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Friday, June 2, 2017


Mary Ann Mort

*pronounced "one" (for the effect of alliteration)

The thing about Washington D.C. is that it is WASHINGTON D.C. To me, it’s a new city, a new climate, a new atmosphere. This city just screams, “go out and explore! Learn about our past, present, and future!” So my plan is to tell this city that I’m ready and raring to explore, discover, and learn what this city has to offer. Which is a lot.

On Sunday, after a long flight and several attempts to find the correct elevator(there are four elevators that go to different places in the same building!), I made it to a huge empty loft with several yellow doors and a ginormous kitchen with two of everything. While the stark white walls of this loft are quite bland, the people who trickled in to inhabit it are quite the opposite. Meeting the rest of the interns and getting to know their individually dynamic personalities has been a blast. I’m quite excited to spend the summer with all of them; there won’t be a dull moment.

Every morning I have awoke to fluffy, frizzy hair due to the humidity. It doesn’t help that I chopped off 15 inches two weeks ago. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of adventures, it does no harm.

The Metro is a beast that I have yet to tame. Fortunately, I haven’t taken any wrong trains, but getting into a smooth flow of using the Metro without looking like a complete noob might take a couple of weeks.

At my school, Sacramento State, our department chair always jokes about how the address for the American Center for Physics(ACP) includes “Ellipse Circle”, since the post office needs to have an actual descriptor, like “Circle”, for the street address. What I didn’t realize is that ACP is actually on a street that is an ellipse. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were markers for the foci.

Now let’s get down to business. To defeat the fear of getting a job after graduation.

My intern position is working with the American Physical Society(APS) Careers Program. Since this specific internship position is new this year, I didn’t have the best idea of what I was going to be working on this summer. However, after I met with my amazing mentor, Crystal Bailey, I now know that I will be putting my efforts towards helping her with her project, PIPELINE. This acronym is quite long and only spelled out once, but essentially the project is focused on promoting innovation and physics entrepreneurship through institutional engagement. To get physics majors interested and have an idea of the life of a physics entrepreneur, I will be writing “Startup Stories” that tell the story of current physics graduates that have gone the entrepreneurial route. These profiles will be on the APS website in the Careers section. 

Getting to know and work with Crystal Bailey is such a pleasure. She is an adventurer all her own. I originally met her last year at a CUWiP(Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics) at Oregon State University. She gave a presentation on professional development and getting a career and it inspired me to make a LinkedIn. So when I interviewed for the internship on Google Hangouts, I was a bit surprised to see a familiar face. I’m so happy to have such a dynamic, inspirational woman as my mentor.

Each day, I try to do something different. This is not hard when famous physicists are popping up or when you’re living in D.C. Below are just a few snapshots of shenanigans I have gotten myself into. 

The Future of Science
Nobel Prize winner, John Mather, stops by during Orientation
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day
Swag from my Mentor on the First day
Dinner and ping pong with Cathy O'Riordan, AIP Interim Co-CEO and COO
The maroon crew exploring on a Thursday after work with Lisa, Lexxi, and myself

Mary Ann Mort