Hi! My name is Palak Shah, and I am a rising senior at North Penn High School. My interests lie in the intersection of business and medicine, and I hope to pursue them in college next year. I’m an artist, advocate for girls’ education and healthcare in developing nations through the UN’s Girl Up program, and a student researcher in a neighboring computational chemistry lab.
In my experiment, I tested biomagnetism in flies - the ability of the animals to sense a magnetic field and move in its direction. I added a little twist: irradiating half of the flies with UVA light to see if it enhances or impairs nature magnetosensitivity in flies. While there are still calculations for me to do, I believe from visual inspection that UVA light actually enhances biomagnetism. I’m interested in this response because with the thinning of the ozone layer, I want to predict what the radiation could do to other animals who also exhibit magnetosensitivity (future research perhaps???)
My experience with TRIP has been an eye-opening, exhilarating leap from my comfort zone. I was used to feeling in control in lab work at school. With TRIP, I had to abandon my grip on perfectionism and pursue science in all its messy glory. I faced multiple roadblocks that left me frustrated and lost. From deciding to test as much as I could in one assay (which failed miserably) to accidentally drowning my flies in their own food (whoops!), I had to learn how to deal with my mistakes and find a new path in order to complete the tasks I envisioned. With the guidance of incredible instructors and the support of wonderful, fascinating classmates, I was able to grow as a scientist and as a person. TRIP has taught me that the beauty of scientific research lies in the outliers, blunders, and unexpected detours. If we always found results that perfectly aligned with our hypotheses, how could we ever learn?
Author: Palak Shah