Week 6: Independence Day (Without the Aliens)

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Sunday, July 9, 2023


Devin Kodsi

~Song of the Week~ “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift


Due to the generous policies of APS, most of week 6 for me in addition to the other 2 APS interns (Jenna and Jaden) involved a much-needed break from Monday through Wednesday. Thus, most of this week’s blog will focus more on intern activities rather than work-related updates. But not to worry, these are certainly some interesting details of my end-of-the-week work and meetings if you so choose to continue reading up to that point!


As with any type of break, I certainly took advantage of the ability to sleep in during our APS summer break. Monday fully aligned with this type of mindset, and it was nice to be able to recharge from work over the past several weeks through this manner of rest. Other than sleep, the main event of the day involved traveling to a Nationals Baseball game at Nationals Park. This event was paid for by the SPS program and was coordinated with the help of the director Brad Conrad, and we all truly appreciated his work to ensure that we could relax and enjoy the game! I am admittedly not the biggest fan of baseball, but it was really nice to have the opportunity to talk with the other interns in such a beautiful setting. The group had amazing seats right above the “bullpen”, which I had been told was the name for the area where pitchers warm up (like I said, not the biggest fan). I even had the chance to talk with Brad’s wife during the game, where our conversations ranged from schools in North Carolina to EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival. With a hotdog and cracker jacks in hand, the game was over before I knew it with a disappointing loss to the Cincinnati Reds. But one could say that the fireworks at the end of the game made up for such a loss. 




Tuesday marked the celebration of Independence Day, and I began the day with a nice morning run by the National Mall. Sorry, did I say nice? Oh, I meant an extremely hot and humid run among hundreds of people lining up for the upcoming parades. At least the views of the monuments in the spectacular sunlight took my mind off of the heat, in addition to my varied taste in running music that can range from Calvin Harris to Elton John. After returning and drinking an endless amount of water from our room’s Brita, I spent the next few hours cooling off, relaxing, and catching up on Amazon Prime shows including one titled “From” that has currently captivated my binge-watching attention. One of my previous blogs mentioned how many of the interns in early June went to see the new Across the Spiderverse movie, which was an amazing film to watch. However, one intern (Ruthie) hadn’t seen the movie yet! Of course, I along with another intern (Tiffany) was more than willing to see the movie with Ruthie to re-experience the film. It was just as enjoyable as I had anticipated, and after the movie we quickly went to the National Mall to meet up with the rest of the group for fireworks. The other interns had claimed a nice spot near the Washington Monument, and we sat for a few hours playing card games, Backgammon, and listening to music cued up by Jannesa. The firework show began around 9:15 pm, and both the music and fireworks matched the essence of the American spirit where colors of red, white, and blue sparkled while songs by Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, and John Philip Sousa played through the loudspeakers. 






Wednesday didn’t involve too much other than the anticipation of jumping back into the work grind. The humid weather convinced me that it was time for a haircut, which helped to free up some headspace both figuratively and literally. The day passed by quickly, and some interns decided to end the middle of the week with a semi-friendly game night of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. No matter who you are, Super Smash Bros brings out anyone’s competitive side in a brilliant fashion, and this was undoubtedly the case for our evening game session. It had been a long time since I had last played, but I think that I’ll stick with Meta Knight for future game nights. 




Thursday was quite a memorable day on several accounts. For one, my girlfriend Siena had planned to come back to DC from her first visit in June, and I was able to pick her up from DCA that morning. I was really excited to spend even more time with her in DC up until Monday! Second, most of the interns traveled to the ACP office space on Thursday to watch Jenna (our APS Public Engagement Intern) present a workshop on misinformation in the realm of science and general conversations. Jenna did an amazing job with several engaging activities during the workshop, and I had a wonderful time learning more about productive means of conversation involving both active and reflective listening techniques. The free Panera lunch also hit the spot during the meeting. As a current undergraduate student, free food always tastes the best.





During my mentor meeting, we discussed my continuation of the Top Educators list in addition to finishing the update of the HBCU and HSI list for 2021. I will also be considering more ideas for infographics for upcoming meetings in the following weeks, specifically based on information shared with me from previous meetings with other APS departments. I’m looking forward to continuing working on this project to help generate more ideas for future APS efforts! We further discussed work on the old vs. new STEM analysis, which at the moment involves continuing to generate plots for different classifications of individuals and how the new STEM definition differs from its previous definition. She let me know that I can also start looking at other types of analyses if I so choose depending on my continued interest in the STEM analysis, so I will keep this in mind throughout the following week. After work, Siena and I took a refreshing night walk through the monuments on the mall. These walks never get old due to the beautiful nature of the National Mall, and we passed through both the Korean War Veterans Memorial in addition to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. 



Work on Friday included discussions of my efforts to finish the Top Educators list, one of my main focuses during this 2-day work week. My mentor spent some time going back and reviewing some of my goals for the summer, specifically asking if my goals had been met and if there might be any other goals I’d like to set before the end of the internship. I stated how I have been able to gain valuable experience in the realm of both data handling and analysis through my work with Excel, and I talked about how I had enjoyed being able to carry out an analysis of the STEM-based data to better understand its effects. In terms of new goals, I discussed how I’d like to gain more experience in the realm of code implementation for the data. My mentor said that there were many ways I could make this become a reality, ranging from the generation of plots from code to a statistical t-test of different data sets. I’m excited to work on accomplishing such goals before the end of the summer!


Post-work events with Siena entailed a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings due to our shared cravings for the restaurant’s main dish (wings, of course) and a trip to The Wharf. We admittedly intended to take part in line dancing at The Wharf, but the humidity quickly persuaded us to return back to Foggy Bottom. However, we still were able to enjoy our time outside, and we even got to experience a Romanian-based festival by the water! We spent the rest of the night watching Knives Out, admiring Benoit Blanc’s detective skills with our popcorn in hand. 





The weekend was one of the best I have experienced in DC thus far! Siena and I took a trip to DC’s zoo on Saturday, which was a wonderful experience. We hadn’t been back since our trip to DC this past July, and we spent hours looking through the different exhibits. If I could detail every riveting experience we had at the zoo, I’d be sitting here writing this blog for much longer than anticipated. The elephants/turtles and otters called to Siena and I respectively during our visit, but there were so many other mammals, amphibians, and fish that captured our attention. After the zoo, we both were craving Hispanic food and decided to eat at Mi Casa near Dupont Circle. The food was fantastic, and it was a great early birthday meal for Siena! We spent some time with the other interns Saturday night playing card games and going out to Adams Morgan. If you are ever in that area, I’d highly recommend grabbing a slice at Jumbo Slice Pizza! Sunday was a relaxing day topped off with watching The Parent Trap, which I admittedly had never seen before and would recommend to any rom-com fan! 







Week 6, it’s been a pleasure!

Devin Kodsi