Final Reflections

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Eleanor Hook

Wow. I don't even know where to begin. This summer has been absolutely incredible and I can't believe it's over!

When I arrived in Washington just over ten weeks ago, I didn't know what to expect. I was thrilled about my placement on the Hill, but I had never experienced politics so viscerally and I didn't have a good sense of what I would be working on. But from my first day in the office, I knew that I was exactly where I should be. From leaving George Washington University every morning, weaving my way through street performers, newspaper salesmen, and more morning commuters than I have ever seen in my life, to walking into the office excited to see what new tasks the day would hold, I have loved every part of my internship.

I learned more than I could have imagined, both in the office and outside of it. I attended hearings on a variety of topics from space policy to computer science education, met with experts from just about every field imaginable, and learned to network fearlessly. I got to observe the inner workings of science policy close-up, which opened up a whole new potential career path to me! I hadn't realized all of the opportunities I would have outside of the purely professional aspect of the internship as well-- like hunting for clues at the Library of Congress after closing hours or enjoying the Independence Day concert from the Capitol steps. 

At the symposium on Friday I was asked a couple of times who the most inspiring person I've met this summer was, and I could never find a good answer. The truth is that every single person I interacted with inspired me in some new way. Whether that was Tracy Caldwell-Dyson, who decided as a teenager she wanted to be an astronaut and followed that dream to the ISS; whether it was Rep. Foster who's had success as an entrepreneur, a physicist, and a politician; whether it's Dr. Mather, who is one of the most brilliant and most humble men I have ever had the privilege to meet; whether it's a member of the staff who stays late to get everything done on time; whether it's the executive council of SPS who worked so diligently and intentionally to make sure we all had the best experience possible; whether it's all of my fellow interns who kept me cheerful and motivated-- everyone I've come into contact with has changed me in some way, big or small.

So I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to everyone who made this summer possible for me. This truly has been an experience I will never forget, and I can't wait to see where I go from here!

Eleanor Hook