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Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing|College of Health Sciences

2012: Commencement, Convocation, Student Awards

2010 Health Sciences Commencement

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Graduation 2012 Overview

On Saturday, May 23, 2012, UW awarded 176 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees at the College of Health Science Commencement Ceremony. These BSN degrees included 47 from the traditional on-campus program ("Basic BSN" program); 30 from the accelerated second-degree BRAND program; and 99 from the online RN/BSN Completion Program.

Additionally, UW awarded 31 Master of Science in Nursing degrees: 12 nurse educator focus; nine family nurse practitioner focus; nine psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner focus; and one early childhood development focus.

Also on May 23rd, the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing recognized the school's top graduating students during the Convocation Ceremony. Awards were given out as noted in the Convocation Student Awards section below. The 2012 Distinguished Alumni award was presented to Cherie Lowell (BSN 2000), who also gave the Convocation address. See below for more information about Ms. Lowell.  Honoring the Convocation gathering was the presence of Dr. Donna Diers, 2012 UW Honorary Degree Recipient, who also spoke to the graduates. Read more about Diers below.

Distinguished Guests

Cherie Lowell, 2012 Distinguished Alumna

2012 Distinguished Alumna, Cherie Lowell (BSN 2000)

Cherie Lowell, BSN 2000 graduate from the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing, was named the 2012 Distinguished Alumna for her outstanding contributions to the nursing profession through her excellence in administration. Lowell delivered the Convocation address to a standing-room-only crowd in the University of Wyoming Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. For more information about Lowell, check her Distinguished Alumna page.

Dr. Donna Diers

2012 UW Honorary Degree Recipient, Donna Diers

Donna Diers started her life in Sheridan, Wyoming, and rose to become one of a select group of nurses honored as a "Living Legend" for their influence on nursing and health care. Diers truly has had a tremendous impact on nursing practice, education, research, and national and international health policy. She is currently the Annie W. Goodrich Professor Emeritus and Lecturer in Nursing at the Yale School of Nursing; and Senior Clinical Coordinator, Decision Support, Yale-New Haven Health System. In addition, she holds Adjunct Professor appointments at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and the University of Sydney.

For additional information about Dr. Diers, please visit the news article on our Web site by clicking this link: Donna Diers - More Information.

Convocation Student Awards

Patricia David

Patricia David
Carol Macnee Scholarship Award

For a graduate student who has displayed excellence in scholarship and/or research

This year’s recipient is a long-time public health nurse committed to providing health care to underserved populations in rural areas. She is particularly interested in the plight of rural residents aged 60 years and older. Her master’s project was titled, ‘Overcoming Rural Healthcare Access Barriers.’ She is focusing her career on public health education and believes that education about available health services and how to obtain access is an area for development in practice. Ultimately her goal is to reduce disparity rates for rural older residents.

Janet Warner

Janet Warner
Susan McCabe Psychiatric/Mental Health Graduate Award

For a graduate student who has displayed academic excellence, passion for knowledge, and superior clinical practice

Clinical preceptors contributed to the selection of this year’s recipient. One preceptor stated, ‘Janet is able to discuss hypothetical situations in an appropriate and meaningful way so that she can continue to develop her understanding of the role in psychiatric/mental health care. She will be well qualified; she asks appropriate questions, is aware of her own limitations, and is enthusiastic to research questions that arise in her clinical experience.’ Warner will continue work at Mountain Crest Behavioral Health Care Center and will be a tremendous asset to the population serving mental health needs.

Colby Butler

Colby Butler
Alpha Pi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau Award

For a graduate student: exemplary rural practice in nursing

This year’s recipient has demonstrated excellence both in the classroom and clinical setting throughout the graduate family nurse practitioner (FNP) program. She has chosen rural practice clinical sites and has consistently received high praise from her clinical preceptors. She brought rural nursing work experience with her when starting the FNP program, which has certainly benefited and enriched class discussions. She has shown an interest in future employment in a rural practice setting, and will be a great asset to the future practice she chooses.

