I walked in on the first day of TRIP, worried about how I would grow in a studious, tense laboratory environment. Will I be able to keep up with these people? What if I make too many mistakes that would annoy the professors? Will I make any friends? In the end, I found myself having way too much fun working with peers, talking about my futures to TAs, and feeling productive when discussing my experiments with Dr. Purdy and Dr. Leystra.
In the past twelve weeks, we went from group assay trials to independent projects. Despite its name, our projects are not completely independent at all. Instead, there are often others also working on the same task as me. Conversations flowed non-stop in the laboratory room and we often talked about topics about school. This is when my attention turns to the lack of sleep that high schoolers always go through due to their tightly packed academic affairs and extra-curriculars. Including myself, sometimes I would sleep extremely late at night and wake up to school or morning swim practice in merely a few hours later. Thus, I always carry around sports drinks in order to hydrate myself and give me some sugar boost throughout the day.
With the help of my peers and professors, I formulated the questions: How does sports drink improve sleep-deprived teenagers’ memory? I fed the flies with a popular Asian sport drink, Pocari Sweat, and I set up a lamp right next to another vial of flies in order to disrupt their sleep. Seven days later, I would run the larval memory assay with the offspring produced in the vials and record the result. This assay consists of associating pineapple scent and banana scent to the agar plates and sugar plates. After a few rounds of getting the larvae to familiarize with the scents and the plates, they will be placed in a testing plate where both scent will be on separate sides of a sugar plate, and if the larvae traveled towards the banana scents, it shows that they have good memory and remembered the scent of banana associated with sugar.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone TRIP for accompanying me on this journey. I learnt how to manage my time, thinking creatively, and I am no longer afraid to ask for help from others. It is fascinating to see how much I grew throughout this program since I have always struggled with self-confidence while giving public speeches or evaluating myself amongst a group of people. My peers at TRIP always encourage me and make me feel extremely comfortable to talk and laugh in our spare time. It is magical how we turned a normal, silent looking classroom into a comedian show sometimes. Once again, I would like to thank Dr. Purdy, Dr. Leystra, TA, my parents, and all my friends at TRIP for always being there for me and creating some of the most important memories that I will cherish in my high school career!