4th# GreatHeights Series – An Interview With Hannah Masturah Nazri, Class of 2004
By Norfarah Mohamad,
Head of KYSER Content, Cemerlang
The Cemerlang Editorial Team had a chance to interview Dr. Hannah Masturah Nazri, Board of Trustees of Kalsom Movement.
Dr. Hannah did A-levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM. During her years in college, she achieved the Bronze Cross from Royal Life Saving Society and was also the Sponsorship & Fundraising Manager for the annual Ecological Expedition and completed the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award in the Inter-House Debate Competition
She studied medicine at University of Bristol and later intercalated in BSc Medical Sciences with Medical Physics & Bioengineering at University College London and graduated after one year. After graduating from University College London, she continued her clinical years at University of Bristol, with various hospital attachments in Taunton, Yeovil, Bath, Gloucester and Cheltenham. In her final year, she won Bristol Commonwealth Grant for my Obstetrics & Gynaecology elective in Mombasa, Kenya.
In 2015 Dr Hannah is one the few Malaysians who was accepted to one of the world’s most prolific universities, the University of Oxford. She finished her MSc Clinical Embryology in 2016 and decided to pursue a DPhil in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, expected to graduate in 2020.
Dr Hannah believes that learning never stops and everybody has a different trajectory in career. She views life as a journey of self discovery and the best things will always come to those who are patient.
An All Rounded Individual...
Dr. Hannah had always loved her years in KYS. “What I love most about my KYS experience is the opportunity to discover and develop myself along with friends across the country. In KYS, I was able to develop into an all-rounded individual by excelling academically and participating in extra-curricular activities and this is something that I aim to continue to do.”
Here some of Dr. Hannah’s extra-curricular activities and posts she hold while in KYS
- College Committee Secretary
- Hussein House Sports Committee Member
- Represented KYS and district in running events
- International Swimming Teachers’ Association 3000m Distance Test
- Violinist in Violin 2 for KYS Orchestra
- ABRSM Grade 7 Piano
- Vice President of Counselling Club
- 2000 Tunas Jaya of WP Kuala Lumpur (Best Student of Kuala Lumpur – Academic and Co-curricular Activities)
To cope with the demanding academic and extracurricular activities, Dr. Hannah used an organiser/diary to make sure she knows what her commitments are for the day, week and month, as well as to set realistic goals for studying and doing well in extracurricular activities. “Thinking about the future can be stressful but necessary. Plan, think about the future, but be in the present. Doing sports is a great way to manage stress, so don’t just study all the time! It is important to have interest in whatever you’re involved in, and it is important to recognise what you’re good at.”
Dr Hannah knew from the beginning she wanted to pursue medicine “My parents had encouraged me to be interested in science, and ultimately medicine. But when I became unwell and hospitalised with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever when I was 14, that experience persuaded me even more to take up medicine. I knew that I wanted to do something that touches lives in a meaningful way, and I live by the principle of making a positive difference to anyone I meet and wherever I go”
While waiting for SPM results she did two medical attachments – one with the Hospital Kuala Lumpur Pathology Department, where she shadowed clinical pathologists during post-mortems, and an Obstetrics & Gynaecology attachment. This confirmed her interest in medicine
Life As A Medical Student In University of Oxford...
“Medical school can be gruelling. Long hours; expect 9-5 lectures and more studying after, and shorter holidays. But, of course, this is to be expected.” Dr Hannah agree that studying medicine abroad throws you at the deep end. There is no one to tell you what’s right or wrong, and you must be self-reliant and independent when family is 14-hours flight away.
Besides studying, it is important to maintain your hobbies. “I’ve always been keen to explore and meet new people. It is very important in university to explore the different clubs and societies because you will never have a similar opportunity to do so. Outside medicine, I volunteered with Radio Lollipop, a charitable organisation that provides comfort, play and entertainment service for sick children at the Bristol Children’s Hospital”
“Of course, I first volunteered with The Kalsom Movement (Projek Kalsom then) in second year of medical school and became a Project Director in my third year. As a finalist at Bristol, I was also the inaugural President of the Bristol Student Commonwealth Society where we collaborated with The Kalsom Movement for the annual Commonwealth Cultural Programme, a programme for British university students to volunteer and explore Malaysian culture.”
