“A meeting of the minds” is what CNN christened the medical conference at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., where several students from Anderson University had the opportunity to study. On April 16-17, biology majors, junior Yana Alekseeva, senior Grace Yeom and senior Joanna Tilley, participated in an experience of a lifetime.
The Unite for Sight conference at Yale attracted approximately 2,200 professionals and students from all over the nation and across the world. The participants of the conference came because of a shared interest in the fields of medicine, public health, nonprofits, social entrepreneurship, public service and more. [Photo on left: Yana Alekseeva, Grace Yeom and Joanna Tilley.]
According to Vivian Coffman, assistant director of the Center for Public Service (CPS), this is the first time AU students have attended this conference. “The students found it, and the CPS leadership reviewed it and decided it was a good conference to go to,” Coffman said. Although CPS requires all students in the program to attend at least one conference, CPS does not tell students which conferences to attend.
The students are expected to find conferences that will provide strong networking and leadership opportunities. Many of these conferences are new experiences for the students and provide a chance to rub shoulders and meet with the best and brightest of their prospective professions.
Tilley reported that the Unite for Sight conference is the world’s largest global health conference and the largest social entrepreneurship conference as well. Alekseeva could not hold back her excitement when she said, “There is no better opportunity to actively learn about leadership than by meeting with thousands of leaders around the world.” vAs a junior in the biology/pre-med program, Alekseeva joined CPS just this year so she could have the opportunity to meet and network with professionals in the medical field . “We’re required to go to a conference, and I thought it would be neat to meet those people,” she said. Having contacts with professionals and peers in the medical field could become valuable resources in the future.
Being involved with many other campus activities on top of a grueling course load, Alekseeva keeps herself plenty busy with little time to get away for a weekend to Connecticut. Even with all that she has going on, Alekseeva said she wouldn’t change a thing. “It’s great here at AU,” she said. “It’s nice to be at a Christian university where you don’t have to argue evolution.” Although Alekseeva will have an impressive résumé, she said it’s about more than just that. “I really want to help people. I want to be the ‘doctor-nurse’ who is at the bedside as a friend and confidant,” she said.
During the conference, the group had the opportunity to hear from respected and well-known speakers from across the globe addressing topics like glaucoma, HIV prevention strategies, patient-doctor relationships and healthcare in Latin America. “The trip to the Unite for Sight conference was a truly memorable experience,” Alekseeva said. “I have a new perspective on methods of approaching issues in global health as well as a deeper understanding of specific topics in this field.”
In the current economic situation, where many are struggling to find employment, strong networking skills and resources can be a deciding factor between job candidates. CPS is supporting students in their efforts to actively search out opportunities like the conference at Yale. Leadership and willingness to learn are the qualities that will separate students like Tilley, Yeom and Alekseeva from the pack, and AU and CPS gladly support them in their efforts.
— Kyle Beckman is a senior from Auburn, Ind., double-majoring in communication arts and business-information systems and minoring in political science. Beckman is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.