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BSN student Kuriakose to present at Sigma International Research Congress

Sheryl Kuriakose

Sheryl Kuriakose explored her passion for addressing issues related to HIV and substance use among people experiencing homelessness through the Honors Research Program at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston. As a result, the Pacesetter BSN student will make a virtual poster presentation at a prestigious international conference this summer.

For Kuriakose, working with faculty mentor Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, ACRN, PHNA-BC, FAAN, deepened her interest in HIV and research.

“With Dr. Santa Maria, I was able to go into the field and talk to people who are going through hardships that I can read about in a textbook, but I wouldn’t really be able to fully grasp unless I was in the field,” said Kuriakose. “Being exposed to research, reading abstracts, and meeting trained and experienced people is amazing for me.”

Kuriakose’s work was recognized with an invitation to make a virtual presentation during the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses’ 35th Annual International Research Congress in July. Santa Maria nominated her for the honor through the Rising Star of Research and Scholarship program. In her poster presentation, Kuriakose will talk about facilitators and barriers to HIV prevention uptake among youth experiencing homelessness.

Kuriakose’s path in nursing started with childhood memories and her mother’s guidance that instilled in her the importance of compassionate care. Her mom is an immigrant nurse from India, and nursing symbolized not just a career but an embodiment of opportunity and gratitude for Kuriakose and her family.

“The detail-oriented care that you are able to provide to your patients is my favorite part,” said Kuriakose. “Checking if the sheets are wrinkle-free or if the head of the bed is comfortable, etc., so many little things mean so much for the patients and have long-term consequences if overlooked.”

Kuriakose will graduate in May, and she aims to pursue a PhD, furthering her passion for research and advocacy in nursing and HIV prevention.

“Our Honors Research program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to work with and learn from faculty who are making important contributions to nursing science,” said Santa Maria, the dean of Cizik School of Nursing. “I was privileged to mentor Sheryl, and I look forward to following her career growth.”

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