When I applied for the KILN program in the summer prior to my sophomore year, I did not know exactly what I was getting myself into except for an excellent scholarship opportunity. As I look back on my involvement with the program as a junior now, I know it has had a tremendous influence in helping me to develop professionally. As the first member of my family to attend college, I was glad to be accepted into the nursing program at Boston College and had high ambitions on becoming the best nurse possible but was not always sure how I would do that. It was interesting to listen to my peer advisors from my freshmen seminar group talk about all of the wonderful nursing opportunities they had encountered, such as undergraduate research fellowships and nursing assistant positions in nearby hospitals. I immediately knew that I wanted to enrich my college experience by becoming involved in opportunities such as the ones they became involved with.

Although the desire was there, I did not always have the will to follow through on it and did not know where to look or what was available to me as a nursing student. I was afraid to take the initiative in becoming more active in the nursing community but with the help and encouragement from KILN, I have been able to participate in many events that have allowed me to develop both as a nurse and as a person. I think one of the most memorable events that I attended through the program was the meeting with Dr. Norma Martinez Rogers, who is the former president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. She led a remarkably eye-opening dialogue about minority nurses and left the students with the most memorable and empowering message—that as minority nurses, we need to stick together and help each other so that more of us can succeed professionally.

As a KILN scholar I have been able to learn and experience so much about nursing which I probably would not have been able to do so on my own. I never fully understood the dynamics of public health until I attended the Biomedical Science Careers Student Conference in Boston last year. At this event, I listened to several professionals with public health degrees discuss their line of work and the issues they were currently dealing with. It was also really interesting to meet with nursing professionals at the conference and see the different career paths they have pursued. Furthermore, some of the KILN scholars and I helped out at a community flu clinic, where I was able to practice giving injections and to learn about community nursing. This experience allowed me to recognize the importance of community nursing to the many people who depend on community facilities and their staff, who provide essential care.

Without the help from my mentor/tutor last year, I do not think that I would have made the transition from the classroom into the clinical setting as smoothly as I did. She played a significant role in addressing some of my anxiety and providing the help I needed to better develop my nursing skills. Moreover, she was able to convince me to apply for the undergraduate research fellowship position. I am currently working with Dr. Danny Willis on his research project about adult men healing from childhood maltreatment and it has been a wonderful learning experience so far. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the research and hope to become involved in more nursing research opportunities.

I believe the KILN program and I have come a long way since its establishment in fall of 2009. The guest speakers at the past two monthly meetings provided a lot of useful information which I hope to apply in the future, especially the tips provided by Dina Juhasz, the nurse recruiter from Children’s Hospital. I was really glad the program was able to provide her as resource for us because I am currently in the process of applying for a nursing assistant position for the summer and thinking about job options as I am graduating next year. I am forever grateful for being given the opportunity to be a KILN scholar. It has exposed me to many aspects about nursing that I probably would have never known about without the help of the program and the many people that I have encountered through it.