Week 9: The Final Countdown!

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Monday, July 31, 2023


Devin Kodsi

~Song of the Week~ “The Final Countdown” by Europe


We’re almost there! As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. But I think a part of me wishes that this summer would keep going just a little bit longer. I guess this is just a part of the innate human condition, continually wishing for more time to make more of one’s experience. However, what’s important is the way that we used the time we have, and I can say that I used the time that I had this summer to the best of my ability. Before I get too emotional, I’ll go ahead and start reflecting on this previous week to provide insight into both my work and the intern activities. On a side note, I want to go ahead and apologize for the left-skewed nature of the blog’s photos due to most of the activities taking place in the latter half of the week. So, get ready for a block of text and some cool photos to follow!


Monday’s work mainly entailed reviewing and editing my presentation for the APS Programs team on Tuesday. I can say that it is certainly nice to have a space to practice this presentation a week before the rough draft is due for the internship. I think that one of the most difficult parts of the presentation, other than trying to squeeze all of my work into 8 minutes, is trying to make the presentation engaging for listeners. This doesn’t mean that I perceive my summer’s work as boring, but I know that my audience will have no idea about the various acronyms or data files I’ve been working with this summer. Thus, I want to make sure that I provide this understanding for them in both an informative and engaging manner so that they remember what was discussed during the presentation. So as you can tell, I’ve still got some work to do, but I’m excited to see it through. Other than working on my presentation, I was able to review most of the tasks I had completed this summer to see if any revisions needed to be made. This involved work on updating the APS education statistics graph Excel files and images, the Top Educator lists, the HBCU, BSI, and HSI list, and separating the Excel files into categories of table templates. The last task is one I had been working on more recently, where I am divvying up each of the Excel tables into one of four templates of my creation. This will provide a clearer allocation of the data and hopefully for a future code implementation of data input. And finally, after much work, I was able to turn in the finalized version of my abstract! This was a bit nerve-wracking to create, but it felt good to finally complete it. 


Tuesday marked the day of the APS intern (Jenna, Jaden, and I) practice presentations! We each presented to the APS Programs team via Zoom and received feedback from the team upon finishing. I presented for about 10.5 minutes, which marked a clear way I could improve, and afterward, my mentor discussed some ways that I could further improve the presentation based on their feedback and the feedback of others. Ranging from making the slides slightly less cluttered to keeping my audience in mind, I know that this feedback will certainly help my presentation leading into the final week of the internship. In addition to my practice presentations, I made progress with my mentor for our infographic work. We are working with a collection of about 5 graphs and data sets that we plan to bring to the marketing team, ranging from the percentage of physics bachelor degrees awarded to Hispanic Americans and Latinos to the percentage of physics bachelor degrees awarded to women. I will be working on more of the language for the infographics this week to prepare for next week’s marketing meeting.     


In addition to continuing tasks with the Excel table templates, most of Wednesday entailed working on the text for the infographics due to the proximity of the internship’s end. I had made some strides in a “rough-draft” form of the text, and my mentor discussed the vision for what we’d like for the text to evoke to viewers of the infographics. This not only involved presenting a drive for change to the audience, but it also involved illustrating how APS is working with this data to stay committed to its core values of diversity and inclusion. I’ll be making final edits to this text through the remainder of the week, making sure to include how we can pair this data with other APS programs (i.e. CUWiP and Bride statistics) in addition to directing viewers to the APS webpages for more information. Today, I also made some final edits to the Top Educators lists, where I mainly focused on formatting issues. These lists won’t be updated soon after I’m gone since my mentor is checking on the “lower bound” for these lists (a 3-year average of 3.333 as a minimum), but I’ll be sure to complete them before I leave so that she has all of the necessary information for updating the website. Wednesday night involved an intern game night of the Azul board game, which takes a bit longer to play than one might imagine but is still fun nonetheless. 


Our last workshop took place virtually on Thursday, where we talked with Dr. Midhat Farooq about the creation of an effective skills-based resume. I had the chance to talk with Dr. Farooq a few weeks back, and I learned so much information from this workshop that I know I’ll use. Who knew that writing a resume could be so stress-free if you had the right approach? Thursday’s mentor meeting was two-folded, focusing on comments for the updated graph tables and images and discussing a semi-finalized version of the infographic text. The former included comments such as updating the text found on a few images and represented minor updates just to make sure that the files were ready for uploading onto APS’s web pages. For the infographic work, we went through and reviewed the text I had updated. While I still have edits to make for the following week, the updates I made helped to provide a clearer message for the infographics, thus increasing their level of comprehensibility for future audiences. For Thursday night, I observed a group of interns continuing a space-based DnD campaign called Lightspeed which was quite entertaining. 


Friday was certainly a memorable part of the week due to the intern tour of the National Institute of Standards and Technology! We have a handful of interns out of the cohort who have been working with NIST throughout the summer, and I had always wanted to tour the secrets of NIST ever since I heard about the research the interns were conducting. And yes, I’m not a spy, just a nerdy physics kid who gets excited at the prospect of looking at science stuff. The day was both hot and humid, which made the hour-long trip to NIST go by a bit slower than expected. But it was all worth it as we trekked across the NIST campus and soon entered the main building, filled with the history of the organization through various displays. From here, we began our journey toward a day filled with a variety of tours, where we heard from a diverse range of researchers about their work with the organization. Ranging from additive manufacturing with metal 3D printers to the blending of physics and chemistry in the realm of forensic science, I was completely captivated by every tour. We even toured a division of NIST that standardizes force measurements, working with a million-pound collection of 20 metal plates that each weighed 50,000 pounds! If I ever have a chance to work with NIST, I’ll apply faster than you can say “trace explosives and narcotics detection!” I’d highly recommend checking out this video, which shows what type of forensics research is being conducted at NIST in addition to what the heck I just exclaimed means: video here. (and if you are wondering, that last photo is a clone of Newton’s apple tree!)











Despite the disheartening realization that this would be our last weekend together, a group of interns traveled to a dueling piano bar Saturday night. I had never been to a piano bar up until that point, and I would love to go back! We had a wonderful time singing to the most iconic songs one might think of when considering famous piano music, such as “Don’t Stop Believing” and, of course, “Piano Man.” We were there for at least three hours, but it seemed to go by in a span of only 30 minutes. The rest of the weekend was filled with mainly catching up on work and rewatching some of my favorite DreamWorks movies in the evening. 






Thanks for everything Week 9!

Devin Kodsi