This TRIP Initiative program was truly interesting and fruitful in the various things I learned. My project explored the effect of Focalin on Memory and Metabolism. Focalin is a Central Nervous System stimulant, very similar to Adderall. I studied the long-term effect of Focalin on memory by carrying out a larval memory assay. I then studied the short-term effect of Focalin on Glucose metabolism by carrying out an adult Glucose metabolism assay. The difference between long-term and short-term is seen through the larva growing up and developing in the Focalin-containing food (long-term) and the control adult flies only being exposed to the Focalin containing food for short-term consumption. My results showed that Focalin has negative impacts on both the larval memory and the glucose metabolism. Furthermore, the lowering of glucose metabolism can be linked to a diminished appetite. The in-lab research of this internship was very informative and interesting but I feel as if my greatest learning happened outside of the science.
Not only did I get to experience scientific research with fruit flies, but I also explored my own abilities when placed in situations of trial and learned some things about myself. During this program I went through many challenges and had to completely change my project half way through the experimentation period. However, I was able to persevere and create a new project that yielded thought-provoking data. Furthermore, this internship has shown me that independent science research is not for me, which is COMPLETELY FINE. Had I not participated in the TRIP Initiative I would have continued on my path to college with “tunnel vision” believing that I want to go into a field of science research. This program taught me that I am much more of a social person who does not enjoy the inclusive nature of a lab environment. With that said, I am not attempting to discredit this program or tell anyone not to apply and participate. If anything, I am stating the exact opposite, I believe this is the most important program I have ever taken part in and, just like for me, it will undoubtedly help anyone decide what they want to pursue in the future (the future… that’s a scary thing to think about).