Week 9: Starting to wrap things up!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014


Mark Sellers

Like the previous weekends, I took things pretty slow. With all of the outreach events we'd done, I definitely needed some time to sleep in and catch up with friends and family, do laundry, get groceries, play Counter-Strike, etc etc. Also, I knew this next week was going to be very active, so I figured I should enjoy the down time while I could!

Starting on Monday, the interns toured the Pentagon (sorry, no pictures allowed inside!) in the morning and then went to tour the Capitol and visit the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. It was quite a federal day, but still really interesting to see the different branches of government at work. The view from the balcony of the Capitol.Ben Pries took us to some awesome parts of the Capitol, including the balcony overlooking the Washington Monument and the steps where the president is sworn in. We also went to the "whisper spot" in the old House room, where you can hear people talking clearly from across the room but can't hear the people beside you. That blew my mind! At the end of the day, we visited the House Science committee, where Ashley works, and got to chat with some of the scientists on staff. I enjoyed talking to them about their experiences and how they found themselves in the science policy realm.

The remainder of this week was focused on getting ready for Friday--presentation day! Despite the office getting a little hectic with preparations, we all got together on Tuesday to celebrate Toni's time as SPS director. It was a bittersweet affair, since we are all sad to see Toni leave, but we know that she will be moving on to do great work as a professor.

Inside the Capitol visitor center.The remainder of the week involved presentation preparations, with the rehearsal on Thursday and the actual event on Friday. The rehearsal was very useful at pointing out certain aspects of all our presentations that could be improved so we could all shine even brighter during the real thing. For the SOCK presentation, Kearns's and I talked about the formation and development of the SOCK, performed the polarized stained glass activity, and wrapped up by talking about Kearns's experiences at the NIST middle school teachers institute. All of the interns did a really good job with their presentations and it was really cool to see everyone talk about what they had done over the summer.

I will probably never see a receipt that long at a restaurant for a very very long time.This weekend had a "food theme". On Friday night, the interns went out to get endless appetizers at TGI Friday and, as a group, we managed to get through roughly 5 rounds of appetizers before throwing in the towel. We definitely got our money's worth out of it (and a 3-foot long receipt to show for it)! On Saturday, I went out to dinner with Courtney, Nick, and Nick's friend Sean at the "new" Thai Place. On Sunday, the interns went out for a 3 hour long brunch at Scion in DuPont Circle.

It's really crazy to think that we're almost done with this internship, I don't know where the time has gone! I think the SOCK is coming together quite nicely. We just need to focus on getting the last few parts and starting to put together the actual kit!

Mark Sellers