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Senior Zoë Moreland Gains Lab Experience through TRIP Initiative

TRIP Initiative Senior Zoë Moreland spent time designing and performing experiments with fruit flies this summer as a participant in the Fox Chase Teen Research Internship Program (TRIP) initiative at Temple University.

TRIP is a free, rigorous lab-based course for high school students who are motivated to explore their interests in science and medicine. The program aims to foster enthusiasm for science by offering students a chance to perform hypothesis-driven research and experience hands-on learning in a lab.

For her independent project, “How Will Starvation Affect My Flies?” Moreland explored how short-term restrictive eating impacts female fertility and overall health. Moreland’s experience with the TRIP Initiative culminated in her presentation to peers and instructors.

“Intermittent fasting is becoming increasingly popular among people looking to lose weight and find alternative diets that fit a flexible lifestyle, however, restricting food intake can have negative effects on overall health,” said Moreland, who plans to attend medical school and become a neurologist or trauma physician. “Anorexia is a common eating disorder where an individual restricts the food they eat and it can lead to malnutrition, mental health issues and even decreased fertility when a woman stops menstruating as a result of being unhealthy.”

A multi-sport student-athlete for the Panthers, Moreland has always been interested in science and math, but only recently realized her passion for medicine and research. She applied to TRIP for the hands-on laboratory experience. Even though she puts most of her energy into STEM, she also enjoys being politically aware and is always open for a debate on the issues of the day.

In each of the past three years, a Cheltenham High School student has participated in this program: Zoe Moreland this summer, her twin brother Drew in 2018 and senior Ifenna Amaefuna in 2017. To be selected, each completed a rigorous application process which included an in-person interview with Dr. Amanda Purdy, program director and director of academic affairs at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Facing stiff competition, each was chosen from roughly 100 students from across the region.