May 2020 Convocation

May 2020 Convocation

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A Message from Dean Moore


College of Nursing Video Address and Awards Announcement

May 14

University of Arizona Virtual Commencement

May 15, 6pm MST

Arizona Nursing recognizes Wildcat Nurses for completing their rigorous programs, including for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.

Congratulations, Nurses

On May 15th, the University of Arizona will host a live event to celebrate the Class of 2020. For more information, please see the University's Commencement website below.

Commencement 2020

UA College of Nursing

Student Awards

Outstanding PhD Dissertation Award

Anthony Tolentino

Anthony’s dissertation, “Quantitative exploration of nurses task-technology fit with the electronic health record using data mining and regression: An EHR workflow analysis” was conducted using a rigorous 2-phase design that was informed by data science and regression techniques. He took his findings and proposed pragmatic solutions to improve nurses user experience with the Electronic Health Record. His next steps will focus on reducing health disparities using technology in post-doctoral research through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Clinical Scholars program at the University of Michigan.

Outstanding DNP Project Award

Rylee Apodaca

The United States has the highest rates of maternal mortality and morbidity can be attributed to postpartum hemorrhage. Rylee's DNP Project included the development of a multidisciplinary algorithm for evaluating postpartum hemorrhage. This clinical decision tool gives providers a rapid assessment decision making tool that can save lives. She developed an algorithm based on current evidence, had it appraised by expert consults and presented it to anesthesia providers. Her project has been shared in the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program Newsletter, at a conference in Fort Worth, TX and was disseminated to the Arizona Associated of Nurse Anesthetists.

Mary Opal Wolanin Award

The Mary Opal Wolanin Award is presented to a doctoral candidate to recognize an outstanding thesis or dissertation with relevance to underserved minority and vulnerable populations including the elderly.

Terri Shill

Terri studied emerging adults ages 18-25 with Type 1 diabetes, a high-risk group facing daily burdens managing a complex life-sustaining regimen of self-care while navigating challenging developmental transitions to adulthood. Results extended an existing scientific nursing knowledge to reveal specific self-transcendence perspectives and behaviors used by emerging adults to transform their vulnerabilities (of biographical disruption and diabetes distress) into dedicated self-care behaviors and into a distinct sense of well-being.

Her research demonstrated scientific expertise and creative conceptualization of a serious clinical problem, use of exquisitely conducted methods, trustworthy evidence, and sincere compassion toward her vulnerable population.

Agatha Hodgins Award

As Founder of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), Agatha Hodgins was known for her leadership ability.

Maria Earl

Known within her cohort and each clinical site for her leadership and dedication to her Nurse Anesthesia training, Maria Earl has consistently demonstrated her commitment to being the best. Maria has utilized innovation, interdisciplinary training and communication to improve her own practice, and the practice of her colleagues.  This award recognizes the impact that Maria will most certainly continue to have as she beings her Nurse Anesthesia career!

Alice McGaw Academic Excellence Award

As the first published Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, (CRNA) – and the “Mother of Anesthesia” for her mastery of drop ether, Alice McGaw set a standard for Academic excellence.

Hyun Ju Oh

Hyun Oh has maintained a high level of academic excellence throughout the DNP -Nurse Anesthesia specialty by maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Hyun’s commitment to excellence was also seen in the clinical practicum. Each of her clinical coordinators who would expound over her work ethic and abilities. Hyun continued in clinical rotations during the COVID 19 crisis, taking 24- hour call shifts, logging cases and clinical hours despite achieving the required amounts for graduation prior to the pandemic. Hyun has been an outstanding student and will be an outstanding CRNA.

Academic Excellence in Clinical Systems Leadership Awards

The Academic Excellence in Clinical Systems Leadership Award is for outstanding graduating candidates who have demonstrated transformational leadership skills, outstanding ability to contribute to projects as a positive team member, and excellent written and verbal communication skills in the online environment.  

