Week 10: The End?

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Monday, August 21, 2023


Devin Kodsi

~Song(s) of the Week~ “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Sir Elton John/“The Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine 


And with that, the 2023 SPS Summer Internship comes to a close. But, the memories we made along the way will last a lifetime. Writing this last reflection represents a bitter-sweet moment as I realize how far I’ve come this summer alongside some of the most amazing physics undergrads. Of course, I’m excited to finish up my undergraduate experiences, but it would be great to have just one more day with the interns. This week really went out with a bang due to its hectic nature! And, because of my busy work schedule in finalizing my projects and presentation, I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend many of the intern activities this week. So I apologize for the absence of activity-based photos for this week’s blog, but hopefully my past nine will make up for what this blog is missing! 


Monday involved a continuation of final edits for the presentation, as the interns have a practice presentation session on Thursday this week. Another main focus of the day was finalizing the text for the infographics, where I worked with my mentor to make the text short and to the point. Our goal is to present a key message to the audience of each infographic, ranging from ethnic and racial disparities to gender disparities in the fields of physics and STEM. By the end of the day and with the help of my mentor, we had a set of five graphs with corresponding text for an upcoming marketing meeting on Wednesday. We were still waiting to pair such graphs and data with other APS organizations, such as CUWiP and Bridge, and we’ll be able to incorporate their data within the infographic text and layout. As the week and internship slowly came to a close, I worked to ensure that all necessary spreadsheets, images, graphs, etc. were uploaded to our shared Google Drive. 


On Tuesday, I had the chance to continue practicing my presentation with the past mentors of my intern role. The advice that they provided was extremely helpful, and I was also excited to share the final updates I had made with my STEM analysis. Specifically, this involved creating finalized tables that display the additional number of degrees awarded for each field from the shift in a STEM classification and, out of these additions, what the percentage of women was. I created such tables for the bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. levels, which helped to illustrate how fields such as Agricultural Sciences and Psychology helped to increase the representation of women in STEM. (if you are curious about such findings, make sure to take a look at the “Bonus Slides” section of my presentation once it is posted on the SPS website under my profile!) I also had the chance to meet with a member of the marketing team to get a better idea about their role in APS and any advice they might have for an individual soon parting ways from undergrad. 


Wednesday marked our meeting with the marketing team to provide updates on the infographic project. We presented the group of figures, statistics, and text we had prepared for the meeting, and we detailed how we were still waiting to obtain data from other APS organizations. Some key ideas from the meeting included sharing some tips with the design team once we send the data their way, which could involve sharing the way we’d like for the data to be displayed to the public. By the end of the meeting, the team stated how they’d like for everything to be together by the end of August to provide the design team with an ample amount of time to prepare the infographics. Despite not completely finishing the infographics by the end of the summer, I know that the rest of the project is in good hands, and I am excited to see where it goes from here!


Most of Thursday involved a practice presentation session with the rest of the interns (this marked my 3rd practice session overall). I was eager to have this opportunity to share my work with the interns in addition to gaining constructive feedback. Other than the typical nerves that come with a presentation, the only other thing that was most difficult was having to switch my mindset from presenting via Zoom to presenting face-to-face. The practice session went well, and I took note of the tips other interns provided for my presentation. It was super interesting hearing about the work, roles, and responsibilities of the other interns as well! After the practice session, I sadly had a last meeting with my mentor. I knew going into this summer that everything would fly by, and I was certainly not wrong when I realized that my last meeting was on Thursday. Other than finalizing a few items and ensuring that everything was uploaded to the shared drive, I made sure to talk with Dr. O’Donnell about just how helpful and open she had been throughout the entire internship. Without her help and the nearly limitless amount of resources she provided, I would have been stumbling through the dark for weeks on end. I truly appreciate all of the time she devoted to helping me succeed through this internship, and because of her I was able to develop as both a student and an individual. I can never thank her enough, and I’m looking forward to checking in to see how Misty and Luna (her two black cats) are doing during the year! To end the evening, the interns decided to travel to a restaurant we hadn’t been back to since the beginning of the internship. It was nice to spend the last evening with everyone!



Friday, the day that marked the end of the internship. The day was booked with final intern presentations and a closing symposium, and all the interns were filled with both excitement yet nervousness. As each intern presented based on the program order, it seemed like ages (due to the nervousness) until I went up to the podium and presented my work this summer. Despite the live stream audio cutting out, I thought that the presentation went well! I simply found it quite fun to talk about the work I carried out this summer with others, and I of course had to throw in at least one (if not two) “Roll Tides” for good measure. And, before I knew it, I was done and was able to relax as the last few presentations concluded. The day came to a bitter-sweet ending with group photos in addition to books given to each intern based on their personality. I couldn’t believe it was over just like that, but I knew that I would never forget this opportunity I had been given. 






The rest of the weekend mainly involved journeying back to Chattanooga, TN and getting back to Tuscaloosa by Sunday evening due to residential advisor training. Yes, it was quite a quick turnaround, and I didn’t have much time to relax back at home. However, it was great talking with my family on the ride back about the internship! It was also quite obligatory to make a pit stop at the new Buc-Ee’s in Sevierville on our way back. I was completely blown away by its size!




As I said during my presentation, I want to thank Dr. Christine O’Donnell for being one of the best mentors I could have ever asked for during this internship. Without her guidance and help this summer, I never would have been able to develop through this internship. I want to thank Kathryne Woodle and Michael Wittmann for helping to provide a vast amount of perspectives on the data and stats in addition to everyone I met at APS both virtually and in person! And, last but not least, I want to thank Brad Conrad, Mikayla Cleaver, and Kayla Stephens for providing me with an opportunity of a lifetime. I can never thank them enough for this program, and I look forward to staying in touch with everyone as I progress to the end of my undergraduate years!


Week 10 and the SPS Summer Internship program, thank you for everything.  









Devin Kodsi