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Gateway to Medicine Programme

Maddy Steel’s grandfather is an Emeritus Professor in Medical Science of St. Andrews University and Maddy’s father is also a graduate of St. Andrews University.

In 2019, The Madeleine Steel Charitable Trust made a significant donation to the St Andrews University Gateway to Medicine programme by funding two scholarships for the academic year 2019 and pledging to support 2 more in 2020. The intention is to fund all 5 scholarships from 2021 going forwards.
The aim of the Gateway is to provide an entry opportunity to the Medicine degree programme for students who have been identified as coming from a background of socio-economic challenges, which may also include having attended a school with poor progression to higher education and/or attainment, having been looked after in local authority care and/or be a registered carer themselves.

The one-year Gateway programme provides students with the opportunity to study the fundamental sciences required for a medical degree in the University environment with the aim that they will achieve sufficiently well to progress to the medical degree programme. However, it leaves options open for those who are not able to meet the entry requirements for Medicine or who decide Medicine is not for them.

In addition to their academic studies, students have the opportunity to prepare for transfer to the Medicine degree by:

• undertaking volunteering or work experience in a medical context
• obtaining an understanding of professionalism as relevant to medicine;
• developing academic and non-academic skills relevant to medicine.

Heather Gubby and Gwen Wolda are the first two recipients of the award and their stories are outlined here.

Information about the individual recipients:

Gateway to Medicine Scholarship

2019-20 Scholarship Report

My name is Heather Gubby and I am a Gateway to Medicine student at the University of St Andrews. St Andrews is fairly local for me as I have always lived in Fife, and before coming to St Andrews I attended Levenmouth Academy. The decision to leave school a year early and do the Gateway to Medicine programme meant that I was not financially ready to be able to move out and provide for myself. The Gateway to Medicine Scholarship meant that I was able to move into halls rather than staying at home and commuting daily to and from St Andrews. I am extremely thankful that I was able to stay in halls as I have made so many amazing friends and been able to spend quality time with them in St Andrews without having to worry about travelling home and working around the times of public transport.

This year I have studied Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. However, next year I hope to transition onto the Medicine programme which would allow me to achieve my dream of studying medicine. I became interested in medicine from a very young age when I assisted with the care of a family friend with severe MS. This became my first part-time job. Initially I supported her to carry out household tasks and later progressed to helping in her personal and medical care. I have also always looked up to family and friends who work within the medical sector, their professionalism and enthusiasm towards their jobs has also inspired my choice of career path.

Outside of my studies I am a volunteer gymnastics coach. Every Saturday afternoon I coach a group of young girls and regularly attend competitions with them. I am also a young leader within Girlguiding where I help with the running of the unit and work alongside girls of many different needs to help them develop skills they will need in the future. Alongside these voluntary roles I also enjoy sports. I play netball both socially and competitively as well as regularly attending gym classes and running with friends. I have also continued to work my part-time job throughout the year to help financially support myself with the cost of living away from home.

The scholarship I received has been a massive help towards both my accommodation and other study supplies. With doing the Gateway programme we had evening mentoring classes to attend from 7-9pm three nights a week, staying in halls meant that I was able to attend these classes for the full duration and not have to leave early to travel home. Without these classes I am not sure that I would have been able to get the grades I needed to continue into medicine. I also used the scholarship money to buy the recommended textbooks as well as additional textbooks for my subjects. I found these textbooks extremely useful for solidifying the material I had learned in class as well as a useful revision resource when it came to exam time. The Gateway to Medicine Scholarship has taken a huge financial stress away from my family and meant that I was able to support myself financially rather than relying heavily on them.

Next year I plan to continue into first year of Medicine. After completing the three years of Medicine at St Andrews I plan to complete my final three years at another Scottish university before qualifying as a junior doctor. In the future I hope to become a paediatrician as I love working with children as well as my passion for medicine. Alongside my studies I would like to become a Student Ambassador this year as well as trying out other extracurricular activities and societies.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that the Gateway to Medicine Scholarship has given me, it has both allowed me to fulfil my dream of studying medicine as well as allowed me to stay in halls and make lots of amazing and lifelong friends. This has been one of the best years of my life and I believe that it would have been very different if I hadn’t received the scholarship and had to commute to and from St Andrews every day.

Gateway to Medicine Scholarship

2019-20 Scholarship Report

Hello, my name is Gwen Wolda and I was on the Gateway to Medicine programme this year. I would like to start off by saying thank you so much for awarding me this scholarship, it has allowed me to focus purely on my academics and social life in St Andrews, without having to worry about finances. With the help of the scholarship, I will be advancing to first year Medicine next year which I am very excited about as I have always wanted to be a doctor. I find medicine and the human body very interesting and I cannot wait to learn more and expand my knowledge on the subject. I am especially excited to learn more about pathology as I am very interested in becoming a forensic pathologist.

During this year in St Andrews I studied Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, all of which I found very interesting and helped expand my knowledge on certain topics which may stand me in good stead for next year. Being a part of the Gateway programme also meant that I had a very busy schedule as I had compulsory mentoring sessions three times a week as well as lectures, tutorials, and labs. This meant I had three days a week where I was busy between 10am and 9pm with very little time to have a break, and I believe this will have helped me get ready for the busy schedule of a Medicine student next year.

This year, I was a part of the Netball Club where I have made new friends and had a great time keeping fit and learning new tips and tricks for netball. Next year, I hope that everything I have learnt in social netball could give me an extra edge and help me get onto one of the competitive netball teams as this year I did not manage to make it onto a team. During lockdown, I have been using netball as my way to keep fit and have fun. I was also a part of the Surf Club this year. This was new as I had never surfed before and very fun to learn, although it did involve me faceplanting into the water a lot. Also, to help me keep fit, I had a gym membership. This gym membership helped me become fit and get closer to my flatmates as they would come with me. Going to the gym became an essential part of my day and helped me clear my head.

The scholarship I received this year went towards accommodation, materials for my academic study, extracurriculars and food. As I was living self-catered in David Russell Apartments (DRA), the scholarship really helped me in paying for that. Without the scholarship, I do not think I could have paid for DRA, so I am very grateful for that. I am also very grateful for living in DRA as it allowed me to make great friends with my flatmates who were also on the Gateway to Medicine programme and will be advancing onto Medicine with me. It has allowed me to build close friendships with them that I thought would take years to make and it has let me have someone to talk to when I am stressed or need help. The scholarship also paid for textbooks, notebooks, lab equipment and a laptop. In first semester, I was mainly using the University’s computers to write essays and lab reports, so it was a great help to my studying and grades to have my own laptop to use. I also used the scholarship money to pay for my gym membership and membership to social Netball and Surf Club, which was very beneficial to my fitness and state of mind at some points during the semester. Also, during the first two months of semester one, I had not received an answer from SAAS yet, so it was a massive help to have scholarship payments as I wouldn’t have been able to buy food without it.

Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to get through this year and I cannot thank you enough for all that it has helped me do and achieve, I am truly grateful.

© The Madeleine Steel Charitable Trust 2021.

The Madeleine Steel Charitable Trust is a registered charity in Scotland (SCO 33732).