Connecting your Student Involvement to your Future: Conflux Research Journal

Kaitlyn Diaz – November 8th, 2017

Learn from a fellow UVA undergraduate how a student organization can provide you the necessary resources, skills, and connections to attain your current and future career goals. Check out the following spotlight on the Conflux Research Journal featuring Jean Nunez who is currently serving as the Creative Director. Jean is a second year majoring in Global Public Health and pursuing a concentration in Music. Read on to learn Jean’s journey with Conflux.


What is the benefit of joining the Conflux Research Journal?

Conflux presents an opportunity to innovate ways to engage the Charlottesville community about pressing global health issues and offer students the opportunity to learn about global health research projects that are being conducted by UVA undergraduates, UVA medical students, and doctors working at the UVA Health System. Another amazing benefit of joining Conflux is working with medical students who possess exceptional critical thinking abilities who help our team solve problems when it comes to the organization and logistics of the journal. They also help to comment on the medical relevance of the research. They have been invaluable to help expand our journal’s mission and plan a new global health blog currently in the works. 

What is your current role and overall experience of being involved in Conflux? How have you achieved, or hope to attain personal development?

My current role with Conflux is spearheading the design of the journal as the Creative Director. I was a member of the editorial board my first year but now as a member of the executive board I work closely with our amazing Editor in Chief Aubrey Doede and we meet with the editorial board to edit and select the research submissions for publication. I am responsible for challenging others to envision art as a medium to make our research content dynamic and relevant. Training members of our team to bring the research projects to life through graphic design makes the design of the journal a collaborative process, which is why this journal so special. Thought is put into every decision down to the creative ones so that the journal itself is a work of art. This year for example, we are working on a potential design that is a watercolor recreation of the globe with all of colors coming together at one point and mixing to represent confluence and a symbol for global unity. Additionally, we are using online portfolios to facilitates the communication of our creative ideas, one of which included marking the first page of each research submission (selected) with a textile from the country where the scientific research was conducted. Right now, we are planning to form a united textile representing the different countries on the back of the journal. My top priority is making sure that all ideas a respected and represented so that our team dynamic is strong. I’m looking forward to the creative success we can achieve as a team bringing our varied experiences and backgrounds to make the final journal printing the best it can be. 

What are some transferrable skills gained from being a member of Conflux that can be mentioned in a resume or interview?

Strategic thinking and action, complex decision-making, accountability, and equity and inclusion.

How does Conflux help undergraduate students explore career tracks, or explore something about themselves?

Global Public health is connected to a humanistic vision of medicine. Health in this field is much more than the absence of disease. It is the complete well-being of an individual. Working worldwide to fight to make sure that health is a human right through scientific research is a way I’d love to spend my time. With Conflux, students can improve their editorial capabilities, expose themselves to global health research projects and what goes into the execution of successful and sustainable projects.

What advice/information would you give to UVA students interested in exploring Conflux? What is the time commitment?

Please consider applying for the editorial board this upcoming year or asking our EIC Aubrey Doede or me if you have any ideas for the research journal. The time commitment involves attending our meetings every month as well as reading research submissions, design time, and of course putting in more time when the team puts the entire journal together during the second semester. 

What general advice do you have for students who are uncertain in what they want to get involved in? How can they start exploring?

I made it a point my first year to get coffee once a week with someone I wanted to learn from. From professors, to doctors, researchers, to upperclassmen majoring outside of my field, I loved talking with everyone. Seeing what projects people were apart of and how they got to where they are today, is what you don’t learn in the classroom. This is exactly how I heard about Conflux! I met with former EIC Sasheenie Moodley for a coffee meeting one Saturday and she is a person who has since inspired me with her commitment to the field global public health with her research. I also recommend finding a mentor that can guide you to different departments, clubs, or grants they have heard of that corresponds to your interests. Never be afraid to knock on some doors and ask questions. We are all here to learn!


Feel free to contact Jean at the following emails: (jnunez@virginia.edu) or (nunezj01@icloud.com) with any questions, comments, or concerns.