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.
My name is Carlos Peterson. I am from Philadelphia and I attend school at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science. My hobbies include playing video games, building models and reading. I play soccer and basketball, both of which I have won multiple championships in. My interests include anime, socializing, and playing with my pets. Some anime that I enjoy are Parasyte the Maxim, Grimgar Fantasy and Ash, and Attack on Titan. So mostly I enjoy more gritty and realistic anime that I can really get attached to. As for video games I mostly play indie games such as Ghostrunner, Katana Zero, Terraria, and Blue Fire the Ori series.
My pets are Midnight and Ricky Bobby. As you can guess Midnight is a black cat and Ricky Bobby is a Tabby cat. Midnight is a normal cat in comparison to Ricky Bobby, he’s always doing something strange. For example instead of walking up to the family like Midnight he just sits far away from us and peeks from a corner. On top of that he can hide anywhere, sometimes in closets or in chairs. With Ricky Bobby everyday there's something new.
Hi! My name is Kat Sliwa, and I am a rising senior at Central Bucks High School South. I’ve been interested in science for most of my life. In fifth grade, all my friends tried to memorize the elements of the periodic table, so I actually did. That spurred me on to read a textbook with information on every single element. Then, in sixth grade, I taught myself atomic structure and bonding for a research project. At that point in time, I still had dreamed of being a writer; but as I grew older, I realized I got bored writing stories that I already knew the ending of. But science was different. I could create a totally original idea and do experiments to see what happens. Since this epiphany, I’ve tried to get a lot more involved in science. I have doubled- (or tripled-) up in science classes every year since sophomore year, and I’ve joined lots of clubs like ChemClub and STEM research club to explore my interests. When TRIP came along, it seemed like another perfect way for me to get hands-on experience in the lab!
One of the other main reasons I am interested in science is my own personal medical struggles. While I’ve had a myriad of medical issues in the past couple years, the most prominent are my migraines that I struggle with on a day-to-day basis and concussions which I have had three of within two years of high school. These are medical conditions that are still not understood very well. Their treatments change year-to-year with new discoveries and drugs and I would like to be a part of those discoveries. Conditions of the brain like migraines and concussions affect so many people and I want to be able to conduct research that makes an impact on those communities.
Outside of science, I have a plethora of other hobbies (which you can imagine take up most of my time outside of school). I have been figure skating for the past decade and I’ve even been to the national Synchronized Skating Championships three times! Since my rink is my second home, I’ve learned pretty much everything about life from skating: perseverance, hard-work, stress-management, along with leadership and public speaking from coaching. The rink was even one of the first places I started asking “why?” and “how?” (much to the frustration of my coach who was used to skaters just “doing” what she said and not asking questions). Besides skating, I also play the viola in my school’s chamber orchestra and made district orchestra this past year. Due to the pandemic, there was no festival for district orchestra, but I’m really looking forward to regular concerts and festivals next year! One last notable interest is my love for quirky accessories. I love the uniqueness of them and it's fun to see what outrageous things I can dig up on the internet! Uno card earrings are the best way to spice up any outfit.
Even though I’m pretty much always busy with skating, having a migraine, or scouring Etsy for the perfect new pair of earrings, I knew I had to make time to participate in TRIP. I am super excited to design and execute my own original research project and learn important skills for a career in science. Even though I’ve only had one day of TRIP so far, I feel like I already learned a lot and I’m excited to see how far TRIP can take me!
Hello! My name is Samir Rana and I am a rising senior at Garnet Valley High School located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I am involved in a variety of leadership, athletic and social clubs which keep me on the go and happily busy. I have represented the Class of 2022 as a Class Officer since starting high school. This has been by far my broadest growth experience as a student and leader as it squarely pegs responsibility for taking the opinion of over 400 students to crystalize a unified voice and create a memorable yet impactful high school experience. I am also a lead chair for the MiniTHON Operations Committee as part of the leadership team through the Student Council. During COVID, we learned to adapt as we raised money to fight childhood cancer--- virtually. While the event was ‘virtually successful’, we learned many invaluable lessons on how to be engaging and keep an audience engaged through social platforms. I also spend a significant amount of my time, practicing and playing a variety of sports at the varsity level, including golf, tennis, and most recently: ultimate frisbee! My passion sport, basketball, threw me in a “foul” mood when I sustained a MCL injury this year and shut my game down, just when COVID restrictions started easing. It was a big set-back but I came back stronger mid-season into another sport - Tennis and ended with a personal undefeated season.
Outside of the school environment, I contribute my time and efforts to volunteer, work and develop personal interests. I have supported individuals with disabilities, particularly adults for autism for several years. I look forward to going back to in-person activities where I can play board games with them during game night. I love seeing their faces light up when they beat me! I work at a golf course in their operations department which means I am the lucky guy that picks up all the balls at the driving range and washes the golf carts. I chose to do this job - because I get a discount when I play there, but also because the work is not easy - it is true labor.
My parents have always challenged me and my brothers to not take the easy road to what they call a fact of life - you don’t build character without hard work.
