Week 5: Coasting/Kayaking into July

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Sunday, July 2, 2023


Devin Kodsi

~Song of the Week~ “Feel this Moment” by Pitbull ft. Christina Aguilera


As Bon Jovi would say, we’re halfway there! These past few weeks have gone by faster than I would have ever expected, and I have made several lasting memories in my role and with the other interns. It will undoubtedly be difficult to return to Alabama for the beginning of the end of my undergraduate years, but I know that I will have gained such a wonderful and fulfilling experience over the past summer. Now, before I get too sentimental, let’s hop in on what happened this week!



My intern duties for this week revolved around two meetings with APS’s Bridge and IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) programs to begin forming ideas for our desired infographics. Both programs focus on increasing the diversity and sense of inclusion within the field of physics and STEM, and my mentor set up such meetings so that we could eventually combine my data with Bridge and IDEA’s own data to increase public awareness through visually appealing infographics. On Monday, I was able to discuss a variety of ideas with my mentor for what data the infographics could include. From there, we discussed the creation of a relatively informal slide deck for the two meetings this week. Such a presentation would include our vision of what the infographics might look like, the context of the data, and a few snapshots of finalized data figures that illustrate the breadth of the data we could present to the public. Going along with the near-the-end theme of this blog, we also talked about the final dates for the submission of an abstract and a final presentation. She let me know that the presentation serves as a way to show the other interns, in addition to your finalized work, the process through which you traversed during the summer. I’m definitely looking forward to the final presentation both due to the opportunity to talk about my work in addition to hearing about what the other interns have accomplished.  


Monday night featured an amazing event that most of the interns were able to experience. This event was called “Astronomy on Tap,” and it involved 3 talks given by NASA workers about the wonders and mysteries of space. It was right up our alley, and we were able to learn more about their work which ranged from coronal mass ejections to black hole jets. Also, no need to show off, but all of the space trivia prizes were won by SPS interns. With the power of the interns, no trivia night is safe.




My first infographic meeting took place on Tuesday, where I was introduced to two employees affiliated with the Bridge program. After my presentation, they offered up some interesting ideas regarding the use of one chart illustrating the disparities of marginalized races in the field of physics. I was also able to chat with them at the end of the meeting about general career advice and their experiences at APS, which was certainly a valuable experience. Other than that, my mentor meeting brought up another task to complete since I had recently finished updating the graph data. My next task was to update what is known as the “top educators list” on the APS website, which basically provides a tabulated summary of physics degree-related data for different institutions. The older tables can be found here if you’d like to investigate further: Click Here. Luckily, the data for updating these tables is located in the Uberspreadsheets I’ve been working with for the past several weeks. So it should be a walk in the park, right?


The day that most ACP interns go into the office (Wednesday) featured my second meeting for the week, this time with the IDEA team. Similar to Tuesday’s meeting, the team was able to provide insightful information and perspectives for the infographics. One topic involved the use of the team’s data on the types of organizations in APS in addition to possibly using physics retention data I’ve been able to gather. We’ve got a ways to go before we actually disperse any infographics out to the public, but we’ve certainly had a good start so far! In addition to these meetings at the beginning of the week, I spent some time working on my STEM-based project for the internship (did you think I had forgotten?). My mentor was able to create a new spreadsheet with the old STEM classifications to compare with the new CIP codes, and I was able to generate old vs. new STEM plots for different races and ethnicities. I discussed these updates with my mentor, to which she advised further analysis into the data of comparisons for gender in each race and ethnicity category. My work has also entailed finalizing the update of an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institutions) list based on the 2021 data. Such updates will help APS better determine the classifications of different institutions in the United States. 


I have to say that one of the most enjoyable nights of the week took place on Wednesday. One of the returning past interns (Janessa) talked last week about participating in kayaking and paddleboarding on the Potomac River with the Potomac Conservatory. This organization carries out different conservation efforts for the river throughout the year, and the money spent on kayaking and paddleboarding tickets goes straight to their initiatives. With such a noble cause and the prospect of a wonderful time, several interns including myself went to the river to check in and grab our gear. Admittedly, I did chicken out of paddle boarding due to my fear of falling into the river. From 6:30 up until 8 pm, we spent our time traveling down the river and admiring the continuously-changing color of the sky from baby blue to rose pink. As with any good thing in life, the experience was over sooner than desired, but we all are planning to return the week after next to make even more memories on the water!





Work on Thursday mainly involved a continuation of the top educators list update, and we specified the ways in which clarification comments should be made for each table summary. Such clarifications involve concepts like the reasoning behind the number of institutions included in each list to ensure that observers understand the logic behind each table. Stemming from the meetings earlier this week, we detailed the steps I would need to take to progress the infographic project. Based on the comments and questions from our meeting, I will need to determine ways in which to present the desired data so that the information is both visually appealing and comprehensible. Since APS has a summer holiday from Monday through Wednesday of next week, I will continue to spend more time considering such options for the vision of the project. 


Friday entailed a wonderful meeting with the APS Public Engagement team as a part of the APS intern lunch and learn activities set up by the organization. The other APS interns and I learned so much from each employee during this meeting, ranging from their favorite thing working for APS to any advice they would give to their past selves. I have really enjoyed these meetings over the summer, as they have provided me not only with key pieces of advice but a vast amount of meaningful connections as well. While one might expect me to provide a brief overview of my mentor meeting next, this is not the case. Why, might you ask? Well, it’s because the interns were able to take part in a tour of the capital with our intern working at the capital (Ruthie)! This tour is put together by the AIP Mather Policy Intern, and we were all excited to see the inside of our nation’s capital that afternoon. Our hopes and excitements were certainly met by the extravagant nature of the building along with its intricate history, and we had a filling linner (in-between lunch and dinner) that ended the afternoon on a perfect note. Who knew that touring the U.S. government could make someone so famished? 




The weekend went even faster than these past five weeks (and not just because of its shorter length of time in comparison). The days were filled with several intern activities and get-togethers leading into Independence Day, where one of the interns (Janessa) even had the opportunity to DJ in the city. Don’t ask me how she convinced the DJ to let her help, but she definitely rose to the occasion with her choice of music!   



Week 5, here’s looking at you kid! 

Devin Kodsi