Sixty-nine high school students had the chance to sample life as a medical student at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) when they took part in the Summer Enrichment Programmes organised by the Office of Student Recruitment and Outreach.

Thirty-four Grade 10 and 11 students joined the Qatar Medical Explorer Programme (QMEP) while 35 Grade 11 and 12 students took part in the Pre-college Enrichment Programme (PCEP). Both groups spent two weeks at WCM-Q where they took a series of classes modelled from the actual curriculum followed by WCM-Q students.

The students, aged 15-17, had the opportunity to take classes on infectious diseases, neurology, psychology, emergency medicine and cancer research, as well as lab safety, history of medicine, DNA extraction techniques and human anatomy. They also had the chance to take a dissection class in the WCM-Q biology lab, learn about the human heart by working with Harvey – a hi-tech robotic humanoid learning aid – at the state-of-the-art Clinical Skills Center. They also visited Hamad Medical Corporation, WCM-Q’s clinical partner.

Overall, the students gained a comprehensive view of what it’s like to study medicine while discovering the many career paths that a WCM-Q MD degree can lead to, which broadly include practice in a variety of medical specialities, biomedical research, and teaching, or a combination of all three.

Qatari student Fatma Essa Al-Kubaisi of the International School of London, Qatar said that her experience at the programme was beyond expectation.

I got a taste of university life, made new friends, and developed and discovered my skills through different sessions. The two-week programme provided me with an opportunity that every prospective student of medicine would wish to have.’

Other highlights of the programme included classes on animal care and use in research, an introduction to medical ethics, and a chance to meet current WCM-Q medical students and graduates for a Question & Answer session. The programme culminated with the students giving presentations about a medicine-related topic and taking part in an academic debate.

Participating students were drawn from 34 schools in Qatar and across the wider region. Students were selected using an application system that mimics the admissions process for the six-year WCM-Q Medical Programme. Selection is based on the candidate’s English skills, demonstrated aptitude for the sciences, interest in pursuing medicine as a career, and their academic achievements. QMEP and PCEP are part of the Summer Enrichment series organised annually by the Office of Student Recruitment and Outreach at WCM-Q. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Summer Enrichment Programmes.

 

One of the students who completed PCEP is Tariq Nasir, a student of King’s Academy in Jordan.

This programme is one of a kind – it taught me how to think outside of the boundaries, and gave me a unique taste of college. It totally ‘locked’ my interest for a medical career. I definitely recommend it for all students interested to pursue a career in medicine.’

Dr Clare McVeigh, Senior Lecturer in Biology, guided the visiting students through a dissection class, which was a completely new experience for most members of the group.

Dissecting a frog for the first time is an excellent learning experience for prospective medical students, an opportunity for them to develop their manual dexterity and to apply what they know from textbooks to a real organism. The students responded extremely well and took full advantage of the learning experience.’

For more information about WCM-Q’s Summer Enrichment Programmes, visit their website at qatar-weill.cornell.edu.