ooooooooh we're halfway theeere!!!!

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Monday, July 1, 2019


Sariah Mevs Phipps

I'm officially halfway done with my internship! It's so crazy how fast time flies, especially when you have such a cool internship! this week was fun as always, but started out kind of rough since I got back from New York at around 4:30am and had to get up for work at 7:30. Nevertheless, I pushed forward! 

On Monday, I focused on the HBCU project from last week. As a recap, I was given a list of predominantly black colleges and asked to make sure the info on the excel sheet was still accurate. My main job was to see if they had an optics or physics program and to get their contact info. I also had a meeting about the tour I’m giving to the other interns. Each intern has to give a tour of their work place, so I had to make sure the speakers knew what to talk about. A lot of the work that goes on in OSA requires knowledge in PR work, so many of my co-workers do not know physics. However, we do have a few employees in the publications department that are well versed in it. Our two speakers have a PhD in physics related topics and want to talk about how to get your work published. Per request of the interns, they may also be talking about what led them to go from physics to publishing and what they did for their PhD research.

On Tuesday, I finished the HBCU project. I was surprised to see that out of the 106 HBCU schools in the nation, only 7 had an optics program. On top of that, 58 schools didn’t even offer physics. After this project, I asked my mentor if I could look at the grant applications. Since the career I want to go in requires that I facilitate grants and my mentor is in charge of awarding those grants, I decided that it would be most beneficial if I started looking into those areas. She showed me examples of good and bad applications, and told me what they were looking for. My project would need to have a reason to complete it, and not just for the sake of furthering our knowledge. On top of that, it should be between 3 and 5 pages and explain why you are worth investing in. It was very helpful and I’m glad I got to look at it.

On Wednesday, I worked on the career section of Optics4Kids again. I was able to complete 4 jobs in the industry section: Optical Engineer, Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician, Laser Applications Engineer, and Fiber Optics Engineer. The first thing I did was change the job descriptions. Many of them were very vague and incorrect. In fact, they were all basically the same. I still kept it short, but it was a little more thorough. Next, I changed the responsibilities. The responsibilities were put into one sentence and basically mimicked the description. I changed it to bullet points and gave examples of what a worker would do on the job. Requirements section only had the degree, so I included what to get the degree in and what they should have an emphasis in. I had a hard time finding information on the other jobs, so I decided to switch to the coloring book project. The coloring book is supposed to have a number of female physicists with their accomplishments and interesting facts. There are currently 25 women on the list, but after looking up the info we hope to narrow it down to 15. I expected this project to be done pretty fast, but it was actually quite hard to find info on a number of these ladies. I was told that they were one of the leading scientists in a certain area, but not told why. I didn’t end up finishing but got about halfway through.

Friday was the deadline for OSA chapters to update their roster, so of course I got a flood of emails telling me complications they were having. They were all simple fixes so it didn’t take up to much of my day. A lot of the emails I sent ended up not sending, so my advisor and I worked to find out what was wrong. It turned out that the emails that failed were OSA accounts that no longer existed, so next week I need to get with the IT department and find a way to get the contact info for those people. I also was asked to help find catering for an event OSA is hosting. I only had to find 4 different catering places, so it wasn’t a hard or time consuming job. They rest of the day I continued working on the optics4kids career section, I finished the industry section and got most of the academic section done. The academic section needed the most work because it was obvious that the previous intern who had worked on it made a lot of stuff up. For example, you cannot get a job teaching medium level physics/optics to elementary school kids.

As always, Friday was date night! Andrew and I went to Arlington and ate at Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese grill. The food was so good! We were given a selection of meats to choose from and grilled them ourselves. The food tasted amazing and we even got s’mores to toast as our dessert. On Saturday, we went to the spy museum! We were given badges with secret code names and code words as well as a mission. We didn't really do anything with that mission, but we did see all kinds of cool exhibits! There were videos of real life spies talking about how they took down their targets and simulations where you had to make the same decisions as the president. Afterwards, we went to BTS (Burger Tap and Shake) for burgers and a shake. Overall, I'd say it was a really amazing experience. Can't wait for another 5 weeks!

Sariah Mevs Phipps