Week One: "Hello! Nice to meet you!" Rinse & Repeat

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Saturday, June 9, 2018


Krystina Williamson

“You’re majoring in physics? Groooossss.” - Friend from Elementary School. 

Dear Internet,

My first week can best be described by a baby I met in a Target.

While his mother checked out, he sat in his stroller bewildered at the world around him. For about five or seven minutes he said hello and goodbye to everyone who passed him, only pausing to look around at, what seemed to be, a completely new environment to him.

If Target is D.C.--then I’m the baby.

Not only have I spent this week familiarizing myself with the subway system, I’ve also been familiarizing myself with the people involved in the program. That includes the other 14 interns, the SPS staff, the AAPT staff, education researchers, professors and deans. I've probably met more people in the past four days than I would if I were to walk down a busy street in midtown Manhattan. (I'm only exaggerating a little bit!!)

I’ve been struggling to correctly explain what my internship role is--there’s such a wide variety of things I’ve done and will be doing. This week I helped my mentor, Rebecca, edit a grant proposal, I’ve been on conference calls with NASA’s education departments, college deans, and education researchers to discuss future projects with AAPT, I’ve begun organizing for the three conferences I’ll be attending this summer, and I’ve been putting together activities and lessons for future outreach events. I have learned so much, and I have nine weeks to go!

This blog post is a mere attempt to describe my week. Other notable moments are below:

  • Meeting and talking to Jack Hehn, who is the retired AIP Education Director, founder of this internship program, a past physics teacher, and one of the most genuine people I’ve ever known.
  • The tour of capitol hill Rebecca took me on.

  • Learning the origins of the SPS spherical cow logo.

  • Traveling across the country with three suitcases and only two hands--each of which had badly bruised and swollen pointer fingers.

  • Seeing my first lone firefly.

  • The beauty of the forest-swampy areas surrounding College Park, Maryland.

  • The many failed attempts to get a pillow in a week where all the other interns of D.C. are also looking for pillows.

  • Eating at Roti Mediterranean--twice. :)

  • Discovering Sam’s wicked dance moves.

  • Making banana bread for my roommates.

I continue to be so excited and honored to be here, and I look forward to turning my new knowledge into better education and policy for the communities I care about. I’ve always felt alone in my passion for physics education. There aren’t many physicists in this world--so you can imagine the number of black women physics educators.

But I think that somewhere between the cubicles of AAPT, the carpeted subways, and the other interns, I might have found home.


Until next week,



Pretty, pretty trees.

Krystina Williamson