Week 6: Really Experiencing DC on Capitol Hill

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Friday, July 13, 2018


Kristen Larson

Week 6 truly went by so fast and I can’t believe installation of my exhibit is next week!!

My highlight of the week was on Thursday when we went to Capitol Hill to tour the sites of fellow interns Sam Borer and Sarah Monk. We began the day by going to a hearing on the advancement of AI and the role of Congress. Which was fascinating to see how sub-committees work and the politics of who gets to choose witnesses. I was a little surprised at how much the control of the House and Senate determines the dynamics of almost everything. For example, in the hearing that we went to there were four witnesses and three of the witnesses were called by the majority party and the minority party only got one witness. On certain issues this would give me pause, because the implications of that can be huge. However, from my experience science is non-partisan and this hearing was no different. Some congressional representatives asked really smart and thoughtful questions, and others perhaps watched too many sci-fi movies as preparation for the meeting, but overall I really enjoyed the time spent in the hearing.

One of the committee members that asked excellent questions was Dr. William Foster from IL (holla to a neighboring district!), he actually met with our group and asked each of us what we were doing over the summer. After I explained my summer project he gave me some great leads for the exact area that I was facing a dead end for! I had previously found a lead on the topic of the effects of climate change on sonar activity but the papers were classified, or at least inaccessible, so I couldn’t get a hold of them. I tried to keep my cool but he really helped me out and I am for sure reaping the benefits of the paper he recommend I read on the study from MIT of “Low Frequency Active Sonar Performance in the Arctic Beaufort Lens.”

Afterwards Sam scored us tickets to the Senate Gallery so we could watch Senate members make statements. While we were in there we listened to Sen. Portman from Ohio give a statement on the new Supreme Court judge nominee and then he turned his remarks to the National Parks deficit which, as an avid National Park visitor, I really appreciated his support for addressing the backlog of maintenance issues that many parks across the nation possess. This spurred a lively discussion between my roommate Amanda and I about how we would run the National Parks if we were in charge. And if I do say so myself we would make excellent leaders.

Wow, now that week 6 is over I know that I have a big week ahead of me and I will probably be spending long hours at ACP to make sure I can finish everything and meet some of my goals. And then its smooth sailing until the end, or at least I can leave the building at 5 again.

Wish me luck!

The intern group behind the Statue of Freedom
Intern group after the hearing

Kristen Larson