Students Alyssa Hildt (left) and Abby Anderson celebrate a win against professionals in the forensic field! Photo courtesy of Hildt.
By Quincey Taylor
When fifth semester students Alyssa Hildt and Abby Anderson were presented with an opportunity to flex their research muscles, they didn’t hesitate. Partnering with associate teaching professor Dr. Leslie Miles and associate professor Dr. Julie Valentine, these students went on to win third place at the International Association of Forensic Nurses Conference in New Orleans for their research and poster presentation.
The winning poster, demonstrating changes that should be made in pain management for sexual assault victims.
The idea for measuring the treatment of pain that sexual assault victims receive originated with Miles. She saw that there was a lack of research on the topic, especially considering that information regarding this topic only started being collected after assault cases in 2017. After Hildt and Anderson were recruited to help her with research, they were given the task of performing detailed research as well as creating the poster presenting their research.
After completing their poster, the duo submitted their abstract to the International Association of Forensic Nurses Conference and were accepted, along with around 25 other submissions. They presented their research alongside those of professionals, many with PhD’s, DNP’s, and years in the field. They answered questions to those at the conference with flying colors.
Miles accompanied the students to the conference, providing assistance when needed while also leaving them the freedom to figure things out on their own. Photo provided by Hildt.
Hildt explains, “Leslie was right there in case we needed her. It was nice to be introduced into research as a student because we get so much guidance from our professors, but they also give us a lot of freedom.”
When asked what it was like working with Miles, Anderson laughs, “Oh my goodness, we love her. We call her research mama.” She loved working with the professors and says, “They’re so fun and so wise and they know what they’re doing. They’re on top of it. We learned so much from them.” Miles and Valentine have provided them with advice as the two students continue their journey into grad school.
The research provided the students a chance to get to know their professors on a personal level. Photo courtesy of Hildt.
They plan on presenting their poster at other conferences, sharing their findings with as many nurses and students as possible. They are both passionate about defending at risk populations within their careers and look for ways to do what they can to help.
While they were nervous at first, after beginning their presentation Hildt and Anderson knew they had been well-prepared. Photo courtesy of Hildt.
When asked about the advice they’d give to other students trying to do research with BYU professors, Anderson says, “Be persistent and persistent and persistent. Reach out to professors, reach out to people that are researching things that you’re interested in. I wasn’t sure I knew what I wanted to research, but because I was persistent and going to meetings and listening to people’s ideas it ended up being such an incredible and eye-opening experience, not only for my career but for my life.”
Hildt adds, “Professors might not have any need for research assistants at a certain time, but they might later on. I know Julie saves emails from students who she wants to remember when she needs someone in the future.”
Having a friend during clinicals brings a light into the whole experience. Photo courtesy of Hildt.
Through this experience, Hildt and Anderson have become very close friends. A ribbon wasn’t the only prize they walked away with, but also a long-lasting friendship built on a challenging experience. They plan on applying to the same grad school but in different departments, remaining a part of each other’s lives.
A matching Halloween costume was essential for this dynamic duo. Photo courtesy of Hildt.