A Postcard From: Codie Fielder Kawaguchi ’18

Name: Codie Fiedler Kawaguchi
Class Year: 2018
Major: Physics
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Internship Placement:
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: University Of Michigan

This summer I am interning at the University of Michigan, as a part of the Climate and Space Science and Engineering team. Although my day-to-day work is relatively straightforward (running data analysis on hydrodynamic instabilities), I have also found myself attending department meetings and even participating in the coffee hour ritual (coffee and biscotti everyday at 3 p.m.).

I applied to this internship as a means of branching out while remaining in my preferred field, plasma physics — but the biscotti is also a plus.

Last summer was the first time I got into plasma physics research; at that time I was focused mainly on fusion energy and turbulence. I participated in Summer Science Research at Bryn Mawr College, where I worked in Professor David Schaffner’s Plasma lab. During this experience, we not only prepared for the end of summer Symposium, held at Bryn Mawr College, but we also geared up for the Department of Plasma Physics Conference, otherwise known as DPP. It was at this conference where I met Carolyn and she told me about the internship she planned to set up.

I was excited to work with Carolyn because it meant I could not only, see a whole new side of plasma physics, but also work with a fellow Mawrter. It has been great to hear from Carolyn what it was like to go from a small liberal arts school in undergrad to a huge university for graduate school. Moreover, it has been helpful and somewhat encouraging to hear about her experience going from a women’s college, and then entering into a male-dominated subject. She has said that her time at Bryn Mawr gave her the strength that she needed to survive in such an environment, and I have often believed that this would be the case for me as well.

Aside from transitioning from Bryn Mawr College, where it’s only a 10-minute walk to the lab from Erdman, to the University of Michigan where campus spans an entire city, I would say my biggest challenge has been navigating the Space Science Research Building. This structure is not only massive, but it is currently undergoing renovation. Because so many of the hallways are blocked off as you walk through, you are constantly being rerouted. It has been quite an adventure figuring out how to get from point A to B.