Final Reflection: Back to Reality

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Saturday, September 17, 2016


Vanessa Espinoza

I cannot believe that so much time has passed by since my time in D.C. Looking back on my summer intern life I must say I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I had. Yes, being away from home was difficult, but it was such an adventure. I made so many friends and learned so much! I feel like it’s best to break up this reflection of my experience into many different pieces, so I will start with the NIST life.

What a joy it was to have the chance to work at NIST! How many nerds can say that they got to work at the place that practically does research on everything. NIST was such a beautiful place to be and everything about it was amazing. Was everything perfect, no, but when does research ever go exactly as planned. I had an amazing group that I got to work with and I know that I learned so much. From the hours in the lap to the fun soccer tournaments, NIST was the life for 10 weeks. I constantly miss my NIST family, but I hope that I will get to see them at the professional meetings that I plan to attend this year.

My life at an intern in D.C. was like no other. D.C. is such an exciting place to live. There is always something to do and it is practically guaranteed that you will find a pick-up soccer game on any Saturday afternoon. I loved the people that I lived with and we made so many memories. It’s been quite an adjustment from the city life to life back at TLU, but both are great in their own way. I miss many things from D.C., but one thing that I’m sad I won’t have anytime soon are those amazing cupcakes from Georgetown. For all of my intern friends reading this I obviously miss y’all more than any cupcake (or at least it’s a close tie!).

I know that in this reflection alone I have already mentioned this many times, but I am so happy to have had the chance to be an SPS intern. I learned so much about so many different things. The lessons weren’t just in the lab and that is the awesome thing about this internship. I learned to be a better speaker (thanks to the countless practice runs I had), a better soccer player (because my weekends were typically spent on any field), and a better scientist (because I was able to push myself and learn so much more).

I want to take a little bit of time to talk about my final week in D.C. It was a scary one because that meant presentations were right around the corner. I love public speaking because it gives you the opportunity to show off what you learned, but to be honest I was terrified.  I was worried that I was going to get in front of everyone and forget how to say Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, or any other important word from my presentation. Because I was afraid I practiced until I could practically present in my sleep.  I was the most intense, yet most rewarding week of my life. We did our practice talk the Thursday of our last week and I still didn’t feel ready. After a few more run through and some fixes to a few slides it was finally go time! I was the first one to present on the day of our presentations, but everything went exactly as planned. Most of my group showed up to support me and that made me feel so much better. I think my presentation went smoothly and my mentor was very proud. It was a great moment and since then I have presented on my research at my university.  NIST taught me so much and I just hope that people at the APS March meeting will enjoy my research also. Well that officially it readers it’s time for me to sign off one last time. Goodbye :)

Vanessa Espinoza