Three AQB Students Leave Their Legacy At The Third Undergraduate Research Conference  

Under the auspices of Dr. Imad Abu Kishek, the President of Al-Quds University (AQU), and Dr. Marwan Awartani, the Palestinian Minister of Higher Education, the AQU Deanship of Scientific Research and Al-Quds Bard virtually held the 3rd Undergraduate Research Conference on Tuesday, October 27th,2020.
More than 50 college and high school students participated and presented their research to be reviewed, revised, and discussed by a committee of judges. The committees were comprised of 27 judges from diverse academic backgrounds including IT and engineering, medicine and dentistry, public health and nutrition, natural sciences, pharmacy, and humanities.

At the conference, Dr. Imad Abu Kishek acknowledged the importance of scientific research and the role of the University in enhancing academic growth in the region, aiming for an institutional rebirth rooted in research instead of traditional pedagogy.
During his Zoom talk to the conference attendees, Dr. Marwan Awartani pointed out Al-Quds University’s contributions to the field of research, as well as outreach efforts and inclusion of public schools in the process. Further, Dr. Awartani indicated particularly the impact of AQB through its Master of Arts in Teaching Program which aims to foster teachers’ research skills in addition to the innovative pedagogy they carry into the classroom.
The 3rd Undergraduate Research Conference In Palestine- Official Poster.
Dr. Daniel Terris, AQB Dean, also addressed the attendees in a speech pre-recorded from the front yard of his office in the state of Massachusetts; he further emphasized the significance of research these days more than ever since the breakout of the COVID-19. Dr. Elham Kateeb, AQU Dean of Scientific Research, presented on the progress of this signature event that is expanding year after year due to the acceptance it receives from today's students.
AQB is proud to have taken part in this conference and thrilled to announce to our community that of the AQB students that competed, two of them took home first place in their divisions and a third student won second place. The Al-Quds Bard student winners are:
First Place (Natural Sciences):
Jamila Ayyad, Biology Major- Under the supervision of Prof. Mahmud Khalid- AQB.
First Place (Humanities):
Yazan Mizher, Human Rights and International Law Major, under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Terris- AQB.
Second Place (Humanities):
Zeina Melhem, Human Rights and International Law Major, under the supervision of Dr. Laura Menchaca- AQB.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to others who participated and contributed to the diversity and the quality of this conference.
Anticancer Experiments at AQB: New Findings
Al-Quds Bard College chemistry student, Reem Ayayda, has recently published the latest article titled: “Assessment of Antimicrobial and Anticancer Activity of Radish Sprouts Extracts” in the Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences (JJBS). This new publication represents the fruit of the student’s productive work, under AQB and Al-Quds University faculty members’ supervision and sage guidance. Additionally, AQB welcomes the new collaborative communication with JJBS, which is deemed a high-quality platform operating in the field of scientific studies in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Higher Education and Hashemite University.
AQB chemistry student, Reem Ayayda, during her BA Graduation Ceremony.
Ayayda’s new study is considered a contribution to the field of laboratory experiments and indicates encouraging results that radish sprout extracts create an anticancer impact on cells such as HT29 (colon cancer) and MCF7 (breast cancer).

Hala Khalawi: From AQB To Clinical Neuropsychiatry at King’s College London

By Hala Khalawi
I started my career trajectory by pursuing my undergraduate studies in Biology at Al-Quds Bard College in 2013. My aim was to understand the biological underpinnings of health and disease. Through my studies, I began to understand and explore the complexity of the human body and its interaction with the surrounding environment. My interest in the most complex organ of the human body, the brain, was first launched when I took a neuroscience course during my semester abroad at Bard College, New York.
Right after I returned, I joined the highly selective Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative (PNI) as an undergraduate research assistant. I explored undergraduate women’s cognitive performance during the menstrual period. My curiosity peaked when I realized that the squishy pink organ that is called the brain is only a physical home for the manifestations of thoughts, emotions, consciousness, intelligence, judgment, determination, memory, and imagination: the mind. Therefore, to explore the intersection between the brain and the mind, I applied and was offered a scholarship from the Higher Education Scholarship for Palestinians (HESPAL) to complete a unique, multidisciplinary Master of Science program in Clinical Neuropsychiatry at King’s College London. 
Hala Khalawi, AQB Alumna, after the Graduation Ceremony of the Master of Science Program in Clinical Neuropsychiatry at King’s College London. 
Sure, my social media may reflect a happy masters student living a joyful life in London, but don’t let that deceive you; I struggled at the beginning and had a hard time coping with the adjustments of life abroad, like any other international student. However, I followed a calling and volunteered as a well-being promoter for students at King’s College London. Instead of focusing on my needs, I healed by serving others – through connecting and communicating.
During my Master's and volunteer work, I learned that the disease state does not only depend on biological or genetic entities but it is a blend of environmental, behavioral, societal, and even political factors. Consequently, I was keen to explore the determinants of health and applied to the Institute of Community and Public Health (ICPH) at Birzeit University. I am currently a part of an internationally renowned interdisciplinary research team that contributes to public health research by exploring the intersections between social, political, and economic determinants of health. I conduct research addressing distressing experiences that impact people's health and well-being using robust locally relevant evidence. My research includes: comparing experiences of deprivation and uncertainty in relation to mental health in conflict zones before and during the COVID19 pandemic; capacity building of researchers and service providers in research methods for mental health in war and conflict through online learning. In one qualitative interview I was conducting, the participant mentioned “I was never able to talk about how I feel before this, thank you for the opportunity”. Through my research, I aspire to continue to stimulate change and effectively improve health, well-being, and health systems by responding to the public’s narrative. 
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