Katrina Dielman

Katrina Dielman
Courage to Teach Award

For a graduate student who is the personification of a critically reflective attitude about learning & teaching

This year’s recipient personifies a critically-reflective attitude about learning and teaching. In fact, she has devoted her non-thesis project to understanding the value and complexities of critical self-reflection. Through her learning journey she has experienced a personal transformation of heart, mind, and spirit. She is committed to facilitating transformation in others as well so that they can achieve their personal best.

Trisha Chambon

Trisha Chambon
Professional Nurse Award

For an RN/BSN Completion Program student: for practice, community service, and professional service

This year’s recipient has been a registered nurse for eight years and is currently working in a medical-surgical ICU in Nashville, Tennessee. When she first started in the RN/BSN program, she was scared to death of the ‘online learning experience,’ but ended up being quite successful at it. During her capstone practicum she worked with a faith-based clinic focusing her project on diabetes prevention and management. She implemented the ‘Strides for Success’ program--which encourages physical activity--and became very interested in the client group she worked with. She plans to volunteer with the clinic following graduation.

Mary Madsen

Mary Madsen
Make a Difference in WY's Health Award

For a WY RN/BSN Completion student with demonstrated commitment to continued education and excellence in nursing practice

This year’s recipient earned her BSN from UW in December. While a student, she demonstrated a commitment to her community through her community assessment project, ‘Taming Childhood Obesity in Laramie County.’ In an effort to learn more about the problem and how she could become involved in the solution she participated in discussions with the Laramie County Community Partnership group. She also completed her service learning project on peripheral arterial disease in which she coordinated a community awareness day and developed an educational presentation for health department nursing staff. She presently works at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in the ICU. She plans to pursue a graduate degree and we are certain whatever path she takes, she will do so in the spirit of this award with a commitment to excellence.

Laci Little

Laci Little
Passion for Nursing Award

For a graduate from the BRAND (accelerated second bachelor's) program

This year’s recipient has been working in the medical field for several years but now continues her passion for the field in the new role of a nurse. She has cared for patients as a CNA and according to one of her peers, ‘You can see her passion for nursing when speaking to her about it, since her eyes light up. Her future is bright and she will be a passionate nurse.’ Another stated, ‘I am honored to have gotten the chance to know Laci throughout the BRAND Program. She is extremely intelligent and interacts exceptionally well with clients and other healthcare providers in the clinical setting. She is passionately committed to providing better healthcare to underprivileged and under-represented populations. She is steadfast in her goal to be a DNP in the near future and has been offered a place in our first class this fall. She will undoubtedly be able to change the lives of so many people with her knowledge, skills, and compassionate, friendly personality.

Lauren Armstrong

Lauren Armstrong
Rudolph "Rudy" and Louise Anselmi and Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship

For a graduating senior: Leadership and responsibility award

This year’s recipient received multiple nominations from faculty. She has taken a leadership role throughout nursing school. She is a role model for her colleagues and a resource person to them also. This student always steps up to the plate, actively volunteering for everything that came across her path. Examples of her leadership abilities include being an effective and innovative President of our Student Nurses Association. She has the ability to get others actively involved and serves as a positive role model. Membership doubled; meaningful projects were completed; meetings were well-planned and ran smoothly. Most importantly, SNA members had fun. When she stepped down as president of SNA, she did not stop being a leader. She approached the school’s Community Relations Committee about starting a graduate interdisciplinary research group and has also offered to be a resource person in the future for the Student Nurses Association.
Kylie Stern

Kylie Stern
Amelia Leino Memorial Award

For a graduating senior who has proven outstanding in family nursing

This year’s recipient is a very kind, compassionate student who has a passion for family nursing. In her senior practicum on the Mother/Baby unit at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, she gained the respect of the nurses on the floor. She is eager to learn and is proactive in her learning. She can work independently but also knows when to ask for assistance.

