My first few weeks in the program were super fun, but pretty stressful. It is a refreshing change of pace to find something that I love to do and make connections about something that I care about. I feel as though I am being pushed to be the best version of me that I can be, and showing myself everything I am capable of and more. Not only am I doing something I love, I’m doing it with people I love. When Dr. Purdy first said that TRIP is a family, I was a little skeptical. However, I have come to cherish and adore the 14 people I see at 8:30 AM every Saturday.
I can’t wait to get started with the project and see my experiment in action!
The first few weeks into the program have been incredible. Everyone has been so welcoming and we all have gotten to know each other pretty well. The teaching assistants have also been very helpful and have provided assistance and guidance whenever I needed it. I have learned and developed so many experimental and presentation skills that are useful for the future from the practice assay I completed on how folic acid and high temperatures affect female fertility in fruit flies. For my independent project, I decided to conduct my research on assays that involve alcohol. I thought it would be interesting to do an experiment testing alcohol in female and male fruit flies, since alcohol abuse is such a major problem in humans.
At first, I wanted to see whether male flies or female flies are able to build up tolerance to the ethanol faster. However, after working on my experiment with Dr. Gardiner and a group of students, we decided to change the experiment where we test whether ginkgo biloba can help fruit flies with their memory after they have been exposed to ethanol which will affect their memory negatively. This would require the use of the larval memory assay but also adding the extra drug, ethanol, to see how the results would change. I am very excited to begin this project and to be able to compare my results with my hypothesis.
Post-proposal: My idea is testable! Here’s what I proposed.
For my experiment, I’d like to test if there is a diet that can help reduce stress in those with autism spectrum disorders. I have two siblings with autism, and I’ve noticed that the parent community tends to create diets for kids like them that take away something. There are diets that take away gluten, dairy, and added sugars, but I have not seen a diet where something is added. I’d like to see if the antioxidants, or flavonoids, in dark chocolate can help reduce stress hormones and help those with autism spectrum disorders regulate their behavior.
The big question is, how do I test this with flies? Since I can’t create autism in flies, I decided that I would alter their hormones to create high stress levels. I’m utilizing the drug Prednisone to raise the stress hormones in flies to create my stressed group. I’m going to be using cocoa powder to hopefully lower these stress levels. I will have a group of flies with Prednisone, a group with cocoa powder, a group with both, and a control group. I plan to test the levels of stress in the flies with the centrophobism assay and the social space assay. These assays will give me an insight to whether or not the cocoa powder reduced how stressed the flies were after their stress levels were raised.
I’m ready to set up my experiment and get to work! I know there will be a lot of failures up ahead, and I’m more than prepared to deal with them. Thanks for reading!
I’ve also made some amazing friends at TRIP. I guess you could say that spending four hours together EVERY SATURDAY has brought us pretty close. I mentioned in my last blog that I was very excited to meet like-minded people and I think it’s safe to say that that goal has been achieved. Though I’m spending four hours of my Saturdays to work with fruit flies and learn about science (something a normal person wouldn’t necessarily consider relaxing during the weekend), it doesn’t even feel like I’m working because of all of the laughs I share with my classmates and our instructors, Dr. Purdy and Dr. Gardiner. Ugh, cheesy I know. On a lighter note, Dr. Purdy introduced me to an axolotl a few weeks ago and I have to say, that’s the coolest thing I did in February.
Overall, I’m really loving the program and I wouldn’t trade my time on Saturdays for anything else. See y’all in the next blog. Stay nerdy :)
So far, this experience has been exciting, interesting, and overall a great time. I have met so many new high-schoolers with similar interests as mine, and can’t wait to continue to bond with them over fruit flies. ~ Anjali Kejariwal
I can’t wait to answer this question in the coming weeks and learn even more about fruit flies! I’ll check back with you soon!
After learning about one another through a get-to-know-you exercise, I learned the basics of micropipetting and gained some practice working with the chemical balance which is far more precise than any other balance I have ever used.
For my initial project, I will be working with St. John’s Wort, an antidepressant, and the stressor will be head trauma. As someone who has lived through a lot of concussions, I am very curious as to how flies with the medicine and stressor will respond in the locomotion assay as well as how head trauma will even be inflicted on the flies. As for now, I am incredibly excited to embark further on this adventure with my TRIP teammates and cannot wait for another great session!
My name is Xose Venus Agbadan (most people call me Venus), and I am a junior at Cheltenham High School in Montgomery County (Go Panthers!). I was born in Togo in West Africa and lived in Ghana until I was 3, and then I moved to the U.S.
At school, I play the violin in my Chamber Orchestra, sing in my school's Select Choir, and I am also a theater kid! I have done every production my school has put on since 7th grade and was recently Beatrice in our production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
Outside of school I like to bullet journal, read, listen to music, and geek out over one of my many obsessions. I am a fan of organization in general and although my bullet journal calligraphy and doodles are not amazing, having a bullet journal makes me feel as though I have my life slightly together haha. I don't have a favorite book, but my favorite author is Rainbow Rowell. If you're ever looking for good clearance deals, Target will surprise you. In terms of music, I listen to everything from Bach to 21 Savage to Cuco to Dear Evan Hansen. Some of my obsession include Timothee Chalamet (I LOVEEE HIM), scrolling through Pinterest, and watching guilty pleasure shows (i.e. The Bachelor franchise and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series).
Something that you may not know about me is that I am also very passionate about music. I have been playing piano since the age of four and have had numerous opportunities to perform at various renowned locations, including Carnegie Hall. I also play the clarinet, and was fortunate enough to qualify for the district, regional, and state level division conference this year. Music is something that has had such a profound impact on my life. Some of my other hobbies include landscape photography and reading (I love a good book!) At school, I participate in various activities, including my school’s marching band, the boys’ tennis team, and the student council.
Growing up, I’ve always had a keen interest in the STEM field, inspired both from reading books to external influences from my best friend. In the future, I would like to work in the field of neurology and possibly obtain a Ph.D. Being a part of TRIP is the perfect opportunity for me to not only expand my scope of knowledge in the scientific research field, but to challenge myself on a greater personal level as well and to grow as a person. There are many aspects of TRIP that requires the usage of skills that do not necessarily pertain to STEM at all, some of which include cooperation and leadership.
Though it is only week two of the program, I am already feeling at home. I love the kindness and respect everyone has towards each other, and our willingness to help each other succeed. I also know that throughout this program, I will face numerous challenges that I will have to work to overcome. I am beyond excited to see where this program brings me and am even more excited to share the rest of my journey with you all!