Skip to main content

2020 Friends of the Library Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to UMKC student Saniya Ablatt, winner of the 2020 Friends of the Library Scholarship! 

Saniya "Sunny" Ablatt is a medical student in the UMKC Six Year Accelerated BA/MD program. She was born in China and is a part of the Uyghur ethnic minority. Her interests include cooking traditional Uyghur dishes, playing the piano, and disc golfing. In her free time, she volunteers in the community by providing medical aid at MMA events and coordinating student-led activities at local nursing homes. After graduation, she plans to pursue a residency in Neurology. 

Ablatt’s essay was chosen for her response to the following prompt:

How did you use library resources and services to complete a project, and what did they add to your work?

You can read Ablatt’s winning essay below!

"The library used to be a stressful place for me. Every time I would walk in through those heavy wood doors, panic would start to creep in. I would remember the countless exams I had studied for at the desk in the corner, only to be disappointed with my results. I would have flashbacks of the times I found the perfect article on PubMed, only to realize my access was limited to the abstract. For a third year medical student, the library was a place I worked in silence with the weight of deadlines on my back. When my course coordinator for my neurology research block told me I would have to meet with the librarian to start my literature review, I was less than excited. I knew the librarians were kind and helpful, but I naively believed I could complete my work just as efficiently on my own. I set up a meeting with librarian, Marie Thompson, and hoped for the best. 

The day of my meeting with Marie, I created an outline of what sources I wanted to use for my work. It was elementary at best, but I knew I wanted to review alternative treatments for pediatric headache. After presenting my outline to Marie at her large, elegant desk, I immediately felt humbled and small. She took apart my work, asking me questions like, “What types of headache are you researching? Migraine headaches? What MeSH terms have you picked out? Are you looking for journal articles? Investigator articles? Books?” I had not thought to ask these questions myself. My experience with research was limited, but I believed I was ahead of the game by creating an outline. When it was clear “MeSH terms” were foreign to me, Marie took the time to teach me the basics. We revamped my puny eighth-grade level outline and created a framework that became the foundation of my literature review. I left our first meeting feeling like a real medical investigator. 

I met with Marie multiple times throughout my research course to create a literature review I was proud of. What started out as just another assignment became an opportunity for me to explore the resources I had ignored for so long. With Marie’s help, I used the interlibrary loan to obtain journal articles that became the backbone of my literature review. I discovered other databases beyond PubMed and learned how to compile sources more efficiently. When I turned in my literature review, I received fantastic feedback from my course instructor who urged me to continue my involvement in research. Had it not been for librarians like Marie, I would have not known the resources available to me that made my work stand out Because I gained the confidence and tools to be a reliable researcher, I was later offered the opportunity to contribute to the manuscript of a novel headache project. The library— once lonely and anxiety-provoking—became the place that fostered my growth as a medical researcher. 

Following the semester I met Marie, she became a friendly face that I knew I could always go to for help. I paid forward Marie’s kindness by helping other students get in contact with librarians during their own projects. I also became a frequent patron of the shelves, using the human anatomy atlases for my classes and the online library services during the COVID-19 lockdown. The library became my support system, all due to the loving hands that help run it. Regardless of how stressful or lonely medical school can be, I know I will always have a friend at the library."

(This unedited essay is published as it was submitted.)

Posted: May 01, 2020