Apart from my activities in school, I am also extremely committed to playing the Chinese violin (yes this does exist), otherwise known as the erhu. I have been playing the instrument since I was 5 and ever since then, I’ve grown an appreciation for the instrument that I never truly understood as a child. Aside from connecting with my culture, playing the erhu acts as a stress reliever for me and I’ve even gotten the chance to participate in competitions with it! Another interest I spend outside of school is babysitting. Growing up, whenever my relatives were out, they would entrust me with watching over their children and even pay me money in the process. Babysitting was the ultimate pleasure growing up; I felt like I held accountability and trust whenever I was given the chance. Spending time with my younger cousins was a major trigger to my future goal of becoming a pediatrician.
With my love for science along with my deep desire to explore social interactions, what could be a more perfect opportunity than the TRIP Initiative! I’m interested in studying behavioral health in college, so what better way to prepare for that than working with fruit flies. In the future, I aspire to pursue a career in pediatrics, despite not settling on a specialty, so being a part of the TRIP community will give me insight into the research side of science as well giving me exposure to what it means to be a leader in the scientific community. Within the last few weeks, we’ve learned how to micropipette, observe the fruit fly life cycle personally from our homes, sort male and female flies, and have even performed our own behavioral assays! Although it’s only been 3 weeks of TRIP, I have met new friends that share similar passions, been mentored by 2 of the best instructors, and have even worked through some failures that come naturally with experimentation. It’s only been a few weeks, but I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Hi everyone!! I’m Nadija, a 17 year old junior at Masterman High School. I was born in a small country called Albania and moved to Philly when I was three years old. I have lived in northeast Philadelphia ever since!
Just like my TRIP friends, I love science! While I always had an interest in science, I vividly remember the moment when I fell in love with the field. Eighth grade physical science, my teacher was briefly introducing the concept of quantum mechanics to our class, and discussed wave particle duality. My tiny 13 year old brain was overwhelmed yet craved more information immediately- how could such a paradox exist in these tiny building blocks of matter that create everything around us? This was my first introduction to what I think are the best parts of science: how counterintuitive it can be and how no matter how knowledgeable and educated you could be on a topic, there is always something new and exciting to explore within it. I have always been a curious person from childhood, and I think this is something that attracts me to science greatly. Naturally, I’m a part of my school's Science Olympiad team, and compete in the chemistry and astronomy study events- both are my favorite topics in science to study! Aside from science, I’m in our World Affairs club; staying informed on the world’s news is very important to me. I also really enjoy studying philosophy, the last philosophical book I read was L’Etrangere by Albert Camus- definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting read!
In addition to my academic interests, I have many creative hobbies as well! I enjoy drawing in my spare time; my favorite mediums are paper and pencil, watercolor, and digital. I also have picked up photo editing and graphic design and have fun messing around with images and designs on my computer. In quarantine, I took online classes and learned how to play guitar (acoustic)! It’s a beautiful instrument and I love how there’s such a wide variety of sounds you can create with it, and I can’t wait to get my hands on an electric one too, a bass eventually as well! I love listening to music too, and have a wide taste, anywhere from American rap to Brazilian bossa nova to Japanese 80s city pop to Albanian jazz and French hip hop!
At this point in the program, we have all completed our first introduction experiments, whose topics were assigned to us. This was my first time conducting an experiment in the lab! It’s so exciting to think that by our second blog, we’ll have begun our independent(!!) projects, and I’ll have designed and created my own experiment by then!! See you all then in the next blog :)
Hey, I’m Harini! by Harini Shankar
Hello everyone, and welcome to my first blog post!! My name is Harini Shankar, and I am a junior at Central Bucks High School South. To start off with a short introduction about me, I am a super energetic person when I’m in a good mood. I love listening to music, and I make new playlists for myself on a weekly basis. I’ve been a dancer since I was 4 years old, so I do spend a lot of my time dancing. I also work at a tutoring center, and I teach kindergarteners. Like any other junior, I have truckloads of schoolwork that takes up the bulk of my time. I love getting involved in fundraising because it gives me a sense of purpose and lets me support causes greater than myself. And of course, my favorite activity every week is spending my Saturdays at TRIP😊! When I’m not doing any of these things, I’m either snacking on food, spending time with my family, whiling time away with my friends, or watching Netflix (Greys Anatomy always).
