Week 10: Bittersweet

So today marks the end of our amazing internship. It has been 10 weeks of great experiences and adventures. I am not good at goodbyes and it was hard to say goodbye to my mentors and staff. We wrapped up the week with Final presentations at NSF and a closing ceremony.  I am excited to go home that's the sweet part. I am not a blogger so thank you for bearing with me throughout this journey.

With that being said....goodbye D.C. Thank you for being good to me.

Until next time.

love,

Erika

Week 9: One More to Go

This week I was so worried about completing all my assignments that all my days evolved around completing them. One more week and I have not yet resolved my project. I promise I'm trying but the obstacles that I'm facing do not allow for me to complete it. I'm still on that scavenger hunt to find the person that can help me so bear with me.

The highlight of this week was the trip to Lockheed Martin! They greeted us with breakfast snacks and coffee, winning. Then we followed into a conference meeting room in which we sat down through presentations learning about the company. WOW! I was immediately fascinated about this industry. We walked around a show room that allowed us to see the different technologies including playing with virtual reality!

Then I rushed home to finish my assignments for the week. More fun stuff!

Week 8: A Week of Events

I began my week by attending the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute STEAM Fair. The National Science Foundation (NSF) invited me and another intern to participate in their booth. Initially, I did not know what this implied, but as we set up our table and walked around the room I found myself with a room filled with mainly women presenting a world full of STEAM opportunities. I felt proud to be a woman in STEM. It was empowering and glad to see women in action. The next day was professional development at QEM, we followed up with a night of trivia. That was my first time going and playing trivia. I don’t think that’s a thing where I’m from, or maybe it is? We played 5 rounds all random topics, the only thing I knew was a Rihanna song but our team pulled through at the end lol. Thursday was a day of eating. A pair of interns organized a potluck during lunch in which we shared our food culture. There was fried rice, enchiladas, arroz con habichuelas, Persian salad, pan dulce, aguas frescas and a mix variety. It was a great way to step away from our cubicle, eat and network. That evening I went to a farewell dinner with the program directors of the division I am positioned with. The selection of food was a restaurant named Peter Chang’s, authentic Chinese food. My mentor suggested to try dry fried eggplants (surprisingly good!) as well as individually picking an entrée and share. I was able to try 10 different meals at once, very interesting flavors. Finally, I ended my week having lunch with one of my mentors.

We are down to our last weeks of our internship and we are getting ready to wrap it up. But there’s always more things coming!!

Erika

Week 7: Scavenger Hunt

We started the weekend in NYC!!! I don't know what we were thinking though, we walked over 13 miles wanting to take over the city. We wanted to explore as much as possible in one day without considering how TIRING that would be. But NY is NY! it was definitely worth it.

Back to my work routine, this week consisted of nothing but looking for people. Yup I am still looking for that one person that can help me, just when I think I found it....nope they send me somewhere else. I do not mind the scavenger hunt because that leads me to meeting new people. People outside the division I am in and that allows me to expand my networking circle. So far I feel my communication skills have been improving. Approaching all this people introducing myself over and over again has made me for confident.

Every week there is something new! stay put!!

Erika

Week 5: One Thing Leads to Another

Remember last week I said I had opened a Pandora's box...well now I don't know where to start. I am overwhelmed with information, good and promising information. I am currently a graduate student, finished my first semester this past May. I applied and began a program not knowing the amount of resources available to me. Like I said before, all I was sure about was the importance of a degree. Well now I am here, presented with big opportunities. Opportunities that blow away my mind and that can change my direction (change is always good...right) well, how do I begin. I am going to continue taking advantage of my time in NSF as well as with QEM and see where that leads me. 

Work was neutral this week. I did something new, I developed an inventory for the annual reports in the program. Once generating the template, I made sure the reports matched the database and report what was missing as well as what is in boxes (hard copy).  In between my duties, I also attended a couple meetings. You never know who you are going to meet in these meetings. Previously, I had been trying to contact a person from another division, nobody specific, just somebody that can help me move forward with my project. In this meeting there was a representative from that program, guess who has their contact information. He said something that left me contemplating, I may not be the person that can help you, but I can direct you there. True. At the end that is what it's all about, everything connects. Throughout my experience in this internship, I have learned that its all about the people you connect with, (even if you think it's not meaningful) that connection can lead you to the right person. 

Outside of work, I continue to explore DC. Don't underestimate DC, it may seem little but there is always a lot to do. We are halfway of our awesome internship, and there is still a lot more to walk and see. Some of the activities we did this week were visit the National Smithsonian Zoo, National Cathedral, sunset at the Potomac River, and lastly QEM took us all to the Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs MLB game. All filled with fun and memories!! This weekend we are taking a road trip to Philly and Baltimore! stay connected

-Erika S

Week 4: It Went By So Fast

Unlike the previous weeks, this week seemed to fly by. Throughout this week I was caught up working mainly in populating spreadsheets and interviewing a couple program directors. One of the conversations I had with a director really inspired me, we talked for hours sharing our personal experiences that at the end of the day I forgot to actually interview her. I had to reschedule another appointment. Because I am working in the division of engineering education, I have been learning constructive knowledge from each and everyone in the office. Most of this information associates with my background therefore I can identify myself with. I have always known the importance of education in my life, I also knew that engineering was a very broad field. However, now that I am in NSF I am realizing the magnitude of engineering. It's like I have opened an engineering pandora's box. There is soooo much more that I imagined. Good thing I still have more time to keep discovering. 

Another highlight of this week is the bonding growing among the other interns at NSF and me. At this point, we have had the opportunity to meet the other interns participating in the office, but this week I feel we became more connected. We had lunch together a couple of times and planned exploring DC for the weekends. That should be fun! Talking about fun, today Friday we all went to tour the Capitol Hill. I was very enlightened, that place is so magical from the inside. You really need a moment to appreciate the structure of the building, the paintings and the monuments of this place, it's so immense. I got to say getting out of the office for the day, was a good change. 

Until next time. 

Week 3: Meetings and more meetings.

 Now that I am settled in my office/cubicle work is flowing smoothly. This week has been a busy one. One thing I have learnedwhile being in NSF is the number of meetings that go on. This week I attended several meetings related to different areas, such as, staff, ERC, Data Analytics and Discussion meetings. My mentors invite me to these meetings not necessarily because they relate to my project but to become aware of other projects that the office is working on developing. I appreciate that they consider me to participate in these discussions and can share my opinion as a student/individual. Aside from all the meetings I went to, I scheduled appointments to meet with the program directors I needed to interview for my project to move forward (so that's next on my calendar).  

During this week we also had 3 workshops. The first one was on networking. More than anything I enjoyed the practice exercises we did with the other interns. Applying what we were learning helped me understand it better and receive immediate feedback of the things we were doing right or wrong. It also served to talk to the other interns that are here that I have not had a chance to get to know.

Then we had a professional development workshop at QEM. We get caught up coming and going to NSF that sometimes we do not interact with each other after work. But through this workshop all interns came together and spent a fun night playing battle of the sexes, which by the way girls won (lol).

Lastly the group and I attended a Tri-Caucus Networking event at the Rayburn Office Building. Pretty much applying the networking skills we had learn on Tuesday's workshop. At first it was intimidating because there was a big crowd. However, as the evening went by, the environment felt more at ease. I was able to communicate and make meaningful connections that I intend to keep in contact.

That sums up another great week! 

Week 2: The wait is over!

Monday morning the NSF building is enormous, easy to get lost inside. Everybody is friendly, always so happy to see you...feels nice. I finally got to meet my mentors and the team that I will work with this summer.  I had a chance to chat and meet with my advisors individually about the project and we got to know a little bit about each other.

On Wednesday, the EEC team had a DiSC activity that I was lucky enough to be part of. We all took a personality test that categorized into 4 categories. So, on Wednesday we had a workshop to compare our results. It was so much fun! I learned a lot about myself, the results of my overview were almost spot on. It turns out I am Conscientiousness with a bit of Steadiness. That means I lean into the analytical, reserved (very true), precise, private, systematic character. It was cool to see the personalities and categories in which the team that I will work with is under. Learned that I share the same personality with one of my mentors, we have something in common. Aside from that it was a very interactive activity, I have a fun team.

I was also in an official panel review. To my surprise I thought I was walking into a presentation but then realized it was a panel of professors coming in from different institutions to review real proposals. It took me a while to process but so glad I had the opportunity to surround myself with that experience. I observed more than listen because I didn’t understand much about what they were talking about but the experience was unique.

That pretty much sums up my first week at NSF…. There’s more coming!

Erika J

Week 1: Welcome to DC

Week 1: Welcome to DC

Arriving in the city I was very nervous and excited to know what I was going to find myself with for the summer. Luckily the girls and I bonded very well, more than well, made me feel welcomed. The first day at QEM I got to meet the rest of the group and they are all pretty awesome. 

I thought that this internship was only going to be about the assignment that I was introduced to,  however as I learned what they had in store for us changed my perspective. I am very happy to know that during this program I am not only going to work with professionals but develop my own personal professional skills. All of the extracurricular events that are planned for us, HAS ME VERY EXCITED and looking forward too!

I also enjoyed the variety of speakers that came out of their busy schedules to come talk to us about different topics, introduced me to a new level of networking. 

This first week has taught me so much already like getting around in the metro, a lot of WALKING! and exploring new things. The highlight of this week is definitely the African American Museum, I have never been to a museum this big. Everything was just so overpowering. 

Can't wait for next week at NSF!