WCM-Q and NMoQ collaboration allows students to investigate COVID-19

  • 3 months   ago
WCM-Q and NMoQ collaboration allows students to investigate COVID-19
The students explored the COVID-19 pandemic through scientific, social and historical contexts. 
 
A recent Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) media and news section article mentioned that high school students from across Qatar had the chance to investigate the biology and spread of the coronavirus thanks to a collaboration between the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) and WCM-Q.
 
The All About Science: The Biology of Pandemics program offered high school students with an interest in science and medicine the chance to learn more about the current pandemic and place it into the context of historical pandemics.
 
Using mathematical tools, the students learned how scientists study the epidemiology of the virus and how measures like social distancing, vaccinations, and travel restrictions impact upon the virus’ spread.
 
This one-week online program was offered by Premedical Education’s Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development, and was led by WCM-Q’s Dr. Becky Cramer, teaching specialist in biology, Dr. Dalia Zakaria, lecturer in biology, and Dr. Kuei-Chiu Chen, associate professor of biology, alongside Raga Mohamed, acting head of public programs at the National Museum of Qatar. Seven current students of WCM-Q acted as program tutors.
 
Dr. Cramer said: “Throughout the week, the high school students were highly engaged and asked insightful questions as they learned about COVID-19, the tools scientists use to track infections, and the historical context of the pandemic. They then put this newfound knowledge to work, dividing into teams to develop and test a scientific hypothesis about the pandemic, with support from a current WCMQ student. The resulting presentations were of the highest caliber: well-delivered, well-reasoned, and placed meaningfully into the context of the COVID-19 pandemic."
 
The program was held remotely over video-conferencing apps and was designed to encourage the high school students to pursue a career in science and medicine, and to give them a much greater understanding of COVID-19. In addition, they also developed skills in teamwork, quantitative reasoning and experiential design, skills that will benefit them in their future lives.
 
A total of 31 high school students from Qatar and the region actively participated in the program and were excited to share their valuable insight on the program through a survey capturing their feedback. The program was highly rated and described as an amazing experience.
 
Fatma Al Kuwari, associate director of learning and outreach at the National Museum of Qatar said: “We are proud of the WCM-Q collaboration, which provided learning opportunities to students during such challenging times. They were able to explore the COVID-19 pandemic through scientific, social and historical contexts. Dr. Abdulla Alsulaiti, deputy director for research and collections at NMoQ, led a session on the series of deadly diseases that have hit Qatar in the past. Participants got a chance to discuss the topic with our field specialist and were presented with original historical documents linked to those time periods. At the end of the program, students were involved in a light art activity. The created artworks reflected their thoughts on the shift of our lives due to the pandemic. As an educational institution, we are committed to offering learning services for our audience and I am very excited for what is to come.” 
 
Dr. Rachid Bendriss, assistant dean for student recruitment, outreach, and foundation programs at WCM-Q, said: “This was a fascinating program. Not only were we able to teach young students about the biology and epidemiology of the novel coronavirus, we were also able to explore the series of deadly diseases that Qatar has faced in the past, and discuss what the future may hold.
 
“We value our partnership with the NMoQ and look forward to collaborating with them again and inspiring the younger generation to pursue a career in science and medicine.”

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