Hi everyone! My name is Tina Tian, and I’m a rising junior at Haddonfield Memorial High School in New Jersey. Living in a small town is super different from my childhood - I lived in the big city Shanghai, in China, for 11 years before I moved here in 6th grade. Without the constant noises on the street and people chattering around at all times, it feels more calm and peaceful, but at the same time, I feel like a piece of connection to the others is missing. So whenever someone asks if I preferred living in Shanghai or in Haddonfield, my answer is always Shanghai, but I act like it is a hard decision to make since I do not want to disappoint them too much.
In school, I am participating in the environmental club as an active member, which gave me lots of cool experiences including horseshoe crab rescues, doing carbon inventories using a tree-measuring stick, drawing wood ornaments for sale during Christmas, and many more. This led to my participation in a student-led organization called Detox NJ. We advocate for the cleanup of Superfund sites, which are toxic waste sites, and I took on the role of Director of Marketing to better voice our concerns regarding the environment to the public. In my spare time, I also LOVE birdwatching, either from my backyard or going on long trips to beaches and forests, since birds have a special place in my heart for being super fluffy and adorable (except for seagulls). Some other things I do include piano, tennis, watching variety shows, and trying to bake but failing most times.
Since elementary school, I have always loved the sciences and I was always excited to go to a science class. I was very lucky to have extremely nice and dedicated science teachers and instructors that truly ensured my interest in the science field. According to some of my friends and family, the science field did not seem like the best major to pursue, where the only options for a career are either boring lab work or being a doctor or a nurse. However, I completely do NOT agree with their opinions, because there is so much more to the science field! It is also such a meaningful field to go into because I always believed that science can truly change our world and push us in a better direction, making more meaningful discoveries while bringing more conveniences to our world. TRIP is a great opportunity for me to experience the field of research, and I am so excited to design my own project and go through all the trials and errors to hopefully lead to a successful conclusion. We have learned basic laboratory techniques and made our fly food for our first small research project by this blog, and it has already sparked my interest in what’s coming next. I am more than excited to start a challenging, but unique and rewarding journey with TRIP!
Hi! My name is Sam Ferraro and I recently graduated from Roxborough High School. While at Roxborough, I did all the stereotypical nerd activities. I was a tutor, student ambassador, captain of the debate team among other equally nerdy activities. When I wasn’t doing academic extracurriculars, I spent my time working or on the field. For over a year and a half, throughout the entirety of the pandemic, I worked at a grocery store as a cashier and eventually I worked my way up to running the front end. I absolutely despise working in customer service but I learned a lot about leadership and time management while I was there. After essentially bossing around cashiers by telling them what register to work on, I would go home and practice. During high school, I was a 4-season athlete playing soccer, basketball, softball, and lacrosse. While I was never MVP or even remotely stellar, I had fun competing and loved being a part of a team. At first, I didn’t even like softball, I just played because I wanted to hang out with my friends and they needed more girls. It definitely wasn’t my brightest move adding another sport in addition to my already heavy workload but it all worked out in the end.
During my time at Roxborough, I participated in the biotechnology pathway. Biotechnology is the science of using living organisms and technology for the betterment of human life and development. Over the course of three years, I was introduced to a variety of topics that piqued my interest and sparked a curiosity in me. One of those topics was disease transmission and zoonotic diseases, which is fitting given the current predicament we are all in. Despite my (relatively) recent interest in diseases, I have always had an interest in a variety of different sub disciplines in science, even before I knew what exactly it was I was so enamored with. As a child, I always loved science - for Christmas all I wanted was kiddie lab kits and junior microscopes. I would test how much water it took to turn dirt to mud and beg my mom to let me do a volcano experiment I saw on T.V. in her kitchen. The answer was always no and in order to placate me she would let me sit on the porch far past my bedtime to watch the stars.
I am so excited to be back in the lab after a year and a half of being at home. Like all of my fellow TRIP-mates I’m itching to start this program and (hopefully) begin my research career. The day after our symposium I will be flying to Los Angeles to study Environmental Science and Health at the University of Southern California.
Hello readers, my name is Diego Asencio, a rising senior at Pennsbury High School and a current member of the TRIP Initiative at Temple University. To give some background about my life, my father is from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, my mother is from Ica, Peru, and I was born in Miramar, Florida. I moved to New Jersey for roughly a year, and then proceeded to move to Yardley, Pennsylvania, where I currently live. Having so much history within the hispanic community both in the States and with family overseas are both prides of my life and are a driving force in my pursuit to diversify the science field.
