The Dr Edith Forsyth Scholarship Award
Eric has donated a scholarship fund to the Bolton School’s Girls’ Division in honor of his late wife Edith. The scholarship to study Medicine at University was offered to three students from the Bolton School’s Girls’ Division. The Dr Edith Forsyth Scholarship Award provides financial support for five years of university medical training for the girls who started their degrees in September 2015 and otherwise might be deterred from studying Medicine because of financial hardship.
The award covers five years of training at £15,000 per annum and has been generously donated by an Old Boy of the School, Eric Forsyth, in memory of his late wife, Edith. Eric wishes to provide the same opportunity for a young woman, that he and Edith enjoyed when they went to Manchester University in 1950; namely a free education under the 1944 Education Act.
Eric and Edith subsequently moved to Canada and later to the United States, where Edith was a highly respected physician on Long Island. She was beloved by all her patients and has been sorely missed since her passing in 1991.
UPDATE- August, 2018: The three Dr Edith Forsyth Scholars, Katie Nightingale, Than Dar and Alliyah Ghanchi just finished their third studying Medicine at university. Below are the letters that Eric received from the recipients:
From Katie Nightingale-University of Leeds
I would like to thank you so much for your continued support of my studies here at Leeds. I have had a brilliant first three years at university and your generosity has helped me to doeverything I had only dreamed possible. I have a further two years left of my degree before I qualify as a doctor and am delighted to let you know a little about what you have made possible.
This year has been the first of three clinical years for me. It has involved undertaking five and six week placements in the Yorkshire area in Elderly medicine, Surgery, Special Senses, General Medicine and General Practice. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the specialities,and being on the wards at the heart of the excitement has cemented my passion to pursue a career in medicine.
I am really making the most of my University experience and my third year has been amazing. I’ve achieved great results in my assignments and have received really useful feedback from my supervisors and tutors. All of my exam resulted have been better than ever this year scoring B’s in both my written and practical exams.
Aside from the core modules this year I participated in the NICE champion scheme which is a national programm set up by NICE. The scheme aims to improve the routine use of evidence based information by future health and social care staff. As part of the scheme I had to teach a skill to the rest of my year group as well as attend a conference in Manchester with other NICE champions. Both aspects were interesting and I am glad I took this opportunity on.
Meeting other health care professionals such as pharmacists and nurses was really interesting and learning about what their path involves will be useful in the future. I am really looking forward to next year because we get to do more specialized specialties such as paediatrics and emergency medicine which I think will be fun. It also will allow me to experience areas of medicine new to me and determine whether they are possible career paths for the future. Also, currently, myself and another student are looking for paediatricians to supervise a self-designed research project for year four, looking into diabetes in children and young people. We have currently found a lead for the project but are still looking to find a co-supervisor. This is another reason I am keen to start fourth year to begin pursuing this.
As I have mentioned in my previous reports, I competed for the university swimming team in years one and two. This year, due to placement commitments and training schedules, I have unfortunately been unable to continue with this. However, I have made time to catch up with the friends I made there and keep involved with the team, supporting them when I can. I have also joined the gym and I am really enjoying keeping fit that way instead. Before coming to University, I had no idea what to expect. As the first in my family to experience it I feel so lucky and excited to tell them about all I have achieved and learnt on my journey. I feel truly blessed when I look back at all the other opportunities I have had and all the friendships I have made and I want to thank you for your continued support in making
all of this possible. I am certain the impacts will be lifelong. Thank you for always believing in me and for giving me the motivation and support I have needed throughout my first 3 years of medicine.
From Than Dar- University of Cambridge
I have spent the past year completing my intercalated degree in Natural Sciences in the Psychology Department. The style of learning was quite different from the first two years; I was able to choose the lecture courses that I wished to study which was something that had not been previously possible. There was less lecture material and the workload was not as intense however there was a lot of reading to do which I struggled with at the start. The lecture courses that I selected covered a wide variety of areas in psychology ranging from mechanisms of psychosis to gender development, the latter being my favourite overall.
