Before we start to talk about DIY, I think it is beneficial to take a little time to talk about my initial experience with FRI all together. Like all other freshman I had heard about the freshman research initiative through emails and friends who were thinking about applying for it. I had never been that interested in regular lab research. It also helps to mention that I am very introverted. I am in no way the outgoing type, so the entire idea of FRI was intimidating. That is specifically why I didn’t apply for this program. After the deadline to apply for FRI pasted, I thought nothing about it again until my second day of orientation. This is when I started talking to my TIP scholar advisor about classes. Out of nowhere she asks me if I am doing FRI and of course right away I say no because I didn’t apply. She then proceeds to say that on my record it says that I am. By that point I am extremely confused. She tells me that even though I didn’t apply that I can still be a part of it if I would like to. Of course, she reassured me of all the benefits that came along with being in FRI. I weighed the pros and cons. I knew it would be a waste to throw away such a great opportunity just because I am shy and afraid that I won’t be smart enough to do it. I had to remind myself that if I wasn’t smart enough, I wouldn’t be at UT. In the end I decided to partake in FRI, and it is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
If I had not been a part of FRI, I would not be in DIY Diagnostics and that would have changed my life greatly. First off, I am going to be completely honest. I chose DIY Diagnostics because it was one of the more popular streams that was the most interesting. I had heard great things about it, and I knew so many people wanted to get into it. I didn’t even get a chance to visit the lab before deciding which stream I wanted to be in but none of the other labs really sold me. This led me to put DIY as my top choice for streams. I never thought that I would ever get my first choice, but I did. Once I actually got into the lab, I felt so overwhelmed because I didn’t know anything, but the mentors were extremely helpful. I even made friends by the fact that we both felt lost at times. Combining with others though really made the lab less intimidating. I have learned so much from DIY. Whenever I would bring up coding for an app to my friends, they would think it was so cool that I was able to even do that. The 3D printing we did was also so awesome. I was so excited about my print that I would always show people. The number of new things I have learned and done in DIY is extraordinary.
I am now in my second semester of DIY, and I am working on my own project. For this project I have chosen to make an at home strep throat test that is more accurate and much faster. My career goal is to become a Pediatrician and this project helps children and parents. The majority of those affected from strep are of a younger age. This diagnostic tool would cut out deciding whether or not to take a trip to the doctor. It would also save time and money. I am just in the beginning parts of my project, but I hope in the end we are able to create an effective diagnostics tool. DIY diagnostics is really the lab to be in. You get so much out of the lab each semester. I know that I made the right decision every day that I go into lab and get to do something I am passionate about!