Week 1: Arriving a Bit Late to DC

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Sunday, June 8, 2014


Benjamin Preis

Unlike all of the other interns, this past week I arrived in Washington, DC to begin this amazing summer. I arrived late due to a confluence of events: I was leading a cultural exchange/learning trip to Mumbai, India with Tufts University — where I go to school — until May 29th. Kendra was kind enough to allow me some time to recover from jetlag before beginning. Additionally, though I’ll be working for a Representative this summer, I do not begin working with him until June 23rd. Thus, I have some unstructured time with my internship before I begin with the Congressman.

I arrived in DC on Thursday evening, moved in, and met the other interns for the first time. On Friday, I went to the American Center for Physics to do paperwork with HR, and meet Kendra and Jennifer Greenamoyer (She works for the American Institute of Physics as their Government Relations Liaison. She places Mather interns with their Congressional office or committee every year.) In the morning, I sat in for the introduction to the AIP/SPS Executive Committee Meeting, where I learned quite a bit about the SPS/AIP relationship, and much more about what AIP does. After meeting with HR, I sat down to meet with Jennifer and talk with her about my next two weeks. It seems as if I have free range to do a project of my choosing. I could write an article for Physics Today, create a “Physicist’s Guide to Washington, DC,” or something completely different; I have yet to decide. I also chatted with the Washington correspondent of Physics Today for an hour before lunch with the executive committee.

In the afternoon, I did some research on Physics Today and about my Congressman before chatting with Courtney, a former Mather intern who now works at SPS, about my work this summer. It was very informative. If anyone wants a Capitol tour, I will apparently be qualified to give one! After work, there was a lovely dinner with the Executive Committee of SPS, followed by a stargazing event on the mall, and a tour of many of the monuments there. It was quite eerie to end up at the WWII Memorial on the D-Day anniversary. Quite the first day at work!

Saturday was a lively day. In the morning, a few of us went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I met up with friends from home for a parade and a lovely afternoon, before heading back. In the evening, I continued to trying to cover the introductions I missed during the first week with the fellow interns.

On Sunday, there was a STEM Fair outside of DC where we all went to work some really cool demos. It was pretty impressive to see hundreds of kids and young adults at a local county STEM fair. I am always in awe of how much kids know.

In the coming week, I’ll be starting my project, and hanging out with Jennifer at some meetings and events on the Hill!

Benjamin Preis