Week 10: The End

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Samantha Pedek

The last week of the internship was extremely hectic. Scrambling to get my project completed, scrambling to get my poster printed, and scrambling to finish and perfect my oral presentation. All of that stress paid off, because I did indeed finish all those tasks before I had to leave. The poster presentation at NASA GSFC was extremely enlightening. It was massive, loud, and wholly enjoyable. The SPS Symposium was a great was to end the internship. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our projects with our mentors and peers in a professional environment. Now that I am back at home, and the stress of the final week is behind me, I now have the opportunity to reflect on the entirety of the summer experience.

I am so grateful for this opportunity and this experience. I have made invaluable connections with my peers, coworkers, mentors and so many more. I came into this internship with a significant amount of research experience through the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, and I was treating this experience as an opportunity to solidify my resolve to pursue particle astrophysics. This experience opened the door into cosmology and studying the cosmic microwave background, and has piqued my interest in detector design. I ended up knowing less about what I want to do with my life than when I first arrived, though I am extremely fortunate to have loved my work as much as I did.

Coming from a small town, I never would have guessed that I would have loved the D.C. city life as much as I did. Even though the weather was oppressively hot and humid at times, I was thoroughly impressed by the pleasantness of the community. The rich history and culture (and cleanliness) has made D.C. one of my favorite places in the world (and I have been as far away as the South Pole!) I would love to go back, and thankfully I will be at the end of September because I am the Zone 9 AZC.  

For those reading this who are interested in a position as an SPS intern, I highly recommend applying. I had a phenomenal experience working at NASA GSFC and the SPS staff are absolutely wonderful. If anyone would like to hear more about my experiences, please feel free to send me an email!

Thank you to all the people I have met and reconnected with this summer. You have made this an unforgettable summer! 

Samantha Pedek