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Words with Fly Pinay Mentee: Jenn Cayanan

SJSU Pre-Nursing Student and Fly Pinay Mentee, Jenn Cayanan.

Words with Fly Pinay Mentee: Jenn Cayanan
By: Ricky Jugarap-Clark

Name: Jennifer “Jenn” Cayanan
Major: Pre-nursing, 2nd year
College: San Jose State University

After the Fly Pinay Summit, L.E.A.D Filipino was given the opportunity meet with many talented mentors and mentees. To showcase who the participants were, a Q & A article will run as a regular feature under L.E.A.D Member Ricky Jugarap-Clark’s leadership. For April’s newsletter edition, San Jose State University student Jenn Cayanan was a participant.

During the Fly Pinay Summit on March 11th, San Jose State University student Jenn Cayanan was one of many attendees that gained a new mentor, Dr. Beverly Juan. Jenn is currently in her second year, and majoring in pre-nursing. She is from Hayward, California, and has a twin sister (Charlene Cayanan) that goes to San Francisco State. Jenn also attended February’s Facebook Mixer.

How did you hear about the Fly Pinay event and what made you interested?

I first heard about it through Facebook, and that got me really interested because I never heard of a summit, only for Filipina women. I’m someone who likes to take advantage of my resources. That really caught my eye and made me want to join it.

I was hesitant to go because of my schedule and studying, but what really got my attention was, when all the keynote speakers and panelists who were going, Treatbot is an ice cream place I really like going to since my first year in college. The owner (Christine Sebastian) was one of the panelists that spoke about her business, and I was really interested in it because I love ice cream. That was the cherry on the cake, and made me want to go. It was the deal-breaker.

What did you think of the event and what was most beneficial?

It was very empowering, seeing all these successful Filipina women come together and wanting to bring knowledge to college students like myself who don’t exactly get that — who don’t see a lot of women in different fields. My scope is very small, like my mom and a lot of my family members are Filipino nurses or business women, but I never really got to speak to a Filipino doctor, see Filipina women in the music industry, or even in the small business industry.

Who did you receive as a mentor and what have you gotten to know about them?

She was a nursing manager and switched to a doctor. I got to learn about her experiences through medical school and her struggles. I’m currently struggling in my classes, and it was nice to hear someone who’s already established and really well into her career, talk about her struggles, finding a tutor, and accepting the fact that she is going to fail in the major she wants to do. But she still took the steps to become successful in it, and even though it wasn’t her strongest subjects, she still had a passion and love to become a doctor — despite [the] setbacks.

What are your own aspirations?

I would love to become a nurse and get my master’s in nursing and become a nursing manager. But I’m also very open to other careers in the healthcare field.

What would you want most out of a mentor?

Someone who is able to give me insight in the field I’m already trying to work into. The mentor that I had beforehand, was talking to me about — because she’s a nursing manager — what she’s looking for into hiring someone. So insite knowledg
e on my career. Like who are they hiring what do they want in their degree, [and] what kind of nurses are they looking for?

Let’s reverse the role; if you were a mentor, how would you approach the role?

I think what my mentors are trying to do — she really tried being real with me, she was very open and honest which I don’t see a lot happen, with at least the women in my life. I think with a lot of Filipina women or maybe people, in general, want to show the glamor that they already have and their success but don’t really want to talk about the struggles and the hardships they had to go through to get there

What has your Pinay experience been like in your major?

A lot of stereotypes. I’m sure you’ve heard this too, Filipina women want to be nurses because they want the money. Which I don’t agree with or I see a lot of Filipina women get into nursing because of money. Not because it’s what they love, but because it’s what their parents want them to do or what they’re forced to do. Or that’s what they, think they can only do.

What makes you want to become a nurse?

That’s a long story, I was born into Kaiser and my sister and I had a really difficult disease(twin-to-twin blood transfusion) that made it, so we had to stay in the hospital for a very long time. I just felt super connected to my doctors and my nurses; being able to volunteer at Kaiser and see the nurses that essentially helped us stay alive — remember who I was and even show how small I was. Their passion and love for me, kind of sparked my wanting to become a nurse. It made me feel so grateful that I wanted to be able to do what they did for me and my sister for other babies and patients.

There’s a photo album when I was 5 or 6, there’s a breathing machine that they put me and my sister in and there was money taped on it. I remember I was asking my mom, “Why is there money on my breathing machine?”  My mom was like “the nurses bribed you, if you stop crying, I will give you this dollar. Even when I was 6, I first saw that picture, I wanted to be a nurse. I thought that was so creative and so much fun… that they were able to have with their job. That always stuck with me and I loved it.

LEAD Filipino
LEAD Filipino

We are a nonprofit that organizes for FilAm civic participation, grassroots leadership and direct community action out of San Jose, California.

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