Hello everyone! My name is Michael Freaney, and I am a junior attending Upper Merion Area High School. I am a pianist, cross country runner, hiker, and advocate of science. I took interest in the TRIP Initiative because I am an aspiring research scientist. I especially love biology and chemistry, and hope to pursue these fields after high school.
When I applied for the TRIP Initiative, I was hoping to meet other students with goals and interests similar to mine, which has already happened! I already feel comfortable in the lab among the other students and instructors. I also look forward to learning more about and working with fruit flies. After just 2 sessions at the TRIP Initiative I am intrigued by the flies! Sorting the flies was a bit of a challenge at first, but I quickly got the hang of it. I can already tell that I will thoroughly enjoy the rest of my TRIP experience.
On Saturday, February 25th, 2017, I walked into Mr. Jayo’s room, my nerves buzzing with excitement. It was the first day I would begin my classes for the Teen Research Internship Program (TRIP) Initiative, a student-based program for those who want to challenge themselves in the field of science.
I have to admit, I was a little bit scared because I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that we were going to use fruit flies as our model organism and learn how to operate in a lab from the information my Physics teacher sent me—but besides that, I had a lot of learning to do. However, after meeting my fellow classmates and mentors, I learned that I had nothing to be worried about. They were all very welcoming and supportive, and it was nice to be a part of a group that held similar interests.
After the first couple weeks of us getting used to the lab equipment, each other, and becoming experts on fruit flies, we began our own independent projects.
Each student was to design his or her own independent project that would later be presented in front of our parents, friends, TRIP alumni, some of William Tennent’s faculty, as well as our mentors.
For my final project, I decided to test the effects of Folic Acid, Lipoic Acid, Vitamin E, and Metformin on fruit fly fertility. Flies are the perfect models to test fertility because they share about 70% of their DNA with humans, are inexpensive and otherwise ethical, and compared to the 9 month reproductive cycle of a human, a 9 day life cycle in which flies reproduce is much more easily quantifiable.
Dr. Purdy, the director of Fox Chase Cancer Center’s TRIP Initiative, encouraged me to share my story with the audience during my presentation, and I am so happy that I listened to her advice. (A little tip in case anyone is interested in applying to the TRIP Initiative—which I strongly encourage—she gives a lot of good advice that is worth following).
Saturday, May 13th, was the big day: nine students from the morning session and nine students from the afternoon session presented their projects to the public. Despite how nervous I was, the experience left a huge impact on me.
The reason I chose to do fertility for my project is because when I was about 13-years-old, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which is one of the leading causes of infertility in women in the United States today. The likelihood of me having to take medication to aid in the process of reproduction when I want to have children later in life, is almost a hundred percent.
Sharing such a personal part of myself with strangers was incredibly difficult, but I couldn’t be happier that I listened to Dr. Purdy’s advice.
After the first round of presentations in which I was the second presenter, people went to the refreshments, and a member of the audience who happened to be the mother of one of my peers approached me and told me about her personal experience dealing with PCOS. When I initially thought about sharing a part of myself with the audience, never did I anticipate that anyone would even know what PCOS is.
This woman said to me, “You just told my life story.”
When she was younger she always wanted to have a big family, but her PCOS caused infertility problems, so she tried all the different fertility drugs. She tried Folic Acid and Vitamin E, as well as some other ones that I had researched for my project but found that they were too expensive for me to use in my experiment. She was amazed that I had used Metformin to test fertility because not many people associate Metformin with fertility, which is what helped her have the 5 healthy kids that she has today.
Being a part of the TRIP Initiative has touched me in a way that I won’t ever forget. Having someone say, “You just told my life story,” and getting to connect with someone who went through something that I will most likely go through—is ineffable.
It’s something I will never forget.
Being a part of TRIP has also helped me with my shyness, and breaking out of my shell. Dr. Purdy, Ms. Pellegrin, and Ms. Wagner wouldn’t take my reluctance in opening myself up to other people for an answer, and I’m glad that they didn’t. I’ve made some really awesome friends through this experience, all of whom encouraged me to open up and share my thoughts with others.
Whether or not you think that you’re going to be a scientist or an accountant or a writer or whatever you so choose to pursue, I recommend applying to this program, because you never know how an experience is going to shape you until it actually does.
Hello! My name is Maria DelPo and I am currently a junior at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School. Since the beginning of freshman year, science has been my favorite topic to research, understand and discuss. Chemistry in particular captivates my curiosity and thirst for knowledge. I plan to pursue Chemistry in college. The thought of being able to do something I already love for a career seems surreal.
