Week 10: Looking to the Future

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Monday, September 4, 2017


Riley Troyer

So, I guess it’s finally all over, at least for now. As I write this I’m sitting at my desk, back in Alaska, looking out over some spruce trees instead of a cityscape, realizing just how quick the summer went by.

Perhaps it’s because the events of the summer were so different than usual, perhaps it’s because I was so busy, but now that I am back it hardly feels like I was gone, like it was a dream. Thankfully it wasn’t because this summer, as a Society of Physics Student intern, was one of the best experiences of my life. However, it ended with a pretty hectic last week.

Officially my internship for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee finished on Wednesday. This meant that I had to spend the beginning of the week frantically trying to wrap up all my projects. This was made even harder because on Monday I had a meeting at the Army Research Lab with a battery scientist. It was totally worth it though. Not only did I learn a lot about cutting edge battery research, but I also got a quick tour of their lab and saw some fascinating batteries that are being developed. Despite this trip, I managed to finish most of the things I had been working on over the summer. I finalized my report on energy storage, typed up some order-of-magnitude calculations I had made regarding the electric grid, and cleared out my desk (I had accumulated quite a bit of documents). I was very sad to leave the office and all the incredibly nice and talented people that work there. I wish I could have stayed longer, but hopefully, I'll be able to return to the Capitol sometime soon. 

Even though my internship for the Senate was over, I still had lots of work to do. Over the final two days, all 14 of us physics interns, had to practice and then give presentations about our summer projects, at the American Center for Physics. It was a stressful couple of days and I slept a lot less than I probably should have, but in the end, it all worked out. Every single presentation was excellent. It was clear that all our summers had been amazing and that we had accomplished lots of incredible work.

Saying goodbye to my fellow interns was the hardest thing I had to do all summer. Throughout the 10 weeks of the internship, we had many great adventures. We lived together, we worked together and we exploring the city together and I’ll remember each of them for the rest of my life. I look forward to seeing what we can all accomplish and I’m certain that our paths will cross again in the future.

For myself, this internship has spurred me to continue pursuing science policy. I have one more year left at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After that, I'm still considering my options, but one possibility is returning to Washington D.C. for either a job or continued education. Whatever I end up doing, I know that my experiences as an SPS intern this summer has opened many pathways and will be an enormous influence.

I suppose this is it then. Goodbye…until next time. 

Riley Troyer