From left to right: Sania Beckford, Dr. Mary Wakefield, Siobhan Tellez, and Debra Pino

This summer, Sania Beckford, Debra Pino, and I attended the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Annual Conference held–this year–in Washington, D.C. The conference brought together many different nurses from all professions and career paths, and provided an environment for ideas, research, networking, and inspiration. More than just an opportunity to meet interesting individuals, the conference was motivating: we were reminded of how important it is to keep forging ahead, regardless of obstacles in our paths.

From left to right: Siobhan Tellez, Sr. Callista Roy, and Sania Beckford

I met some truly amazing people at the conference, which reminds me how valuable it is to seize every chance to learn from others. The Director of HRSA,  Dr. Mary Wakefield, gave a lecture and offered us advice on grad school and public health policy.  I also talked with some of the other nurses attending the conference. Not all of them were well-known, policy-changing individuals with prestigious degrees; some were registered nurses who had been working for a long time. They shared stories of years of experience and some of the most important lessons they have learned from their careers. All of the people attending the conference had information, advice, or encouragement to offer. Additionally,  at the closing ceremony, many stood up to share personal stories of adversity that brought the participants close in the struggle for minority representation. I attended more than a conference. I witnessed a group of strangers reach out a hand to each other and offer support. The environment was incredibly powerful and unforgettable.

I am so glad I attended the conference. I  had the opportunity to network with peers and felt as though I were connected to something bigger than myself. I am so pleased to be a part of NAHN and also part of KILN, because without the program, I would not be able to access these amazing conferences and opportunities to learn more about nursing and myself. Without a doubt, being part of KILN has been the most rewarding aspect of my time at Boston College so far.