Other than school, I enjoy a busy life, which is my preferred use of time. I am an employee at Chick-Fil-A Oxford Valley Road, and have been so for around 2 years. The kindness that is brought out of the deepest depths of my heart when I am in the uniform is an emotion that drives me to do better everyday. In addition, if I'm not at home or working, I am most likely playing Ultimate Frisbee. I first found frisbee through a local summer camp, which I now am a counselor for, and have been playing for my high school since freshman year. Along the way I became hungrier and hungrier for more playing time, so I joined a summer league, a winter league, and an elite league where I played, and still play, against other men and women in the area at an extremely high level. The community is so kind and forgiving, but isn’t scared to give to you straight, just one of the many reasons why ultimate frisbee is a passion in my life.
So far, the TRIP Initiative has mainly taught me how to use Schoology and how to take a train from Yardley to Temple, but I am certain that this will change in the coming weeks. Using a micropipette in the lab today was something that I loved, the device was efficient and compact, perfect for a scientific setting. I know that although the research I will be conducting in the lab in the next coming weeks may be unnoticeable in the grand scheme of life, it will lead me down a path where changing lives will be my everyday job. My dream job is to be a pediatric cardiologist, which is perfect for my vision in life. I want to make at least one person’s life better because of something that I did. Being a pediatrician is the perfect job for that mission, and one that the TRIP Initiative is sure to help me achieve.
Hey everyone, My name is Noella Idem and I am currently a rising senior at Downingtown STEM Academy. I was born and raised in Nigeria, before moving to Downingtown, a small borough in PA which I have lived in ever since. With the opportunities granted by my school, I have become an active member and leader in a variety of activities. I am the regional vice president in FBLA, the future Business Leader of America and UNICEF, and I participate in color for coats in New Jersey. With my vivid interest in the field of medicine, I am currently attending the Johns Hopkins Global Health Conference, exposing me to the wonders of many fields and different specialities. I have always had a passion for science from a younger age, perhaps stemming from my immense lack of interest in english or global history. Nevertheless, the TRIP Initiative has introduced me to technicalities of research and just how contradictory it can be.
Apart from my academic activities, I also love to create and design in my free time. With the skills acquired in FBLA, I spend my time exploring graphic design and publication design as who could ever say no to some free doodling :)! I also run track and love to hike (even though I can never remember where I go). In my spare time I swim a lot! I love going to my local creek and swimming with my friends, or kayaking and paddle boarding. I also love to work out, not only does it have many medical benefits, it has become a stress relief for me.
Similar to many of my TRIP friends, I too have subdued the excitement of attending this program and working with other like-minded students. My excitement has only been outweighed by the curiosity about the challenges it entails. So far in week 1, we have completed a discomforting amount of dilution problems reminding me of the long division problems I don’t miss in 5th grade. I have also created fly food, and am now evaluating intestinal inflammation in flies, which I didn’t even think could be performed on flies. With my future endeavors in dermatology or perhaps, epidemiology, I am ecstatic to see what we do next!
To the student/parent/instructor/applicant/alumni/community-member/otherwise-titled-observer-now-reading-this-post: Hi! There are a lot of reasons you could be reading this, and I have absolutely no idea which yours is, but I hope this serves its purpose.
My name is Daniel Johnson, and I’m currently in my first week of TRIP, so let me tell you more about me. I’m a rising junior at Methacton High School, and my interests are in a variety of places. I play piano constantly, whether it be by myself, in my school Jazz Band, or sometimes at restaurants. I’m an active member of my school Electric Car Club, Multicultural Club, and Medicine and Science Club. I’m also on our tennis team and I do kickboxing. In my free time, I read everything from fantasy to history. As for school, my favorite subject is science (surprise surprise, considering the fact that I’m in this program), which should probably have a paragraph of its own.
I’ve always been looking to understand the world around me, and I’ve found so many answers in science. Each field offers its own unique look at the world, seeing different insights and layers in the same phenomenon. There is an ocean, but the physicist sees the crests and troughs of the waves, the biologist sees (or, well, metaphorically sees) the microorganisms giving it life, the chemist sees its continuing acidification. As they come together, these fields reveal a fascinating world at both the large and small scale.
