement of science in a turbulent political field.

If you are interested in seeing Ami Bera’s shout out at the hearing, go to 29:30 at I am just cut off in the video, but you can see a few of the other interns stand up as Ami Bera recognizes us. Quite the moment of a lifetime. Yet, I hope that this fateful, momentous day is just a glimpse into my future.    

The rest of the wonderful Capitol tour given to us interns by Eleanor and Riley was filled with interesting facts and sneak peeks of where the lively and greatly revered George Washington was to be buried at the Capitol’s center. We also got peeks of Paul Ryan and Mike Pence.

The previous weekend I had some friends in town that I was able to catch up with at dinner and at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Both of them just graduated (congratulations!): Gloria Huynh from Case Western Reserve University, and Kery Brady from University of California, Davis.

I also finished up the cat mirror, and am moving on to my next one. It’s a surprise!

Gloria Huynh and Kery Brady learning about Amelia Earhart's plane, the Lockheed Vega, at the Air and Space Museum.
Me, Gloria Huynh, and Kery Brady before we depart ways.
Made a super hipster frame for a very hipster tuxedo cat mirror. The  hipsterness is complete.
The view as we approached the Capitol on our way to our tour by Riley and Eleanor.
The future of our country is in good hands.
Ami Bera, M.D., the house representative from the 7th congressional district in California, just after giving the SPS interns a shoutout.

Mary Ann Mort