The vast majority of my time this year was spent completing my research project. I had an Old Boy as my lab partner which was great as we were able to support each other and work together over the course of the project. The teamwork was especially helpful when handling the lab rats, the rats were just as anxious as we were, so it took some time for both parties to become comfortable with each other. We used a chemogenetic experimental technique known as DREADDs that utilises a viral vector to drive the expression of a designer receptor at the site of injection, the receptor can then be specifically activated by a designer drug. We
targeted the ventral tegmental area to investigate the role of midbrain dopamine in probabilistic reversal learning; deficits in this type of learning have been implicated in a multitude of disorders such as drug addiction, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s Disease. The ventral tegmental area is part of a complex neural circuit involving structures such as the prefrontal cortex, dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens. These structures can be divided further into distinct regions that have their own specific roles in cognitive processing.
Unsurprisingly, the precise contributions of these structures and the connections between them is not fully understood, our lab project is one strand of a larger research project being conducted by our supervisors aiming to provide further insight into this area of cognitive behavioural neuroscience. The experience has given me a valuable understanding of what research involves and what it is like working with rats, a particular highlight was dissecting the brain out of a rat’s head for immunohistological preparation.
I relished the opportunity to take up more extra-curricular activities as my timetable was not as dense as it used to be. I took part in the Student Community Action ‘Big Sibs’ project where each volunteer is allocated with a ‘Little Sib’ that they visit on a weekly basis to play games with them and generally provide company; I had a group of three sisters that I visited along with another third-year medic. We had a lot of fun doing this and are hoping to keep it up infourth year. I decided to take up rowing since this year was probably my final chance to have a go at it. I have absolutely loved it, in particular the team of amazing women that I have spent
many hours training with. I continued to attend talks and debates at The Union Society; the most significant event I attended was a talk given by the late Professor Stephen Hawking. I had queued for several hours beforehand to get in to the event and I am so glad that I did.
Having completed my first university degree, I am relieved that the hard work has paid off and to have made it halfway through medical school. I am very much looking forward to starting at the Clinical School in September. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Dr Edith Forsyth Scholarship for the financial support that I have received so far, the past three years would certainly not have been manageable without it.
Alliya Ghanchi-University of Leicester
I found my third year to be challenging but very enjoyable. The period before the winter break was spent finishing the last preclinical modules including nervous system and pharmacology. Towards the end of the semester, I was given a certificate of achievement for my progress over the last two and a half years. I then started clinical placements in January, and spent time in general practice, psychiatry, surgical and medical wards. I was initially very nervous about the new term. T
The transition from preclinical to clinical medicine was daunting at first, as there is less guidance from the medical school, and we are expected to study
independently, but I am now getting to grips with it. Each placement is different and each has its own demands. Most of my learning is done on wards, taking histories and examining patients, looking at their test results, taking bloods and participating in ward rounds. Many of my placements have been outside of Leicester, and I am currently living in onsite accommodation next to Peterborough City Hospital. This can be isolating at times, as the hospital is surrounded by the A47 and nothing much else! However, the city centre is a nice place to visit on weekends, with old stone buildings and a beautiful cathedral.
Over the winter period, I organised work experience with the obstetrics and gynaecology department in Leicester. This was a fantastic, hands-on week during which I assisted caesarean and natural deliveries, and spent time on emergency gynaecology assessment and outpatient units. I found this time very insightful and could imagine myself doing this in the future. I also attended the annual undergraduate ob-gyn medical students’ day at the Royal College in London, to find out more about this career and practice using some of the surgical equipment, which was fascinating and something I found myself enjoying.
I am now preparing for my end of year exams which are at the end of August. Thanks to your financial help, I don’t have to worry about working over the holidays and can focus on studying during this crucial time. As always, I am extremely grateful for this scholarship and all that it is allowing me to achieve. Thank you for your continued support over the last few years.
UPDATE- September, 2017: The three Dr Edith Forsyth Scholars, Katie Nightingale, Than Dar and Alliyah Ghanchi are in their third studying Medicine at university. Below are the letters that Eric received from the recipients:
I began the academic year feeling uncertain about my ability to cope with the demands of the coming year as I found the workload last year to be very challenging and I knew that the second year course was going to be even tougher. However the year played out better than I had anticipated, fortunately. The workload was indeed greater but I was able to enjoy it so much more because the content of the course was far more interesting and exciting; a lot of this was down to some exceptional lecturers and supervisors that I have had this year, particularly in neurobiology, whom I am very grateful for. Overall this made the weekly tasks of essay writing and revision feel far less overwhelming, and my performance in the end of year exams improved from last year as a result.
