Week 2: Meetings, baguettes, and the French

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Monday, June 12, 2023


Jaden Sicotte

Got a favor to ask. I’m not feeling super creative right now so do me a solid and pretend that there’s a really catchy opening line here and that you really want to read my blog post. 

This week brought much more of a workload than the previous. My amazing mentor, Bri Hart, has ensured that I am up to date on all the details of the National Mentoring Community (NMC), APS Careers, and APS in general, which has meant plenty of meetings with various project teams to get me caught up. It’s definitely a lot to keep track of for now but it’s cool to see the backstage glimpse into all the hard work that goes into programs like these. 

I’ve learned that my main task for the summer is to alter the NMC’s matching algorithm. Currently the NMC facilitates and supports mentoring relationships between Black/African, Latinx, and Indigenous physics students and physics mentors. But there are plenty of people (both mentors and mentees) in the system who have yet to match with a mentor/mentee and as a result can’t reap the benefits of the program. So I’m tasked with adjusting the match algorithm to make sure every student finds a mentor. I’m excited that the work I’m doing this summer will have tangible effects on people all over the physics community. 

Monday meant meetings, after which I relaxed with a book by the reflecting pool and then played some frisbee with the other interns. 

Tuesday was quieter, but had more meetings as well (a constant for every day this week so I’ll stop mentioning them). 

Wednesday post work day I got a Capital Bikeshare subscription and took a long bike ride around DC. 

Thursday gave me my first double booked meetings. Lemme tell you, the false sense of importance you get from being expected in two places at once is tantalizing. Did I contribute to either meeting? Course not. But I am absolutely going to chase that fleeting sense of relevance. We also had the SPS Edit-A-Thon which was a great event. After work I met up with a few friends from school and we went out for dinner (I absolutely faced the fattest burger ever).

Friday I had a really productive and helpful conversation with Midhat Farooq, a Senior Careers Program Manager for APS. She gave great career advice, networking tips, and suggestions/resources for planning out my future. My roommate from school came to visit for the weekend and he had a great time hitting Jazz in the Garden with Clay, Janessa, Devin, Devin’s girlfriend Sienna, and myself. Later we hung out with many of the other interns. 

Saturday I languished in purgatory (I had a meeting with my landlord for next year) but got out on good behavior (had a nice afternoon out with my roommate and friends from school). That night my roommate, myself, and the interns wreaked havoc on DC (we all hung out and played card games). 

Sunday was probably the highlight of my week. I went to the French Embassy with some friends and let me tell you, they really rolled out the red carpet. Straight up dude. They had golf cart chauffeurs to take you up the long driveway. Upon disembarking they actually had a red carpet (wasn’t joking), individual name tags for everyone,  and we had to confirm our names were on 3 different lists. The $15 ticket price went to benefit Friendship Place, a fantastic organization fighting to end homelessness in DC. We got to watch a really dope classical music set, ate tons of free food (hella cheese and French baguettes, oui oui), and had the chance to sample several French wines. It was a really cool event and I’m glad I went. Now that I’ve had a taste for high society, I don’t think I can go back anymore. Am I doomed to become a snob? Please advise. 

Glad to be here in DC doing this program, very grateful for two good weeks already. Jusqu'à la semaine prochaine (Google Translate tells me that means until next week in French, practicing for my next Embassy appearance). 

Jaden Sicotte