As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to go into science. Science is fascinating because there is an unending amount of knowledge that can be gained. That’s precisely why I applied for TRIP: to learn more about science, research, and achieve a better understanding of what I want to do with the rest of my life. Science is so diverse and there’s an ample number of occupations that can be chosen. For the longest time, I have wanted to be a doctor. However, taking different classes in school has shown me other fields in science may be just as intriguing. Research is such an integral part of science, and I hope TRIP will teach me more about research and allow me to evaluate my interest in it.
TRIP is a way for me to get a hands-on feel into a scientific research project and I am incredibly excited and grateful for the experience!
Hello everyone. My name is Z. Semianiuk and I'm a senior at William Tennent High School. I spent the majority of my life in Belarus (or that little dictatorial country everyone mistakes with Russia or Ukraine). Back at home, I was an active participant in science- and language-related Olympiads in fields like Biology, Chemistry, Russian language. Here, I take part in the Environmental and Science clubs and serve as a member of PAFA's (or Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts) Youth Council. As someone who had a chance to partake in courses like AP Seminar and AP Research, I have a great interest in almost any scholarly researchable subject matter ranging from politology to fine arts.
Since I'm a rather reserved individual, in my free time, I enjoy making art, reading, and generally engaging in quiet activities. And partially because of the aforementioned trait of mine, I really wanted to join the TRIP Initiative to improve my public speaking skills and develop a personally meaningful research project while also learning in the surroundings divorced from the usual competitive way-too-many-students classroom environment.
Upon completing my first few weeks in this program, I feel at home. The mentors and students alike have formed a close and friendly space that allows us to be explorative and not be afraid of making mistakes. Despite many hurdles I’ve met in this brief period of time (I had to miss two in-person classes), I enjoy every bit of this program and hope to continue to be inspired on my path of research in the TRIP Initiative.
Hello! My name is Lizzy Qian, and I am a current junior at Garnet Valley High School. I was born in Iowa where I lived until I was about eight years old, after which I moved to Pennsylvania. The thing that surprised me the most when I moved to Pennsylvania was the ocean. I’d never seen it before I’d moved to the East Coast, and no description could prepare me for how vast and unbounded it was, the way the waves roll and throw off glints of sunshine, or how terrifying aggressive seagulls can be.
At my high school, I’m part of the marching band where I play the clarinet and conduct as field major. I am also on my school’s debate team where I do Lincoln Douglas debate, and am Vice President of the STEAM Club, where our focus is providing accessible STEAM-based activities and education to children. For the past two years, I’ve been a singles player on my school’s tennis team. My favorite shot is my serve on its good days, and one of my favorite parts of tennis is the way a freshly opened can of tennis balls smells (ask any player and they’ll likely tell you the same). Outside of school, I am an avid Girl Scout. I love hiking, camping, and working with the younger kids in my multi level troop, as well as the selling and eating of Girl Scout cookies. I also enjoy art and like to sketch and paint in my free time.
So far in the program, I have been testing the effect of milk thistle on concussions. Prior to TRIP, I was not even aware that flies could get concussions, let alone that there was an actual scientific process to concussing flies. Interestingly, a spring contraption is used to hit a vial of flies against a wooden board, concussing them. I applied to the TRIP Initiative because I am interested in a future in which I can use science to help others and better the world. I’m extremely grateful to be a part of TRIP and for this opportunity to explore my passions and future career goals. I can already tell that this adventure will be an amazing one that I will learn much from.
What a TRIP So Far by Mason Matich
I applied to TRIP because I wanted to learn more about laboratory research and procedures as it’s an area I don’t have a lot of experience in. I was also looking to improve my presentation skills for my science fair projects as well as in my career. Right now, I’m thinking of becoming an engineer with a focus on biomimicry, though I do also have an interest in laboratory science, so who knows!
