Week 7: NIST Tour Success

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Friday, July 19, 2013


Alexandra Day

My major accomplishment for this week was successfully hosting a tour of NIST for everyone on Friday. I’ve been planning the tour for about a month now, and I’m pleased with the way it turned out. I owe a great deal of thanks to my mentor, John Suehle, for his help in orchestrating the tour and acting as our tour guide. Although I won’t be able to do justice to the tour simply by writing about it, I’ve included a brief synopsis of the highlights below.

On Friday morning, I got a few hours of work done before meeting everyone and escorting them to the cafeteria for lunch. After that, we met up with John and began our tour. Our first stop was a lab with three scanning electron microscopes, all of which were astounding in their complexity and capabilities. It’s amazing how advances in technology can have such a significant impact on science and vice versa. Next, we went to see a lab that was located in a building 10 meters underground! From there, we took a brief tour of the NanoFab facility, which has more than 60,000 square feet of lab space. Our final two tours took place in my building, where we learned about microelectronics and hybrid nanopores.

At work this week, I began to coordinate more closely with the scientist who will be continuing the project I’ve been working on after I finish my internship. I’m enjoying the chance to work with someone on a more regular basis and to have a sense of where the project will go after my time with it is over. I made some progress graphing my model in MATLAB so I could visualize it more easily, and I’m excited to continue with data analysis next week.

I’m continuing to explore DC in my free time, and I am continually amazed by how much there is to do. One of my favorite places in the city is the National Gallery of Art, which has a lovely sculpture garden. There’s an incredible fountain in the middle where you can dip your feet in the water and avoid the scorching July temperatures that have begun to descend over the city. I’ve grown accustomed to living in a place that is so rich in history and culture, and I’m going to miss it when I go back to school in the fall. The combination of inspiring science at NIST during the day and the vibrant DC atmosphere in the evening is wonderful, and I’m so glad that my SPS internship has enabled me to have these experiences.

Alexandra Day