High school students with a passion for science get to experience the life of a researcher as part of a programme initiated by Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).

The Research Internship for National High School Students is now in its third year and offers Qatari students considering a science-based career, the chance to undertake work experience in WCM-Q’s state-of-the-art laboratories. Working side-by-side with scientists conducting biomedical research, the students learn about WCM-Q and its research theories and get hands-on experience as part of the programme.

Mashael Al Naemi, who attends American School Doha, was one of this year’s nine students to participate in the programme. She interned in the laboratory of Dr Karsten Suhre, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Director of the Bioinformatics Core.

17-year-old Mashael plans to apply to WCM-Q to study medicine. She said that although she’s done other research programmes in Boston previously, this was one that was at home and something she could do during the summer vacation and before school starts again.

I want to apply to Cornell in the future so being able to come and work in the laboratories was really useful. In the future, I want to be a physician specialising in sports medicine and taking these internship programmes will also help me pursue my research interests on the side as well.’

While at WCM-Q, Mashael was taught the Western blot pipetting technique, which is used to detect specific proteins in a cell.

I really enjoyed the experience. The programme is a good balance between classroom and laboratory work and I really liked how I got to have hands-on experience and that the researchers trusted me to perform tasks myself.’

As part of the programme administered by WCM-Q’s Research Division, the interns also take classes on time-management techniques, self-directed study skills and how to prepare strong college applications.

Christy Poppe, a senior research training specialist at WCM-Q said the aim of the internship scheme was to encourage potential scientists and biomedical researchers to pursue the subject as a career, and so ultimately increase research capacity within Qatar, fulfilling one of the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.

The aim of the course is to also provide interns with a genuine insight into what a career as a biomedical researcher is really like. By working alongside professional researchers, they get the chance to discuss the day-to-day work and ask questions in a professional environment. The students also receive guidance on preparing for undergraduate courses and insights into what college programmes are looking for in their application processes.’

The Research Internship for National High School Students programme targets Qatari nationals who are 16 years old and above. The programme also counts as part of the students’ voluntary community service hours. Students who complete the course logged between 50 and 100 hours of service, depending on whether they take the two-week or four-week option.

For more information about internships and training programmes available at WCM-Q, check out this link.