2013-08-01 18:25:06.000 – Kaitlyn O`Brien, Summit Intern
One of many intern duties is to provide tours of the Observatory to our supportive members. During the first week of my internship, I shadowed several tours given by seasoned observers and I remember thinking, ‘How can I possibly remember all of these facts, dates, and the order in which the information should be presented?’ Now that I have given countless tours to members of all ages, I can rehearse the entire spiel in my sleep. I’ve even learned how to tailor the information for different age groups as well as for a variety of specific interests people may have.
I really enjoy working with the public and meeting people. I love to see the fascination on people’s faces when they have to ask again just to be sure, ‘So you really live up here for a week!?’ Or sometimes the question is, ‘How do I get to spend a week up here?’ One of the more memorable tours I’ve given was to a group of young adults who were very interested in the operations of our facility. However, within this group, there was an individual that was just learning English as a second language. So another individual within the same group had to translate everything I was saying. Once I realized this, I had to slow down the pace of the tour so that the translator could keep up with and share all of the information I was providing. When I did this, I realized it became more of a conversation between me and the group instead of a one-sided presentation. Several questions arose throughout the tour and I was happy to answer every single one. It was wonderful to see so much curiosity, especially among our international friends. At the end of the tour, one individual commented on how important the work is that we do and was fascinated to learn that we operate as a non-profit organization.
Sometimes it’s easy to take working at the Observatory for granted. The 360 degree views from the parapet, the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and experiencing a variety of extreme weather conditions throughout the year is every meteorologist’s dream. But when tourists come through and are truly in awe of the work we do day in and day out, it is a little reminder of just how lucky we are to spend a week at a time atop the highest peak in the Northeast doing what we love. With that perspective in mind, I don’t think I’ve ever ‘worked’ a single day up here!
Kaitlyn O`Brien, Summit Intern