Nursing students with a legislative staffer

Two UCLA School of Nursing doctoral students had the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and advocate for nursing as part of the 2024 AACN Student Policy Summit.

Through support from the Edward G. Feldman School of Nursing Policy and Advocacy Fund, Melody Mendenhall, RN, MSN, NP-C, a DNP student, and Cristina Cabrera-Mino, RN, a PhD student, represented UCLA at the two-day conference designed to immerse students from across the country in sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. Along with the conference programming, Mendenhall and Cabrera-Mino also visited Congressman Ted Lieu’s office and met with his staff.

UCLA students with Dean Lin Zhan at the AACN Student Policy Summit
(L to R) Melody Mendenhall, Dean Lin Zhan, & Cristina Cabrera-Mino

“The School of Nursing and Dean Zhan were incredibly supportive throughout this summit,” said Cabrera-Mino. “While it was daunting at first to meet with senate staff, I learned how to leverage my experience in academic nursing to make a compelling case for why students should be better supported by congress.”

Each year, the policy summit is held in conjunction with the AACN Deans Annual Meeting, which provides Deans and students the opportunity to connect and engage with one another. As an AACN member institution, UCLA Nursing sends two students each year to this prominent conference.