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WCM-Q essay competition winners return from US trip

WCM-Q essay competition winners return from US trip

Monday, March 4, 2024/ Editor -  

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Doha – March 4, 2024: Three high school students who won study trips to the US in Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) Healing Hands essay competition returned to the college to share their travel experiences with senior faculty.

Students Fatima Mohammed Al-Abdulla (Qatar Academy Al Wakra), Khalid Abdulrahman Al-Nabti (Qatar Academy Doha), and Sultan Al-Malki (Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School for Boys) spent one week at Cornell University in Ithaca, upstate New York, with Fatima and Khalid then going on to spend a week at Weill Cornell Medicine’s campus in New York City.

The study trips were part of the WCM-Q Doctors of the Future Summer Scholarship, which were awarded to the students after they were judged by a panel of experts at WCM-Q to have written the best 800-word essays on the topic of regenerative medicine.

In Ithaca, the students completed academic sessions on research skills, medical ethics, and medical humanities with Dr. Krystyna Golkowska, professor of English, director of ESL and coordinator of writing seminars, and visited the Cornell Biotechnology Research Center, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, and the Paleontological Institute, among many other activities. They also toured the Ithaca campus, which is famed for its idyllic forests, waterfalls, parks and architecture.

In New York City the students completed sessions in the laboratory of Dr. Randi Silver, associate dean of Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, learning general lab skills such as pipetting and using a digital imaging microscope, and preparing cultures of lung fibroblasts (fibrous cellular material) and of airway epithelial cells. Throughout the week the students worked on research projects, which they presented on the final day of the program. Other highlights of the week in NYC included a tour of Weill Cornell Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and sightseeing excursions to famous landmarks.

Following their trips, the three students were welcomed back to the college for a reception with Dr. Javaid Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q.

Dr. Sheikh said: “We are very pleased to welcome our Doctors of the Future Scholarship Awardees back to WCM-Q and greatly encouraged to hear that they had extremely rewarding, inspiring and enjoyable educational experiences during their time in the U.S. We sincerely hope that these talented young people are enthusiastic to pursue careers in medicine by applying to study WCM-Q.”

The Healing Hands essay contest, which is run by the Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development at WCM-Q, is open to Qatari students in grades 10 and 11. The program is designed to inspire young Qatari nationals to think about careers in medicine and biomedical science. In total, 53 essays were submitted in this cycle, making it the highest number of qualifying essays since the inception of the Healing Hands competition in 2008.

Student Sultan Al-Malki said: “The scholarship trip was really an excellent experience, I gained a lot of insight into what life as a medical student, a doctor and a researcher would be like. I think the most rewarding part of the trip for me was visiting the laboratories and seeing how the equipment there works. I have a strong interest in neurology so I was interested to see how I might one day be able to build a career that combines clinical work with neuroscience research.”

Also in attendance at the reception were Dr. Rachid Bendriss, associate dean for foundation, student outreach and educational development programs; and Ms. Noha Saleh, director of pre-medical administration, student outreach and educational development.

Ms. Saleh said: “It is extremely gratifying to see our winning essayists again and to learn how enriching they found their time at Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. I am certain these experiences will give a great boost to their ambitions to join WCM-Q and become qualified physician-scientists working to advance medicine and provide world-class patient care.”


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