Week 8: Luxurious Homelessness

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Monday, July 22, 2019


Sariah Mevs Phipps

So on Monday I became homeless….not really but I did have to work in the kitchen. The 6th floor had become over crowded with people, so I had to work elsewhere. But it really isn’t bad at all! After all, the lunch room does have a flat screen TV, close access to hot chocolate, and comfy couches. There was even some leftover cake brought in and I had first dibs! So really, I suppose I got an upgrade.

Work this week was pretty relaxed. I was able to finish gathering information on the wiki pages I was working on and helped my mentor prepare for the Siegman School that OSA hosts in Finland. The only difficult thing was publishing the career section of the optics4kids website. It turns out that there is a character limit instead of a word limit, so I had to drastically alter everything I had written. No matter though, I quite enjoy working on Optics4Kids.

On Tuesday we had the NIST tour which was tons of fun! My favorite part was being in the anechoic chamber, also known as one of the quietest places on Earth. Walking in, I immediately noticed the strange feeling in my ears. There were sounds being produced by my steps and the people around me, but everything just felt so still. It was so quiet, that you could hear your own stomach fluids. I honestly would have loved to just spend all day marveling at the silence. The second coolest thing was a piece of the twin towers after it had collapsed. The twin towers were built to withstand the impact of a plane, so people were confused as to why the towers crashed. It turns out that the planes had knocked off the flame retardant, causing the safety measures to melt.


Friday was another fun day. To celebrate National Ice Cream Day, the office had an ice cream party! They served us Ben and Jerry’s with cookies and brownies! On top of that, there was more leftover cake so I was all sugared out. After eating my ice cream, I went downstairs to welcome the other interns to the OSA tour! Since OSA isn’t a campus, we didn’t have an all day tour like the other tours I’ve been on. Instead, we had a few speakers and pizza. We were privileged to have Alison Taylor and Stewart Wills from the journaling team come and tell us how to get our works published. Alison had little quizzes and prizes for us so we had fun. After that, I gave the interns a brief tour of the office and explained what goes on in the office. We then sat and ate pizza. It was a pretty fun day.

My favorite part of the week was going to the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 at the Washington Monument! It was packed with thousands of people, but luckily Andrew and I were able to find good seats. Before the show had started, I was pretty entertained by the oncoming lightning and the people chanting, “Please sit down!” to those who were standing. When the show finally started, the Apollo 11 was projected on the Washington Monument and I was able to experience the coolest 17 minutes of my life! I’m so glad that I was able to come to DC during this historic time and experience so much!

Sariah Mevs Phipps