Doha, November 30, 2015 – The Academic Bridge Program (ABP) kicked off a season of celebration as they mark their 15th year as the premier foundational setting in the successful Qatar Foundation (QF) cycle of education. The launch event was attended by members of the ABP’s Board of Governors,as well as, all ABP students, faculty and staff.
With the slogan, “Fifteen Years of Bridging Success,” the launch event is the first of a number of special events ABP will organize to mark its fifteenth year. After the November 30th kick off, there will be series of Round Table Discussions to highlight the successful performance of the program and its graduates, as well as a spring charity carnival. Events will culminate with the 15th Year Alumni Celebration and ABP’s 15th Graduation Ceremony.
Established in 2001, the ABP has developed a rigorous two-semester curriculum focused on developing English, math, science, and computer skills combined with a focus on nurturing useful academic skills, such as: time management, test taking, and independent study skills. Additionally, a wide variety of extra-curricular activities and a coeducational setting has encouraged young men and women to develop important personal and social skills that have helped them to succeed, personally and academically, particularly in Hamad bin Khalifa (HBKU) partner universities or in universities where English is the primary teaching language.
As such, the ABP successfully provides an important link in QF’s complete cycle of education as it seamlessly bridges students’ transition into higher education and serves as a gateway to the future for post-secondary students who want or need some development before they enter college or university.
“At the ABP, we work very hard to stress the importance of responsibility, punctuality, respect, honesty, integrity, and hard work. We help [students] to develop goals for themselves and provide the assistance and support they need to achieve those goals. Increasing a student’s level of self-confidence is of vital importance to his/her success at the university level,” said Dr. Bryan Lewallen, ABP Director.
“Our colleagues from the HBKU partner universities often tell us that the students that they receive from the Academic Bridge Program are some the most well-prepared members of the freshman class. They are better organized, more mature, responsible, and better prepared to be successful at the university than many students who enter the university directly after high school. This is very gratifying to those of us at the ABP because it shows that we are well on our way to achieving our mission,” Dr. Lewallen continued. “We want to become the ‘first choice’ for graduates of Qatari high schools. We believe that after completing the Academic Bridge Program, these students will be more confident and better prepared to be successful at the university level. The ABP is currently exploring ways to reach out to the greater community to provide assistance and resources to help the country to reach the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030,” concluded Dr. Lewallen.
Dr. Aisha Ahmad Yousuf is just one of over 2,500 ABP graduates. In fact, she was part of ABP’s inaugural class in 2001. Dr. Aisha went on to study medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). She then finished her obstetrics and Gynecology residency training at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and now works as an Attending Physician in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of Qatar Foundation’s Sidra Medical and Research Center. She is currently doing her fellowship in Toronto, Canada.
Dr. Aisha Ahmad Yousuf recalls, “The ABP was an exciting year for us; it prepared us for university life, and helped us to choose our path.” She adds, “Personally, the ABP helped me in choosing medicine. Dr. Sami Hajaig, who was one of the first math and physics professors at the ABP, and my mentor, helped me in finding myself in medicine because he saw my passion in helping others and my interest in Women’s Health especially in Qatar. The ABP prepared me to also be a stronger candidate to apply to medical school and to get accepted at WCMC-Q.”
Ms. Moza Al Boainain, who has been Assistant Director for Student Services at the ABP since 2010, reflects on ABP’s role within QF and how the program succeeds in preparing students for higher education, “As a QF center, the ABP works towards fulfilling QF’s overarching mission of unlocking human potential and the Qatar National Vision 2030 which aims to transfer Qatar into a knowledge-based economy.”
Ms. Al Boainain continues, “Since September, 2001, the ABP has helped over 2,500 boys and girls to continue their education in English language universities. The ABP taught them to do serious academic work and to become critical thinkers since memorization is not sufficient for university success. They were also trained to plan their time, handle many tasks at once, do real science lab experiments, and read large amounts of material weekly. Many of the ABP graduates have completed their university studies and are serving Qatar in important leadership positions of the country.”
Extracurricular activities also serve a vital role in the ABP. “One of the ABP’s achievements is establishing a strong relationship with the community through The ABP Social Services & Volunteering Club. The club was established in 2012 to develop students’ social and leadership skills and to encourage them to ‘giving back to their community’,” Ms. Al Boainain explained. Other extra-curricular activities include; student government, debate and Model United Nations, art and photography clubs and exhibits, school newspaper experience, recreational and educational field trips, and sports teams.
With over 90% of ABP’s graduates successfully enrolling in English speaking universities in Qatar and abroad, it is clear that for the past 15 years the ABP has successfully helped high school students to cross over to higher education by providing a tailored, holistic and student centered program that develops and enhances students’ academic, personal, social and cultural skills.