Week 9: Speeches, Smithsonians, and a Snack Surplus

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Sunday, July 31, 2022


Emma Goulet

As per tradition: this blog post is being written in consignment (Janessa and I's room), while a bunch of the interns are hanging out and sharing potluck food on Sunday night. Everyone is joking and getting their fill of some delicious food (even though we are all pretty much using up random things that we have left and cannot ship home, which means that there are large quantities of soup and spaghetti); I am most definitely going to miss this, and it is most definitely setting in that it truly is the last week. This past weekend was our last one together, where we have really been cramming in as much as we can to spend time together and soak up the city. Though I miss my friends and family at home, I honestly don't know how I'm going to go back to my tiny, rural school after the city experience and wonderful friends that I have made. I will absolutely be writing more about the end of things in next week's final post—and am currently trying to avoid that thought completely. 

 Janessa is the love of my life, Saksham is a talented photographer and also the love of my life

At work this week, I did the same as last week in terms of finishing up all of my projects! The many different projects that I bounce between are as follows: 

For the two teaching guides: I finished up both Katherine Clerk Maxwell and Émilie du Châtelet's lesson plans! These are both for the grades kindergarten through second grade, and have all of the potential lesson plan elements such as biographies, activities, worksheets, extension activities, supplementary materials, handouts, connections to Common Core Standards, etc. It was most definitely a learning curve to figure out how to actually teach kids, and learn how to simplify complicated physics topics down to younger audiences. However, I had a blast, and am particularly fond of  

du Châtelet's lesson—I think it was much easier and more fun to be creative with her lesson plan because it was the second one that I worked on and I already had some idea of the age group's prior knowledge as well as more experience with what a teaching guide entails.  

For the three outreach articles: First, I finished my article for Ex Libris Universum! Though it is not posted as of yet, I will link to the article next week, as soon as I finish setting up my authorship account for the NBLA blog. I also got most of the way through my Katherine Clerk Maxwell article, which I have switched to be posted on the AIP History Newsletter, rather than Physics Today (PT). This switch is because of a request from the editors, where I am now writing the du Châtelet outreach article on media misrepresentation to likely be posted in PT rather than Katherines. I also have expanded the scope of both of these articles, despite the (extremely) little time that I have left in this internship, and am really just making it so that I am going to have a very busy week, and might not be able to finish my goals by the end of this internship (we have SPS obligations all day on Thursday and Friday, so I really only have three days to do all of this). Katherine's article is now going to extend further past invisible technicians and partners of scientists to touch upon the 'file drawer problem' AKA 'publication bias' in journals and any media surrounding research. This issue is basically summarized as a source's preference to publish new and exciting findings, rather than publish recreated findings or null hypotheses. For example: because I did not end up being able to find much new information on Katherine, and there wasn't a heroine underdog story relating to her, journals/media would then not want to publish the findings. Rather, they would want new and exciting content, even though this is very rarely the case in research and it means that research findings are often misrepresented. I will write information on how to access the article in next week's blog post if you are interested to learn more about this massive issue in science, and in Katherine's life! 

For the extra project: I also started picking back through Katherine and Émilie's Wikipedia pages, to see what they are missing, and edit them as best as I can to accurately represent these two amazing women! The pages are not all that bad, but they are lacking sources and most definitely need an update.  

For the other internship things: I have been working on my final symposium presentation, and have begun attempting to memorize and practice the 8 minute talk with my mentors! They have been wonderfully patient and supportive through every step of this process, and have continued to show how great they are by taking time out of their day to practice with me, give me presentation pointers, etc. It is always nice to have a second (or third) (or fourth) pair of eyes on your work! 

On Monday, we also had the amazing opportunity to have a virtual talk Dr. Renee Horton from NASA! She is a truly remarkable woman, and went out of her way to relate to us, give advice, and entertained any questions that we had for her. She will be back to speak at PhysCon in October 2022, and I am very excited to have another opportunity to talk with her and hear anything at all that she has to say. Dr. Horton is an extremely accomplished researcher that has been through just about anything that life can throw at you and came out extremely successful, happy, and motivated with her work. There is more information about Dr. Horton, as well as her experience of being the first African American to graduate from the University of Alabama, her book, and her organization linked here (https://www.reneehortonphd.com/about.html) and I would highly recommend reading about her! She is truly someone that will go down in the history books, and a name to take note of. 

On Thursday, we were also all given the opportunity to do a virtual resume workshop with Dr. Midhat Farooq of APS Careers. She not only gave us some amazing tips, but also walked us through the process of creating a skills-based resume, and gave us lots of opportunity to connect with her and take advantage of her connections! This, coupled with Brad's career talk from week 8 and the other APS online recourses have genuinely been informative and helpful with both how to narrow down what I want to do after I get my degrees and with how to actually get there. Though I am not completely sure, I think that I am likely going to apply to a few possible graduate programs and apply to mainly jobs after graduation. The skill of creating a personally tailored skills-based resumes is essential, and I really appreciate Dr. Farooq's willingness to help us through the process and make herself available to us down the line. 

Next, for the week of cramming activities in an attempt to do it all before we are dramatically ripped away from this program and our friends: 

On Monday after work, I took a long walk to look at some more of the embassies and upscale neighborhoods that I discovered last week, to dream about the beautiful homes there. We joined together for yet another movie night in consignment (our room) to watch the movie, chat, an make plans for the last full week of the internship. 

