Week 1: Welcome to SPS!

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Thursday, May 28, 2015


Hannah Pell

Whew! This first week has been a whirlwind of excitement! Between moving to a new city, meeting all new people, and exploring new surroundings... It’s been non-stop fun and adjusting so far! I honestly couldn't believe that I was moving to D.C. And yet there I stood outside my new temporary home, both eager and a bit nervous.

Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Hannah Pell and I am the 2015 Society of Physics Students SOCK Intern. I am a rising senior at Lebanon Valley College, a small liberal arts college in little old Annville, Pennsylvania. My life is split about 50/50 between my intertwining passions for both music and physics; I spend most of my mornings and afternoons in the science building scribbling some scary-looking equations on a whiteboard and my nights practicing my oboe or rehearsing with friends. It’s a fun balance.

After getting settled in our WISH Woodley Park apartment on Saturday, all the other interns who had arrived and I were eager to meet and get out and see the city. We spent Sunday afternoon doing some sightseeing around the National Mall area and later went out to dinner as a group to get to know each other a little better. Fortunately, we arrived during Memorial Day weekend, allowing us a wonderful opportunity to remember our veterans and thank our current soldiers by visiting the memorials and watching the parade on Monday afternoon.

Washington MonumentWashington MonumentWISH Woodley Park

And then it begins! Tuesday morning we all travelled to the American Center of Physics for orientation day. As soon as we arrived, we were eagerly welcomed by the SPS staff and spent the morning getting an overview of the internship as a whole, learning networking and professional skills, and were even joined by the Nobel-Prize winning physicist Dr. John Mather for lunch!

So, without further ado, the theme for this year’s SOCK is *drum rollll*: Waves! After some brainstorming, Shauna and I decided to focus specifically on sound waves and acoustics, so I spent the rest of this first week diving right into it. After my very first trip to Ikea EVER, I managed to complete my first activity prototype: straw pan pipes! (And then proceeded to perform a little concert from my desk, you know, for science). I spent the rest of my first week brainstorming, getting organized, and outlining activities and demos… and missing Shauna!

The SOCK RoomStraw Pan Pipes

After this first week, I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come the rest of the summer. I’m so proud to be affiliated with the Society of Physics Students and I can already tell that this experience will certainly be special. As someone who, just a few weeks ago, was quite nervous about living in a city and stepping a bit out of her comfort zone in physics, I can confidently say that those worries are gone. Here’s to a summer of learning, growing, and new experiences!  

Hannah Pell