Week 2: All Work and all play

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Friday, June 21, 2013


Christine O'Donnell

As cliché as it sounds, it’s incredibly amazing to think this is already the end of the second week. My calendar seemed to be less packed with activities, and yet the time flew by even faster.

This week started off with a STEM outreach festival on Sunday at Howard County Community College. We tested a couple demos developed by the SOCK interns, including transmitting sound via a laser beam and comparing diffraction patterns of LEDs and lasers. I used to do these sort of outreach activities in high school, so it was a lot of fun to work with young kids again.

In terms of work-related things, it was another busy week. For the advocacy materials that I’m creating for AAPT members, I want to include a “stat pack” of sorts to give members access to numbers and data on physics and science education. Effective arguments are often backed by hard data and a good statistic, and advocates typically leave “one-pagers” when they meet with policymakers. A one-pager is a short brief to reinforce the relationship with the policymaker and show that the advocate is a good source of information when the policymaker needs an answer to a question. The document often includes large graphs and graphics, so I’m working to collect useful information for members to use when creating one-pagers and similar documents.

Additionally, I went to a Summit on Monday held by the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF) about how to increase the number of STEM graduates. It was interesting to hear all the different viewpoints, and I can incorporate those concerns when developing advocacy materials (e.g., I can make sure that I frame issues to alleviate those concerns). I also attended a video conference with AAPT’s Policy Consultancy to get their views and opinions on the work I’ve been doing.

Now, that’s not to say this week was all work and no play – on the contrary, there was lots of play. We went to the Ben & Jerry’s in Georgetown, watched The Italian Job (2003 version) at an outdoor theatre, and will go to a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. We’ll also be going to the Newseum this weekend. The ACP picnic was on Wednesday, including an egg race, open mic, and free barbeque. And this paragraph is nowhere near being an exhaustive list of everything that’s happened this week :)

I think I’ve made good progress on my project and will be able to give AAPT some really nice advocacy resources at the end of this. I’ve also made good progress on exploring the field and enriching my own knowledge. And so, it’s onto the next week of the internship – and if these two weeks are any guide, it’s going to be a blast.

Christine O'Donnell