Why Study Human Sexuality?

Kaylee Meilahn standing outside in front of Mayo Building

Kaylee Meilahn

CCAPS would like to congratulate the Graduate Certificate in Human Sexuality’s first graduate, Kaylee Meilahn. Meilahn just completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Women’s Health and used the HSEX Certificate to supplement her studies. She took a few minutes before finals to answer a few questions for us.

What drew you to study the field of human sexuality? 
"In my undergraduate program, I took a human sexuality course that fascinated me and sparked my initial interest in sexuality. Subsequently, I sought out sexuality research in nursing and got involved in research studying sexual concerns in gynecologic cancer survivors. Now, as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner DNP student, I see how deeply bio-psychosocial components of sexuality impact women all throughout the lifespan."

What do you hope to gain from the program? How will this complement your current course of study? 
"My goal with the Human Sexuality Certificate is to broaden my understanding of sexuality in regards to function and dysfunction, social implications, legal/policy implications, and sexuality education.

"Sexuality is such an important and interwoven component of women’s lives. My WHNP DNP program actually does a wonderful job of incorporating sexual health into the curriculum. I hope that having a deeper understanding of sexuality from this certificate will help me not only to better serve my patients and their sexual health needs, but also to position me to act as an expert advocate for sexuality rights and social equality."

"Now, as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner DNP student, I see how deeply bio-psychosocial components of sexuality impact women all throughout the lifespan."

Were you working while going to school? How did you manage your time? 
"The DNP program is three years, full time, and to fulfill the human sexuality certificate, in addition to my DNP curriculum, I took four HSEX courses that were each eight weeks long. 

"I was working as an ICU nurse up until my 3rd and final year of the program. To manage my time, I was really strict about scheduling time for classwork every week.  For me, in order to be productive with classwork, I have to be feeling mentally and physically healthy. So, something I’ve learned over the course of graduate school is to schedule time to keep up with wellness, so I am also strict about scheduling time for exercise, cooking, social, and—let’s be real—Netflix time."

Kaylee Meilahn sitting on a bench talking with another woman

What do you enjoy most about your field?  
"Whether it’s optimizing wellness, or diagnosing and treating disease conditions, helping women to achieve their best selves throughout the lifespan is incredibly rewarding. Working with women during some of the most intimate times of her life and developing a trusting relationship is the absolute greatest privilege as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner."

What are your future plans? 
"Not that I am counting down the days or anything… but I graduate from the WHNP DNP program on May 17, 2019! The plan is to find a job as a WHNP serving women all across the lifespan in obstetrics, gynecology, and primary care. My hope is also to provide specialty care for sexual wellness. My dream is to someday start a summer camp for young people where, in addition to fun wilderness activities, they also receive evidence-based sexuality education."

What advice would you give to students who are considering the HSEX Certificate? 
"If you are curious about the broader implications of human sexuality, it will serve you so well to work toward the HSEX certificate. I think the most enriching part of the certificate program are the discussions between students and the professor in every course. There are students from many different disciplines and backgrounds that provide such high-level and thought-provoking discussion that pushes learning to a whole new level. Though these courses are heavy, and the eight-week courses are fast and furious, they are undeniably worth it."