Week 6: ...Is A Real Girl

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Monday, July 6, 2015


Hannah Pell

As things quickly start picking up for us, I can feel the mid-summer lull start to lift. This past week was super busy with a lot of fun and venturing out.

Bike Touring!Last Sunday, Pat and I spent the day touring downtown D.C. by bike. We rented some of the Capital Bikeshare bikes and rode all over (which I highly recommend giving a try!). It was a perfect weather day and although a bit crowded, I had a great time getting to see so much more of the city. We rode from Woodley to the National Mall area and stopped first at the Smithsonian annual Folklife Festival for a few hours.  This year, the festival focused on Peruvian culture; from what I saw of them, the exhibits were quite interesting.  We picked it back up and biked to the other side of the Potomac to the Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. monuments, also extraordinary sights to see. After a bit more biking, we decided that about ten miles or so was enough for the day and hopped on the metro back to Woodley.

On Monday, we (the ACP crew) hosted all the other interns for the tour of the American Center for Physics.  After breakfast, Shauna and I began the tour with a presentation all about our plans for the SOCK and demonstrated everything we have so far. It was nice to get feedback from the other interns, as well as watch them get excited over the Boomwhackers.  Conner and Brean then led us through the Niels Bohr Library and Archives.  They told us all about their project for the summer, their lesson plans for women in the history of physics, and showed us the Archives.  They pulled some really cool stuff, like Richard Feynman’s first calculus book! After a lunch with the directors of AIP societies, we continued the tour upstairs with AAPT and APS. We had the opportunity to discuss our physics coursework experiences and comment generally about our college’s physics department and program. With APS, we learned more about what the society does with outreach, and got some free copies of the Spectra comic books.

Fireworks at the National Mall

The rest of the week flew by pretty quickly leading right into Fourth of July weekend.  With Friday off, we had plenty of time to relax, kick back, and celebrate. Saturday night, Shauna, Pat and I headed to the National Mall for the fireworks. We made sure to hand out a bunch of SPS diffraction glasses! There were literally thousands and thousands of people around. The incredible display accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra was something I will not soon forget. Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays; for the past few years I spent it performing free community concerts with the Hershey Symphony, so I felt a little nostalgic, but still overwhelmed about getting the chance to celebrate our country in the nation’s capital.

And then… Sunday. I took a train to Baltimore and spent the day in Inner Harbor with two very good friends.  We explored the city area all afternoon to pass the time until the concert at night.  Say Anything, my favorite band in the whole world, was playing at the Baltimore Soundstage along with Hard Girls, Cymbals Eat Guitars, and Modern Baseball.  It was one of the greatest nights I’ve had in a long time.  I’ve been a huge fan since I was 14, and I’ve absolutely loved following their journey for this long, as both I and their music have grown and changed. Although this has only been my second chance to see them, it certainly won’t be the last. They’re incredible, and the amount of energy and support from the crowd was insane.  Thanks again for another awesome night, Say Anything. And Modern Baseball was incredible as well!

Phew. It’s been a long week but certainly a lot of fun.  I’ve noticed that since coming to D.C., I’m much more confident in myself to just go out and explore new places.  I’m comfortable traveling alone and certainly confident in myself to figure things out along the way.  I think that in itself is a pretty important step I’ve taken and shows how much I have grown from this experience so far, and yet another thing that studying physics has done for me.        

Hannah Pell