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Convocation Awards and Speakers 2020

Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

21 students pictured

Pictured top row, left-right:
Greta Skagen, Crysta Sullivan, Jayme Donaldson, Travis Williamson, Juston Johnston, Heather Judkins, Jenna Nazminia.

Pictured middle row, left-right:
Jenna Kindt, Nicholas Palczer, Kimberly Gulbrandson, Alexandra Smith, Daniel Petrus, Elsa Blankenburg, Emily Artzer.

Pictured bottom row, left-right:
Nicole Thiele, Anne Peick, Bailey McCoy, Stephen Dunn, Emily Dyson, Kelsey Kolkman, Torey Skaar.

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University of Wyoming Nursing Students Recognized at Convocation 2020 Virtual Ceremony

Congratulations to the 21 students pictured above, who were honored in the virtual 2020 Nursing Convocation Ceremony production on Friday, May 15.

Speakers

Student speakers included: 

  • DNP Program: 
    Jenna Nazminia, Family Nurse Practitioner DNP Candidate
    Heather Judkins, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner DNP Candidate

  • ReNew/RN-BSN:
    Second Lieutenant Nicholas Palczer

  • BRAND Accelerated:
    Kimberly Gulbrandson

  • Basic BSN:
    Alexandra Smith

Speeches are included in the virtual ceremony video at http://www.uwyo.edu/nursing/graduation/index.html

Awardees

Students receiving awards who are graduating from the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) ProgramJayme Donaldson, Juston Johnston, Heather Judkins, Jenna Nazminia, Greta Skagen, Crysta Sullivan, Travis Williamson; from RN-BSN Completion, Emily Artzer and Nicholas Palczer; from BRAND accelerated BSNStephen Dunn, Kimberly Gulbrandson, Anne Peick, and Daniel Petrus; from the on-campus Basic BSN: Elsa Blankenburg, Emily Dyson, Jenna Kindt, Kelsey Kolkman, Bailey McCoy, Torey Skaar, Alexandra Smith, and Nicole Thiele. 

Please scroll down for descriptions of each individual's award...

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05/21/2020

Face of woman with dark brown hair smiling with lovely red lipstick

Artzer, Emily of Platteville, CO / Gertrude Gould Memorial Award for demonstrating excellence in public health nursing

Emily Artzer (BSN Completion student) has a passion for community health. She completed a change project that focused on homeless people in the Denver population, supplying bottled water and informational material directly to homeless people to help them learn about resources they have in their area, hoping to give them hope and help. Through her course work she has shared her immense compassion and empathy for community health and the impact nurses can have with this population. Congratulations, Emily!


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Blankenburg, Elsa of Fair Oaks, CA / Amelia Leino Memorial Award for demonstrating academic excellence

Elsa Blankenburg (Basic BSN student) has consistently demonstrated the ability to perform and excel during her time with the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing. She has exhibited this through the achievement of high grades and superior performance on assignments and exams. Although academic excellence is often thought of as a quest for grades, it also includes a focus on how a student copes with program requirements; and the professionalism exhibited while meeting the educator’s different assigned tasks throughout their time in a school. In reviewing Elsa’s work in the School of Nursing, she has exceeded performance standards set by the program. Congratulations Elsa!


young woman with light brown hair pulled back; yellow jewelry

Donaldson, Jayme of Casper, WY / 2020 DNP Project Excellence Award for excellence in DNP scholarship

Jayme Donaldson & Travis Williamson (DNP-PMHNP students) are co-recipients: They worked with several primary care clinics associated with the Sheridan VA Medical Center to improve clinicians’ knowledge about and ability to screen for opioid use disorder (or OUD), as well as to refer patients with OUD for medication assisted treatment (or MAT). Jayme and Travis’ project resulted in much growth both within the participating primary care clinics but also in the VA’s MAT clinics. Congratulations, Jayme & Travis.


Young woman with light brown hair pulled back from face; yellow jewelry

Donaldson, Jayme of Casper, WY / Susan McCabe Psychiatric/Mental Health Graduate Award for demonstrating academic excellence, passion for knowledge, and superior clinical practice

Jayme Donaldson (DNP-PMHNP student), a self-driven learner, has demonstrated willingness to go beyond expectations to maximize learning. Her work is detailed, thoughtful. Outside of the classroom she has become a skilled clinician yet remains humble and relatable to the clients she works with. Preceptors consistently remark on her natural skill and ease with which she interacts with others. She is open and nonjudgmental in her care for others. She has a clear passion to foster clinical excellence for clients living in rural Wyoming, and we look forward to watching the impact this student will most definitely have in her community. Congratulations, Jayme!


