Week 3: The Team is Here!

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Friday, June 12, 2015


Connor Day

This week was a busy one! The interns spent most of last weekend at outreach events. I attended the Howard County STEM Fest and helped the SPS table run some activities from last year’s SOCK, which was all based on light - polarization, diffraction, UV, etc. It was nice to see people of all ages get excited about science. Outside of the outreach events, I was able to catch up on some sleep, do some shopping, and enjoy the city nightlife.

At work, I am happy to now have two more members of the history team here! The other SPS history intern, Brean, and one history of science graduate student have now arrived, and we immediately began putting our heads together to set goals for the project. We have new ideas for reorganizing the website in which the guides live and are focusing on revamping the lesson plan structure and the activities within them to make them easier to integrate into a regular physics curriculum. I am continuing to find valuable, well-known, and easily accessible resources for us to utilize and provide in the guides. We aim to make these guides much more interactive and engaging for both science students and teachers. One of our more exciting projects involves finishing up a history of physics card game called “Phystory” that we hope to be able to release as a product at the end of the summer!

Social gatherings and free food at the ACP also continued this week. Wednesday brought the bittersweet retirement party for the departing AIP CEO, Fred Dylla, who was one of the first people to welcome the SPS interns on orientation day. The AIP team put on some hilarious skits for Fred, including a rendition of Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just A Bill” regarding the journal publishing process and a “Where in the World is Fred?” skit based on his many travels for AIP during his time in office. Of course, there were lots of snacks, including bacon-wrapped dates, brownies, ice cream, and champagne for toasting to a new chapter of life for the beloved CEO.

On Wednesday evening, a group of us traveled up to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to attend talks hosted by the Baltimore IEEE Women in Photonics group. We enjoyed three short talks by female Ph.D. students regarding their photonics-related research and got the chance to chat with them afterwards. It was refreshing to meet women very similar to myself participating in some very applied and intense research. The next day, I attended a talk at the University of Maryland by another female speaker from the Netherlands who spoke about the climate of physics for women in her home country. Events like this are great reminders of why my work in supporting female physicists is essential to the overall science culture!

Thursday evening brought one of the best events that we have attended thus far - the annual Congressional baseball game. We had a great time - especially since we got to spend some time with the POTUS! Yes, President Barack Obama attended the game, and we were able to snag some photos as he strolled around to greet the players and the crowds. Before coming to D.C., I made jokes about seeing the President, though I never thought it would actually happen. It was surreal. (The baseball was fun to see too!)

It is now Friday afternoon, and it has been a busy day for the SPS team. The SPS Executive Committee is here at the ACP to discuss society business, and I have already had the opportunity to meet them and speak to a few members directly over lunch. The entire group of SPS interns will enjoy dinner with the Committee this evening and take a nighttime tour of the National Mall. This weekend, I plan to focus on making further plans to stay in the city once my time as an SPS intern is complete. I’ll be sure to make some time for fun outside of job hunting!

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Connor Day