Week 1: Memorial Day, Watergate, Drag Brunch, Colleagues

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Sunday, June 5, 2022


Gizem Dogan

First week in DC as a working physicist! 

Hello, I am Gizem and I am the AIP Physics Today Science Writing Intern for the summer of 2022. I am directly working with Christine Middleton and Andrew Grant from Physics Today, the magazine that I used to get in my mailbox on a monthly basis. Crazy! For the next ten weeks I will be researching and creating content such as science updates, discoveries, and policy news; exploring DC with my fellow interns; and getting to know as many people from AIP as possible. 

Having finished my second year in college I arranged my travels to DC to arrive a day prior to the move in to be a responsible young adult to have enough time to unpack and settle in before my internship began. Have I actually started unpacking on the day of? I am writing this entry one week into the internship and I still have two boxes of clothing staring back at me in my room. So the answer is no. But still I managed to meet a considerable number of SPS interns during move in to start exploring the city together. Fifteen minutes into my arrival, I found myself in Emma and Janessa's room upon my roommate Aidan's advice, to collect a couple of kitchen supplies left from previous interns. Until that point on I wouldn't say I gave much thought into the fact that I will be cooking my every meal over the summer. Now, that may sound pretentious and I guess it is. Because as college students we live so comfortably in our dorms removed from the realities and the responsibilities of daily life that adults have to sit through like cooking for survival, paying bills, shopping and many more. And of all of these cooking takes the most time, possibly more than it ever should or I am just a little bad at it. So I had to face with the horrific reality from the first day: I will be cooking for myself.

Other than that the first week was as great as it gets! I went and watched the Memorial Day parade with friends. We stopped by one of the food trucks around the Mall to get Philly cheese steaks, which I suggest to everyone, both time efficient and delicious. I have been to DC many times before and I would say I know my way around the city but to my surprise I discovered that our summer housing is five minutes to Watergate. To WATERGATE! The place where one of the biggest political scandals took place. And it's such a beautiful complex on the inside that it is a bit unfortunate now that every other scandal is named in the format, "....-gate." I promised myself that I would go to Watergate to do work on the days I would work remotely. 

On our first day all interns took the metro to American Center for Physics together and I believe that is the best decision we've made that day. Not because the metro ride from Foggy Bottom to College Park is that big of a hussle but I think the forty five minutes long metro ride gave us the time to get to know each other a little more even if it was literally eight o'clock in the morning. During the orientation we received networking and communication advice from the SPS Director Brad Conrad, who I swear has been to every inch of the US and has a story to tell about all of it. So if you ever get a chance, stop him and tell him where you're from, he'll come up with something. Later the magnificiently friendly Kayla Stephens and Mikayla Cleaver gave us a little bit more information on how we would be spending the next couple of weeks at AIP. On the same day, I had my first in person meeting with my Physics Today (PT) advisors Christien and Andrew to establish their expectations and go through the schedule for the upcoming weeks. I was glad to hear not only would I be producing content for PT but also be included in the editorial process and get the chance to connect with and interview the scientists/researchers that conducted the research that I will write about. I am excited to see what comes next. 

More on the next the week's blog! 

See you soon :)

Gizem Dogan