Intern Reflections: Objects

Oh, my city, awash in iridescent light. How beautiful you are that emeralds shine greener in envy. You stand at the crossroads between innovative minds and their luxuriously spacious non-cuboid cubicles. Your metaphorical sun, your bulwark of science, your so-called “light bulb from the hardware store”, and its somewhat ominous black dome, will never betray you.


Welcome to the OPI² summer intern blog series! My name is Vicky Liu and I will be starting us off on our roller coaster of productivity and excellent air quality. (The lamp senses downtown conditions and changes color accordingly). This is only our second week here, but we have already learned so much about the ins and outs of the LMG. From APIs, KPIs, DPCA frameworks, and LEAN methodologies, to IFTTT partnerships, PI personality tests, and EPAD tools, I eat acronyms for breakfast (and Subway specials for lunch). Then, the next morning, I hop on the TARC for another day of exciting CX, HCD, and LMPD team projects. I also look forward to starting non-acronym assignments with the Office of Sustainability and the Forestry and Landscape division of Parks and Recreation.

Since I’m still in the early stages of my various process maps, I thought I could save my work results and objectives for my next blog post and talk to you about objects instead. See what I did there? Seriously, there are plenty of interesting public objects around the office if you just look hard enough.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re disappointed. Everyone knows the cardinal rule of writing is to start strong and hook your reader. Now you’re an eye roll away from leaving the page. But this paper towel dispenser above the kitchen counter that also houses our Keurig and state-of-the-art microwave oven really made me stop and think. “Wash and Dry Hands Well”, yes, is great advice for any young professional trying to make her way in this world. But, “For the Health of It”? What is “It”? Why the singular pronoun, if the dispenser is telling us to wash our plural hands? Is one of our hands worthier than the other? Does “It” embody the macroscopic human experience? Voila my cardinal rule of writing: start with an unexpected existential crisis.

This gentle plant is named Ursula, which means bear. It is very adorable and smiles upon Intern John who, like Intern Luke and myself, sits on the innovation side of the office. Intern Sofia sits on the improvement side. I wish I had my own Ursula. Instead, I have the void. By the way, imagine if we had teddy plants rather than teddy bears. Would the toy industry become more or less efficient?

As I gaze out into the void, a sticker of three chubby tropical birds greets me on the upper left corner of my second monitor. These birds are also gazing in the direction of Intern John. Wow, John. Thanks a lot. Anyway, this is my first internship with dual monitors, which automatically makes this the coolest internship ever…Along with the fact that in mere days, we’ve already met the mayor, attended budget hearings and LouieStats, toured the 911 call center, and always have access to the most intelligent, talented, and capable coworkers around.

A giant Tic-Tac-Toe board, a modern art piece, or a metaphor for conformism when you step “in the box” and “out of the box”? It’s actually a maze, believe it or not. The truth can be frightening.

Dear Alexa, you can tell me the weather, the population of my hometown, and Mayor Fischer’s flash briefing, but can you tell me what’s in my heart? Or, like, automatically convert Fahrenheit to Celsius for me? I’m from Canada and whenever I hear 80 degrees, a part of me still braces for the impact of burning to a crisp. Alexa symbolizes Louisville’s dedication to smart city and smart home technology.

Behold Mysterious Object #1.

Behold Mysterious Object #2.

Behold Mysterious Object #3.

Our lovely supervisor Joanna challenged the interns to find a way to stop these orange floor mats from moving. I swear I will do it.

OPI² is such an incredible place, both intellectual and physical. I walk under an exposed brick arch to get to my desk, which has a modern soft V shape. There, I work on diverse projects that have real impact on Louisville citizens: saving money for essential services by reducing false alarms and energy consumption, upgrading civic platforms, streamlining tree upkeep, planning culturally important city events, etc. What more could I ask for? I guess, even more Mysterious Objects.

See you next time.