Week 6: Fourth of July Weekend

Share This:

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Ashley Finger

The week leading up to Independence Day was a recess week for Congress. As a result, I had expected the week to go slowly with no hearings, markups, or briefings to speak of. What I found to be true, however, was quite the opposite—the days flew by as I received projects from staff members related to potential future hearings. My research projects generally included writing memorandums to brief staff members on old hearings, recent hearings in other congressional committees, and past speeches made by congressional representatives. I also took the time to increase my background knowledge of upcoming hearing topics: fusion energy and the Clean Water Act.

Wednesday afternoon was the highlight of my week—I met with the physicist who sparked my interest in science policy and encouraged me to apply for the Mather Internship. She was as inspiring as ever as we talked about the network of physicist in Washington, D.C. and engaging young scientists in policy.

My work week came to a close early as everyone in the office readied themselves for a patriotic long weekend.

The interns (and friends) who arrived early to the National Mall. As fireworks approached, the National Mall filled with people.I was the first person awake on the Fourth of July, starting off my day with a run past the monuments and grocery shopping for an all day picnic on the National Mall. Kirsten and I, along with a fellow Davidson physicist who came to visit, arrived at the mall at 11:30 a.m. to claim an ideal spot next to the Washington Monument. Our day on the mall included a parade, frisbee, a trip to the National Portrait Gallery, and enough food to feed all of us (and more) for the entire day. As it grew dark, Stephen, Mark, and Kirsten started to hand out Society of Physics Students diffraction glasses to families there to see the fireworks—explaining the physics and the enhanced viewing experience they would provide. The already stunning fireworks were made infinitely better with some very basic physics—the oohs and ahs from those with diffraction glasses were frequent and audible

With such a busy Friday, it seemed as though my weekend should be over. However, I still had two full days which I filled with the National Building Museum (and its giant, indoor maze), catching up with some fellow Davidson alumni, and shopping with Kirsten.

Ashley Finger