Week 3 SQP (June 24th - June 30th)

Written By: Lynn Garrett and Natalia Larrea Brito

Monday, June 24th
After surviving an exciting camping weekend full of rock climbing, cold soup, and peanut butter sandwiches, the Academites were prepared to return to a ‘normal’ work week.

Rock-climbing-induced muscle pain made work hard in the morning. At lunch, some Academites enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the SETI talk about the evolution of the Laws of Physics. The others stayed at MegaBites where a ‘not-so-young’ fireman entertained the group.

After work, the team returned to the quads where they had their weekly meeting with the staffers… it was a meeting full of surprises! The Academites finally received their business cards and their GIANT polo shirts with the Academy logo. After the meeting, they enjoyed a spicy Thai dinner in Mountain View on Castro Street. They finished their day working on the group project and going to sleep ‘early’ (meaning before 2 am).

Tuesday, June 25th
The morning got off to a normal start, other than Karl waking up his roommates at 5 AM when he departed for Vandenburg Air Force Base to accompany his mentor (Center Director Dr. Pete Worden) to the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) launch. The rest of the Academites had their usual breakfast at MegaBites where they were greeted by the friendly staff and the enthralling CNN news stories.

Overall, this was another day spent working on personal research with the pace picking up for many as they completed their preliminary work and got started on the good stuff. The students continued their search for a group project mentor and mourned the cancellation of the Director’s Colloquium for the week since it was supposed to feature the knowledgeable Ames Historian Jack Boyd. After a long day at work and a muggy walk home, the Academites broke off to run, do laundry, and hang out for a bit while Natalia, Quentin, Baba, and Tom worked on dinner. The fabulous foreign-national chefs treated the Academites to a delicious meal of sautéed veggies with a second course of either pork chops or veggie sausages. Everyone headed back to the Quad and debated going salsa dancing, but all ended up settling on some group project work, Skyping friends and family, and listening to music in the common room.

Wednesday, June 26th
Riiing! 6:15 am! The alarm clock rang as usual. Lauren, Marissa, and Emily left the quads early to go to a screening event of the Supreme Court’s decisions on marriage equality. After a delicious breakfast full of bacon, cereal, and coffee, everyone left for a busy day with their PIs. After work, most of the Academites gathered at MegaBites for the monthly “Happy Hour,” a time of networking over tasty fried hor d'oeuvres. After the celebration, the students made their way back to the quads, and Lynn made homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner while the others hung out in the common room. Full of cheesy pasta, the group settled down to work on the group project before heading to bed at a reasonable hour.

Thursday, June 27th
After a laid-back morning with the usual breakfast at MegaBites, the Academites headed off to their respective buildings for another full day of work. They were dressed in their classy, oversized, matching blue Academy for Space Exploration polos. Tom went to a seminar about crashing planes, and Lynn went to one about autonomous systems. The group made exciting secret plans for Emily’s birthday while at work to keep her out of the loop. The Academites and staff all met for a group photo at MegaBites at noon before realizing that… “Oh no! Karl is still down at Vandenburg for the IRIS launch!” Since they were already wearing matching outfits, everybody decided to take a silly group photo to send to their missing comrade before grabbing lunch at the picnic tables outside the cafe. After work, the Academites returned to the quads and ordered some pizza while Brian and Alarkanie set up the projector and giant screen for an outdoor movie night. The Academy for Space Exploration, the Aeronautics Academy, the Space Life Sciences Training Program (SLSTP), and the Robotics Academy all gathered in the courtyard of the quads, huddling together on the fake grass to watch Armageddon and munch on delicious popcorn made by the one and only Desi.

Friday, June 28th
“Happy Birthday Eeeeeemily!!” It was a special day: Emily’s 20th Birthday! To celebrate it, the Academites had a busy agenda full of meetings. In the morning, they met Dr. Jacob Cohen, the Chief Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS) Utilization Office, to talk about their group project. After lunch, they had a teleconference with seven other NASA Academies and Virgin Galactic. During the meeting, they had the opportunity to present themselves in a 15 second elevator speech and meet the other Academy students from around the country. In addition, they learned about the creative projects of Virgin Galactic and the different career paths some Academy alums had taken to get there. After the teleconference, Tom, Baba and Natalia spent 3 passionate hours in a software tutorial while the rest went back to their offices to finish their working day.

Back in the quads, the RA’s prepared for a fantastic night of Panera and trampoline-dodgeball! At the trampoline park, they discovered the fantastic flying capabilities of Michael Zero and Brian. Jumping, flying, throwing balls, hurting knees… they had an awesome time in the sauna that was the trampoline gym. The final part of Emily’s birthday surprise was an “ice cream” cake (a tower of Ben and Jerry’s pints) that she had to be dragged out of bed to enjoy!

Saturday, June 29th
The Academites had a glorious amount of sleep Friday night as they did not have to meet the staffers and the Aero students until 9:15 AM! They piled into multicolored minivans and silver sedans and headed off to Capitola Beach and Santa Cruz, making a beach towel and sunscreen pit stop at Target on the way. Traffic was intense, the roads were windy, and the minivan felt like it was too big for the tiny lanes, but the Academites finally arrived at the beach to meet up with SLSTP. After laying out towels and setting up camp on the crowded beach, some RA’s went to grab lunch while others lay out in the sun to relax a bit before eating. Mark, Quentin, Baba, Emily, Lynn, Brian, and two SLSTP students went to get Thai food. Karl, Marissa, Natalia, and Tom went to a taco place, and Janine and Michael went to a nifty bar and grill. The remainder of the afternoon was spent lying in the sun, trying to play volleyball, getting refreshments from the local restaurants, and playing in the frigid water. Natalia and Quentin mistook some rocks for sea lions while kayaking, and Karl, Lynn, Marissa, and Brian found themselves covered entirely in sand and seaweed after braving the chilly waves. Around dinnertime, the Academites packed up and hopped back into the vans to head over to the Santa Cruz boardwalk for dinner and rides. Some people ate falafel and others grabbed pizza. All then headed over to the boardwalk area where Tom, Lynn, Brian, Emily, Janine, Baba, Karl, and Marissa rode the “Pirate Ship” and the “Double Shot” while Michael was a good sport and held all the bags. Inside the boardwalk, Natalia and Quentin enjoyed some time in the arcade with some Aeronautics Academy students. After a long day spent in the sun, the RA’s climbed back into the vans and headed for home. Later that night, Lauren arrived home from her busy weekend spent at San Francisco Pride and shared exciting stories about her days spent away.

Sunday June 30th
Surprisingly, the Space Cadets were able to sleep in today! After ten glorious hours of rest, they woke up (some crowded into the laundry room to wash their clothes early on) and started working on the group project. They spent the day working, grocery shopping, and doing laundry… a quiet day in the quads-palace. They took a trip to Olive Garden for lunch at Brian’s request before heading off to run errands where Tom bought a new computer and others bought groceries for the week (based on a weekly dinner menu developed earlier in the day.) Lynn and Brian assembled a quick dinner of fish sticks, peas, and leftover macaroni before the group got back to work on redefining group project tasks.

Picture of the Week:
Week 2

Video Clip of the Week: