Week 1: The Grind Begins

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Friday, May 29, 2015


Elias Kim

In April, Drew and I had visited D.C. to attend AAAS’ CASE workshop. There we had learned about how science legislation comes to be and explored some parts of D.C. Needless to say, I left excited to come back and spend my summer working and exploring. The weekend gave us some time to acclimate to our surroundings (including our frigid cold apartment) and we were able to take advantage of some of the Memorial Day festivities. We got to see the famous Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Run and tour some of the more famous monuments; the two ventures actually ended up combining into a rock concert at the foot of the Lincoln memorial!

Our group of interns has an incredibly diverse set of interests, and it was fun getting to know everybody. This process continued at orientation on Tuesday, where we got an introduction to the American Center for Physics and met several members of AIP and SPS. The highlight of the day was meeting Dr. John Mather, the man behind my position for the summer. We talked about a number of things, and I was especially struck by a conversation we had about the role of solar flares in the future of the solar energy industry.

Drew and I with Dr. Mather

Later that day, Drew and I headed over to the Hill where we went to our separate committee offices. The House was not in session this past week, so we didn’t know what the environment would be like. I met a lot of the Energy and Commerce Staff, and Ryan took the other interns and me to Rayburn (one of the main House buildings) to see the committee hearing and briefing rooms. We were immediately given a project to start working on and were thus busy for the rest of the day. On Wednesday, we continued to work on the project, making profiles for all of our members so that the staff can easily access the different kinds of legislation they are working on. After work, we went to a send-off party for Ziky, a health subcommittee staffer who is leaving to be a legislative assistant in Rep. Van Hollen’s office.

Thursday morning I went for a run to the nearby embassy row, stopping at the South African embassy to see the statue of Nelson Mandela. I started working on another project, compiling public health legislation that our members have introduced over the past four congressional sessions. On Friday, the other interns and I were able to finish our work for the week and headed over to the Capitol Building; we were able to access the Capitol subway with our newly minted IDs! This week has been very full and busy, but next week looks to be even more exciting. The House will be in session, and we have over 10 subcommittee hearings, as well as a full bill markup.

Elias Kim