DIY Diagnostics is a great FRI for a hands-on experience in creating and building your own experiment as well as making new friends. The stream is exciting and very self-driven, you are given freedom and the independence to conduct research at your own pace, with mentors and Dr. Riedel available to help if needed. You will definitely learn many things, both about research and cooperating with others. Some students have their works published, and many students enjoy it so much that they continue to work on their projects throughout their years at UT or become a mentor to help incoming freshman.
The diagnostic I am working on is identifying mosquitoes through their wingbeat frequency and using this to build a device that can count the density of mosquitoes in an area. I’m from Houston, where there are a humongous number of mosquitoes in the humid summers, so the project resonated with me since I hate mosquitoes. The end goal of the project will be to beable to build these devices cheaply and identify the places with large concentrations of mosquitoes and stop them from breeding. Many of the diagnostics have real-world applications, and the satisfaction from completing your project and creating something useful is a feeling that all DIY Diagnostics students understand.
If you are on the fence about being in DIY Diagnostics, you should give it a try! It’s a stream that requires a lot of work because you are conducting real research and gathering useful data, but it’s so much fun and everybody enjoys it. In addition, the stream opens many doors for students professionally, with visits to research centers and contacts with professionals, so I would highly recommend it.