Now, more than ever, we understand the importance of science in making the human condition better.
Now, more than ever, we benefit from the scientific discovery for treatments, cures, and vaccines in the medical field.
Now, more than ever, we see the value and meaning of math in producing reliable data so that life-saving decisions can be made in the labs and in the field.
STEM = Science + Technology + Engineering + Math = HEALTH
These four disciplines have increasingly become a part of our daily lives and the modern medicine as we go through the COVID-19 pandemic more, and our world is moving forward with concepts devised by STEM. Doctors are educated in these areas and working with these fields every day.
As in the rest of the world, Turkish women are underrepresented in STEM fields. This can only be changed by supporting more girls with STEM Scholarships. With this in mind, Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) provides empowerment scholarships primarily to girls pursuing higher education. Additionally, most of BTF’s scholarships are awarded to first generation college attendees from their families, and to girls in the STEM fields.
To date, BTF has empowered more than 4,500 students through educational scholarships that are given primarily to disadvantaged girls. Providing educational opportunities is key to combating early marriage, illiteracy, school dropout, and low wages, which are common barriers faced by many Turkish girls as they try to pursue an education. Providing education will make a difference now and for generations to come, giving women greater educational and economic opportunities to strengthen their communities.
Our statistics show that 57% of BTF empowerment scholarships are awarded to students in the fields of engineering, computers, math and science. To bring this closer to home here are some of our medical students’ recent reflections and concerns when they were asked to share how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of their education. How have their thoughts about their future profession changed? How do they spend their time during quarantine? Let’s find out!
Burcak, 1st year nurse student writes, “The world is going through a very difficult period. We are all on pins and needles. We are all staying in our houses, which is our main responsibility right now. As a former employee nurse assistant and a new nurse student, the pandemic makes me very nervous. I think we understand the value of healthcare workers better now. My only wish is that everyone stay home until the virus is completely gone.
I would like to thank you with all my heart for not abandoning your financial support at this time. I had to work for 2 years after graduating from nursing high school due to financial difficulties. I worked in the hospital as an emergency nurse assistant. I took the university exam every year but I was able to study and take it only last year because I needed to work. I do not know what it would be possible without your scholarship support. Thank you so very much. I will do my best not to disappoint you!’"
Fidan, 2nd year medical student writes, "I chose this profession knowing these challenging conditions. Healthcare workers normally already have shifts of 48 hours. I want to try to do whatever I can to ensure the continuity of life. Too many healthcare workers have been infected, unfortunately. I hope everyone survives this pandemic. I am following along with my training provided through distance learning. I am a medical student and I spend my days trying not to think about the possibility of our teachers getting infected while waiting for this process to end as soon as possible. I hope we all get through this period with good health.
My message is, if there is a future, we will do it together.”
Sibel, 3rd year medical student: "With the arrival of the coronavirus, we had to take a break from our education. To protect our health, we are not leaving the house. I am with my family during this temporary period. We hope to return to normal soon. Being a medical doctor in these circumstances makes me think and worry, but my love for my profession outweighs these concerns. I want to be a neurologist, and after I get to know the hospital and medical challenges, my dream is to be a leader at the planning and administration level. I’d like to be the Minister of Health. I hope to do it all."
Aynur, 4th year medical student writes, “I am very happy that I chose this profession. I wish I was already a doctor helping patients right now... I want to complete my education and start helping people as soon as possible. Schools were closed for 3 weeks due to the measures taken when the pandemic started to affect our country. As soon as I heard this, I bought my ticket and came to the city where my parents live. Honestly, I didn't think this process would be this long, so I didn't bring my books ….
I am worried because I know that more than 600 of our colleagues are affected by this outbreak right now, which shows that the necessary precautions for medical personnel are not enough. But of course, I think that I chose the right profession by thinking how much I can help people in such a situation.”
Dilek , 5th year medical student writes, "I think every job in the medical field is dangerous, even when there is no virus. The risk of transmission of diseases, violence to the health workers, managing patients’ seizures, etc. are just a few of the challenges of working in the healthcare industry. While I am very aware of these potential situations, I still choose this profession and believe in its impact.”
Yet another medical student writes:
"Hi, I'm a student of medicine. There is a global health crisis that prevents us from following our daily routine, like going to work or school. My university is closed. We are careful about going outside so generally we stay at home. Some people ask me if I was worried about becoming a doctor at this time, but in fact, it made me more enthusiastic. Sometimes I find myself saying I wish I were a doctor already working in this situation. In Turkey we say ‘Coronavirus is not stronger than any precaution you will take.’” I like that we have the power to make the virus disappear with soap and water - and this encourages people. And my message is that many people are working day and night to find a cure and a vaccine. They are trying to do everything that can be done. First and foremost, we have to be a doctor to ourselves. We understand our own health, feelings, worries, and ourselves best. We have to help the doctors by being in good health as much as possible.”
Our last student writes,
"After the first incidence of Coronavirus was announced on March 23, the government closed all schools. Universities started online education and announced that the spring term will be completed in this way. We are careful about precautions and staying at home. Currently, we are at home taking online classes and doing homework. As we are at the last term of university, there are some uncertainties. The greatest question is how we will complete our internship. Many students returned to their homes without any books or materials. We all hope the entire world will be cleaned of this terrible virus as soon as possible. "
Thank you for your continued support…
Wishing you safety and health,