Written by: Cindy Cao and Taylor Fischer

KILN scholars, Taylor Fischer and Cindy Cao, with AAPINA President, Elizabeth Gonzales
KILN scholars, Cindy Cao and Taylor Fischer, with AAPINA President, Elizabeth Gonzales

On March 27th, we, Cindy Cao (CSON ’14) and Taylor Fischer (CSON ’15), attended the annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Nurses Association (AAPINA) conference in San Diego, CA. The theme of this year’s conference was “Vulnerable Populations: Implications for Research, Practice, and Education.” Members of the organization from all over the country flew in to present their research, catch up with old colleagues, and check in on new events and findings that would be pertinent to their own work.  Presentation topics ranged from diabetes, to genetics, to psychological studies. Overall, the conference introduced us to several research topics, made us reflect on our work as Undergraduate Research Fellows, taught us about presentation skills, and gave us the opportunity to expand our network.

Learning about research and presentation skills

The most interesting part of the conference was listening to keynote Speaker, Dr. Leorey Saligan, present the implications of Omics research on the nursing care of vulnerable populations. He is the chief of the National Institute of Health in the Symptoms Biology Unity and is extremely studied, well-practiced, and well-versed. I was simply star-struck by the content and delivery of his presentation. Not only did I take away many pointers on how to present, speak, make eye contact, and transition fluidly through the presentation content, but I started to truly understand the magnificence and essence of the purpose behind research. Often, research is a meticulous task that requires careful thought and attention at each step in the process for the sake of policy regulations, ethics, and quality research performance and execution. It may become tiring and arduous, but sometimes research pulls through and there are new findings and conclusions that can be earth-shattering and possibly revolutionize nursing. Dr. Leorey Salligan is revolutionizing the field of nursing on a much more microscopic and unconventional level by manipulating molecular knowledge in the delivery of nursing care to tailor individual treatment of patients with certain conditions.

– Cindy Cao

I learned more about different ways to present research posters by observing and asking questions. I also gained confidence in my own voice when I asked pertinent questions to the presenters and they complemented me on the importance and quality of my questions, which made me feel accomplished.

– Taylor Fischer

Expanding our network

We had the opportunity to meet the president of AAPINA, Elizabeth Gonzales. She was excited by the sheer fact that we were the only undergraduate students at the conference and encouraged us to continue to attend these conferences, as they provide much professional exposure and learning experiences. We also met members of an American biotechnology company, which gave us advice on how to better our own research project with Professor Tam Nguyen on Diabetes Interventions in the Vietnamese American population.

– Cindy Cao

I met so many wonderful people at this conference and was able to make connections with prominent nursing leaders in California. I believe that a strong leader has impeccable manners, actively listens, and has a strong voice. I also think that a true leader has a contagious enthusiasm for their passion and will never shy away from trying to ignite passion in others. I met many leaders at this conference that represented these things and inspired me to be the best leader I can be.

– Taylor Fischer