Week 1: Transition to D.C. and First Days

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Sunday, June 1, 2014


Mark Sellers

Selfie with the White HouseBefore I explain what I have been up to for the past week, allow me to introduce myself! I'm Mark Sellers and I'm the 2014 SOCK intern. I am originally from Kansas City, Missouri and am a rising senior at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. I am a physics major, Spanish minor, and music enthusiast at Rhodes. After much shopping, huffing, puffing, sorting, organizing, swearing, re-sorting, packing, unpacking, re-packing, flying, and finally nesting at George Washing University, I'm glad to have a few moments to look back on this week and how I've gotten to this point. This experience seemed so far away in the weeks leading up to it, as I struggled with my Quantum Mechanics and Advanced E&M courses and their respective finals. But now, I guess I'm here. Huh. Time still baffles me.

Once I had settled in on Sunday afternoon, I started roaming around Foggy Bottom to explore my new surroundings. I met up with Kearns and the two of us walked around the neighborhood together as we started to get to know each other. We even went by the White House and snapped a few photos before heading back to the dorms.

Andrew Jackson ImpersonatorOn Monday, Kendra took the interns out to lunch at a restaurant called Circa, right across the street, where we got to meet and socialize with each other. After that, the interns grouped up and went to go see the Memorial Day parade, which was spent admiring the soldiers, marching bands, and impersonators as they walked down Constitution Avenue. After a quick hike through the National Mall and to Trader Joes for groceries, all of the interns got together and helped make a taco dinner. Ashley is an awesome chef! I also met my roommate, Caleb. The whole group later hung out and chatted over a game of Cards Against Humanity before finally heading to bed. I liked how easy it was to fit in and talk with these people, knowing that we all have the same interest and passion for physics.

On Tuesday, the group went back to the National Mall to explore some of the Smithsonian Museums. We went to the Smithsonian Information Center (the one that looks like a castle) and then had lunch at and toured the American Indian Museum. Afterwards, we went to the Washington Monument because Ashley, in her awesomeness, had gone by and picked up tickets for us during her morning run. It was incredible to see the mall and the White House from that high up.

After that, we headed out to dinner at a Thai restaurant when the skies decided to open up. Thankfully, I had my rain jacket, but the others weren't too lucky. The remaining interns had arrived that night as well, so we helped them move in.

Finally, orientation day! ... Wait, what, it's already done, where did all that time go? After all of the ice breakers, meetings with directors, lunch with THE Dr. Mather, practicing our "elevator" speeches, meeting some of the staff at AIP, and finally finishing up with an impromptu lab where we estimated the wavelengths of Hydrogen's spectra, the day just seemed to fly by. Definitely a good first day.

The 2013 SOCKThursday also went by just as fast, as Kearns and I worked through the 2013 SOCK to familiarize ourselves with how a SOCK is put together, met with more directors, and helped assemble some demonstrations for the Howard County Science Festival. Vortex cannons, balancing rods, gravity visualizations (thanks 2012 SOCK!), LEDs, lasers, oh my! I take time's quick passage as a good thing, since I'm meeting so many new people and doing so many new things already.

This summer, I really hope to create a solid SOCK, following the theme of "Light as a tool". We've already started to plan out some ideas for demonstrations involving crystallography and possibly solar cells as well, with maybe some optics/cameras thrown in as well. I also hope to make strong bonds with the other interns and the staff at AIP, as both have been extremely welcoming and easy to talk with. I'll admit, I was a little nervous going into this internship--change is never an easy thing--but the group of people here has wiped that anxiety from my head.

...For the most part. The metro still makes me uneasy.

Photo 1: I had to take a selfie with the White House, no shame.
Photo 2: An Andrew Jackson impersonator. Definitely glad I didn't have to wear the full costume on that hot day! He was quite chipper though, despite the heat.
Photo 3: Opening up the 2013 SOCK and diving right in!


Mark Sellers