Kalsom Movement have been an amazing journey for Dr Hannah. “I first became acquainted with The Kalsom Movement (Projek Kalsom motivational camp-PKMC) in as a second year-medical student. It was a small motivational camp organised by Malaysian university students in the UK every summer in Malaysia for underprivileged students since 1994. I became the Director of PKMC as a third-year medical student in 2011. My team and I then decided to formalise PKMC as a registered entity under the Malaysian Registrar of Youth Societies. It took years of hard work, all of which I cannot take all the credit for, for The Kalsom Movement to be what it is now. Today, The Kalsom Movement is a youth-led education charity which focuses on developing Malaysia’s future leaders by empowering university students to share their knowledge and skills to help younger economically-disadvantaged Malaysian students achieve their ambitions. In turn, our volunteers also benefit from discovering their own leadership potentials and organisational skills as well as becoming more perceptive of issues surrounding education inequality in Malaysia. Our beneficiaries are students from under performing Malaysian secondary schools with a monthly household income of RM3,000 and below. What I learned from my experience with The Kalsom Movement, is patience. Rome was not built in a day. In the same manner with everything in life, there is no such thing as overnight success. Be patient with yourself and enjoy learning. You will become an expert. Your project will be successful. Don’t rush the process. It is important to take into account the opinions and perspectives of the executive committee before deciding on an action. Naturally, the decisions have to fit in with the vision and objectives of the charity. “
“It would be great if we could start a KYSER Women’s Network. I truly enjoy the Women’s Network at my college in Oxford and I am sure the female students, KYSERs will benefit from a dedicated space for them to explore ideas, thoughts and share experiences.”
When the highly demanding career begins..
Doing medicine is a lifelong commitment.The trick is to remember that you are on a different trajectory and that there is not set pathway that anyone should follow. Rather than viewing life as a destination, view life as a journey where you will enjoy meeting people, learning and discovering yourself “There are times you may feel like quitting especially when your friends who are doing other courses graduate first, go into high-paying jobs, and settle down.”
When she was starting out, although she knew early on that she wanted to do Obstetrics & Gynaecology she couldn’t help becoming interested in so many other specialities as well. At the same time, she became interested in research, especially in reproductive medicine, so decided to pursue the MSc in Clinical Embryology. “I went back to clinical work after my MSc to pursue Core Medical Training (General Medicine & Acute Medicine) in view of pursuing reproductive endocrinology but quickly realised that it is not for me.”
“I had never foreseen myself as a clinical academic (I was a very lazy medical student as well), but since the MSc and now a DPhil – it is definitely in the cards for me. Combining clinical work with research makes it a more fulfilling career for me. I love the intellectual process that goes behind it. “
As a doctor, Dr Hannah enjoy the detective work that goes behind it and nothing feels more satisfying when her patients get better and are discharged home. But as a researcher, she feel a sense of ownership over my work, for something that she have discovered. She enjoy presenting her work and have done so at international conferences such as the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology Annual Meeting, the Society for Reproductive Investigation as well as the World Congress on Endometriosis – which has taken her to many interesting places. Last October, she was privileged to meet our Deputy Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah during the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels.
When asked where does she see herself 10, 20 years from now, this is what she responded “Hopefully, I will be at the top of my field as a clinical academic! Ideally, I would like to combine my academic medical career with consultancy, non-profit work and a business of my own with a lot of travelling. Above all, your career is yours to develop and engineer and increasingly, I am unable to put myself into a particular box. I am a doctor, a researcher, but I believe that am more than that – we shall see.”
Tips For KYS Students
Here are some tips from Dr Hannah to KYS students
- Speak to as many people as possible and take time to explore your career options when you have the opportunity. This means getting work experiences across many industries and finding out what it takes to qualify and meet the requirements of the profession, as well as taking into consideration matters such as work-life balance. Remember, that even if you have decided on career or degree, this can change as priorities change.
- Enjoy KYS, take the opportunity to learn and develop yourself, but don’t beat yourself up too much if you’re missing an A. It is more important to get an A in life.
- Prior to entering KYS you may be the top student in your old school. In KYS, all of these top students are gathered in one place and you may find yourself displaced from the top position. Don’t worry too much about this. Just keep focus on your goals and personal development. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint!n