Networking is key

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Friday, June 22, 2018


Brigette Smith

Late night walks have sort of become my thing lately. I’ve traveled a few times this week down to the tidal basin and around the Lincoln memorial in the evening; the way the lights illuminate the monuments is gorgeous and there’s a certain warm peacefulness about those few quiet moments in big cities. I like to take time to reflect on the things I’ve done and the path that led me here. I am still eternally grateful to be placed in this position. I feel like I’m building friendships that will last over years and I love every single person I get the pleasure of being in this internship with. I’ve come to love the networking aspect of this job. I’ve always been a little shy but I’m trying to do better at introducing myself and making connections at events. This past week OSA had their summer staff event at the DC players club where we had a wonderful lunch and a few competitive games of skeeball and pool. I took the opportunity to get to know some of the other OSA interns from different programs and some of the various staff members I’ll be working with over the summer. This past evening the interns went on a lovely boat cruise down the Potomac river with the SPS executive committee. I forced myself out of my comfort zone and made lots of great connections and learned a lot about the people behind the organization. It was a wonderful evening and the crab cakes were phenomenal.


Aside from the social aspect of the job, work has been picking up a little bit. This past week I was in charge of organizing the application materials for the Deutsch fellowship applicants and creating review packets and response forms for the reviewers. It was a pretty hefty project and caused me quite a bit of stress since it was something that had to be finished right away. My other projects have been milder, just a lot of mundane tasks that need to get done and working with databases and spreadsheets. Im very excited for the next project I’m taking on. I want to produce a short article for the OSA website for LGBT+ in STEM day about how to better be an ally and keep the scientific community a friendly place. I’ve had a few meetings with legal and publications staff members to learn about the citation formats here and the technicalities of using people’s biographies and various images on the careers website. There’s a lot more to all of it than I could have ever guessed. I was also able to attend a science advisors meeting this week that was pretty eye opening in that regard. I listened to a talk about ultra high powered lasers and their applications followed by a report on who is using these technologies and why OSA needs to pursue them more in order to stay relevant in the field. It was really interesting to hear the discussion about why this needs to be an area of interest from the financial and marketing side as well as why it is important for science and opened my eyes a little more to the reasons why certain companies produce in specific areas over others. I still have a lot to learn about the professional world and I’m excited to see what the next few weeks will bring.


Brigette Smith