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Khan Academy Contest Finalist Got Late Online Start

Khan Academy Contest Finalist Got Late Online Start

A graduate of the haredi Bais Yaakov day school system that discouraged students’ use of the Internet, Efrat Bruck is, at 27, the winner of a national contest to create online videos for people who cannot afford expensive prep courses for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test).

A 2012 graduate of Touro College’s Lander College of Arts & Sciences in Flatbush, a high school teacher for eight years, and now a lab researcher at Columbia University Medical Center, Bruck had no experience making educational videos for online use when she read about the Khan Academy’s competition last year. Her desire to enter it was fueled in part by a family tie. She had a lifelong desire to become a physician because an older brother has battled kidney disease.

She taught herself video-production techniques and made three videos about aspects of the kidney; last month she was named of one of 12 finalists; more than 400 videos were submitted, the Academy announced.

Bruck said she learned of the Academy’s instructional videos when she used one to supplement the classroom instruction she received in a difficult subject.

Her three videos, each under 10 minutes, take the form of a blackboard, with the outline of a kidney or other bodily structures appearing in different colors; Bruck’s voice offers instructions. “Because of my educational experience” teaching such subjects as Hebrew and music and biology in high school, she said, she knew how to present a complicated subject in easy-to-follow terms. “I know what it feels like.”

Bruck hopes to start medical school next year. She’s already taken the MCATs, finishing, she said, in the “90th percentile.”

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