Week 9: Wrapping Things Up

Share This:

Sunday, July 30, 2023


Jenna Tempkin

Hello everyone! Happy end of week 9. The fact I am typing that is actually crazy. 9 weeks ago I had no idea how much I would get up to in D.C. It is crazy to think that next week’s blog I’ll probably be posting from home. For now, let me share about this week.

On Monday the APS interns had a meet and greet with one of the APS journal editors. She gave us an informal presentation about what it is like to be an editor. Her job was a lot different than I had expected. For some reason when I hear the word editor I think of someone who reads and spellchecks the paper. Though, that is not the case. I learned that instead the editors are more like "coordinators" for the peer reviewing process. It was very interesting to learn about the back end of publishing. After that meeting I worked on editing my final PERC paper from the conference I just attended and finished my final presentation slides.

On Tuesday I met bright and early with Nicole to share about my time at AAPT and also go through my presentation. Before lunch, myself, Devin, and Jaden presented the first run through and draft of our presentation to most of the APS programming team. There was probably about 20 people on the call. It was definitely a little nerve-wracking, but all of the feedback I received was extremely helpful. I’m glad our mentors made us practice early. I then attended two more APS meet and greet zoom calls with members of the education team and the public affairs team. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the public affairs position and realized how important a job like that is. It is definitely a career option I had not really thought of before since I am not a gov/law major, but it seems that with a solid physics background, you can help make a lot of change. Maybe I’ll attend one of the APS congressional visit days next year. After dinner I went to catch one last Marine Drum Corps parade at the Lincoln Memorial with Brynn. We got there just in time for the drum corps and silent rifle performance, but then in classic D.C fashion, it started to thunderstorm. Hannah. Tiffany, and Ruthie had met us there, but we ended up turning around back to GW to avoid getting struck by lightning. Instead we had an impromptu game night in Devin and Jaden’s room where we played Azul. I wasn’t really playing but instead observing because I could not keep up with all of the rules. I did help Hannah make a few plays. We ended up hanging out until close to midnight! It’s these little memories that I will probably remember the most.   

On Wednesday Hannah and I decided to do some of our work at ForFive coffee shop for a change of scenery. I was working on finalizing my slides once again and creating a curriculum rubric for PhysicsQuest. The goal is to create a rubric that we can send to teachers and reviewers along with the activities and guidelines to check that both are aligned. Hopefully the rubric will be something the PQ team can use again and again in the future. I also attended a STEP UP makeup session with some teachers from the Chicago area. I did introduce myself but I spent most of the zoom call just observing to hear a bit more from teachers in that program. At night, myself, Julia, Ruthie, MJ, and Brynn all went to the Kennedy Center to see Rent in Concert. This meant the national symphony orchestra was playing the score while famous Broadway actors were singing. I mostly went because I wanted to see Andrew Barth Feldman and Alex Boniello perform. Although we were sitting way up in the second tier, I am so glad I bought a ticket. It was a performance I won’t forget. (They were all so insanely talented, it makes me wish I could sing…)

Thursday morning started with a zoom call with Phoebe Sharp. Phoebe is a current grad student at GW, and also helps Nicole with some projects at APS. She was also a previous SPS intern and is involved with a lot of PER stuff. Nicole told me we should talk during the first week, and I am glad we finally got to meet. We talked about grad school, PER, the internship, APS and much more. Then all of the interns had a resume workshop with Midhat from APS. I have met Midhat before, but this workshop was extremely helpful. We learned how to make a skills-based resume, which is used to showcase important skills to a potential employer. As someone who is thinking about applying to jobs rather than grad school right now, getting these helpful tips was extremely useful. I took a lot of notes. I will be reaching out to Midhat in the future! I then had another check in meeting with Nicole to just go over a few last-minute things before our last week started. We even scheduled our last meeting – how sad. I then got dinner with my friend Emily from Lafayette before she left D.C this weekend.

On Friday all of the interns got to take a tour of NIST. I do not know what I expected, but it reminded me of when I visited Brookhaven national lab last summer. It was a massive campus with lots of buildings that were dimly lit and filled with a lot of fancy equipment. We made a few stops on this tour, but my favorite was visiting the lab that works in forensic sciences. I can't do a great job explaining it but for example, this lab works on the machines that TSA uses when they swab your hands at the airport. They also had a very cool optical set up that showed heat that comes off of an object in order to track how residue and particles, say from drugs or explosives, travel in the air in ways we can't see. This was also the lab that set certain standards and made videos showing how different COVID masks worked, which I thought was really interesting. The person who showed us around is also apparently in a Veritasium video on YouTube – so I suggest looking it up for a way better explanation! After a long tiring day at NIST, Hannah, Janessa, and I got one last District Taco meal. We were planning on going to a free movie at the Kennedy Center, but the rain had other plans for us. Instead we all played Jackbox together and we were all laughing so hard together. A few of us then went to spend some time out in Adams Morgan.

On Saturday I slept in extremely late. I did not mind because it was supposed to be disgustingly hot, and I wanted to avoid being outdoors at all costs. Instead, Janessa came over and we watched the live production of Newsies on Disney+. After dinner, a few of us went to the Georgetown Piano Bar to watch the dueling pianos. The two piano players played everything from Piano Man to Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero. It blew my expectations away.

I am so lucky to have had an amazing last 9 weeks here in Washington. Currently all of us are planning everything we want to do after work this week together in order to make the most of our last few days. Our schedule is jam-packed, but you’ll have to wait until my final blog to hear all about it.

Thanks for reading, check out the pictures below!

Jenna Tempkin