Week 7: An Environment and Energy Hearing, NASA on the Hill, and the SPS Capitol Tour

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Friday, July 26, 2013


Katherine Stankus

At NASA Technology Day on the HillThe beginning of the week was dedicated to preparing materials for the upcoming hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. As the point-intern for Wednesday’s Joint Environment and Energy Subcommittee hearing entitled, Lessons Learned: EPA’s Investigations of Hydraulic Fracturing, I helped Staff with research and helped write questions to gain a better insight on what the witness’s views were on the subject matter. At the hearing, I took photos and later uploaded them onto the Minority Committee’s facebook page.

The Society of Physics Students Capitol Tour It is always interesting to compare how you think the hearing will go by reading all the materials (charter, memo, and witness testimonies) and learning background information on the topic to how things actually unfold at the hearing. Members dictate how the hearings will go by focusing on certain topics and asking the witnesses specific questions to clarify or supplement their viewpoint. For this particular hearing, it got pretty heated during the questioning part when Members asked the witnesses if they could give a “yes” or “no” response to whether they could prove that hydraulic fracturing contaminated water resources and if so to cite a specific example. Most of the witnesses gave a vague response because they did not have the data to support a claim on hydraulic fracturing effects on water resources.After a long day of work (two hearings on Wednesday) all the interns went to the NASA Technology Day on The Hill held in the Rayburn Lobby. The event included lots of interesting exhibits for space exploration. For example, companies were there promoting their new designs for astronaut suits & gloves, rovers that explored underground pits and caves, 3-D printing in space, and heating pad materials of a space craft for launching and reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. It was quite fascinating to learn about all the space exploration inventions that are currently being marketed.

Friday afternoon, the other Society of Physics Students (SPS) Interns came and visited the Capitol. The tour included lunch at the Library of Congress Cafeteria, a 13 minute movie introducing the Capitol, an official tour of the Capitol led by a red-coated tour guide, and a tour of the Minority Science Committee Office.

Annas Rahman, Joe Flarida, Pamitha Weerasinghe, Nikki Sanford, & Katherine Stankus This weekend was also very busy for me too. On Friday night, Fiona and I went to a Washington Nationals Game. It was my first professional baseball game and was a ton of fun. On Saturday, I went on a Segway tour of DC and then on Sunday, the other Science Committee interns and I went to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (the other Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) by Washington Dulles International Airport.

Katherine Stankus