Hannah Collins, Natasha Borgen and Sasha Tilles at the MLC conference.
MCAH students attend 2019 Making Lifelong Connections meeting in Madison, Wisconsin
The Making Lifelong Connections conference, held annually, is open to all current and former trainees from MCHB funded training programs, helping trainees to network with each other and with seasoned professionals in the field, enhance their leadership skills, and build career goals. Three students--Natasha Borgen, Hannah Collins and Sasha Tilles-- attended from the 2020 graduation cohort at UC Berkeley’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health program. They shared with us some highlights from their experience.
I enjoyed attending the Ninth Annual Making Lifelong Connections conference and was grateful for the opportunity to meet and share ideas with other current MCH trainees and professionals. I learned about the various training programs that the MCH bureau grants funds and was surprised at the breadth of interdisciplinary programs and diversity of students the field attracts. For example, I met students in social work, occupational therapy, nursing, nutrition, public health and other areas, and we were able to connect about the current challenges and opportunities in Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health and discuss the qualities and values of an ideal MCH leader. The meeting was designed for MCH trainees to learn from each other, and I hope that I can use these new connections to collaborate on future projects.
Attending the Making Lifelong Connections conference allowed me to connect and network with trainees at other MCH Centers of Excellence as well as other MCH training programs. We had the opportunity to hear about our peers' research through roundtable and poster sessions, as well as develop skills around the core MCH competencies through targeted speakers and activities. MLC showed me how expansive the MCH network is in the United States, and gave me the opportunity to both learn from others' experiences and share my own.
The Making Lifelong Connections conference was a great experience as a young graduate student early in my career. The round table presentations were the most impactful part of the conference, where students were able to present a research idea with the table and receive feedback. Each table was designated with a topic area, and interested conference attendees could float around from table to table. I was lucky enough to have two professionals working at the Minnesota Department of Health sitting at my table when I presented, and they were both incredibly helpful in giving constructive feedback on how I could narrow my topic of interest. They also connected me with a faculty member at the University of Minnesota doing research in my area of interest, which will be a great resource as I get further in my career.
Overall, the Making Lifelong Connections conference was a supportive and creative environment where I felt comfortable enough to share my ideas as well as gain insight from professionals with much more experience. I am so grateful to Berkeley to have had the opportunity to attend!