When I was accepted into the Freshman Research Initiative I was so excited and ready for the coming challenges. I went to the stream fair and I was thoroughly impressed with all the diverse streams, but it was no secret that DIY Diagnostics was a hot commodity. I thought to myself “would I even get accepted into such a sought after stream?” I was so excited the day I got the email saying I was accepted into the stream. I expected this stream to be heavy in individual work hence the name ‘DIY’, but I was so wrong. Even though the work was overall individual and your own, there was never an assignment I didn’t collaborate with other DIYers on. I learned that teamwork is what this stream strives for and that communication is key. In DIY Diagnostics I never grew bored because every week I was presented a new problem I had to navigate through. This is the perfect stream for all of the curious minds in the world.
From studying staphylococcus in Waller Creek water, waiting for incubating mEI and mTEC plates, aliquoting every liquid in the world, using the centrifuge, coding several amazing apps, and using the 3D printer to print my own jewelry, DIY can really do it all. It makes me proud telling my family that I know how to code in HTML, although it wasn’t the easiest task to learn it’s a nice slight flex to carry around with you. I learned so many great things in DIY, a lot of it which aligned with Chemistry and Biology helping me succeed in my pre-med classes at UT.
The best thing that I had encountered during this lab was being able to work along with my friends and mentors. Not only do I learn from them, but our collaborative space allows us all to absorb new information. The research done in this lab really changed my perspective on research. Research expands past general chemistry and almost anything can be diagnosed. Even though I love this stream it was through DIY that I learned I do not particularly want to do research full time. I think my favorite memory was using a long contraption in a skill development where my partner Amanda and I had to plate mTEC and mEI plates and after finishing the first batch we realized we had to redo the entire process because apparently breathing/speaking near the plates makes the bacteria on them inaccurate. I think my experience was a lot more fun and enjoyable than other undergrads. The DIY stream has something that others do not, a chance to figure who you really are through the frustration and success. So I will always recommend DIY Diagnosis as the stream to be, what starts here changes the world…what starts in DIY changes the world!