 The cute shopping center along my walk

Then, on Tuesday I took an outdoor yoga class in the park (which was fantastic apart from the man that harassed the class, as is far too common), and stopped by a cute outdoor movie showing for a bit, where there was a live DJ playing music and some free snacks. Afterwards, everyone was doing the Dungeons & Dragons campaign in my room! We shared many laughs, spontaneous dances, and finally got out of the (hypothetical) cave that we had been stuck in for weeks. This past week at work, Joanna had also told me about her incredible D&D character. I will leave the description to her, but her Che Iguana character is a fantastic tribute to Joanna's creativity, and comes with a whole backstory and pamphlet that all started after Che was abandoned as a tiny lizard in Victorian London... Joanna Behrman is one of my mentors, and she is both an amazing advisor and a wonderful person. Despite having a great deal of work to do this past summer, she and my other mentors have taken time out of their busy lives to help me with anything that I have needed, and share important stories ('important' meaning Audrey's dreams of having a pig as a pet, D&D characters, pictures of the squirrel that my vet sister nursed to health that I got to help take care of, etc). This coming week I will absolutely be sharing the incredible character with the other interns for our last session. 

 'Thriller' started playing during one of our D&D battles, so, naturally...

Then, Wednesday brought with it another potluck! This week's theme was 'breakfast for diner,' and we all ate WELL. Some of the musically-inclined interns also brought their instruments and voices over after to play some tunes and hang out; I have to say, we have an absolutely talented group! After the potluck, I also took a peaceful walk around the monuments and Kennedy canter to watch the planes and listen to the bugs that come out at night; though I have been at the monuments for many sunsets, this was the first time that I have been able to hear the bugs and frogs at night. I used to call these nighttime sound effects 'peepers' as a kid, and it was refreshingly nice to hear them again—I take great comfort to falling asleep to them at home, and though I absolutely love the city, I didn't realize how much I missed them.  

 We always show up and show out for potlucks

The Kennedy Center at night, with 'peeper' sounds in the background

On Thursday, after the resume-building workshop, we ventured to the Wharf for another outdoor movie night by the Potomac. The Wharf is a fantastic place to explore, and the movie was super cute (it was the Goonies)… and then the downpour started. We watched the storm come in during sunset about halfway through the movie—it was a deep red coming in, and the deluge took its sweet time giving us a show before it actually hit us. We chose to brave it and take a hefty shower rather than scatter with the rest of the crowd, and it was hilariously worth it.  

 A post-shower walk after the movie & deluge

The storm aftermath

Just a 'little' wet

Taylor and Lucy showed me their go-to remote work spot on Friday at the welcome center. If any future interns are reading this and also work partially hybrid—it is a great location with big windows, and the Panera inside the lobby makes the whole place smell like freshly baked bread. If you ask me, working to the smell of a fresh bagel and coffee is a truly great motivator.  

Afterwards, a couple of the interns went out to dinner while Janessa and I had our own 'date night', and we had another great game night full of laughter (where I was successfully able to get rid of the rest of my snacks, which I have been trying to use up since they can't come back on the plane with me). It is honestly really fun that we are all still learning new things about each other, even if it is disheartening to realize how little time we have left to get to know each other while we are all in the same time zone. 

 The projector... and karaoke to Phineas and Ferb

Saturday was another exploration day! We went to a few of the Smithsonian museums, just picking a general direction to walk in and seeing where we ended up (which ended up being the main building, Asian Art, Modern Art a few sculpture gardens). The method of walking aimlessly to see what there is to see is always a good one, especially when it comes to the Smithsonian area. Our favorite exhibit of the day was in the Museum of Modern Art—there were some really interestingly unique exhibits there about trauma and societal threats that were unlike anything that I have seen before (they were very dark, creative, and poignant). 

 A sculpture garden sun dial!

One of my favorite exhibits-- chaotic & questioning paint on every surface of the room

On Sunday morning, we went out for some amazing crepes and had plenty of sweet or savory options to choose from (note to future interns--- Crepeaway that is about a 10 minute walk from New Amsterdam, has cheap savory and sweet crepes, and is open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays). As a sidenote, it was hotly debated if the savory crepes were akin to being 'French quesadillas,' and if a savory crepe was better than a quesadilla. It was fairly split; I prefer the crepe option but I am also biased with a French family, whereas Janessa absolutely has some words to say about that. Afterwords, we took our last walk past the White House together on our way to explore some more Smithsonian museums afterwards- and it did not escape me how odd it was to be having 'lasts' already (last walk by the White House, last opportunity to see the Smithsonian's, etc). We went through both wings of the  Gallery of Art, absorbing as much as we could as fast as possible. Later that night, we closed off our final weekend in DC with another potluck to use up whatever food extras that we will not be able to ship home. We also worked on our list of advice to pass along to the future interns, as there was one left for us. It feels pretty crazy to be in the position of writing advice, and realizing that we do, in fact, have lots of tips for the city, our jobs, and suggestions for the next round of interns. It feels like we just got here, and it is strange to think of ourselves as semi-experts on what we're doing and navigating the city. It's odd that DC is a place that many of us have started calling home rather than a new and crazy place— I'm thrilled to have this experience, and will most definitely be writing more on this next week in my final blog post. Everyone's notes to the future interns are also super cute and sweet, and I hope next year's group appreciates them : ) 


 Just the gals

A long day of walking to the Modern Art Museum

Our 'use up whatever you need to' potluck!

 Writing notes & advice for the future interns

See you next week for the final post (which is something that I hate typing),

Emma Goulet