Sharon Sigona

Sharon’s nominators describe her as a strong team member who consistently produced stellar work. She is also described as someone who is a flexible leader with true desire to integrate the program content into her current role and future goals.  Her commitment to academic excellence was also evident in her detailed and thoroughly completed assignments.

Ginger Matkin

Ginger is a “superstar” – providing her groups with stellar leadership while continually going above and beyond expectations.  Ginger consistently set high standards for herself, and the peers that she worked with throughout the program.  Faculty also praised her thoughtful communication.  She will certainly be a Wildcat Nurse to watch!

Pearl Parvin Coulter Award

Pearl Parvin Coulter established the School of Nursing in 1956.  The nursing faculty established the Pearl Parvin Coulter Award upon Dean Coulter’s retirement in 1967, in appreciation of her achievements at the College of Nursing.

Rachael Whiteside

Rachael consistently displayed the characteristics of an effective nurse leader throughout the program.  She inspired her classmates to set goals, achieve them, think critically and role model effective communication.  She is highly professional and deserving of this award.  Rachael’s commitment to improving the patient experience were evident in all of her interactions throughout the program.

Alumni Council Award

Awarded to a student for their contributions to promoting fellowship, leadership and community through collaboration with the Alumni Council.

Grace Li

The May 2020 recipient of the Alumni Council Award is Grace Li.  Grace connected with the advisory board and make a lasting impact on the members.  Grace provided unique insight into the student experience as the advisory board discussed new opportunities to engage with the college community.  She also energized the entire council – while the council will miss having her student perspective, they are very excited to welcome her as a full member of the Alumni Council!

Gladys E. Sorensen Award for Academic Excellence

The Gladys E. Sorensen Award for Academic Excellence was established by the College of Nursing in 1987, in appreciation of Dean Sorensen’s achievements and her development of outstanding academic programs that promote the nursing profession.

Eleanor Ahlstrom

In clinical Eleanor was always thoroughly prepared and ready to care for her patients as her clinical prep tools were completed to the highest standard. One week she was bumped to a patient who was very acutely ill and having numerous procedures. Eleanor remained calm and worked diligently to understand and safely participate in the patients care. She eventually wrote a synthesis paper regarding this patient which demonstrated a holistic and deep understanding of this complex situation.

Theodore Maurer

Throughout the program, Theodore consistently displayed exceptional academic performance. His strong critical thinking skills and ability to integrate the course material into practice was evident – especially as he shared it with his group mates! Furthermore, faculty noted that Theodore was well organized in all of the program’s required group work. We are honored to add him to our Wildcat Nursing family!

Mary F. Jeffries Achievement Award

The Mary F. Jeffries Achievement Award is given in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Mary F. Jeffries, an alumna of the College of Nursing. The award is presented to a graduating candidate committed to academic excellence and the pursuit of advanced graduate study.

Sabrina Mar

Sabrina is planning on pursuing doctoral education. She has an exemplary work ethic and is an Honors student who pursued Doula training in addition to working on her Honors Thesis.

Julia Hubley Award for Clinical Excellence

Named in tribute to a former College of Nursing faculty member, this award is presented to a graduating candidate who demonstrates a commitment to professional nursing practice, selects clinical learning experiences that enhance professional development, collaborates with health professionals in the practice of professional nursing and communicates effectively in promoting and giving care to individuals, families, and groups.

Madelynn Buckman

From the beginning of the program, Maddie shared her intense passion for maternal child nursing and her desire to obtain her NP in that specialty. Each week clinical prep tools were completed to the highest standard and she often went above and beyond the standard for completing her pathophysiology discussion, going into depth on multiple diagnoses instead of just the primary diagnosis. When asked Maddie stated that “she wanted to fully understand what was happening with her patient and better anticipate what she would see and need to do for the patient during her clinical day”. Each day in clinical Maddie was fully engaged and would ask thoughtful and insightful questions.

AZNA Chapter 2 Award

The Arizona Nurses Association, Tucson, Chapter Two Professional Leadership Award is presented to a student that demonstrates leadership abilities, high-level skills in clinical practice, is an active participant in the student nurses organization, has been identified by faculty as one who excels academically and has demonstrated enthusiasm for academia and life-long learning.

