Week 7: MMIA: Mentors Missing In Action

Share This:

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Phoebe Sharp

If you are a huge fan of comics and fandoms, then you might be aware that this week is THE Comic Con in San Diego. That means that anyone and everyone that likes comics can go to San Diego and nerd out with other nerds. Because APS Public Outreach has the Spectra comic series, all three of the APS Public Outreach staff are out and about promoting Spectra. So, I’m holding down the fort. I’m researching my next article for the Physics Buzz Blog, working on accessible descriptions of various areas of physics for some redesign work on the website, and writing this blog. I have also spent some time investigating jobs in science in the DC area. Thankfully, there are many, so my work is in finding ones that I’d like to do and that I qualify for. I’d like to plug SPS, APS, and AIP for their work in providing so many resources for recently graduated physicists on getting into the workforce, finding the right grad school, and any other next step that a college students can take.

I think I underestimated the amount of independent time that employers give in a work setting. I appreciate that time because without the stress of looking productive, I end up getting more work done. But, too much of anything can be bad, and being on task and focused for a week without the stress of looking productive was more challenging for me than I thought. This will be helpful for me with future employers. I enjoy the ability to work on a project wholeheartedly, and having that time to work on Physics Central’s mobile presence and my article on Triboluminescence was appreciated.

This next week, I’m hoping to work on another article, survive the torrential downpour that I’m discovering aren’t uncommon in DC, and successfully represent myself in some interviews. I think it’s easy from previous experience to say the things that I have done but not what I have gotten from those experiences. For example, I did research for three years looking at how ultrasound can be used to detect osteoporosis in bone. What I got from this research was great Excel skills, public speaking skills, organizational skills, a stronger ability to analyze data, to work with other labs and instruments, write a long and tedious paper about a specific parameter I worked on, etc. Research is very helpful, and many science people know that. But explaining what you got from doing so much research is difficult. Another example: At my internship with APS, I work to provide accessible content any science-interested reader, provide assistance with their website, and synthesize broad areas of physics into bite-size pieces. What I’ve gotten from this internship have been better science-writing skills, better communication skills, and better collaborative skills.

But remember, doing things for what you get out of them isn’t a great motive for doing anything. Just do what you enjoy, and you’ll figure out what you gained from that experience later on.

Phoebe Sharp