Week 2: Matlab and Bowling

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Monday, June 20, 2016


Dahlia Baker

Working a 9-5 job on the east coast is exactly how you’d expect: long commute, tons of pressure to do well and meet your goals, and always having something to do or somewhere to be. However, it’s everything I’d ever want and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love everything about it, from waking up early, crowded commutes on the metro, to the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day when you know that you worked hard. My second week came with plenty of challenges, but wonderful rewards that followed.

For the past couple of days, I’ve devoted my time at NASA to learning MATLab and the in’s and out’s of microwave engineering. My mentors have been extremely helpful, always offering up advice when I need it. All of the other interns in my lab come from a heavy engineering background, so they have already learned engineering and are very comfortable with the insane equations we have to learn. However, as a physicist, I have an innate desire to understanding all of the concepts that go into the equations. I can’t look at a derivation without wondering, where did this come from? What larger concept is this simple equation trying to explain? This is what makes me unique in my lab, as each person brings different perspectives and backgrounds to the table, making our research a fully collaborative effort.

This week wasn’t all work though. Friday rolled around, and the team of SPS Interns met the executive committee at Lucky Strike for a fun night of bowling! I was particularly surprised to meet my own SPS advisor from Coe, Steve Feller, at the bowling alley! He was in town for the committee meeting, but I hadn’t known. This was a joyful reunion, and we made sure to snap a picture for our physics club back home. Without this man, I wouldn’t have even known that this summer opportunity was available to me.

The rest of my weekend was spent having fun and taking advantage of all of the things DC has to offer. The Makers Faire at UDC was this weekend, and I made sure to visit. It’s insane how many 3D printing technologies they had on display! For an invention that has blown up within my lifetime, it has really changed engineering, from the classroom to the lab to the hobby shop.

I’m really enjoying my time in DC, and getting to know my roommates and fellow interns is an awesome opportunity. I can’t wait to see what my third week has in store.


Dahlia Baker