Development & Alumni Relations Office 

MATHEWS FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP 2020/21 ANNOUNCED  Quad at Queen's with, inset, Mathews Family Scholarship recipient Wen Wong and Dr Colin Mathews at The Graduate School

28 June 2021

The recipient of the 2020/21 Mathews Family Scholarship is Wen Kyle Wong, currently a 4th year medical student at Queen’s.

The scholarship of £6,500 is awarded annually to a Queen’s medical student to undertake the intercalated degree MSc (Res) in Cancer Medicine in breast cancer research in The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research.

Wen, a former Poi Lam High School pupil who studied at Taylor's College in Selangor, Malaysia before coming to Queen's in 2017, commented on the award:

“The Mathews Family Scholarship has provided me with an invaluable opportunity to further pursue my interest in cancer research.

“The generosity of Dr Colin Mathews allowed me to obtain a Master’s degree in Cancer Medicine, and words cannot fully describe how grateful I am.”

Dr Colin Mathews (MB BCh BAO 1979), who is a former President of the Ulster Medical Society, established the scholarship in 2016 in recognition of his family’s tradition of medical graduation (mostly from Queen’s) that has spanned five generations and produced almost 50 physicians around the world.

Samson, Robert and Samuel Mathews came from a farming family in County Antrim and graduated in Medicine from Queen’s in the 1880s. The brothers left Ireland and established medical practices in Sheffield, England and commenced a family tradition of studying medicine. In recognition of this tradition Dr Colin Mathews – of the 4th generation – set up the annual scholarship to be awarded to a Queen’s medical student to undertake the intercalated degree ‘MRes in Translational Medicine’. This includes an extensive project and dissertation in breast cancer research in memory of Colin’s late wife and medical partner, Trish Mathews (Dr Patricia Carson) who died, age 56, from the disease in 2012.

This Award is open to current medical students and will be conditional upon successful completion of at least three years medicine to 2:1 honours standard or above. Candidates have to submit a 300 word application clearly stating their reasons for wishing to undertake the intercalated MRes in Translational Medicine and specifically in breast cancer research.

Speaking previously about the personal benefit of his ongoing involvement with his alma mater Dr Mathews said:

“Developing this scholarship has given me a wonderful opportunity to re-engage with Queen’s Medical School. Once I agreed to fund the scholarship, I found the staff in the Development and Alumni Relations Office were a great help in actually organising all the details. It made donating very easy and extremely worthwhile.”

“To give back to the University directly to medical education, and to improve the skills of a student, has been hugely rewarding.”

Each year, the recipient meets Dr Mathews to feedback on the skills, knowledge and experience developed over their year as a Mathews Scholar.

Welcoming this year's announcement, Teresa Sloan, Head of Health Fundraising at Queen’s, said:

“Spending a year out to take an intercalated degree allows a medical student to learn key transferable skills which will be so important in their careers. Warmest congratulations and best wishes to Wen Kyle Wong on being this year’s recipient.

“The Mathews Family Scholarship makes such a big difference in allowing students to avail of this important opportunity.

“I know how much Dr Mathews enjoys meeting and getting to know the scholars each year. It is also wonderful that he remains such a vital part of the Queen’s family more than 40 years after his own graduation.”

Speaking back in 2016, the inaugural Mathews Scholar, Sinead Donnelly said:

“Taking a year out to do a Master’s degree after completing three years as a medical student is a fantastic opportunity to enhance my medical education.

“The research I carried out allowed me to understand the journey from ‘bench to bedside’. I was able to see first-hand how new treatments are developed and trialled. Now, starting my foundation year, I am able to see patients receiving these treatments in person, and to see how novel therapies are used to treat cancer.”

The 2017 recipient Christopher Madden McKee, who is keen to encourage more people like Dr Mathews to support scholarships, said at the time:

“An intercalated degree is a fantastic opportunity for medical students to develop key transferable skills which will be necessary to deliver true evidence-based medicine in the future.”

And in thanking the Mathews family, Christopher added: “Your generous support makes a big difference in enabling students to have this opportunity.”

To support health-related research projects at Queen’s, including cancer research, visit the Development and Alumni Relations Office website or contact Teresa Sloan, Head of Health Fundraising. 

For general enquiries about this story, or to submit graduate news items, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast.

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