Week one of my NSF internship went well as I managed to develop my project, receive constructive criticism, bond with my roommates, make new friends, relax a little in the local GWU community garden. Below you will find a summary of each day.
Monday June 5th, 2017
I am so thankful to be in my dorm relaxing after my first day in the National Science Foundation. Today was orientation day and from 9am all the way to 3pm numerous speakers came and went all informing the interns and I about the rules and regulations one must follow to have a successful and NSF experience. Thereafter I manage to spend a good two hours conversing with my mentor Dr. Anna Kerttula who reassured me that though she does not yet have a clear framework for me to follow this summer, she will start contacting all the key individuals involved in her research so that I may befriend them and work together to collaborate and form research project. Moreover, Dr. Kerttula informed me that she is friend with a high-level USDA director and that she will introduce me to him to collaborate on research and possibly obtain employment in the future. All in all, today was a tiring day with a lot to learn but after meditating in the GWU Organic Garden near my dorm I feel much better and I look forward to getting the ball rolling on my research.
Tuesday June 6, 2017
Today was a far more productive day than yesterday because I sat down with my mentor Dr. Anna Kerttula and narrowed down my research objectives as well as implementing them in my IGDP. Moreover, she granted me access to the NSF's database of approved science projects and I spend a few hours reading over several projects till I could narrow my search to two documents. Thus, my next goal is to read over both projects to learn about the scientific techniques used in both and think about ways of integrating them into own project. I will dedicate time today and tomorrow to read the two projects as they are very long and dialogue heavy. Hopefully by the time I am down reading them I will have a clearer idea about how to compose my research. On another matter, today I got assigned a cubicle office with my own computer, monitor, and office supplies. also, my mentor invited me to participate in a scientific meeting and I could meet other NSF faculty while observing the professionalism involved in scientific meetings and decision making. All in all, I am very proud of myself for coming so far in both life and academia. I am starting to think that each day will become better and better.
Wednesday June 7th, 2017
Not much to mention today other than I started getting used to my office environment and read a few research documents. My mentor Dr. Kerttula bought me a pork sandwich for lunch, that was nice of her. I also received further feedback on my IGDP from my FIU mentor Dr. Riach so that was much appreciated. When it comes down to it, I think the best part about today was taking some time to relax in the GWU garden and film a sparrow colony perform dust baths. Thereafter I spent a good 3 hours talking with roommates Sergio and Justin about life perspectives, personality traits, video games, and music all of which helped me connect with my peers. Today was a good day.
Thursday June 8th, 2017
Today I made a new friend while waiting for an elevator to arrive. Her name is Antara Shay, an engineering intern from Virginia Tech who works in the 11th floor of the NSF. While conversing, she informed me that later that day she was gonna attend Microsoft Tech Conference and invited me to accompany her. I accepted and around 1pm I headed out with her. I had a great time while on the conference. I saw a virtual reality headset, a machine that can identify plant emotions, machines that control mosquitoes, a 3D Printer, and tattoos that contain virtue information.
Thereafter we parted ways after exchanging contact information and now we often text and converse about science and technology. Good day.
Friday June 9th, 2017
Though my mentor Dr. Anna Kerttula was absent from work do to a medical appointment, my day went on to be a productive one. Today I finished my IGDP, read several research proposals, become acquainted with a HACU environmental intern by the name of Carolina Cantu, and attended a meeting pertaining to the statistical growth rate of minorities and people with disabilities in science and engineering fields. This meeting was very insightful as I witnessed how most people with STEM degrees are white males and white females while in second place come Asians, in third Hispanics, and in fourth African Americans. This information served as fresh reminder that I am one of those underrepresented minorities yet I have the potential to become successful in my Environmental Science Degree. Oh, and on a side note, today I went to IHOP for lunch and was surprised by how nice the people at the restaurant were. Both the other customers and staff were kind unlike my experiences back in South Florida.