Monday, August 1, 2016By:
As the title of this blog suggests, last week was all about intern workplace tours. I had arrived in DC late on Monday, and taken Tuesday off to catch up on sleep. I jumped right back into work by not going into APS on Wednesday, and instead heading over to NASA Goddard for a tour of Dahlia and Maria’s workplace! I had been filling out clearance forms and sending in photocopies of various documents to get an access badge, and was pretty relieved to hear Dahlia say that I was cleared for entry the night prior to the tour. I got a special badge to show that I was international (Dahlia joked that the red stripe meant “stay away”), and got into the campus pretty smoothly.
The tour started off at Dahlia’s lab, where we got to see what she has been working on over the past eight weeks. It was really cool to see what she was contributing to NASA’s programs and tech. We then took a look at the James Webb Space Telescope… ish. Actually, it was folded up and in the corner of the room, so we ended up just talking about the clean room it was housed in. We took a quick lunch break before heading over to the Hubble control room. It was pretty cool seeing where commands for the Hubble were generated and sent from, and to hear about the process for using the Hubble for research.
I was back at ACP on Thursday, and I worked on more artwork for future Snap stories. We released a story about the subject of physics in general that afternoon. It was a pretty short day at the office.
Friday was the Capitol tour, arranged by Demitri and Tabitha. Considering I’ve been living in DC for two years now, and have been to several museums and monuments multiple times, it’s kind of amazing that I’ve never stepped foot into the Capitol. The day started off with doughnuts and coffee at a briefing by the Planetary Society. I thought it was very interesting and easy to understand. The speaker was particularly good at communicating to a non-science background heavy audience, which is a skill I hoped to improve over the course of this summer.
The tour we got of the Capitol building itself was fun, and I learned a bit about the history of the building. I found the architectural and artistic tidbits particularly interesting. In the afternoon, we met with a couple of people on Demitri’s staff, who talked about science policy and the various ways we could eventually help impact policy.