I’m investigating the small scale at TRIP, learning about the surprisingly complex nature of fruit flies, but also examining the large scale applications that come from the research. The concept that these findings we make with the flies could hold true with the human body is truly incredible, and the applications are almost limitless. We’re learning very quickly (I’ve just learned to use a micropipette and prepare fly food samples) and it has been lots of fun. I’m looking forward to the weeks to come, which I’m sure will be full of new relationships, newfound skills, and an all-new TRIP of learning.
Hi everyone! My name is Nadia and I’m a rising senior at North Penn High School!
Just a little about me: at North Penn I’m involved in our SGA cabinet and German Club (I’m not German though, I just enjoy learning about different cultures!), and also run on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. I have a love-hate relationship with running, and I’m not particularly good at it, but I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a good run. I’m also part of the Female Authors Book Club, which I joined to not only gain insight from those who are underrepresented, but also as a way to read more, which is a hobby of mine that I’m trying to do more. Speaking of hobbies, I enjoy many activities outside of academics! I love to draw and paint many different things, ranging from people to an Icelandic elf on a chair. I also like to crochet and occasionally make jewelry!
When I was younger I always had the desire to be outside and observe nature around me. This was the beginning of my inquisitive nature that led me to my love of STEM. Ever since we had the chance to pick our own classes, I took a summer science class and doubled up in science classes. Science has always allowed me to satiate my hunger for knowledge, and while school programs are enjoyable and necessary for base knowledge, TRIP takes it a step further, allowing us to have the freedom to search for answers on our own and experience the true research process. While my plans for a professional career have fluctuated, ranging from biologist to doctor to more recently psychiatrist or psychologist, they all involve using scientific processes to learn about humanity, and utilizing that information to improve people’s lives. I’m excited to learn about these processes through the TRIP program, and apply my experiences to whatever I decide to do in the future!
Hi everyone! My name is Conrad Schaumburg and I am a rising senior at Germantown Friends High School. I am the leader of Brainstorm, my school’s neuroscience and psychology club. Since my freshman year I have competed in the International Brain Bee neuroscience competition placing fourth, second and first in the Philadelphia regional competition. This year I won third place at the National competition out of forty competitors, representing their respective regions. I am hoping this accomplishment, partnering with the International Youth Neuroscience Association, and brainstorming (pun intended) with the club’s faculty advisor to develop new, interactive activities will revitalize and expand the club. I am also an active member of my school’s Literary magazine review board and Philosophy club.
My favorite philosophy book is Doing Good Better, which is about applying strategic planning and inquiry to the impactful decisions in our life-- how much and why we give to charity, which career path to pursue, in order to chose the option that will yield the most good for others. Unlike most utilitarian arguments, it considers the deontological perspective and says that you should only give as much of your resources as you can without burning out your effectiveness or charitable passion. I think this accommodation of both sides of the utilitarian-deontological ethical debate allows for the greatest amount of people to lead ethical lives, marking a truly effective philosophy. I would absolutely recommend reading this book! It gives a well-constructed practical philosophy for life; it’s life changing!
Before TRIP started this summer, I engaged in a internship led by Georgetown University and the NGO Leadership Initiatives focusing on neuroethics and cognitive-social neuroscience. This experience deepened my interest in neuroethics; I think this field is becoming increasingly vital as the capability of neuroscience and neurotechology increases rapidly. Neuroscience is quickly becoming an international field, encountering different cultures’ ethics which could create social friction.
Outside of school, I like to run, hike, and play soccer. Running is definitely my favorite though. I have not been able to do any of these things or any other form of vigorous activities for the past year and a half because I have a ligament laxity injury to my right sternoclavicular joint-- the joint where your collarbone connects to your breastbone. But I’m getting injections to help it heal starting this week and I’m optimistic about it. So you don’t have to worry about me. This lengthy stay from exercise has made me appreciate how much I enjoy it and increased my drive to exercise -- hard!-- when I finally can. This coming year I’m hoping to be able to run track for at least two seasons and workout with the weight coach between the final bell and the start of pratice. This might sound masochistic, but I’ve been craving this for a long time and I think I’ll love it.
As you can probably tell, I have a passion for neuroscience and discovery. Naturally, I am hoping to pursue a career in neuroscience research. I applied to TRIP to gain lab experience and to determine if lab research is something I truly enjoy. Yesterday, our first day of the program, we chatted and got to know our classmates and practiced micropipetting to create solutions and dilutions. We also prepared fly food for our first experiment, calculating the correct concentration of drug to add to the food. I had a lot of fun doing even this basic lab work; a research career is looking pretty promising so far. My only reservation from the first day is that not all the science research field will be as fun as TRIP, my classmates, Dr. Leystra, and our TAs.