Annita Uwamahoro

Annita Uwamahoro
Amelia Leino Memorial Award

For a graduating senior who has proven outstanding in family nursing

This year’s second recipient is an extremely quiet, dignified yet delightful personality who strives to learn everything possible in the nursing profession. She has a passion to take her knowledge back to her home country of Uganda and help her fellow countrymen with her nursing skills. Ultimately she wants to become a nurse midwife to assist with births and help provide the best possible beginning for all families.
Rebecca May

Rebecca May
Gertrude Gould Memorial Award

For a graduating senior: Excellence in public health nursing practice

This year’s recipient received multiple nominations from her peers. It was repeatedly identified that she displays an exceptional commitment to and passion for public health nursing. She was always the first to ask questions in their Public Health class and enhanced class discussions and clinical by describing experiences she's had in volunteering and working with public health. She completed a summer externship where she followed a public health nurse. Her externship experience increased her passion for community health and health promotion. She continues to carry that enthusiasm and passion and no doubt will throughout her career as a nurse.

Barbara Cook

Barbara Cook
Beverly McDermott Award

For a graduating senior: Leadership and political activism

This year’s recipient represents the epitome of the ‘whole package’ soldier and leader. Her excellence in performance continually puts her well beyond her peers and demonstrates her ability to lead in any situation. She is the top graduate in the Army ROTC program earning high acclaim throughout the region as a leader who goes above and beyond every time and who always produces phenomenal results. She remains a mentor for her classmates often volunteering her time to help them in both studies and enhancing their physical fitness. In addition she is a key member of the Universities Posse Club which supports the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue. A classmate stated, ‘She has used her leadership skills from the military to stand out in our nursing class. She sets a positive example and always works hard. She is a team player in group work and leads by example.’

Loryn Kempton

Loryn Kempton
Beverly McDermott Award

For a graduating senior: Leadership and political activism

This year’s second recipient of the Beverly McDermott Award has demonstrated outstanding leadership on a daily basis especially as an Air Force ROTC Cadet. As a cadet, she became the Vice Wing Commander responsible for planning, organizing and directing all cadet training and events. She was the Recruiting Officer responsible for planning 15 recruiting events and Civil Air Patrol flights. As the Academic Officer, her mentoring plan resulted in the highest cadet wing GPA in three years. As Flight Commander, she trained 30 underclassmen in preparation for Field Training with 68% of her students finishing in the top third in the national ranking. It is amazing that she did all of this while in nursing school.

Jeffrey Rutz

Jeffrey Rutz
Dorothy Tupper Memorial Award

For a graduating senior: Caring, compassion, and interpersonal communications

The School of Nursing received a letter from a family member of one the recipient’s patients that he had cared for during his Capstone Practicum experience this spring. She identified that his level of caring, attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and compassion were so incredible that she wanted to let those who trained him to know what an exemplary nurse he is. His patience, detailed answers to their questions, and his anticipation of their needs were greatly appreciated. She stated that you could just feel his compassion. On his last day as her nurse, the patient told him, ‘You are going to be a wonderful nurse.’

Erin Butcher

Erin Butcher
Lina Kennedy White Memorial Award

For a graduating senior who has interest in and aptitude for geriatric nursing

This year’s recipient truly is the epitome of caring and compassion for her patients, their families and her peers. She consistently models the essence of the nursing profession. She always strives to improve and enhance her knowledge and actions for the benefit of her patients as well as the community. She especially has an aptitude for working with the geriatric population. The patients and their families respond well to her quiet yet confident manner.

Jenna Woodard

Jenna Woodard
School of Nursing Spirit Award

For a graduating Basic BSN Program senior with exceptional spirit and enthusiasm

This year’s recipient exemplifies exceptional spirit and enthusiasm. Her positive attitude and infectious smile demonstrate her sincere enthusiasm for our school. She always offers help when we need student volunteers and participated in many UW Discovery Days events. She is respectful of others and is willing to let them step in if they want the experience. Because she enjoys working with new students, she helped last summer with advising by giving insight and assistance to incoming freshmen students. She is a wonderful ambassador for our school and makes us proud!





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