Over this summer vacation I will be completing a piece of coursework that looks into non NHS healthcare provision in the community with a particular focus on
alternative/complementary medicine and voluntary organisations that are charitably funded. The former is a controversial area of medicine that I researched as part of my Extended Project in Sixth Form so I am looking forward to revisiting this topic. For the latter, I will be visiting a local charity that supports people with dementia and their families which I am sure will be a valuable experience.
I am very much looking forward to the next academic year as I will be undertaking my intercalated degree which will be quite different from what I have experienced over the past two years. It is also supposedly less intense in comparison to the first two years of the course so I am hoping that this means I will be able to partake in at least one extra-curricular activity every week as I have not been able to make such a commitment thus far.
I have now submitted my research project choices and am hoping that I will be assigned to one of my top preferences, but regardless of which one I get assigned to I am still very excited to work in a lab. In addition to writing a report on the research project and studying for the end of year essay papers, there is also the opportunity to write an optional dissertation which I intend to take up although I am not yet sure on a specific topic. This next year will (hopefully) end with my first graduation in June 2018 which will mark the end of my time as an undergraduate medic, after which I will continue into clinical school for the remaining three years.
As always, thank you to the Dr Edith Forsyth Scholarship Award for providing me with such invaluable financial support, the past two years would certainly have been a lot more difficult without it.
-Than Dar- University of Cambridge
Thank you so much for your continued support of my studies here at Leeds. Looking back over my first two years of University, all I have achieved so far, is owed to your generosity that has helped me to make so many things possible.
I am really enjoying my course so far. I found first year here a challenge, but one which I was able to step up to. This year, things have stepped up even more but I am enjoying it as much as ever. The anatomy strand of the course is particularly testing however, but knowing I have your support has given me the confidence to ask questions and work hard, and I have risen to the challenge.
I am really making the most of my University experience and my second year has been amazing. I’ve achieved great results in my exams and assignments and have received wonderful feedback from my tutors.
My modules are also really interesting this year. It is so fascinating to learn about all of the different areas of pathology and I find Medical science particularly interesting as it has allowed me to explore the mechanism of the human body even further. I have received a certificate for my research report as it ranked in the top 20 in the year.
Something I have learnt recently is the importance of taking breaks away from studying so this year I have really made the most of living in Leeds. It’s such a vibrant city and there is so much to do here. I have participated in events such as the Colour Run which have opened my eyes to exactly how much Leeds has to offer. I have also used my free weekends to explore neighbouring towns like York and Harrogate and it’s been great, at the end of a week, to get out with my friends and explore somewhere new. I have also been making the most of the University’s clubs and have remained a member of the university swimming team, representing them at all levels. I swam competitively through school and college and it is something I am so grateful to be able to continue with through my university career. It has also been brilliant to meet students from different courses who I never would have met were it not for the society. I also have been able to purchase the university team kit to represent the team around the country in tournaments.
I am thoroughly enjoying placement and am very excited for third year where placement is a much bigger part of the course. Learning new skills on the job is something which I find effective as a learning technique and so I feel I am growing everyday within the career. When applying to University, I knew I was at the start of the road to my future career but University has been so much more for me than that. I often look at the friends I have made, the experiences I have had,
the exciting opportunities coming up, and find myself thinking that this was all made possible by your continued support. I might never have experienced what many other students have so easily if it wasn’t for your help and I am so grateful to you for giving me these lifelong opportunities.
Thank you again for your generous support.
–Katie Nightingale-University of Leeds
I began second year feeling more relaxed and a lot less nervous than first year as I knew what to expect. I share a flat with my friends and have adapted to the responsibilities that this entails!
