Dash of Creativity, Pinch of Culture

HMS/HSDM first-year students cook up a welcome for admitted students in annual Fabric event

Screengrab from Fabric video with three students
First-year students (from left) Emily Yang, Lois Owolabi, and Avina Rami welcomed the audience to Fabric 2022: Kuponya.

First-year Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine students showcased their creativity and culture to admitted students during the annual Fabric performance, which was once again held virtually on April 4.

Fabric is one of a series of events held during the first week of April each year at HMS, when admitted students revisit campus to meet with current students, faculty, and staff to learn more about what life is like as an HMS/HSDM student before making their final decision on where to attend medical or dental school.

This year’s Admitted Student Preview Days events took place virtually.

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“There's a lot of consideration in choosing your future, in terms of educational benefits and career location,” said Yilong Peng, an HMS first-year Pathways MD student and co-organizer of the event.

He added that the Fabric show gives current students a chance to express their culture, their talents in the arts and humanities, and their personal interests.

“Being a future physician or dentist entails being respectful of, and willing to learn about, different cultures and backgrounds and incorporating that knowledge into clinical care,” said Avina Rami, first-year Pathways MD student and event co-organizer.

Rami said being a part of Fabric is a memorable way for an MD or DMD student to start their first year of school.

Originally conceived as a way to recognize and honor the African diaspora and highlight the experiences of Black HMS students, Fabric has evolved into a yearly event for first-year HMS and HSDM students to share a bit of their lives and interests and bring the HMS community together in a celebration of their backgrounds and talents.

“Showing that nonscience interests are something you can continue in medical school is reassuring for a lot of people,” Peng said, adding that medical and dental school does not need to be all-consuming.

“There are people who are very successful medical students, and they still make time to do things outside of medicine for the love of it,” he said.

“Fabric was my favorite part of Preview Days last year,” said Emily Yang, a first-year Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology MD student and event co-organizer, in her introduction to this year’s event.

“For me, the most meaningful part was helping out with the fashion show and learning about the backstories and connections that our classmates had to their cultural garments,” she said.

Kuponya: Healing

Kuponya, a Swahili word meaning “healing” was the theme for Fabric 2022. Even though classes and campus life aren’t fully back to being in-person, “there is a sense of community and bringing things back to a sense of normalcy, of moving forward, of healing,” Peng said.

“As we approach the third year of the pandemic, we felt this was the perfect opportunity to come together and heal, and to celebrate the beautiful and diverse cultures of the student body,” Yang said during the event.

Group welcomes