So far, TRIP has been an absolutely amazing experience. Over the last three weeks, we have learned how to make fly food and grape plates as well as how to sort them on CO2, which I’m starting to get good at (sorry tube #4). We’ve also started to learn about assays for our independent projects. Next week we have presentations for our current projects, so I’m trying to get all my data together, but I won’t have it all until next week, which is why I’m probably going to avoid an experiment that requires the fertility assay. Too much waiting for data. That and there’s two hours of nothing in between putting the flies in a collection cage and frantically counting embryos and sorting the adults. Not very fun. I feel like I’ve gotten to know Dr. Purdy, Dr. Leystra, and the other members a lot more over the past three weeks. According to Dr. Purdy, the morning sessions are usually pretty low energy, and I think we’ve nailed that expectation so far. I’m looking forward to starting my research project soon, and hopefully my presentation next week goes well (and that Dr. Purdy doesn’t have to take away the clicker).
I decided to take my dream in action for the rest of high school.
With schools and institutions shutting down thanks to the coronavirus, I took advantage of this long break and spent a lot of time navigating through the internet and social media. This is when I finally discovered what I want to do in the future. I have been watching many informational youtube channels such as the Infographic Show and TEDtalk, and swiping through numerous TikTok doctors/professionals such as Dr. Anthony Youn (@tonyyounmd), Dr. Richard Brown (@therealtiktokdoc), and Hyram (@skincarebyhyram). These holistic plastic surgeons and professionals educated the public through actual surgical contents and analyzed the ingredients within a product while making it humorous and enjoyable. I told myself that “this is the kind of life and environment that I want to be in when I grow up.” Thus, after binge watching all of their videos, I decided to take my dream in action for the rest of high school. I doubled my science course load in junior year and planned on doing the same thing in senior year, as well as following a pre-med track in college. I applied to many extra curriculars and was elected as my school’s American Heart Association Club co-president as well as my school’s Rock Ambassador.
If you are reading this as a future TRIP Initiative applicant, I would like to share my story with you. To be honest, in my freshmen year, I was too scared to apply for any positions and activities at my school because as a new incomer not only into the school, but also into the country. I felt like I had no place to speak nor to share my thoughts before people who spent more time in the same place. Yet, I was wrong. I learnt that applying to something does not mean carrying all the responsibility by yourself, but rather sharing your opinion and collaborating with others in order to be successful. That is what I received in TRIP. Not only does it provide an opportunity for us to conduct our own research, but it also fulfills extra knowledge that we would never learn in a regular science course offered by schools.
Hello everyone!!! My name is Rachel Simankin, and I am currently a senior at William Tennent High School. I grew up in Philadelphia but moved to the Bucks County area during the start of my sophomore year in high school. The main reason I wanted to be a part of the TRIP Initiative is that it's one of my goals to become a medical researcher and I really wanted to find a way to expose myself to hands-on research and explore this area of science. I've tried a variety of science classes to see what I am the most interested in including psychology, biology, chemistry, forensics, and neuropsychology, which is what I’m currently taking. So far my main interests lie somewhere in the field of biology and molecular biology, studying the effects certain diseases have on the body. This interest might change, but so far, this program has been a great experience for what being in the scientific field is like, and I get to work with and be a part of an amazing community of people.
Some of the things that I love to do in my free time are art and binge-watching either T.V. shows or movies. I mainly do a lot of digital art because it doesn't require me to go out and get a ton of supplies, but I have experimented with many different mediums, such as paint, markers, pencils, and charcoal. A majority of my art is made up of figure drawings done with pencils, but any form of creation is exciting and I’m always looking forward to my next project. When it comes to T.V., I am not picky about the types of shows or movies I watch and some of my recent binges include “The Wilds” on amazon prime and “Attack on Titan,” though I’m always open to recommendations. Because a majority of my classes are online at the moment, I found that a great way to stay connected with people is to video call them as often as possible and play multiplayer games like Minecraft, among us, even games like battlefront or TF2. A positive that came from this pandemic is that it gives us all an opportunity to grow our interests together, even if it’s just hobbies.
What’s up everyone! I’m Arnav Dhingra and I am a current junior at the Downingtown STEM Academy. I was born in Paoli, Pennsylvania, moved to Princeton, New Jersey for about five years, and then moved back to Pennsylvania. I currently live in Downingtown with my Mom, Dad, and identical twin brother. Although I only see our TRIP family once a week, I’m so grateful to be able to meet new students and mentors in-person at WTHS, especially because I don’t attend in-person school right now. During quarantine, I developed new hobbies such as skateboarding and snowboarding (when I can). My skateboarding journey started with RipStiking (which isn’t as complicated as it looks!), and I’ve recently mastered longboarding around my neighborhood as well as nearby roads. Just a few days ago, I got my first “traditional” skateboard, and I can’t wait to visit the nearby skatepark once the snow clears up! Another hobby that I have a heavy interest in is print graphic design. I love making print items such as logos, business cards, brochures, posters, etc. and I enjoy learning new software such as Adobe Illustrator!
