My career: the Villanova in the Valley experience

-- Rosabelle McCullough, accelerated second degree BSN student 

Rosabelle McCullough (1st row, 3rd from right), a student in the accelerated second degree BSN program, joined other Villanova students in Silicon Valley for a unique experience, which she describes below, in January 2017.

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"During the Villanova in the Valley program, I had the opportunity to visit 17 companies, including start-ups and larger established companies. Our cohort met with CEOs, CFOs, founders, and other team members of each company. Some were social media start-ups like Handshake, which most of us use for career networking; others included a venture capital firm, an online retail company, a food technology company, as well as larger companies like Facebook, Dropbox and IBM.

Villanova alumni organized many of our visits and gave us insider perspective on what life and culture are like in the San Francisco area.  Each company emphasized how important grit, scrappiness and determination are in order to succeed in Silicon Valley. Many of the principles of succeeding in business apply to healthcare, including innovation, determination and creativity.

As a nursing student, my favorite visit was with IBM Watson. Watson is IBM’s cognitive learning intelligence (AI) used for finances and healthcare. The system compiles and assesses data before making recommendations to professionals based on the data. Our cohort experienced an oncology presentation using Watson. Watson was able to take a patient’s medical record, put together different treatment options, show the positive and negatives of each, and rate the outcome of each option. Using Watson would help oncologists save a ton of time and have the most up to date information on a patient’s condition. Memorial Sloan Kettering consulted with IBM on developing Watson to use in oncology. This particular site visit solidified how important technology and innovation are in healthcare. It also inspired me to attend the January 28th Women in Tech conference at Villanova.

In addition to all of our visits, I appreciated getting to know students from other colleges, II Luscri and Martae Giometti from ICE Insitute, and Kevin Grubb, the executive director of the Career Center. As a BSNExpress student who spends most of my time in Driscoll Hall, it was a privilege getting to know some incredible students and staff from all over campus.  All of the alumni who organized our visits affirmed the cohesiveness of the Wildcat community near and far."