Best high school research team announced at WCM-Q’s High School Medical Conference
Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar has announced the winner of its search to find the country’s best high school student research team.
The High School Research Competition was launched by WCM-Q’s Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development to encourage teenagers to explore the fields of medicine and science and consider them as future career options. At a ceremony during WCM-Q’s High School Medical Conference on Saturday, the team from Ali Bin Jassim Bin Mohamed Al Thani School, who investigated how UVC light could sterilize germs in air conditioning units, were announced as the winners. They will soon be heading off to an all-expenses paid trip to New York to experience the state-of-the-art laboratories at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Ahmed Musaed Al Obadi is one of the members of the winning team and said the competition had been a great learning experience.
He said: “I’ve learned a lot by speaking to doctors and professors who gave me lots of advice about how our experiment could be improved. It’s helped me to give better presentations, I’ve made new friends and it’s taught me to have confidence in myself and whether we had won or lost I would have left this competition with all these advantages.”
The competition initially involved 21 teams from schools across Qatar who were tasked with investigating a research theme connected to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring healthy lives; ensuring access to water and sanitation; making cities inclusive and safe; and ensuring sustainable consumption and production.
Each team was assigned a WCM-Q mentor and had to use professional, scientific methods to investigate their subject. The 21 teams were reduced to 15 following a judging session earlier in the year, and the 15 were reduced to the final four at the High School Medical Conference. Each team then gave a presentation before the audience and a team of expert judges from WCM-Q, before Ali Bin Jassim School were announced as the winners. The other three finalists were two teams from Bright Future International School, and a team from The Lebanese School.
The conference also featured four professional development workshops for teachers and students on the latest teaching techniques, college readiness as well as admissions requirements.
Dr. Rachid Bendriss, assistant dean for student outreach, educational development and foundation program, said the standard of the entries to the competition had been exceptionally high.
Dr. Bendriss: “The judging team has been astounded at the quality of the entries and the standards to which every single team has aspired. It was a very difficult decision to make to choose the winners as every finalist would have made worthy champions. However, Ali Bi Jassim School just edged the competition.
“The contest has shown that there is a real passion for science among Qatar’s young people, a passion that everyone at Weill Cornell will continue to foster, and I hope that many of the students who have participated in the High School Research Competition have been inspired to pursue a career in science and medicine in the future.”
The culmination of the competition came at the end of WCM-Q’s annual open house event, Medicine Unlimited hosting more than 550 participants.
Students, parents and interested members of the community were all able to take a detailed look at the programs offered by WCM-Q, meeting students, staff and faculty, and talking to them about the academic requirements of entry to the college, but also the personal experiences of undertaking a degree in medicine.
Not only that, but teaching faculty and research faculty were on hand to explain and demonstrate medical terms and scientific phenomena through exhibits, lectures and practical experiments.
Highlights included the college’s Dr. James Roach, Professor of Chemistry and Assistant Dean, Premedical Education, demonstrating how strontium burns bright red, and the chance to have one of your hairs microscopically analyzed through an activity hosted by Dr. Clare McVeigh. There was also the chance to use WCM-Q’s state-of-the-art anatomage table and hear more about the various student clubs at the college.
A quiz at the end of the event allowed people to test their knowledge of what they had learned.
Seventeen-year-old Lubna Zar, who attends Newton International Academy – Barwa City, was one of the hundreds of students to take advantage of the conference activities.
She said: “We came to see what it’s like and to meet the students currently studying here. The anatomy stand was really interesting; we got to ask questions about the heart and brain and how they are affected by different diseases.
“Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. You have these people who think about careers later on in their lives but for me it was always apparent what I wanted to do.”
WCM-Q’s six-year medical program comprises two years of pre-medical training and then four years of the medical curriculum. There are also many research opportunities. WMC-Q also offers a year-long foundation program, which gives students a thorough grounding in English, math and the basic sciences to prepare them for the six-year medical program.
WCM-Q awards its graduates a US-accredited degree, exactly the same as those who graduate from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
Application to the medical program is currently open and students interested in applying to WCM-Q can do so at: http://qatar-weill.cornell.edu/admissions.