Man with short white hair an blue collared shirt

Dunn, Stephen of Driggs, ID / Dorothy Tupper Senior Memorial Award for demonstrating caring, compassion, and interpersonal communication

Stephen Dunn (BRAND student) demonstrated the criteria for this award from the very beginning. He is a steady voice for classmates and encourages everyone to consider all options before making a decision. One classmate commented that he is the rock of the cohort and is the “go to” guy to bounce ideas off of when faced with conflicts. He cares about everyone and is very easy to take to. Another student said, “Steve is that guy who inspires people with no effort and is compassionate to his core. We would follow him in anything because he never steers us wrong and lets his sound mind guide him.” Steve eagerly volunteers for any opportunity that will help him grow as a person and a nurse, and easily partners with other nurses and doctors to lead team-based efforts for patient care. His fall clinical instructor said, “Patients love Steve instantly. He has that gift of making people feel at ease; he is a strong listener, takes his time, and really gets to know people in order to best help them. He will be a great nurse simply because these skills come so easy and naturally to him. And he’s very smart too.” Congratulations, Stephen!


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Dyson, Emily of Parker, CO / Lina Kennedy White Memorial Award for demonstrating interest in and aptitude for gerontology

Emily Dyson (Basic BSN student) showed a strong passion for care of geriatric clients in classroom and clinical experiences. She went above and beyond during her time at PACE Clinic in Cheyenne, which is the program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly. She formed great interpersonal relationships with clients and staff. She participated in interprofessional rounds each day, and was able to practice a variety of skin care, dressing changes, and treatments. She writes, “Not only did I gain new skills, I also gained insight as to what it takes to be a clinic nurse. When you are a PACE clinic nurse, you are able to build a relationship with your patients. I am SO grateful to have had this rotation at PACE for all of the knowledge and experiences I have gained! And as an additional comment, I want to say that the staff at PACE is the kindest, most welcoming, encouraging staff I have ever worked with! They literally are the BEST!” Congratulations, Emily!


Young woman with long streaked hair

Gulbrandson, Kimberly of Rawlins, WY / Passion for Nursing Award for demonstrating passion in nursing

Kimberly Gulbrandson (BRAND student) has a passion for nursing that is truly remarkable. Her love for the profession has been recognized by patients, clinical faculty, and a variety of nurses with whom she has worked with throughout her clinical experiences. Her med/surg clinical instructor said: “She was made to be a nurse. Her inherent desire to make people’s lives better is her ray of light. Everyone around her can feel how genuinely she cares for all people—whether a patient, family member or staff; she wants to help each person rise to his/her potential and live their best life. Her smile and enthusiasm is not only contagious, but also demonstrates her gift of self to those who need her compassion the most. Congratulations, Kimberly!


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Johnston, Juston of Laramie, WY / Change Agent Award for demonstrating commitment to improving and changing health

Juston Johnston (DNP-FNP student) has a strong social justice lens through which he views the world. He understands the marginalization that many groups face, including ethnic racial and sexual minorities. While in his fall 2019 clinical in Denver at Apex Clinic, a primary care clinic which focuses on meeting the needs of the LGBTQ population, he became keenly aware of the many unique health disparities transgender individuals face. In December 2019, this student presented an open forum on transgender health care to other DNP students and members of the school of nursing community. He presents tirelessly on transgender health care to undergraduate nursing students - promoting compassionate non-judgmental care for this group. He has dialogued with faculty on the challenges transgendered individuals face in accessing health care in a remote rural state like Wyoming. As a change agent, this student will transform transgender health care here in Wyoming, regionally in the Mountain West, and both nationally and internationally. Congratulations, Juston!


Woman with golden brown full hair, grey v-neck dress

Judkins, Heather of Lander, WY / Dr. Patsy Hesen Haslam Leadership Award for demonstrating leadership & grace

Heather Judkins (DNP-PMHNP student) and Jenna Nazminia (DNP-FNP student) are co-recipients. They were recognized by the faculty early in the program for their maturity and natural leadership abilities. They are both incredibly kind, intelligent, humorous, driven, and resilient. They both have a strong moral compass and have the courage to rely upon their compasses to benefit others. They both have a genuine interest in others, including their classmates, future DNP students, and the School of Nursing, and they both exhibited servant leadership at its finest. The faculty called upon these two students numerous times to help with various tasks and projects throughout their time in the program, and they never failed to help or to go above and beyond. Congratulations, Heather & Jenna!


young woman with golden brown long wavy hair, large frame glasses

Kindt, Jenna of Colorado Springs, CO / Carol Macnee Scholarship Award for demonstrating excellence in scholarship and/or research

Jenna Kindt (Basic BSN student) has participated in research during her time at UW, but has also served as an excellent resource in scholarship and creative activities for her cohort. She has maintained a curiosity and creativity in projects appropriate to her chosen discipline, as well as applying evidence-based knowledge to her practice. Excellence in scholarship and research belongs to those who wish to get better at the craft of nursing and to contribute to healthcare overall. Congratulations, Jenna!