Although the step up from first year to second year was a little challenging at first, I quickly got into the swing of things and learnt how to manage a full timetable and maintain a work-life balance too. I was a part of many societies such as the Obstetric and Gynaecology society, global health short course, Friends of MSF and I helped teach the first years. Recently, I had my article on the production of bile published on the Teach Me Physiology website, which aims to provide free medical education online. I work as an Ambassador at university open days to help others get into medical school. I also had the pleasure of attending the SCTS conference in Belfast and presented a poster there showing the findings of the research I did last summer. I attended talks given by Cardiothoracic surgeons about their career and speciality training, and saw the ‘robots’ they use to operate on patients.
During the second half of the year, I began hospital/GP placements for a few hours each week and was able to practice examinations and history taking. This was an introduction to the full time clinical teaching that I will be undertaking from January next year. I will be based on hospital wards or at a GP surgery and will see patients every day. I’m very excited about next year and my transition into the clinical years, as interacting with patients is what I enjoy the most.
My exam results this year were pleasing, and I was placed in the second decile. I also achieved a distinction in the 10,000 word essay I wrote about a patient that I have been visiting over the last two years. Another recent achievement is that I passed my driving test, and am hoping to buy a car before I start clinical rotations.
I am extremely grateful for my Edith Forsyth Scholarship, as it would have been very difficult for me to manage a part time job and deal with the challenge of achieving well at medical school. The scholarship stops me from worrying about paying the rent/bills and allows me to focus on my studies, and for this I am very thankful.
–Alliya Ghanchi-University of Leicester
UPDATE – March, 2017: The three Dr Edith Forsyth Scholars, Katie Nightingale, Than Dar and Alliyah Ghanchi are in their second year studying Medicine at university. Below are the letters that Eric received from the recipients:
“My experience of second year Medicine so far has been quite different to first year. Although there is significantly more content to learn this year, I feel like I have a better idea of how I to cope with the workload having been through first year. This has involved making a lot more of an effort to maintain my interests outside of Medicine; I have joined the Union Society and I am a Student Ambassador for my college.
I have found the course this year to be much more interesting as we have explored areas that I wanted to find out more about during my time at school, in particular cardiovascular pathology and neurobiology. It has actually been highly satisfying to apply what I have heard in the lectures to patient cases that I encountered during my work experience in Sixth Form.
I am in the process of deciding what to study for my intercalated year, which will be the next academic year. There is a considerable range of subjects that I can choose from, some are not as obviously related to Medicine as others but they need not be. I would quite like to do Psychology as it is rather different to the other material covered in the course so far, primarily because our knowledge of how the mind works is not nearly as comprehensive as some of the other systems in the body, which is what attracted me to this subject initially. I would also be conducting my own research project as part of the intercalated year although I have not thought too much about this aspect yet.
My current focus is the Head and Neck anatomy exam that I will be taking at the end of this term. Unfortunately dissection does not form part of the course this year as the structures of the head and neck are so delicate. However I have been able to study some beautifully dissected prosections. Undoubtedly my next aim after that will be devoting my time to revising for the exams in June.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the generous financial support that I have received. I did not imagine that life at university would be as expensive as it has been; the funding has been invaluable in ensuring that I can dedicate time to my studies and enjoy what Cambridge has to offer without being a financial burden on my family.”
-Than Dar- University of Cambridge
“Second year has proved to be busier than first year, and I have recently started GP/hospital clinical placements once a week, which are extremely enjoyable and a really good opportunity to practice the reams of knowledge that I have been learning! I achieved a Merit for my first year exam results and in my recent exams in January, my results placed me in the top 20% of my year. My second year modules have been challenging but extremely interesting and there is more of a clinical focus on things now. So far, I have completed modules covering bodily systems such as the respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal systems as well as studying health psychology. I am currently learning about the anatomy of the head and neck and the reproductive system.
Over the summer, I attended a Friends of MSF training day in London, held at the MSF Headquarters which showed me the array of opportunities that I can be involved in as a medical student and doctor working for MSF. This is something that I am interested in. The systematic review research (on preoperative weight loss interventions) that I have been doing since the summer, alongside my university studies, has been published and I will be going to Belfast in a few weeks’ time to do a poster presentation of the data at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery. Last semester, I was the publicist for FoMSF and also helped recruit a speaker and organise a session on Gender Inequality and Health for the Global Health Short Course Society. This was an eye-opening experience which helped me develop organisational and leadership skills.
