Week 6: Work, NIST, and Meetings

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Sunday, July 13, 2014


Benjamin Preis

This week was not altogether that different from last. I went to events, continued to write memos and draft letters. Overall, there were no complaints. I’m learning my way through the underground tunnels and confusing hallways of the Capitol. On Monday, Jennifer Greenamoyer – my supervisor from AIP – came down to the Hill and we grabbed lunch. We chatted about my adjustment to work, what I’m enjoying – what I hope to continue to improve over the next few weeks. I am continuing to get assignments from the legislative director, which is pretty interesting. Although the work does not necessarily coincide with my background, I am certainly learning a lot. On Wednesday I went to an event relating to financial services. In a room full of regulators and staff, I did not exactly feel like I could ask any knowledgeable questions, but I certainly learned a lot, and reported back to staff on what was discussed.

Another great thing to happen this week was scheduling lunch with Congressman Foster. Since my internship is funded through the John and Jane Mather Foundation, I have a rather close relationship with Dr. John Mather. Dr. Mather and Congressman Foster having a shared background in physics, means that Rep. Foster has had lunch with Dr. Mather and his interns every summer. Ashley (the other Mather intern) and I set that up this week for the last week in July. I am extremely excited to get lunch with both of these great physicists.

On Thursday, I took advantage of the Congressional Intern Lecture Series, and heard a lecture by Rajiv Shah, the director of the US Agency for International Development (US AID). It was fascinating to hear about how the US hopes to advance international development. Moreover, it was great to get out of the office bubble. Eavesdropping on the conversations of other interns, I had the opportunity to listen to different opinions, which is always a valuable experience.

I really am enjoying this internship. There are such immense opportunities for learning. Through my research for letters and memos, I am learning about a wide variety of issues about which I knew nothing before. Lectures, briefings, and hearings allow me to interact with and learn from leaders in various fields. Finally, working with the staff members has taught me insight on what it is like to work on Capitol Hill, and all that is involved with this possible career path.

On Friday, I got to enjoy the perk of being an intern with the American Institute of Physics: a tour of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. SPS has twelve internships this summer: two on the Hill, two at NASA, two at NIST, and six at the American Center for Physics. As part of our responsibilities, we take the others interns on tours of the institutions in which we work. Ben and Kelby both work at NIST, and we toured the campus and saw their offices. This included such highlights as: the original kilogram and meter, multiple scanning electron microscopes, and a nuclear reactor. A very, very cool Friday.

Over the weekend, I sadly did not do much. I had come down with quite a bad cough, and decided that my best course of action was to sleep and relax.

Benjamin Preis