It is something that I am constantly working towards. Another thing that I am very proud of is the work I’ve done with the Concord Council members to hold our first ever Township Diversity Day. We brought over 100 people together in the community for a Tai Chi and Bollywood dancing lesson. Our area has become very diverse in culture in a short time and it was nice to see the pride and interest come together. I have been quite fascinated with Tai Chi and hope to continue to build my practice of it.
What I love most about all of the different clubs, sports, and non-school activities is the essential life qualities they provide like public speaking, teamwork, and compassion. I believe these qualities will serve me well in life and particularly as I strive to pursue my goal of becoming a physician - possibly under the umbrella of sports medicine. I heard about TRIP because my brother participated in it a few years back. I remember coming to his presentation and thinking “Wow!” - and now I can’t believe that I get to top that!
Hi everyone! I’m Esha and I’m a rising senior at the Downingtown STEM Academy! I fell in love with science as a kid and today I’m part of the Science and Biology Olympiad clubs at my school, and I also help to lead both clubs. I’m so excited to be able to be a part of TRIP this summer. I applied for TRIP because I wanted to learn more about the process of research and creating an experiment while also strengthening my lab skills. I always had fun in structured school labs, but found myself clueless when having to design my own experiment or do a research project because I often didn’t know where to start. We just started our first experiment, and I am investigating the impact of St. John’s Wort and circadian rhythm on mood. I think that my experience with maintaining a “regular” sleep schedule is what drew me to this particular project, and I’m looking forward to running this experiment and seeing the results.
Aside from science, I have many other interests. I really enjoy being able to share the knowledge I have with others, and I volunteer as a tutor to teach coding and Spanish primarily, but I’ve also tutored math, science, and English. I’m also helping to run a camp for middle schoolers through my school’s Biology Olympiad club, for students interested in biochemistry. I love to learn new languages and I can speak Hindi and English fluently, and I’m trying to learn Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and Gujarati. I also want to try learning Arabic, French, and German if I can. I love to cook and bake as well. I think I’m more of a baker than a chef but my goal is to be able to replicate my grandmothers’ Indian dishes, though that goal seems a bit far right now. Aside from my hobbies, I spend as much time as I can with my family and friends!
Hey Everyone!! My name is Abe Eldo, and I am a recent graduate of Council Rock High School North. I was born in New Jersey but moved to Pennsylvania when I was five. I am attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall, majoring in neuroscience. In high school, I was a two year member of the science fair club. In this club, I was able to conduct experiments that studied habituation in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum and acclimatization to a magnetic field in Drosophila melanogaster. I also enjoyed playing varsity volleyball throughout high school.
Volleyball taught me valuable lessons about leadership and teamwork, traits that have carried over to the lab as well.
Outside of academics, I LOVE exploring the outdoors. I make regular visits to Tyler State Park and enjoy exploring the various trails hidden amongst the trees. I was lucky enough to spend a week in Vermont’s Lake Saint Catherine this summer, a beautiful lake with scenic kayaking and hiking. I also enjoy keeping two fish tanks. Fish and aquatic plant keeping has been a hobby of mine for about two years now, and it has further reinforced in me the fragility of our environment. Whenever I see or do something that could be hostile to the environment, I think of my fish and how easily they could be harmed by such a small infraction.
This was one of the main reasons I applied to TRIP: to gain exposure to science outside of school. "
Fifteen weeks filled with fly experimenting, micropipetting, and data graphing later-- we finished this TRIP! Reflecting on my experience in this program, I have learned and gained so much new knowledge that I will be walking away with. I still endearingly remember the first session, where I was learning the laboratory basics with my peers. It’s crazy to think that I walked into TRIP not even knowing what a micropipette was, and now I’ll be leaving having completed my own independent research project!!
As I mentioned in my last blog, my project focused on researching if blue light emitted from digital screens can impact learning in developing individuals. Using larvae in the larval locomotion assay, my data consistently proved that blue light negatively impacts learning! Who knew! But that’s not the full story; my larvae which were only exposed to light while learning did the worst while my larvae under constant blue light did better than them-- surprisingly! So good news for all the teens stuck with hours of online school, it doesn’t harm your learning *as* much as I predicted it would, bad news is it still has negative effects on our learning to some extent. The connection between blue light (and different frequencies of light in general for that matter) is not extensively researched, but with my data bringing up a possible connection it would be very interesting to see more in depth information on this.
On the surface, if you were to look at all that I’ve accomplished during my several months in TRIP, you might say I just gained my first experience being in a lab, more comfort in completing hands-on science, or better time management skills. But my achievements exceed this, as I’ve seen myself grow and develop as a person through spending time with Dr. Leystra, Dr. Purdy, and my like-minded peers. My first day there I was a very self-conscious and unconfident person, never being sure of my actions and constantly self-doubting. Over the course of thirteen Saturday mornings, I grew confidence and certainty over my work, realizing that I had a unique perspective to bring to the lab and that my thoughts held value too. Helping my peers in their projects and receiving help from them created a positive feedback loop that improved our performance and ultimately bonded us together as friends. I walked into TRIP hesitant and apprehensive, excited for this new opportunity but doubtful if I would be able to reach its high standards. I now leave it with seven new friends, an improved mindset, and tons of cherished experiences. Thank you TRIP for an invaluable time!!