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2002 SPS National Interns
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Jason Tabeling Jason Tabeling
Virginia Tech, VA

Internship: SPS Outreach
Online Journal
Where are they now? Week of July 26, 2006 Week of July 5, 2006
Week of August 9, 2006 Week of July 19, 2006 Week of June 28, 2006
Week of August 2, 2006 Week of July 12, 2006 Week of June 21, 2006
Where are they now?

Jason Tabeling—2002 SPS Intern
Entry posted July 6, 2009

I received my MS in Mathematics from Florida State University in December of 2007. Graduating in the middle of an academic year presented the opportunity to join the faculty at Valdosta State University in Georgia, where I taught introductory math courses during the spring semester.

After taking the summer off for long overdue travel and a bit of backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, I returned to my prior position working on logistical supportability analyses for developmental Army systems.

I am currently living in Blacksburg, VA, making every effort to explore the beautiful scenery that exists beyond the walls of the SPS lounge, and supporting my beloved Hokies when they take the field/court.

I had the chance to attend the SPS Intern presentations last summer, and it's exciting to see how much the program continues to thrive. It's overwhelming to see how many students have gotten involved over the years, and reading through their journals brings back fond memories.

All the best to past and future interns, and to everyone who work so diligently to keep the intern program strong.


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Where are they now?

Jason Tabeling—2002 SPS Intern
Entry posted July 13, 2006

Jason Tabeling, 2006 In the year after my SPS internship, I served as president of the Virginia Tech SPS chapter and Associate Zone Councilor. Our chapter participated in outreach events, thanks largely to a Marsh White award, and I felt that my internship made me realize the value of participating in the programs offered by the national SPS office.

In 2003 I graduated with a BA in Physics and a BS in Mathematics. Graduation was bittersweet, since I realized too late that I wanted to continue on to graduate school in mathematics. I resigned myself to taking a year or two off from school, but I was determined to return.

I applied for several high school teaching positions and was offered all of them, despite my lack of student teaching experience. I believe my lack of formal experience was offset by the SOCK curriculum development portion of my internship.

I taught physics and earth science for a brief time before I took a job evaluating Army systems at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. As fulfilling as this work was, I never lost the desire to return to school. Many applications later, I began graduate school at the Florida State University in 2005.

During my first year back in school, I reaffirmed my belief that studying math is truly what I want to do. At the end of my first year, I returned to Maryland, and to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, to resume my work supporting the Army for the summer. It was a welcome break from exams and homework sets, but I am looking forward to returning to FSU next month to begin my second year.

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to blend work experience and formal education so seamlessly over the past several years. I hope all the other SPS interns have found the years since their internships equally fulfiling.

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August 9 , 2002

Finally all of the shapes are cut for the SOCKs, and they are ready to be put together. All I can say is this: if ever cutting polyhedra shapes out of mattress foam with a turkey carver becomes an olympic event, I will bring glory to my country!

I have been working very hard to finish up my website for next Tuesday, and it seems as though with the exception of a few minor modifications that I may have to save for later next week, everything will be ready to go after today.

Earlier this week, we went to University of Maryland - where I predictably succumbed to the forces of Taco Bell Express, despite having a bag lunch - to finish cutting shapes in the machine shop. While there, we met with Dr. Berg, who has spent the last 30 years or so developing physics outreach demonstrations. Sure, he may have about a thousand impressive demos, but I ask you, what good are physics demos if they do not come in a denim sock?

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August 2 , 2002

This week was definitely a test of patience. I found out why people with computer dependent jobs often curse the machine's fickle nature. While creating my website, I ran across numerous problems with the design program. After many long hours, I was finally able to improvise around the problem and get back to where I started.

The end of the week was a welcome relief, and time to meet my parents in town for a showing of CNN's Crossfire at the George Washington campus. My mom was just tagging along and typically has little interest in political shows, yet she was the one that ended up writing a statement that she read in front of the cameras on the final "Fire Back" segment. Now that she is most likely an international TV celebrity, I only hope she still remembers those of us who stuck by her before she hit the big time...

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July 26, 2002

Thankfully, I was able to spend almost all of my time this week on the Meggers website. After a few programming setbacks and a few rather extended work days, it is progressing quite nicely. I am anxious to get finished, and finally there is an end in sight.

Brent, Katie, Lauren, and myself got together Monday to watch "Strangers on a Train" by Alfred Hitchcock on the lawn of the National Mall. This was part of the Screen on the Green series which shows several movies outdoors during the summer. Of course, let's not leave out the fact that admission is free! Once again, D.C. comes through with awesome entertainment value!

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July 19, 2002

This week has been the busiest so far. Monday and Tuesday I got to hone my carpentry skills at the University of Maryland physics student machine shop. Using their equipment, Lauren and I were able to produce hundreds of shapes for the SOCK kits. Wednesday I shared my time between working on my website and thinking of ideas for a lesson we'd be teaching to students Thursday morning.

The lesson on Thursday went very well. Lauren and I got to try out a few of her lesson ideas for the SOCKs with students in 4th to 7th grades. The response was very encouraging. We divided the students by age and oversaw the activities of each group. The interactions between students and their ability to reason through the exercises almost exactly as we had hoped was very exciting!

To round out the week, arrangements have been made for the interns to visit NIST on Friday afternoon, which promises to be an interesting experience and a great way to wind down from the intensity of these past several days.

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July 12, 2002
Over the past few weeks, I have been busy preparing the Meggers website, and Lauren and I were able to test drive some of our SOCK teaching ideas with the members of the education department on Friday. Their feedback was incredibly helpful in deciding what to include in the kit. This coming Thursday is the true test, when we present the material to a group of young students.

After work, all the interns have been trying to meet up for dinner every now and then, and it's nice to share stories and see what everyone is up to. On Friday, July 12, we all met at NASA/Goddard to visit some of the scientists and learn about their research.

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July 5, 2002
As an added benefit of being in DC, I was able to spend Independence Day right in our nation's capital. Despite living only 90 minutes away for all of my life, I had never been to the festivities downtown. The fireworks show was spectacular, and seeing them set off with the Washington Monument in the foreground was incredible. The Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum was open late, blasting their air conditioner, so I even got to learn a bit about cosmology before darkness fell and the show began. All in all, it's been a busy couple of weeks, but they've certainly been full of excitement.

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