Blog Post 6/16/17

Reflecting upon this week, I’m realizing that my experiences have had a common theme, which I will name web-spinning a.k.a. networking. Whether working on my research project, participating in professional development activities, or socializing with other interns, networking consistently serves as the focal point around which my progress is sustained.

In particular, I had the opportunity to work off-site today at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. I made successful strides in my research simply because of the quality of collaboration between the PhysTEC team and myself. It was both exciting and helpful to discuss the facets of my project with people in the same field; furthermore, in the process of receiving help, I was also able to assist them in their work. I’m beginning to understand networking in a magnitude that I’ve never perceived before. I see that its potency goes beyond maximizing individual time and effort; it can also exponentially increase value through the sharing of resources, expertise, and perspectives.

 At the Tri-Caucus Reception, networking translated beautifully in a different setting, helping me to accomplish my goals, some of which I didn’t know I had until I engaged in conversation. Though these students work in the mainstream political sector, I met so many interns whom I found to be like-minded. Specifically, I met two individuals who are running their own non-profits, and we resonated on being pioneers and leaders of organizations, as well as the demographics that we’re passionate about reaching.

The last experience I’ll highlight from the week centers around a conversation that I had with Dr. Geraldine Cochran. I briefly mentioned her in my “rundown” document at QEM professional development, but Dr. Cochran spent time to answer all of my questions concerning a graduate program that I’ve been thinking about pursuing. Additionally, she provided me with pivotal contacts of researchers in the field, whom I could reach out to for further information. In this way, she acted as a network for me by spinning connections between her world and my own.

Had it not been for my mentor, Dr. Rankins, I wouldn’t have been able to access the leaders of PhysTEC, who are now collaborating with me on my research project; without Dr. Cochran’s advice, I wouldn’t have contacted the professors she referenced. Moving forward, I want to perpetuate this web-spinning by emulating those who have served me this week through selflessly offering connections. In order to accomplish this, I’m being intentional about establishing connections and building relationships. Only then will I have the power to spin a web between my own world and someone else’s.

Shaunette Bishop