Week 10: Farewell DC

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Friday, August 9, 2013


Darren McKinnon

The final week was busy; it was packed to the brim with events. This meant that there wouldn’t be a lot of time to go off and do whatever we wanted, so our final weekend was spent wrapping up all of the museums and sightseeing that we wanted to do. The work week began with a practice for our presentations. We all gathered together to practice in front of our supportive internship staff and all the other interns. It was extremely helpful to have people giving constructive criticism on the presentations. Since I was involved with my project all along, it was easy to forget that some of the things weren’t common knowledge. The other interns and staff pointed them out, which allowed me to make my presentation significantly better. The last portion of our Monday involved making last-minute changes to our projects and practicing a few more times. Then it was time for the big day.

Tuesday morning finally arrived, and along with it came a bit of nerves. We had to be at ACP a bit early to be sure that everything was ready before it was time to start. Ro’s brother was in town, and he offered a ride to a few of us. After a few mishaps with construction and Apple Maps, we finally made it out to ACP. I was set to go first, so I pulled up my presentation and then sat down to try to keep my nerves in check. Once the presentation started, it wasn’t so bad. I was particularly worried about the questions that would be asked after the presentation, but they all turned out to be very interesting and easy to answer. All in all, it was quite fun. Following our presentations we headed out for a tour of the State Department. The facilities were beautiful, and we got to talk to some of the employees that have a backing in physics. Two of them actually had degrees in astrophysics or astronomy. I have noticed this summer that there was a large number of people who had transferred from astrophysics and astronomy into the political side of things. I mentioned this to one of the people we were talking to, and I actually got to have a nice conversation about it with her.

Wednesday wrapped up the week for me. We gathered at ACP for our exiting surveys and final paperwork. It was sad to realize that the summer was over, but a glance back reminded me of all of the fun I had. It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of people, make a lot of connections, and really solidify my love of science and physics. I couldn’t have asked for a better internship.

Darren McKinnon