Week 3: Crazy News Week

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Monday, July 17, 2017


Riley Troyer

Wow, what a week! It is certainly a busy time to be in DC.

Every morning I wake up and see that the top news story is only a few miles away. Last week it was the Comey hearing; this week it was the Sessions hearing and then the terrible shooting during a morning baseball practice for the Congressional Baseball Game. I’m certainly glad that the four victims survived, but it was unnerving to have such a shooting happen so close. 

On the plus side I think I’m starting to get the hang of DC life. Once I get over the heat and humidity it’s not so bad. Around rush hour the city runs like clockwork. Metro trains pull up to the station. People stream off. People stream on. Escalators change directions depending on traffic flow and there are rarely any holdups. I really like the efficiency. Working in an office on Capitol Hill is also starting to feel normal. It’s weird to think that walking by the Capitol Building or senators offices is already becoming routine.

I got to see the Senate in action this week. Myself and another intern from the committee attended what we’re pretty sure was a vote. It was a bit confusing and a little chaotic. Senators slowly trickled into the gallery, but very few of them actually sat down and most were just wandering around talking to each other. However, I did catch glimpses of Sen. Sanders, Warren, Rubio, McCain and many others. On the way back someone stepped into our elevator just as the doors were closing. Both of us recognized him as a senator, but we couldn’t remember which one (maybe I should get some flashcards together). I looked afterwards and it was Sen. Tom Cotton.

I’m amazed at how much I have learned so far considering it has only been three weeks. I attended several more briefings including one about the future of semiconductors and computer memory. I found this fascinating and even asked a question about quantum computing. I was also given the task of concisely explaining some of the projects in the high-energy physics section of the 2018 budget request.  This was a great test of my education and even though I haven’t had any particle physics courses I was able to understand most everything. Through this process I learned a lot about the current state of the field. I’m looking forward to watching projects like the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) develop. 

Riley Troyer