Allie Gaither-Banchoff

Allie is an excellent, motivated student with a positive attitude. She is an Honors Student who is focusing on the integrative topic of using aromatherapy to reduce stress among patients and nurses. She is an excellent writer and demonstrates a high level of professionalism. Allie will make a spectacular nurse, and her nominators are eager to see where her career takes her!

SNUA Award

The Student Nurses at the University of Arizona, or SNUA, is built on the foundation of making a difference in the BSN student experience. The award is presented to a someone who has contributed their time and energy in making a difference in the College of Nursing by advocating for student involvement and participation and performing above and beyond the requirements of a nursing student.

Annie Giang

Chosen by her peers, Annie has been the president of SNUA during the 2019-2020 school year. She has put in a lot of effort into the organization to make it better. She has taken the initiative to attend conferences and represent SNUA to the CON faculty, staff and alumni. Additionally, she has motivated students to join the club and increased participation in events compared to previous years.

Honors Students

Eleanor Ahlstrom

Sweating Away Depression: Best Practice Recommendations for Reducing Symptoms of Depression
Co-chairs: Susan Markovich, MSN, RN and Melissa Goldsmith, PhD, RNC

Leila Bouanani

Best Practice Recommendations for a Concussion Education Intervention Targeting Parents of Children in Sports
Chair: Helena Morrison, PhD, RN

Regina Dela Cruz

Best Practice Recommendations to Address Healthcare Barriers Affecting Refugee Populations in the United States
Co-chairs: Lisa Kiser, DNP, CNM, WHNP and Brenda Sanchez 

Rachel Delamater

Relieving the Burden from Caregivers of Patients with Dementia
Co-chairs: Kimberly Shea, PhD, RN, CHPN and Melissa Goldsmith, PhD, RNC

Allie Gaither-Banchoff

Aromatherapy for Reducing Healthcare-Associated Stress Among Nurses and Patients
Chair: Natalie Pool, PhD, RN

Allison Hayes

Adjuvant Exercise Therapies: Effect on Motor Function In Patients With Parkinson’s Disease
Co-chairs: Evangeline Ortiz-Dowling, PhD, MSN/Ed, RN and Melissa Goldsmith, PhD, RNC

Sabrina Mar

Decreasing Cesarean Rates: How Labor Support Serves as a Protective Factor
Co-chairs, Lisa Kiser, DNP, CNM, WHNP, Sharon Hitchcock, DNP, RN-C and Melissa Goldsmith, PhD, RNC

Sarah Soderberg

Best Practice Recommendations for Overcoming Barriers to Detecting and Reporting Child Maltreatment
Co-chairs: Sheri Carson, DNP, RN, CPN, CPNP and Melissa Goldsmith, PhD, RNC

ANIE Scholars

The Arizona Nursing Inclusive Excellence (ANIE) Program is a HRSA-funded program that provides educational and leadership enrichment opportunities for selected BSN and doctoral students who participate in workshops, peer mentoring, tutoring, writing instruction, professional development activities, and intensive academic and professional mentoring by our faculty and staff team over a period of up to four years in addition to all the required coursework and clinical practica in our nursing programs.  

Danika Acosta
Holly Arana
Alyssa Benefield
Kathlene Bouzek
Angelica Caballero
Brigid Clark
Samaria Gregorio
Dana Griffin
Kaelan Hayes
Tysen Haynie
Emily Head
Carla Hernandez
Angela Kohler Edwards
Stephanie Martinez
Angelica Painter
Rebecca Patty
Paloma Romero
Isotalo Tonia
Rachael Whiteside

Save the Date

Although we are unable to celebrate in-person due to COVID-19, the College of Nursing invites Spring 2020 graduates to attend convocation in the fall. More details to follow.

Contact Information

Office of Student Support & Community Engagement
College of Nursing, Room 112
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(520) 626-3808 or 1-800-288-6158