This post originally appeared on the Dalhousie University Global Health Office blog.
Fola Akpan is a Dalhousie University student studying kinesiology in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Through Johnson Scholarship Foundation funding, Dalhousie’s Indigenous and African Nova Scotia bursary program is designed as an initiative for Indigenous students (First Nation, Inuit and Métis) and African Nova Scotians at Dalhousie. The goal of the program is to enable students to attend extracurricular programs such as conferences as part of their professional development. Fola recently attended a local conference with the support of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. Here is her experience, in her words.
In August of 2018, I attended the Canadian Society for Biomechanics annual conference held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Earlier that summer I had been working in the biomechanics lab at Dalhousie in a summer researcher position. I had attended research days and listened to postgraduate students present on the research that they conducted, but I had little understanding of the research being conducted at other universities. While moving through the conference, I was able to interact with many individuals, varying from honors undergraduate students to seasoned veterans in the field of biomechanics. It was wonderful to listen to them speak about their research, watch the various stages of learning, and to hear about the things that people were passionate about. Going in with the mindset to simply observe helped me learn about academia through many lenses, from the scientific discoveries, to how to clearly present complex information.
Overall, my experience at CBS 2018 was educational in ways that transcended the simple translation of scientific information from one person to another. I watched skillful communicators take complex ideas and simplify them into pieces that were easy for me, a person with limited knowledge, to comprehend. I learned that scientific knowledge and new discoveries are built with tiny steps and contributions that may not seem significant at the initial stages. I was inspired to be a better researcher, not only for my sake, and the scientific community, but for the ones behind me who may see a path to pursue their passions.
The Global Health Office has more information on Dalhousie’s diversity programs.
Fola Akpan is a Dalhousie University student studying kinesiology in the Faculty of Health Sciences.