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Nursing Aspire Program at the University of Wyoming - Inaugural class

The Marcia Dale Aspire Award

  • History/Description of Aspire

  • School Renamed "Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program"

  • Aspire Advisor, Sherrie Rubio-Wallace and Scholar Spotlights

  • Marcia Dale Aspire Scholar Program Supporters


Pictured above: Aspire students, class of 2018, with William G. "Bill" Dale, husband of Marcia L. Dale, in whose memory and honor the Aspire program was named

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History/Description of Aspire

Purpose. In collaboration with the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences' (CHS) "Aspire" program, the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing (FWWSON) developed Nursing "Aspire" to encourage, promote, and nurture scholarship, leadership, and professionalism in future nurses. The program shall consist of a small cohort of undergraduate nursing students.

Description. The Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program starts in the second semester of the student’s freshman year and continues throughout the four years of the undergraduate program. Admission to the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program is competitive. Students in this program are held to the UW Code of Conduct (found on the UW General Counsel's web page at and to the FWWSON Code of Conduct (see Student Handbook). There are rigorous criteria for admission to this program including NGPA, professional interviews, and essays.

Activities. Students participate in interprofessional activities and serve as ambassadors for the school. Students may have the opportunity to participate in scholarly projects.

Activities for Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars vary from year to year, based on the unique makeup of each Aspire cohort as well as the events available for participation each semester. For example, activities during the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 school years included:

  • Professional Development Activities

    • "Recognition, Resilience, and Research" - Shelly Fischer, RN, PhD, described the Pathway to Excellence (the ANCC Recognitions designed for smaller, rural hospitals), Resilience in our own journeys as nurses, and her Research on the proportion of BSN nurses and injury fall outcomes.

    • "Making Difficult Decisions and Managing Conflict" by Deb Dawson, RN, Nurse Manager of OB Uit at Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

    • Mentoring: How to work with a mentor; principles of mentoring; and how to be a mentor to others.

    • Developing Strengths: With Erin Olsen, Director of Service Learning & Community Engagement Programs. Students completed the Leadership Practices Inventory, then participated in a seminar about developing one's strengths.

    • Having Difficult Conversations: Strategies and Techniques: With Kate Steiner, MS, speaker

    • Understanding Quality Measures: National Strategies for improving Healthcare Quality: with Diane Boyle, RN, PhD, speaker.

    • Senior Aspire students attended the national meeting, ANA Quality Conference, in Florida.

    • Each class completes a Leadership Project chosen by the individual class.

  • Interprofessional Activities

    • Root Cause Analysis: Nursing Aspire students joined around 100 students from various disciplines to discuss cases and learn about this important healthcare topic.

    • Medical Error Disclosure and Apology Discussion: Lessons from the Field. The UW chapter of Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) held the event at which Aspire students joined about 85 students from various disciplines to learn together. In 2018, students joined in the IHI event, viewint the film, "Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine, and What Matters in the End", followed by discussions with interprofessional student groups.

    • College of Health Sciences “Grand Rounds”:

      • Nursing Aspire students joined other Aspire students from the HS disciplines to attend the presentations and lunch with the speaker, Dr. Eric Moody. Moody spoke about his research on autism support in frontier and rural communities.

      • Students attended the Grand Rounds research presentations, poster session and speaker presentation. Students lunched with the Grand Rounds speaker, R. Nigel Paneth, MD, discussing her talk on "The Epidemiology and Preventability of Cerebral Palsy."

      • 2018: Students attended Grand Rounds research presentations, poster session and speaker presentation. They had breakfast with Grand Rounds speaker, Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, as he discussed his research on Alzheimer's Disease.

    • Changing the healthcare system: attended by Aspire students from all College of Health Sciences divisions. The activity centered around Doug Faus (CEO of Ivinson Memorial Hospital) and his presentation on changing the healthcare system. 

    • The End-of-Life: A Vital Healthcare Discussion. Aspire students participated in this large gathering of more than 75 students to learn about care at the end of life through a case-based format.

Benefits. Professional Growth; Development of leadership, communication, and collaboration skills

Admission requirements, criteria and application packet.

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Aspire Renamed:

Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program

In 2013, nursing Aspire was renamed the "Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program" in honor of former school of nursing dean, Marcia Dale. Dale was dedicated to undergraduate nursing education and was the "epitome of a leader," says UW Nursing Dean Mary Burman. "She modeled leadership and shared her passion for nursing with students throughout an amazing 42-year career at UW."

More about the exceptional Dr. Dale.

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Dr. Marcia L. Dale, Former Dean of the University of Wyoming School of Nursing

Aspire Advisor

Sherrie Rubio-Wallace, Advisor for the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program

Sherrie Rubio-Wallace, RN, MS, FNP, has filled the role of advisor to the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program since 2013. Rubio-Wallace is an associate lecturer with the School of Nursing, teaching across programs in the on-campus Basic BSN Program, the accelerated BRAND program, and the online RN-BSN Completion Program. Rubio-Wallace is a favorite with students, having been named "Top Prof" for at least three separate years by UW Mortar Board students. Rubio-Wallace enjoys her role with the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars: "Being faculty advisor for the Aspire program has been very rewarding. This group is dynamic and eager to get involved. They jump right into projects and interprofessional activities and are passionate about nursing. I love to see how they mentor one another and their classmates as well. It's a privilege to be able to work with them!" 

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Aspire Scholar Program Supporters

A huge Thank You! ...
to the following generous supporters
of the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program...

Margaret Allen
Emmajean Amrhein
Jerome and Mary Behrens
Sheyanne Chan
Charlotte Coe
Hope and John Crandall
Bill Dale
Jan De Gise Sarmiere
Joyce Dewey Billings
Kari & Brent Goerke
Jolene & Robert Knaus
Larry and Rose Krysl
Sharon and Keith Lewallen
Diane Mattern
Sally & Jacob McJunkin
Julie and Thomas McMahon
Memorial Hospital of Converse County
Mountain View Regional Hospital - see article
Jeanine and Robert Niemoller
Doris Penny leKel
Robin and Michael Proctor
Penny and Gordon Reed
Leissa Roberts
Ruth and Larry Romero-Brooks
Linda Rosewarne
Joan Ryan
Patricia Schafer
Michael and Margaret Schilling
Sue and Joe Steiner
Ann and Steve Strenger
UnitedHealth Group
Desiree and Eloy Vasquez
Robin Volk


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Picture of Mountain View Regional Hospital generously provided assistance and financial support for the Marcia Dale Aspire scholars program students.

Mountain View Regional Hospital (MVRH) Pledges to Support Aspire

MVRH in Casper pledged $45,000 in support for the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program at the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing (FWWSON). [full article]

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