Week 2:
Happy Birthday America!

Global Zero Fellow in Communication and International Policy

Global Zero | Washington, D.C.

July 12, 2017

One of the things on my “apaco-list” (another term for bucket list) is to visit Washinton D.C. during the Fourth of July. Check! While I was not able to see all of the events on the many different suggested events, I did have the opportunity to meet up with a former Cornellian, see a parade, and watch the fireworks. From the National Mall. Behind the Washington Monument. (For future reference/trip planning, try to get a spot between the Washington Monument and the Reflection Pool – you’ll be able to see the fireworks a little bit better)

Fourth of July Festivities

To start off my morning, I headed to see the Fourth of July parade with Grayce ’16 and Emily, a fellow intern at Global Zero. While the weather was more than a little warm, it was a lot of fun to see all the different groups participating in the parade. One of my personal favorites, and Grayce’s as well, was the Bahrain group – as Grayce and I  both studied abroad in the Middle East, the sound of bagpipes and the taubla was a fun trip down memory lane. After the parade, we visited the Hirshhorn Museum and the National  Portrait Gallary, stopping in Chinatown for a late lunch. While I didn’t get the chance to explore the latter as much as I would have liked to have, I plan to return to take in some of the newer galleries.

Fireworks illuminating the Washington Memorial
The Bahrain parade float – a fun trip down memory lane for Grayce and I.

We rounded out the day with some people-watching on the National Mall and an elaborate fireworks display.

Fireworks…of a different kind

On the Fourth, while American was enjoying fireworks, hot dogs, and the general celebration of our declaration of independence from the British government, North Korea set off some fireworks of their own. It was really interesting to see how Global Zero acted in response to real-time events. While I know that Global Zero reacts to events like North Korea’s missile tests in real time, it was really interesting to be a part of the action. As part of the field team, I don’t directly deal with news briefs, but one of my jobs is to fill out our media tracker, which is a spreadsheet where any and all articles related to nuclear weapons, nuclear policy, and Global Zero (to name a few) are entered and recorded for future use. This means I get to read a bunch of news articles from multiple news agencies and determine if it gets included in the media tracker, and where it would fall in our media tracker categories.

Reading all these articles has given me a much better handle on nuclear policy, and a really interesting insight into the way different organizations respond to this type of international event. I also got to see how Global Zero measures the way their information reaches the general public, through their email blasts, Facebook posts, and Twitter links. Last week was halfway through the year, and I helped to upload the metrics and data for all the social media sites Global Zero manages. Through looking at how many reactions there were to individual posts or the number of unsubscribes an email caused, Global Zero can then use that data to do more targeted marketing campaigns to specific individuals, depending on the demographics who responded to certain posts or images. While it may sound boring to sit and read through a bunch of numbers, I actually enjoyed seeing all the different types of techniques Global Zero uses to spread their message.

Me, hard at work updating metrics for future Global Zero analysis.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…sort of

After two weeks, I have finally figured out the metro rail system…to a point. I can now arrive at work actually on time, instead of 20 minutes early. There are some quirks still to work out – when I tried to navigate my mom and myself down to the Mall on Saturday, I managed to get us so turned around we ended up walking about fifteen minutes in the opposite direction. On a somewhat spur-of-the-moment decision, we rented bikes from a bikeshare station and rode them down to the mall, which was quite fun. Before I leave, I’m hoping to rent a bike and ride it around the monuments – hopefully I can find a relatively cool day to do it, although I could always drop into one of the museums to cool down!

My mom and I making our way downtown on bikes – $2 for a 30-minute bike ride!
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Hannah Robertson '18

Hannah Robertson is an English literature major from Durango, Colorado.