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I am excited to go back home, to go back to Duke.

I don’t feel this way because I hated the program — or because it took up all my time (which it did). I am excited to leave because I am really looking forward to apply all the things I learned this summer to the “real” world. The way I think about what we see (and what we don’t), how I reflect, and how I express myself has all changed, more or less, this summer. I owe this to my peers, people at the PCO at NIST, and most importantly, Professor Williams and Joe. As I sit here, at my last day at work, I don’t really think writing paragraphs is exactly what I want to do. So, with that in mind, below you will find some important lessons/experiences:

  • Throughout the program, we talked about the importance of science and narrative. Before this program, I would’ve told you that the facts matter the most. I would’ve told you that thinking and vouching for narrative just creates fake news. However, throughout our tours, conversations, and my internship, I quickly realized that narrative is always there. Narrative is how we present the facts we have gathered; it’s how we send a message to the world, and it’s too important to not consider. Everything has narrative, and it’s what makes people engage in the facts, or the science, in the first place.
  • Before this program, I was pretty sure that I was going to do tech policy at some point in my life. However, it always felt like a niche career goal, and I had the feeling I would have to consider other options. Those feelings all changed, and I owe it to this program. We had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people who are not just in the science policy field but who also created their positions. It was really encouraging, and while I think I will do other stuff before fully getting into tech policy, I am happy to know that I can get into this field.
  • NIST was the placement for me. Everyone in the office was incredible, and I truly loved my two big projects. I had the opportunity to analyze the ethics of AI and learn everything you need to know about 5G. I fully engaged in things that I love, and it made me really excited for future work.
  • I really enjoyed the cohort. I think it was a group of interesting, unique people who all have different interests but all fall under the same umbrella. I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet many of them but also strengthen my relationships with others. I think they all will do great things! Looking forward to any reunions.
  • Without Professor Williams (Program Director) and Joe (Site Coordinator), this program would probably not be the same, might even not be worth doing. And while I know those are big statements, it’s the truth. Joe was the best. I truly cannot express how much I enjoyed all the jokes and conversations we had. He was always so helpful and honest, and I really appreciate how easy it was to have a conversation with him. Thanks for all the support, and I hope we keep in touch. On a similar note, Professor Williams, for a lack of better expression from my end, you the man! Despite how much you had to do this summer, you still spent so much time with us. You made us think so much and gave us really awesome opportunities. You are a great role model, and I know everyone looks up to you. I’ll see you on campus!  (Also, sorry if I was a pain at any point or my jokes went too far. I was the way I was only because I really like you guys!)

I can’t wait to see what everyone is up to next summer, and I can’t wait to look back a few years from now and reflect on this experience!