Imagine you are flying home from a week-long vacation. In such a short time you visited landmarks, tasted different cuisines, interacted with new people, and experienced a completely different world. Although TRIP might not have been as relaxing as a vacation, this program has exposed me to new ideas, students, and skills in only a month.
Additionally, talking to all of my new TRIP friends has inspired me to embrace my interests and feel confident in my goals, no matter how difficult. Everyone has shown tremendous support by helping to sort flies, assisting with computer troubles, and expressing genuine interest in each other’s endeavors. There were times when my project did not go as planned, but that is a part of the learning process and it’s not the end of the world to make some mistakes.
My independent project studied the effects of hormonal birth control and green tea on anxiety and weight, which was slightly different from what I had first planned. Originally, I anticipated investigating metabolism and weight. However, I had to shift gears when my assay required a chemical fume hood. In the end, testing anxiety was beneficial because of its implications for mental health in pharmaceuticals. After running through four replications, I found that fruit flies who consumed hormonal birth control tended to be more anxious, which could mean that hormonal birth control may not be the best medication for those who struggle with mental illnesses like anxiety disorder. The resulting effects of birth control on weight changes varied dramatically for each replication with half resulting in weight loss and a half resulting in weight gain. As for the green tea, the fruit flies who consumed green tea were significantly less anxious and maintained a steady weight. When fruit flies consumed both birth control and green tea, the green tea helped the flies resist changes in weight and reduce anxiety.
Overall, TRIP has intensified my desire to pursue a research-based career and given me the opportunity to make mistakes, develop research skills, build my confidence in speaking about science, and make friends with people I may not have ever been able to meet.