Week 10: Gratitude, Goodbyes, and Getting Struck by Lightning

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Sunday, August 7, 2022


Emma Goulet

I am writing this blog post in a very different place from all of my other editions— from my home in Massachusetts. It feels almost as though the internship never happened being back here— it was an abrupt change back to my previous life as if I never lived in DC, and it feels odd.

 Justin's amazing edit

To start— I will give an overview as usual about work this week! It was pretty much a massive rush to try to get all of my multiple projects and loose ends tied up, while also attempting to pack and prepare for our final symposium presentations. On Friday, we had our last official day together as interns for the final symposium. At this event, we all presented our work over the summer, got interviewed, shared an amazing lunch, and enjoyed eachothers company one last time as we mingled with mentors, friends, and family. Everyone looked professional and did a truly wonderful job presenting their projects! I am truly imporessed with the work everyone did an appreciated the differences between each of our individual experiences. The 2022 reat job everyone :) 


Justin's actual presentation

The presentation went well!

I published a couple of things, and worked on many more to be published in the next few months! Here are some of the projects that I worked on:

I will also have two more projects that will be published this year! This will include:

  • An article in the AIP History Newsletter about Katherine, invisible technicians in science, and credibility. This will be published in the November edition: https://www.aip.org/history-programs/history-newsletter
  • An article in the AIP History Newsletter about Katherine Clerk Maxwell’s family in relation to their dog Toby (which is a truly peculiar story), to be published in the November edition: https://www.aip.org/history-programs/history-newsletter
  • An article on Physics Today about du Châtelet as an example of women’s misrepresentation in media, relating to her sexual affairs being misconstrued and hilighted more than her intellectual pursuits because of her role as a woman. This will be published around November as well: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/journal/pto

 This does mean that I will have much more work to do in the coming months in order to publish both of them, but I am excited and thrilled to have the opportunity to ‘put my name out there’ in so many ways through this internship! Thank you so much to my mentors for making this possible, and pushing me to publish so many different things. I really appreciate it, and absolutely loved the opportunity.  

This leads me to my next point, which I will keep brief for the sake of space in my far-too-long blog posts. My mentors and the SPS office have been nothing short of incredible. They have been extraordinarily patient, supportive, and helpful as I have learned how to do history research— even if this did consist of me finding barely more than what was on Katherine’s Wikipedia page after weeks of searching through all of her husband’s personal correspondence (which I learned is, in fact, what much of archival research involves). Everyone was constantly available and happy to chat and entertain whatever I had to say, and I really could not have done any of this without their support.

My amazing mentors 

Again— I definitely do not take my experiences for granted, and recognise how lucky I am to have such wonderful people around me! Special thanks to Corinne, Audrey, Joanna, and the entire NBLA and CHP staff for welcoming me onto their team, inviting me to their events, and being open to any questions. The SPS officers were also far too generous to us, helping us with anything at all, and going above and beyond to include us in their communities… insert Brad handing me Oreos and notes over office barriers with a yard stick, Andrew always being available for a chat, and Kayla & Mikayla hosting picnics and enduring the pain of organising all of us. The rest of the employees at the CHP that I met were all just lovely— just to name a few, I had some wonderful conversations with Vanessa, Jack Hehn literally gave me the entire idea for my work on du Châtelet and my actual thesis, and everyone with the Foundation really gave me a glimpse into what my potential career could involve. 

Sincerely, I am endlessly grateful to everyone and did not have a single bad experience. I will absolutely miss this <3

 Brad being super unapproachable

Next, aside from the professional aspect of this week, it was absolutely crazy trying to tie up the ends of an internship, make and practice presentations, contract separation anxiety from the other interns, as well as pack up the whole room and boxes for the next interns.

Monday was the last D&D session. We took this one on foot, playing outside of the Lincoln monument during a beautiful sunset. Taytay did a fantastic job with the campaign, and we are planning on trying to continue playing virtually to stay in touch.

 Last DnD and sunset

This week, my dad was also in town for work! This meant that on Tuesday I got to stop by his hotel after work, and we walked around the city for a bit before I picked up Janessa from her Hamilton show, and the two of us got to enjoy a quiet night together while getting organized for the week. 

Wednesday brought even more fun after work; I met my dad and his coworkers for dinner, pawned off a small suitcase on him to bring home (a real lifesaver), and then met some friends at the Wharf to watch a life outdoor band! I do wish that I had taken more advantage of the wharf area while in DC as there really is so much to do there, and the sunsets are always beautiful. We had a delicious crepe night after we got back as well— in our attempts to spend as much time together as possible and use up any remaining food we had.

Sunset and performances on the water

the show 

Thursday after work I did very nearly almost get struck by lightning… that sure was interesting. I was the last one at CHP, and had waited an additional 40 mins for severe thunderstorms to pass and let me make the walk to the metro from work. I thought that there was a pause in the storm and started the trek home, which quickly turned into a run because of the sheer volume of lightning rods striking the ground around me and the height of my hair standing strait up. I’m not sure I have ever been so genuinely scared for my life, lightning did strike the ground about 30 feet from me, and learned that a few people were killed by lightning strikes that same day. I got lucky to get this internship in the first place... and then I got lucky again by not being struck that day.

I ended up in this predicament it was the last night with all of the interns, as some with cars were set to leave on friday night, and I didn’t want to miss it. So, we spent a long time packing up boxes for incoming interns as well as our own suitcases, and sharing whatever food we had left to use! We had another transient snack potluck with any scraps that could make something together, with nachos, pizza, cheese, and lots of frozen food. Thank you so much to everyone who helped with the boxes!

 The storm literally made the news

Packing up with Taytay

On Friday after the presentations, delicious lunch, and great conversation, Brad came out to GW to pick up some boxes and join us for our last-ever weekly Happy Hour. We went to get some final $5 tots from Quigleys, and celebrated Brad’s belated birthday with a card (a note to future interns: Brad’s birthday is August 2nd). Those of us that hadn’t left yet stuck around together for a bit on Friday night, reluctant to leave.


Brad's belated birthday

Saturday was travel day. Janessa left at 4am (Saksham and I woke up to say a farewell, and promptly go back to bed), and 4 of us left to head in the direction to go into the airport later that day. We made our rounds knocking on some doors to say goodbye to whoever was left, and then had a hilarious time getting through the airport… my airline got switched, Lucy got a full pat-down, and both of Saksham’s bags got held up. He had to have full bag checks, and did his laundry on the floor real quick before we moved out of security. Saksham and my flights were also both delayed to roughly the same time, so we got to hang out and get lunch together for a few hours before saying the last sad goodbye of the internship… and then it was officially over. 

 Security checks making Saksham do his laundry again...

On a personal note, I want to thank all of my mentors, the SPS officers, and the interns for all of their kindness and patience throughout this experience! Everyone that I met in personal and professional settings have been absolutely wonderful and more than willing to reach out and make connections. I have most definitely made some lifelong memories and friends this summer, and am genuinely a little heartbroken to have to leave. 

Thank you to the interns for making this experience what it was— we literally did something every single day during the ten weeks, getting to know each other, the city, and trying any new opportunity that we had access to. Thanks to everyone for entertaining my ‘I have never lived in a city and want to do everything possible’ mindset, and joining me on this fantastic adventure! 

Our last time together

I am thrilled to have had such fun and learned such wonderful things from all of the people around me. I won’t forget this, though I wish I could forget the hundreds of ice cream truck’s jingle that yelled ‘hello’ around the city every 75 seconds. That ‘hello’ will most definitely echo in all of our minds and hearts forever…. 

 From our last $5 tots at Quigley's

Thank you so much everyone <3

Emma Goulet