Week 9: The Final Countdown (na na na na)

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Sunday, July 27, 2014


Jacob Zalkind

The Final Countdown (na na na na)

What a week of craziness! Between visitors, field trips, farewell shindigs, days of preparation and the everyday grind of life it's a wonder we get anything done at all! But to use the old cliché, where there's a will there's a way. After the success at our Advisory Meeting in week 8, I had a nice and relaxing weekend with my friend from back at Shippensburg as well as with my fellow interns. We also made a Gargantuan brunch complete with french toast and eggs any way we asked for, courtesy of Ashley, Kelby and their kitchen. Monday morning consisted of a change of pace, starting with a visit to the Pentagon in the morning and to the Capitol in the afternoon. The pentagon was a really cool place as it is more than just a building with a funky shape, there's a lot going on there between the swarms of army guys and girls and other staff hard at work in that building. While there we also checked out the 9/11 memorial at the pentagon and paid our respects there, another really humbling experience that really puts into perspective how small we all really are. On a more upbeat note, the Capitol was a really awesome trip, the likes of which I may never experience again! With Ben (Preis) as our tour guide for the first part of the tour, we saw the chambers of the house as well as some other really cool areas, including a really great view from the Balcony above where presidents are sworn into office. After seeing just about all there is to see in the Capitol building, we made our way over to the Rayburn Building to see the offices and committee offices over there, in particular Ashley's place of work in the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. I also meandered on up to my own representative Jim Gerlach's office, but sadly he was back home in Pennsylvania. That didn't stop me from looking in his office and sitting on his couch. After I met back up with the main group Ashley showed us the committee office and all there was to see in there. So cool!

The rest of the work week consisted mainly of boiling down our presentation from the Advisory meeting, a one hour presentation, into a twenty minute presentation for Friday. Easier said than done, because all of the information in the big presentation I felt was really important but at the same time we really needed to discern what we needed and what could be cut from the original. The end result wasn't too shabby, if I do say so myself, although as we found out Thursday, during our practice run-through of the presentation, there was still a few things to fix. By the time Thursday rolled around, I had received another visitor in Washington, this one from closer to home. My brother came to town on Thursday evening to watch my presentation and spend the weekend afterwards celebrating. Good times!

Friday came just as it had went...pretty swiftly. I would say that our presentation went off without a hitch, but that would strictly speaking be not true, as the power to the entire building went out right in the middle of our presentation. That being said, we picked it right back up and after a few words to get us back on track, the rest of the presentation went by just fine! It was also great to see the culmination of my fellow interns' work too! I learned about everything from Eta Carinae (Eta as it is now colloquially referred to) to biophysics at NIST and everything in between. With just one week left at work, I wonder what the last week of the summer has in store for us. How exciting!

Photo: Cool Hallway in the Capitol

Jacob Zalkind