Last semester, as part of my role as the Treasurer of the ObGyn Society, I helped organise and put on an information evening to students wishing to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I am very keen on this specialty and have been in contact with Dr Brigid Hayden who I have known since applying to medical school. We are currently organising a lecture on maternal health in developing countries.
This year, I feel more relaxed and settled into university, with a good network of friends for support. In my spare time, I attend Zumba classes and also joined the medic’s football club, which I have found to be a great team building sport! Overall, the Dr Edith Forsyth Scholarship is allowing me to study without worrying about money or a job. I can focus on my studies and am extremely grateful for this privilege. ”
–Alliya Ghanchi-University of Leicester
“So far, second year has got off to a really promising start. Having learnt from first year, I have kept on top of my studies much better this year and I feel much more prepared for my exams. We have had some assessed presentations in first term of which all went well and I passed to high standards. March has many deadlines for me and so I am working hard to reach them all now.
I have taken a stronger interest this year in learning about new specialities and so have attended multiple talks from professionals. I found this to be vital as many of my fellow students have medics in their families and so understand the career better; however I have taken it upon myself to get a good understanding with the hope I may discover what may or may not suit me. I attended a paediatrics conference last month which I really enjoyed too although I am very far away from choosing a speciality for definite.
I am continuing to represent the swim team and performed well at BUCS in November. I am thoroughly enjoying this side of my university career. Placement this year is much more full on; having a full day a week in either primary or secondary care. So far I have learnt how to take blood and also cannulate which I have found very exciting. My history and examination techniques are also improving.
Medical school is going really well so far and I would once again like to express my thanks for the opportunity you’ve provided me with. “
–Katie Nightingale-University of Leeds
UPDATE – August, 2016: The three Dr Edith Forsyth Scholars, Katie Nightingale, Than Dar and Alliyah Ghanchi have completed their first year studying Medicine at university. Below are the letters that Eric received from the recipients:
“My first year at university has been a whirlwind of excitement. From moving in in September I’ve definitely learned a lot. I joined the swim team at the start of my degree and have enjoyed representing and competing for the university this first year. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the medical course so far, passing all my assignments and assessments to levels much higher than my expectations.
The anatomy strand has been particularly interesting and an area of science completely new to me. I have achieved the level ‘very good’ by the end of this first year of which I’m very proud of. Placement has been exciting too and I am looking forward to next year where we will spend even more time on placement. So far I have experienced a hand and wrist surgery ward and a placement in a GP both of which I’ve definitely enjoyed.
The scholarship has been of great benefit to myself, without which I don’t think I would’ve been able to go to university. I am extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunity I have been given and after passing my first year of the medical degree would like to say a massive thank you both to yourself and Dr Edith Forsyth.”- Katie Nightingale
“My first year of medical school has been exciting and challenging, and I have loved every moment. The Edith Forsyth Scholarship has enabled me to have a successful year. Regarding my academic achievements, I gained a Merit for my overall performance in first year, which places me above average. This result is a culmination of a total of 4 written papers I sat in January and May, together with an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) which encompasses 15 stations focussed on clinical examinations of various body systems as well as cadaveric anatomy identification and basic history taking skills. I have also successfully applied for positions on various committees, and can happily announce that I hold the following responsibilities for the next academic year: Treasurer for the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society Publicist for Friends of MSF Committee member for Global Health Short Course 2016 – I am on the committee for the launch of Leicester Medical School’s first ever Global Health Short Course, which aims to provide workshops and lectures by prominent speakers to discuss global health issues and strategies to combat them. I am also the lead for the gender and health session, and have liaised with professors to give lectures on gender inequalities in healthcare and maternal health.