Although COVID-19 has undoubtedly taken a lot from our normal lives, I’ve come to realize that this time is unique and has its own advantages. Apart from being able to wake up late, I have strengthened bonds with my family and close friends, spent more time outside, and further developed my interests inside and outside of the classroom. Even though this year has been a year unlike any other with virtual learning, I have become comfortable with communicating over Zoom through the activities that I participate in outside of school, such as the Technology Student Association (TSA). Serving as Pennsylvania TSA State Treasurer, I have met so many other TSA members across the country and led my state’s ~20,000 members through the TSA season with numerous fundraising initiatives and conference planning sessions. I also intern at a nearby manufacturing company, Nth Solutions, LLC, and play for my school’s varsity tennis team. In school, I serve as an FBLA officer and am a member of the Spanish Honors Society and National Honors Society.
My past experiences with asthma, eczema, and allergies have motivated me to learn more about inflammation, changes in diet, and stress.
As you can probably tell, my interests are varied throughout many different fields. I joined TRIP to further my knowledge in science, learn lab procedures, and understand the world in a different way by doing my own independent research. My past experiences with asthma, eczema, and allergies have motivated me to learn more about inflammation, changes in diet, and stress. Through TRIP, I have already begun to make connections with other students, and I have learned to cherish the collaborative environment. I’m currently researching the effect of valerian and high temperature on fly anxiety. Already, we’ve learned so much about fly development, using pipettes, making grape plates, following assays, giving research presentations, and sorting flies. Every week is a challenging but rewarding experience for me to explore science in a lab setting. I am so grateful for this amazing program!
A big lesson that I have learned so far is that you should never be afraid to make mistakes because it challenges you to analyze, learn, and probably make new ones.
Hi everyone! My name is Shreya Harikrishnan and I'm a junior at North Penn High School. Fun fact, I'm not from Pennsylvania; I actually was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, moved to Virginia, and finally made my way to Pennsylvania. I guess that’s where my passion for traveling comes from! I love spending quality time with my family, gaining new experiences, and meeting new people from different backgrounds. Some of my hobbies include working out, photography, and traveling. So far I have been to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Peru, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, India (many many times), Nepal, and Canada. I love learning about new cultures, going on new adventures, and sporting my adventurous characteristics. When I’m not running like a machine, I like to binge watch movies and tv shows and recently, I have been obsessed with Cobra Kai, Riverdale, Nancy Drew, and Pretty Little Liars on Netflix.
At school, I am actively involved in many clubs but some of my favorites are the Future Health Occupations Club, Thespians, and Women's Choir. Outside of school, I play the violin in the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, take Indian classical voice lessons, take harmonium lessons (the harmonium is an Indian classical instrument similar to the accordion), recently started learning to play Indian classical violin, volunteer at the Abington Hospital, and serve as a board member on a nonprofit organization (KAFO) that supports a rural village in West Africa for education and healthcare needs.
I am involved in TRIP because I want to expand my scientific knowledge, gain the experience of conducting hands on research, and enhance my collaboration skills. This program really correlates with my interests in the medical sciences and will provide me the platform to seek insights into the scientific questions I have. I am so excited to engage in intriguing scientific discussions and collaborate with all of you! I aspire to become a Pediatric Neurosurgeon and I am eager to see how this program cultivates my motivations and interests!
The past three weeks have just flown by but they have been a blast! From making fly food and grape plates to sorting flies, I have definitely learned a lot and I can safely say that I enjoy sorting flies more than I could ever imagine! A big lesson that I have learned so far is that you should never be afraid to make mistakes because it challenges you to analyze, learn, and probably make new ones. I have also enjoyed getting to know my peers and my instructor although it is a little difficult when you're six feet apart. Looking down the road, I can’t wait to start developing my independent project and see where it takes me!