Thirty high school students experienced on-campus life as medical students, and got a chance to explore the prospect of a career in medicine during Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) Qatar Medical Explorer Program (QMEP).

QMEP is part of WCM-Q’s enrichment programmes and is offered by WCM-Q’s Office of Student Outreach & Educational Development. To join the programme, students who have demonstrated academic excellence, particularly in the sciences and mathematics, are nominated by their high school counsellor and teachers.

During the weeklong programme, grade 10 and 11 students are exposed to various sessions that accurately reproduce the experiences of current WCM-Q students, with classes in biology, chemistry, anatomy, surgery, and research. The students also experience WCM-Q’s state-of-the-art Clinical Skills and Simulation Lab, as well as the opportunity to research a medical topic and present their findings to their peers and WCM-Q faculty as part of an oral presentation.

There are also sessions on study skills, time management, writing personal statements, interview techniques, applying to medical school, and careers in medicine, along with an introduction to WCM-Q’s Medical Student Executive Council – Qatar (MSEC-Q) and Student Debate Club, and the opportunity to meet current WCM-Q students.

Noha Saleh, director of premedical administration, student outreach and educational development, said, ‘Our programme offers a unique opportunity for high school students to experience life as a WCM-Q student while gaining a better understanding of what a career in science might mean. We look forward to continuing to offer interested students the opportunity to explore WCM-Q as their education partner and medicine as a career.’

Students from 11 schools took part in this year’s QMEP winter session. Participating schools included Al Arqam Academy for Girls, Al Bayan Independent School for Girls, the American School of Doha, Tariq Bin Ziyad Independent School for Boys, DeBakey High School for Health Professionals at Qatar, Durham School for Girls, Qatar Academy Al Wakra, Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST), Gulf English School, Global Academy International – Muaither, and Sherborne Qatar (MOQ campus).

Commenting on her experience, one of the participating students, Neval Sencar, from the American School of Doha, said, ‘Participating in QMEP has been enlightening, providing me with valuable insights from both faculty members and medical students. It offered a glimpse into the life of a medical student, allowing me to experience learning in lecture halls and in biology and chemistry laboratories. I had an opportunity to learn about micropipette usage for DNA samples, understand the mechanics of the human heart, and even explore its features through virtual reality technology.”

Another student who participated in the programme, Mayasa Khalid Al-Mesallam, from Al Bayan Independent School for Girls, said, ‘The programme provided me with a sneak peek into college life. When I first signed up, I was certain about my passion for the medical field but uncertain about which specialty to pursue. Now, after this experience, I’ve set my sights on neuroscience. Though I recognise the journey ahead will be challenging, I believe it’s worth it.”

Dr Rachid Bendriss, a professor of English as a second language, assistant professor of education in medicine, and associate dean for foundation, student outreach, and educational development programmes, explained that QMEP aims to assist high school students in making informed decisions about their future and whether medicine fits into their academic path. ‘This year’s cohort of participants impressed us with their intellectual curiosity and positive attitude to learning, and we hope that many of them will apply to join WCM-Q.’

Check out Marhaba’s FREE e-Guides for everything you need to know about Qatar.