Week 4: A great week featuring an Orchestra Concert and Astronomy on the Mall!

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Monday, June 27, 2022


Lucy Corthell

This past Saturday we went to the most spectacular orchestra concert held by the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F) at the University of Maryland. [NOI+F trains aspiring orchestral musicians, composers, conductors and arts administrators from across the country in a month of dynamic music-making and professional exploration]. Thank you, Jack Hehn, for inviting and organizing this amazing opportunity for us!

Like the orchestra with its various sections and instruments, work has also had a lot of moving parts that all need to be in harmony to get everything done. There are meetings to attend, papers to read, and related tangents to explore via google. This week I took Monday to read a couple articles on on the importance of Juneteenth. I hope everyone else had a reflective Juneteenth as well. During the rest of the week, I was mostly working on running the pipeline that the intern before me, Zeynep, helped make.

For my main project, I am looking at two main sets of data. First, is a list of the institutions that have Physics degrees and second, is a list of institutions with degrees that fall under “all STEM.” Last week, I noticed that there were a few majors in the “all STEM” category that seemed to be missing. So one of my jobs this week was to run the pipeline to see if or how much the results change when I incorporat those degrees (using the old data). We decided to incorporate more degrees to the "all STEM" category because we found a spreadsheet with the list of all STEM degrees decided by the the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

Us interns also had the honor of being invited to a picnic at Mikayla's house this week on Wednesday! The food was spectacular (and included multiple delicious vegan sandwiches with avocado and tempeh bacon) and the location was gorgeous. The roof at her apartment is breathtaking! It was cool to be able to see the roofs of other buildings as well; many had gardens, intricate patios, and pools! Thank you so much Mikayla, Kayla, and other staff it was a lively get together!


Astronomy on the mall! It was very busy and fun! My favorite part was seeing so many people interested in learning about physics and astronomy :) I had the chance to teach an electromagnetic and diffraction demo to the public. The 3.5 hours we were there went by in a flash! After astronomy on the Mall Matangi, Justin, Div, and I walked down the Mall to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art! We got lost multiple times but it didn’t matter too much because there was so much to learn at every turn!


Meeting Bill Nye! Thanks for spotting him, Justin (and thanks for taking over our diffraction table for a little, Taylor)!


Here are some things that I did outside of work this week and with other interns!

Chinatown community festival! This event was exciting to go to because it was hosted by the mayor and had a lot of community based tents and activities. 


The Futures Exhibition! This is a paper thin solar panel that is hanging from the ceiling!! (the blue-looking paper)


Outside of my work this week, as a virtual Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange 2019 - 2020 Alumni, I was able to attend an in person US-German relations event. My mentor, Christine, was very nice in letting me move around my work hours so I could attend. I was able to meet multiple German Diplomats, the Secretary of State (Anthony Blinken), and have lunch in both the US State Department and German Embassy. Danke schöne to the US State Department for organizing all that and to my mentor!

The German Embassy.


Meeting the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken!


The week finished off great with a lunch this Sunday at my professor's house. My professor, Dr. Amr Abdalla, was so kind to invite us to his house for lunch. it was wonderful to catch up with him and my other two friends from college. The food was also to die for - thank you, Dr. Amr Abdalla!

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Until next week,

Lucy Corthell