In my free time, I can be found teaching myself how to play songs on the piano. I thoroughly enjoy learning about music theory and experimenting with the different harmonies on the piano. Additionally, I am involved in my school’s community service corps along with volunteer work within my own community. I absolutely love helping others and contributing to society. At school, a large sum of my time is spent running my high school's morning TV station that broadcasts daily announcements. As an experienced member, I am responsible for controlling the Roland sound mixer, broadcasting live video feed, and announcing upcoming events. Through various activities, I have the opportunity to work with a variety of people and learn more about myself in the process.
I decided to become involved with the TRIP Initiative because this is a great opportunity to test my curiosities using the scientific method. This will benefit me with an increase in knowledge and hands-on experiences. With my pursuit into Chemistry, TRIP will predispose me to performing research in the lab. I am grateful for becoming a part of the TRIP family 2018; I am excited about the journey.
Hey everyone! My name is Davron Borhan and I am a junior at Methacton High School. I was born in New York, not Manhattan though, closer to the Hudson River. Some things I am involved in, both in school and out of school, are Ultimate Frisbee, MiniTHON, Junior Achievement, Employee at Kumon Learning Center (10/10 do not recommend), Kids Against Crisis, and Volunteering. In my extracurriculars I hold leadership roles and am continuously on the grind. For example, in Junior Achievement I am the president of my company and am continuously tasked with leading the team through the process of any real business startup. Although, Junior Achievement is a business program I'm still super excited for the TRIP Initiative because I will have the opportunity to explore the bounds of my scientific knowledge.
Some fun facts about me are that I belong to a Turkic-Ethnic group called the Uyghurs. They originate from western China and have always suffered oppression at the hands of the Chinese government. However, no one ever knows what it is when I am continuously posed with the question, "What are you dude?" Another fun fact is that my thumb and shoulders are extremely flexible in ways you probably haven't seen before. Also, I’m a fan of going to concerts, my recent one being Lil Uzi Vert at the Liacouras Center. I've also been to the Made in America music festival which was pretty amazing. My favorite artists are Macklemore, Eminem, 21 Savage, Post Malone, Lil Skies, The Weeknd, Khalid, and Lil Uzi. Hopefully you are all informed about who Davron Borhan really is.
Hey! As you can tell from the title, I love Indiana Jones. My name is Amer Ahmed and I am a senior at Central Bucks High School-East. I love biology and chemistry and was planning on majoring in Biochemistry in college on a pre-med track. I'm interested in analyzing data by working in a lab and hope to get some research experience before I conduct research in college, which is why I was interested in TRIP, and so far I’m learning so much!
In school, some clubs I participate in are the Future Doctor's Club, FBLA, and Student Council. I also play soccer for East, run track in the spring, as well as play club soccer year-round. Outside of school, I volunteer at the Doylestown Hospital, write for the Intelligencer newspaper in the Teen Reality section (check out my articles online!), and work as a soccer referee. When I'm not juggling all my activities, I enjoy playing guitar, playing pickup sports with some friends, watching some TV, or even playing video games. I am your go-to-guy for 80s, 90s, and current day action movies. I love watching Seinfeld, Friends, Parks and Rec, Modern Family, and much more. Additionally, I love watching football, soccer, and basketball. As for songs, I listen to a wide variety from Queen to Kendrick Lamar to Green Day.
Hi! My name is Anya Aggarwal and I am a junior at Spring-Ford High School in Royersford. My interests lie predominantly in math and science, as well as in psychology in neuroscience. Everything about the brain and cognition intrigues me! In school I am part of Student Council, Model UN / Junior State of America, and FBLA. I also started a Medical Club at my school this year to promote careers in healthcare. After I graduate I want to pursue a biomedical engineering major, a field that thrives on research, which is why I am so happy and honored to be participating in the TRIP Initiative!
Outside of school I have many hobbies. I love to dance and have been doing so since I was about 5 years old at Jane Baron’s Academy of Dance. I also dance with my brother at our annual Diwali festival ; it is one my favorite times of the year! I have also been doing karate since I was 4 years old and and proud to be a 2nd Dan black belt. Additionally, I love to draw and paint while listening to music. My favorite mediums for painting are acrylics and watercolor. Drawing and painting is a way for me to relax and have fun! I am an avid reader and love to explore new genres and authors. Currently, my favorite books are The Book Thief and Caraval. Harry Potter has also been a huge part of my life. My whole family bonds over the books, movies, and memorabilia. According to Pottermore, I am a Ravenclaw which is pretty accurate, although I do also identify a little with Gryffindor. Another thing I love is traveling, learning new languages, and experiencing different cultures. I recently went to Italy and fell completely in love! I cannot wait to go back to Europe! I also speak multiple languages including English, Hindi, and Spanish, and hope to learn even more! Finally, I have a special love for Bollywood movies and music and could talk about them for hours on end.