Student Ambassador for Leicester Medical School – I give tours and demonstrations to showcase medical education. I have recently applied and been selected to be on the student editorial team, as a peer reviewer, for The Student Doctor Journal. This is an open access, biannual, general medical journal, which publishes articles written primarily by medical students. My responsibility is to review research articles that students have produced, to ensure the results are sound in order to be published in the journal. Over the summer, I am currently conducting research with Cardiothoracic surgeons at Glenfield Hospital. We are conducting a systematic review on the effects of preoperative weight loss on postsurgical outcomes. This is a new area of research, and is based on the Obesity Paradox theory, that having abdominal fat can, to an extent, help patients post-surgery. The Edith Forsyth Scholarship has provided me with the security of achieving my ambitions without the worry of juggling the demands of a medical education and a part-time job. It has been an invaluable support and will prove to be so in future years, especially as I am trying to save some money from it to so that I can spend an extra year at medical school after my second year, to get an intercalated BSc degree in a research project of my choice. I end in gratitude and appreciation for the Edith Forsyth Scholarship and strive to do it justice. Kind Regards” – Alliya Ghanchi
“In the weeks building up to the start of university I was nervous to say the least. I had started the work that was sent to me the day after I received my exam results; I could not believe that I had already been given work to do when the summer holidays were barely over and it made me wonder how I would cope with the demands of the course. I had received a freshers’ guide which gave me an idea of what to expect once I arrived. This included an unusual list of words and definitions that were somewhat unique to the students of Cambridge for example ‘mathmo’ is used to describe a maths student and the academic terms are referred to as ‘Michaelmas’, ‘Lent’ and ‘Easter’. The unusual words came with some unusual traditions. The first one that I experienced was Matriculation during freshers’ week. It started with a formal five-course dinner in candlelight whilst wearing our black gowns, I initially found the sheer amount of cutlery rather confusing and I was not a fan of the cheese course although I tried to be. This was followed by the official ceremony and photograph the next morning; after signing a sheet of paper in the ceremony I officially became a member of my college and the university. It was quite a bizarre introduction to university life and certainly very different to what I am used to back home.
The medics were warned about the workload by our Director of Studies during freshers’ week, he said that the vacations were not referred to as holidays because we vacate the building and continue studying at home, we were also told that we should not stop working until the exams were over in summer. It sounded ridiculous but I knew that I would have to work continuously if I wanted to pass the exams. The part of the course that I had been looking forward to the most was full-body dissection. Although I was apprehensive at first I very much enjoyed dissection, I learnt an incredible amount and as the weeks progressed I came to appreciate the sacrifice that the body donors and their families had made to further our medical education. I was actively involved in many extra-curricular activities at school, especially music, but the workload at university meant that I could not commit to joining bands or choirs. This was something I really missed so I purchased a digital piano over Christmas because I knew that playing music was an enjoyable and effective way for me to de-stress; I played it regularly as a break from studying. I was given a taste of what Cambridge exams would be like during Lent term. The term began with mock exams and ended with two real exams which I passed much to my relief. Before I knew it, Easter term was upon me and exam week was fast approaching.
Purchasing a Medical Society membership gave me access to some fantastic resources which really helped me with my revision. The incredibly high levels of stress, panic and pressure during exam week were like nothing I had ever experienced before; my exams were all back-to-back and had been crammed into a week and a half. I was absolutely exhausted after my final exam but I was excited for May Week. May Week, which is actually in June, is by far my favourite Cambridge tradition; it is a week full of May Balls hosted by many of the colleges. I could not have imagined a better way to celebrate after a year of non-stop hard work; I was finally able to relax and have fun without exams or essays constantly in the back of my mind. However, the thought of exams had not entirely escaped me because my results were being released during May Week, fortunately I passed them all. I knew that studying Medicine was going to be difficult but I was not prepared for the level of intensity and pressure at Cambridge. However, I believe this really helped me to thrive. I was overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and the level of detail that I was expected to learn, it was actually rather frightening but I now realise that, unlike A Levels, it is not possible to know the course material inside out however hard I tried. I had to adapt to find new and more efficient ways of working and these methods will undoubtedly change as I progress through medical school.
Having more independence at university has helped me to undergo personal development and it has been a relief to know that I am not a financial burden on my parents as I am able to manage my own finances with the aid of the scholarship. On reflection, my first year at medical school has definitely been a positive learning experience. I feel incredibly lucky to have gained so much knowledge from some of the best academics in the world who have pushed my intellectual abilities to new limits.” -Than Dar