Hi! My name is Maria Wahba and I am a rising senior at Harriton High School. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family and friends and make lots of fun memories. I also love traveling and I play the violin and the piano! I was born in Oregon and moved to Ohio in the fifth grade. After that, I moved to Pennsylvania in 6th grade and have been living here ever since! The east coast has been an interesting experience, and to be honest, sometimes I crave the less-intense settings of the West Coast and Midwest.
At school, I play for my school’s tennis team and I am a member of multiple clubs. I am one of the officers of our school’s Med Club, which is great because I am extremely passionate about becoming a doctor. I got involved in TRIP because I am super interested in a future career in medicine and research, and I would love to get more experience in a scientific research environment. I am fascinated by the prospect of helping others through medicine and truly providing excellent patient care to whomever I treat. Although I haven’t decided which specialty yet, a few I am considering are anesthesiology, dermatology, and pediatrics.
I can’t wait to see what I learn through TRIP and to really hone in on my interests so that it can help me with future decisions in my career path!
Hello, my name is Bennett Kutikov. I am a rising sophomore at Eastern High School. I have many interests ranging from sports to computers. A significant portion of my free time is spent swimming and attending swim meets. Not only does this allow me to spend time with friends, but I also find it quite rewarding to see improvements in my performance. Outside of swimming, I am interested in computers and technology. During quarantine, I built my own PC. I enjoyed this so much that I built one for my younger brother. Recently, I got a VR headset, which is amazing. This technology is able to transport the user into unbelievable worlds that are difficult to distinguish from reality. I also enjoy entrepreneurial pursuits. Several years ago, I started my own business where I create special event montages. When the business is in full swing, my brother and sister lend a hand. Through this business, I have taught myself proficiency in various software packages and more recently how to design websites. Currently, I am also teaching myself how to create logos in hopes of making logo design a part of my business in the future. In addition to participating in TRIP this summer, I am also lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons to young kids. In school, I participate in various clubs including DECA, Debate, Science Olympiad, and Intro to Medicine.
Ever since I was little, I have always been very interested in science, specifically biology. I used to watch nature documentaries for hours on end. Now, I enjoy reading about the environment, science history, and scientific advances. My dad and I often have discussions about different scientific problems or technologies, which I find very interesting. We also talk about biology and chemistry. I look forward to conducting experiments and research, and I feel very fortunate to be able to pursue my scientific interests through TRIP!
Hello everyone, my name is Janay Cammock! I’m 16 years old, and a rising Junior at Germantown Friends School. Throughout my life I’ve moved to 3 different states all together. I was born in California then later moved to North Carolina, then finally Philadelphia the home of the TRIP Initiative. Like everyone else that applied to TRIP I have a deep love and interest in the scientific field. For me my love for science stems all the way back into my years in elementary school. When I was younger I would explore the plants around my home and collect them and run my own individual experiments on them, documenting my processes. Even in school my interest in science was well known since I entered in the school science fair every chance I got, as an excuse to feed into my curiosity. As I grew older my interest in experimentation and plants only continued to grow. In middle school the horrors of climate change became apparent which drove me into learning about its negative effects and potential future problems relating to the Earth, and the plants and fungi that continue to grow on it. Though I am mainly more focused on North American plants and fungi since I come in contact with those plants the most. More recently I’ve done my own personal research on plants that can break down plastics. An example of this is Pestalotiopsis microspora, which I have taken great interest in. In school I am also apart of a few clubs such as SAGA (straight and gay alliance) and SISTAS which is a club for woman of color to join and conversation about social and political issues pertaining to those communities. I also really enjoy reading. My favorite genre of books are fantasy and horror though I am trying to branch out to different types of books on the more political side.
Outside of my academic interest, I have deep passionate interest in visual arts and on the lesser scale, fashion. In the time I get I enjoy drawing and painting, my usual mediums are more often physical like with a regular graphite pencil, oil paint, and more recently digital. I find art to be an incredibly fun way to pour out my imagination into an image that can possibly speak to others and translate my ideas to others. During quarantine I continued to hone my skills as an artist. Art has always been a big part of my life so I am happy to have continued improving.
For me TRIP will be an exciting and wonderful introduction to formal lab work and creating my own individual lab project. TRIP will give the opportunity to learn more about science, research, problem solving and give me insight on my career choices for the future.