For the past 16 years, St. George’s University’s Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy has provided college and high school students from around the world with an insider’s view of medical or veterinary medical school. This summer, more than 80 aspiring physicians and veterinarians were provided with insight into their future professions to help them make a well-informed decision before fully committing to such rigorous careers.
Successfully balancing a challenging academic program with extracurricular activities selected to highlight the culture and innate beauty of Grenada, the Summer Academy program offers courses that combine didactic lectures, small-group problem-solving sessions, practical lab work in state-of-the art facilities, and hands-on training through simulated and real-life situations.
Attending this year’s program was Pranav Lakhan, a 16-year-old student from Mumbai, India who traveled to Grenada from Paris, France. Mr. Lakhan enrolled in the Academy with hopes of interacting and gaining insight from existing students on what he would be experiencing in a few years when he enters medical school.
“I think the Summer Academy is an invaluable platform for aspiring medical professionals to get experience while still in school, which is an absolutely rare opportunity,” said Mr. Lakhan, who was one of more than a dozen Academy attendees who hailed from India. “We visited the labs for anatomy, suturing, and ultrasounds, which was mind blowing. I felt like I was a real medical student in medical school. Although the pressure may be a little overwhelming at first, it was still an amazing experience that just filled you with knowledge and all you had to do was absorb it. I think this program gives you a good indication of what medical school will actually be like. To any aspiring students that want to come here, it’s an absolutely surreal experience.”
Also, participating in the Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy was 16-year-old Reet Kohli, a 12thgrade student also visiting from India. Coming from a family of doctors, Ms. Kohli has known since sixth grade that she wanted to become a doctor. Enrolling in the Summer Academy gave her a closer look into the practical aspects of the profession that she expects to pursue.
“This was my first time traveling alone, but once I got here it has been a really fun experience,” Ms. Kohli said. “I feel at home in Grenada. It is such a beautiful place. My parents were very supportive of me coming here and very happy that I was going to get this opportunity. In India, we are taught from the textbooks, so although we know what a cadaver is, to actually see one in real life was a truly great experience. Getting to wear a stethoscope, using all the equipment that doctors use and hearing the professors refer to you as ‘doctor’ is just an amazing feeling. This experience has given me more confidence that yes, this is what I want to do with my life. Putting on those scrubs, I can imagine myself living in them for the rest of my life.”
Heather Brathwaite, who has directed the Met-Vet Summer Leadership Academy for the last 13 years, has seen many of the students come full circle.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity and very rewarding to be able to see the students come to the program and then later come back as enrolled students at SGU,” added Ms. Brathwaite. “Many of these same students also come back to work for the Summer Academy while they’re studying at SGU.”
“One of the major goals of the Academy is to help students decide whether this is the path they want to choose,” she added. “With a mix of academic and fun activities, they go to lectures and labs just like our regular SGU medical and veterinary students do. They receive one-on-one attention, working closely with our actual SGU faculty who provide hands-on experience utilizing equipment and materials that most students their age would not have the chance to.”
– Ray-Donna Peters