Week 6: Reports, Renewals, and Revisions

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Sunday, July 11, 2021


Casey Roepke

Even though the holiday weekend meant that this past work week was only four days long, I was very busy with some big projects and pulled a few long days in the virtual office. Work-life balance is good and important — but sometimes a deadline looms, and working towards meeting that deadline can mean rearranging your previously-held work rhythm. I’m lucky enough to feel passionate about the projects I’m working on in the office, so a late evening is more than welcome.

At the end of Week 5, I had finished writing a report on the advisory groups (committees, councils, etc) mentioned in the U.S. ICA and NDAA legislation. On Tuesday, I presented my report in a mentoring meeting with some of the members of the office. It launched a great conversation and also created a list of lingering questions. We decided that it would be productive to bring my report to our all-staff meeting for further discussion, which meant I was all of a sudden flung into intense preparation for that meeting! I drafted an agenda with key questions and discussion topics, and put together a presentation slide deck with an overview of my report and the relevant details and questions. On Thursday, in OAM’s all-staff meeting, I presented those slides (after Lisa’s and Zack’s helpful feedback) and led a discussion on how our office could best navigate the advisory boards in terms of staffing and coordination. The meeting was very productive and we reached some decisions as an office, which was my goal in leading that discussion. I was still very nervous about presenting, but overall I think it was a success! I wrapped up the week’s progress on this project by writing a summary of the decision points we reached as an office. 

The other big task for this week was helping Robert with a NIST report on the Manufacturing USA institute renewal process. I spent many hours — and I mean many — wrangling appendix tables and Excel sheets for formatting, and I also line edited the full document. 

Towards the end of the week, Zara and I received feedback on our communications article lead-in. The editors wanted us to take the piece in a completely different direction, which means re-interviewing and revisions galore. It’s an important lesson to learn how to take feedback without taking it personally — I am still proud of the work I submitted, but now I know how to change it to better fit the guidelines of our publication. 

On Thursday, the SPS intern cohort — and our mentors — attended a virtual picnic with Dr. Rush Holt, a physicist and former U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12th congressional district. After hearing his inspiring talk about science policy, the interns hung around to play games and I got completely destroyed at trivia. 


Casey Roepke (she/her)