Doha – January 25, 2023: More than 250 participants, including teachers, school counselors, high school students, and parents attended this year’s edition of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) High School Medical Conference (HSMC) that was hosted on campus by the Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development.
The conference brought together highly motivated students, aspiring to become the next generation of medical leaders, generated interest in pursuing a career in medicine, and offered a glimpse into life as a WCM-Q medical student. It also provided a valuable platform to engage educators across the entire spectrum of STEM disciplines.
The one-day event featured professional development workshops on several topics, including steps towards a complete application, reading and writing expectations in pre-med, personal statement writing tips, and illusions of learning and how to make the learning stick. In addition, a research competition allowed students to demonstrate their ability to understand and communicate complex information through a poster presentation on a research topic under the overarching themes of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
WCM-Q’s ‘Medicine Unlimited’ fair once again lined the building’s academic wing and offered prospective students and their families a first-hand glimpse into the buzzing academic and student life at the college. WCM-Q faculty, researchers, and students were also on hand to share their medical knowledge through a series of simulations and demonstrations. Visitors had the opportunity to experience anatomy lab activities, facilities at the Clinical Skills and Simulation Lab, work by WCM-Q’s Institute for Population Health (IPH), and a session on WCM-Q admission requirements.
HSMC activities also included an interactive quiz session, which allowed visiting students to test their knowledge and win prizes.
Noha Saleh, director of premedical administration, student outreach and educational development, said: “WCM-Q is at the forefront of medical education, biomedical research, and population health in the Middle East and further afield. As a result, our graduates have gone on to lead successful careers as physicians, scientists, and academics at leading institutions in Qatar and internationally. The purpose of hosting HSMC is to offer key educators and prospective students and their families valuable insight into the study and practice of medicine. We are delighted to see so many enthusiastic young minds attend this year’s event and look forward to welcoming them as future students.”
Dr. Rachid Bendriss, professor of English as a second language, assistant professor of education in medicine, and associate dean for foundation, student outreach and educational development programs, said: “A career in medicine is without a doubt one of the most rewarding and noble professions a student can choose to pursue. HSMC has a solid track record of helping guide talented students who have a shared interest in science to collectively explore the possibilities of a future in the field while understanding the practicalities of making that dream a reality. We are extremely delighted by the positive response we have received from all participants this year.”
Starting-off with 61 teams, ten teams from seven schools participated in the final round of the research competition, including three teams from Jordan—a first in the competition’s history. The schools of the ten finalist teams included GEMS Wellington School – Qatar, Park House English School in Doha, Pearling Season International School of Doha, Qatar International School, Qatar Academy for Science and Technology, Islamic Educational College, and Jubilee School.
The final round of the poster presentations was judged by Dr. Mohammad Yousef, professor of physics, Dr. Raphael Courjaret, assistant professor of research in physiology & biophysics, and Dr. Ali Chaari, assistant professor of biology. The winners of the competition were announced during the concluding session of the event, with Team 43 from Jubilee School in Jordan securing first place with the topic ‘Detecting a Pattern in the Eye Movement of Children Diagnosed with Mild Autism Using an Eye Tracking System’. The second and third place went to Teams 53 and 52 from Qatar International School (QIS).
The winning team received a fully funded, one-week research trip to WCM-Q’s parent campus in Ithaca in the U.S. The winner of the research competition, Salma Al-Shaghnobi, said: “I won first place at the WCM-Q research competition, and I am beyond excited. This was a very well-organized competition—it was amazing. The volunteers, the organizers, everything from the first day, it was very enjoyable, and I absolutely loved it.”
Commenting on her experience, Syeda Sana Zehra, whose team came in third place, said: “This is my first time doing the competition. At first, I can’t lie, it was very nerve wrecking but finally when we came to the top three, it was quite rewarding. We got to display everything that we worked on for months and it was quite satisfying to show everyone what we did. It was a great enjoyment.”
Launched in 2017, HSMC is an annual event organized by the Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development at WCM-Q to bring together key educational players and students aspiring to become the next generation of medical leaders. The ‘Medicine Unlimited’ fair was conceived in 2008 to provide prospective students with an opportunity to experience academic and student life at WCM-Q.