Week 1: Chocolate City

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Sunday, June 1, 2014


Kearns Louis-Jean

My first week in chocolate city has been quite an experience to say the least. I flew out to DC on Sunday. It was really hot which reminded me of the weather back at school. My good friend Jonathan from college who recently graduated came to pick me from the airport. It made me a lot more comfortable to see a familiar face and I didn't have to worry getting lost on the way to my dorm. The check-in line at Amsterdam Hall was pretty long but went by surprising quickly. During check-in I met Ashley, one of my fellow interns, while she was moving in with her parents. She was very nice and welcoming considering it was our first time meeting in person. After I dropped off my luggage in my room my friend Jonathan and I went out to lunch at a place called Burger Tap and Shake, which I definitely recommend to anyone. After we came back we talked for a little bit outside and that's when I met Mark, who is doing the SOCK with me this summer. Mark and I decided to go exploring since no one was really around. I'm glad I did because I got to see the White House in person on my first day.

As the days got closer to the start of the internship everybody started to trickle in. We have already done quite a bit as a group. The first thing we did was go to lunch with Ms. Kendra Redmond. She is the SPS programs manager. Ms. Redmond brought her son Ben and her husband Paul. Her husband is a funny guy but her one-year-old son Ben takes the cake, he is just a ton of fun and always has a smile on his face. After that we went to the Memorial Day parade, which was amazing because you see the history of the country and the strong sense of patriotism the country has. After the parade we went grocery shopping and had a family dinner courtesy of our all-world chef Ashley. The next day we went to the Smithsonian information center and the American Indian Museum. The Smithsonian was very interesting. I saw a picture of Fredrick Douglass Patterson and George Washington Carver. I also saw a case that contained a helmet from a hall of fame running back and a football from one of the greatest college football coaches of all-time. That was a big deal to me because I'm a big sports fan. The National Museum of the American Indian was fun. We all tried out this canoe simulation where you see if you can keep the canoe afloat without tipping over. The younger children were a lot better than we were.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any more interesting, on our orientation day we had lunch with Dr. John Mather, a Nobel laureate. Dr. Mather works at the NASA Goddard Space and flight center. He is also a big advocate for scientific policy. Listening to him talk about scientific policy and his work with the Hubble Space Telescope was very fascinating. What most people don't know about Dr. Mather is that he is a very funny man. That night we went out for Thai food as a group. It was my first time trying pad Thai and I am proud to say I am now a big fan.

The first few days of working at AIP have been great. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Mark and I have looked at the SOCKs from previous years and they are pretty impressive. We have a lot of work ahead us but that's the exciting part. The bar has been set, now it's time to reach that standard and raise the bar even higher for the next group. The best part about the SOCK is you get to let your imagination run wild. Like Einstein once said "Imagination is more important than knowledge."


Kearns Louis-Jean