Hi! My name is Kat Sliwa, and I am a rising senior at Central Bucks High School South. I’ve been interested in science for most of my life. In fifth grade, all my friends tried to memorize the elements of the periodic table, so I actually did. That spurred me on to read a textbook with information on every single element. Then, in sixth grade, I taught myself atomic structure and bonding for a research project. At that point in time, I still had dreamed of being a writer; but as I grew older, I realized I got bored writing stories that I already knew the ending of. But science was different. I could create a totally original idea and do experiments to see what happens. Since this epiphany, I’ve tried to get a lot more involved in science. I have doubled- (or tripled-) up in science classes every year since sophomore year, and I’ve joined lots of clubs like ChemClub and STEM research club to explore my interests. When TRIP came along, it seemed like another perfect way for me to get hands-on experience in the lab!
One of the other main reasons I am interested in science is my own personal medical struggles. While I’ve had a myriad of medical issues in the past couple years, the most prominent are my migraines that I struggle with on a day-to-day basis and concussions which I have had three of within two years of high school. These are medical conditions that are still not understood very well. Their treatments change year-to-year with new discoveries and drugs and I would like to be a part of those discoveries. Conditions of the brain like migraines and concussions affect so many people and I want to be able to conduct research that makes an impact on those communities.
Outside of science, I have a plethora of other hobbies (which you can imagine take up most of my time outside of school). I have been figure skating for the past decade and I’ve even been to the national Synchronized Skating Championships three times! Since my rink is my second home, I’ve learned pretty much everything about life from skating: perseverance, hard-work, stress-management, along with leadership and public speaking from coaching. The rink was even one of the first places I started asking “why?” and “how?” (much to the frustration of my coach who was used to skaters just “doing” what she said and not asking questions). Besides skating, I also play the viola in my school’s chamber orchestra and made district orchestra this past year. Due to the pandemic, there was no festival for district orchestra, but I’m really looking forward to regular concerts and festivals next year! One last notable interest is my love for quirky accessories. I love the uniqueness of them and it's fun to see what outrageous things I can dig up on the internet! Uno card earrings are the best way to spice up any outfit.
Even though I’m pretty much always busy with skating, having a migraine, or scouring Etsy for the perfect new pair of earrings, I knew I had to make time to participate in TRIP. I am super excited to design and execute my own original research project and learn important skills for a career in science. Even though I’ve only had one day of TRIP so far, I feel like I already learned a lot and I’m excited to see how far TRIP can take me!