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Trinity Austin works more than 40 hours each week while also pursuing her bachelor’s degree. (Photo by Kelsey Gray)

From Edmonton to EMT

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Media Contact: Kristin Knight | Communications and Marketing Manager | 405-744-1130 |

Twenty-year-old Trinity Austin has a unique balancing act at Oklahoma State University as a student, lab assistant, club president and EMT. 

Austin is a biochemistry and molecular biology junior at OSU.

Austin and her family moved from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2011, when her dad transferred jobs. 

“Moving to America was just putting us in a different place,” Trinity Austin said. “My brother and I didn’t really notice much of a difference.”

Julie Austin, Trinity’s mother, said she noticed differences between U.S. academics and academics in Canada. 

“Canada doesn’t have anything like the National Merit Scholarship or the Presidential Scholarship program,” Julie Austin said. “Trinity just heard about all these new things and said, ‘I want those.’”

Trinity Austin was determined to earn those prestigious awards, so she pursued them. She earned the National Merit Scholarship, was a semifinalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholarship program, and was the valedictorian of her class, Julie Austin said.

“In Canada, the government subsidizes students’ tuition,” Trinity Austin said. “No big merit scholarships are available there.”

Trinity Austin initially applied to schools outside of Oklahoma. However, her plans changed. 

“I was looking at what other schools I applied to, and my brother was already at OSU,” Trinity Austin said. “So, I decided to just go for OSU.”

Once on campus, Trinity Austin set out to get involved in as many extracurricular activities as she possibly could, she said. 

“I basically just signed up for every club and extracurricular that sounded interesting to me,” Trinity Austin said. 

These extracurriculars included The Biochemistry Club, iGEM, and the MMA and Karate Club. 

“iGEM stands for Internationally Genetically Engineered Machine and is a competition originally created by MIT to promote synthetic biology and the advancement and research of synthetic biology for undergraduate students in colleges across the world,” Trinity Austin said.

iGEM is a new club at OSU and brings a new concept to the table. Trinity Austin found her spot within iGEM as the club president and as a member of the cloning lab. In the lab, members work with E. coli bacteria for their project and work to manipulate their DNA to express desired proteins and program their new functions into the bacteria, Trinity Austin said. 

iGEM includes a diverse membership and has a spot for nearly any major at OSU, so the new club does not fall underneath any specific college.

“We are keeping it open because a lot of times clubs get assigned to one specific college,” Trinity Austin said. “We want to make this a university-wide opportunity because there are not many things people can do that are competitive on an intellectual basis.”

 iGEM is unique because students gain real-world experience working in a lab as a team to make their ideas come to life and build their résumés at the same time, said George Huang, iGEM adviser and biochemistry and microbiology assistant professor.

If a full-time class load and extracurriculars were not enough, Trinity Austin also makes time to pursue her passion for medicine as she plans to apply to medical school after she completes her undergraduate degree, she said.

“I started looking into training to become an EMT,” Trinity Austin said. “I found an eight-week course, took that over the summer after my freshman year, and became an EMT.” 

She now works full-time at LifeNet in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as an EMT, which provides her with firsthand experience before she applies to medical school, she said.

“When I came to college and started working as an EMT, I truly got the firsthand account of what it’s like to have someone’s life in your hands,” Trinity Austin said.

“We are invited into the worst of situations on the worst day of someone’s life because no one calls 911 for something good,” she added.

Trinity Austin found a passion for the medical field at a young age.

She originally wanted to become a veterinarian but changed her mind as she grew older and started job shadowing at hospitals, she said. 

“I always knew I wanted to practice medicine of some kind, but I fell in love with human medicine because there are so many different avenues you can approach with this one singular discipline,” Trinity Austin said.

Trinity Austin’s goal is to practice medicine internationally because it would combine two of her favorite things, she said.

Trinity Austin fills many roles and must balance them all, but she said her key to success is enjoying everything she does. 

Story By: Kelsey Gray | Cowboy Journal

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