The best scholarships allow students to flourish at university. Just ask Yu-Hsin Yen, an MD-PhD student at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.
Since young, Taiwan-born Yen has been fascinated about the biological processes that power our bodies and how different diseases can harm them. When she shadowed physicians before entering medical school, she saw there are still many areas in biology and medicine that remain to be elucidated, especially in neuroscience. This spurred her to pursue a PhD to understand more about neurological diseases and contribute to improving their treatments.
She chose Duke-NUS as it was the right launchpad for her goals. It was closer to home culturally and geographically, more well-rounded and combined both Western and Eastern styles of teaching.
In her first year, Yen found out she was awarded a US$20,000 merit-based scholarship in recognition of her strong research background and commitment to the improvement of medicine. All MD-PhD students are automatically considered for this scholarship.
The US$20,000 award has made it easy for Yen to fully immerse herself into her studies. “As an international student, I am glad the scholarship can alleviate the cost of living in Singapore,” she shares.
“It does feel like a weight off my shoulders. The scholarship helps cover rent, bills, and daily expenses. It’s now much easier for me to focus on my coursework.”
Financing a medical education can be challenging which is why Duke-NUS offers generous aid in various forms. About two-thirds of students here are on some form of financial aid.
Everyone in Yen’s cohort will be offered a full scholarship for the PhD component, plus scholarships to cover tuition fees for their first two years in the MD programme as well as their final year of MD training. Funding amount will depend on bursaries and other scholarships already awarded to assist with MD tuition fees.
With their financial needs met, students like Yen can focus wholly on taking her research findings from “bench to bedside” and back. The Duke-NUS MD-PhD programme combines medical education with research training to develop clinician-scientists who excel in both medicine and science.
“For my PhD, I am studying disease modelling and regenerative medicine using stem cells under the mentorship of Professor Zhang Su-Chun in the Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders Programme,” Yen explains. Their lab aims to use stem cells to replenish the lost neurons in Parkinson’s disease and utilise patient-derived pluripotent stem cells to study the underlying mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. “I hope that in the future I can translate what I researched in the lab to something useful and applicable in medicine,” she shares.
A world-changing education open to all
Duke-NUS Medical School is a landmark collaboration between two world-class institutions: Duke University and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Its objective since its inception in 2005 has been to provide an innovative education and impactful research findings that will enhance the practice of medicine in Singapore and beyond.
This is where the brightest minds from a range of backgrounds, as well as diverse academic and life experiences, call home. Gawin Mai is one of them.
With years of experience as a research assistant and nursing assistant in the US, Mai was ready to take his career to new heights. He set his sights on Duke-NUS’s MD programme, vying for a rich cultural experience that was packed with experiential perks. Mai’s application was smooth thanks to frequent updates on his application, scholarship, and financial aid status. Soon after, he got the answer he hoped for.
“Financing my education is a heavy burden on my family, especially during these times of uncertainty,” he explains. “Thanks to Duke-NUS’s generosity, their burdens have been lifted and I can put all my energy into my studies.”
Today, Mai is doing just that. His studies are helping him gain a deeper understanding of medical science. While his past experiences were enriching, he hopes to use the skills he’s currently gaining in a practical setting, ultimately assisting others in need. He believes the Duke-NUS experience will help him get there.
Mai and Yen both have a lot to look forward to after graduating. The World Health Organisation estimates that there is a global shortage of approximately 4.3 million physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. With a Duke-NUS degree, they’re set to become outstanding clinicians and curious, critical thinkers who may also contribute to medicine as researchers, educators, leaders, entrepreneurs or policy makers.