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Kolkman, Kelsey of Cheyenne, WY / School of Nursing Spirit Award for demonstrating exceptional spirit and enthusiasm

Kelsey Kolkman (Basic BSN student) has embodied the spirit of the Fay W Whitney School of Nursing from her first day of nursing school. Her enthusiasm for nursing radiates through all aspects of her time with us, whether it be in the classroom or clinical settings. She encourages classmates in addressing and learning complex content and in accepting the challenges in managing patients with complex medical conditions across the clinical continuum. Reports from mentors and preceptors have remarked on Kelsey’s willingness to consistently go the extra mile with a positive, ‘can do’ attitude. In consideration of her enthusiasm, positivity, and caring for her patients and fellow students, Kelsey Kolkman embodies the FWWSON Spirit and is deserving of this award. Congratulations, Kelsey!


Young woman with brown long hair, golden highlights

McCoy, Bailey of Casper, WY / Dorothy Tupper Senior Memorial Award for demonstrating caring, compassion, and interpersonal communication

"Bailey McCoy (Basic BSN student) was a wonderful student to have in clinical," says her nominator. "From the beginning, she was caring and compassionate with patients, staff and peers. She answered call lights and assisted nurses and patients with anything needed. Bailey always thought of patients first--how they were doing, how she could make them feel better. She spent hours talking to patients, making sure they were never lonely, just being there, being present. To me, that is the heart of nursing. Bailey shows that in every aspect of her nursing care. She also communicated well with staff. When it came time to report off to go home, her SBAR was superb. I listened the first time in awe: she did not miss a thing. I am excited to see how far Bailey goes in nursing, She has a kind, caring spirit that embodies nursing. She communicates with clarity and caring, benefiting herself and future patients. It was a pleasure to be a part of her education." Congratulations, Bailey!


woman with honey-blonded, below shoulder-length hair, white collared shirt

Nazminia, Jenna of Cheyenne, WY / Dr. Patsy Hesen Haslam Leadership Award for demonstrating leadership & grace

Jenna Nazminia (DNP-FNP student) and Heather Judkins (DNP-PMHNP student) are co-recipients. They were recognized by the faculty early in the program for their maturity and natural leadership abilities. They are both incredibly kind, intelligent, humorous, driven, and resilient. They both have a strong moral compass and have the courage to rely upon their compasses to benefit others. They both have a genuine interest in others, including their classmates, future DNP students, and the School of Nursing, and they both exhibited servant leadership at its finest. The faculty called upon these two students numerous times to help with various tasks and projects throughout their time in the program, and they never failed to help or to go above and beyond. Congratulations, Jenna & Heather!


balding man in military dress

Palczer, Nicholas of Cheyenne, WY / Professional Nurse Award for demonstrating excellence in practice, community service and professional service

Second Lieutenant Nicholas Palczer (BSN Completion graduate 2019) finished his ReNEW BSN in the Fall of 2019 on the heels of his ADN from Laramie County Community College. Nick is a stellar example of planning, perseverance, and grit. From his first contact with the BSN Completion program, we learned from and worked with Mr. Palczer as he merged his education and military career, never wavering from his goals. Nick is the epitome of professionalism in every word and deed. He is a top-flight example of nursing at its best. We are delighted to confer this award on Nick. Congratulations, Nick!


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Peick, Anne, of Lander, WY / Beverly McDermott Award for demonstrating leadership & political activism

Anne Peick (BRAND student) has a true talent for helping others find their voice. Her leadership within the BRAND cohort developed quickly and easily. Within the first few weeks of the program, she took charge in leading her peers, encouraging them to guide their nursing practice based on the most vulnerable patients. She frequently provides peers with information regarding how the healthcare system affects patients and families and unites others in expanding their voice for nursing. One of her peers commented, “She takes charge and really lights a fire. She has helped us become more assertive in advocating for change when she sees a need or develops an idea in which the nursing profession can become more visible within the local community and state. She was selected to participate in a unique clinical opportunity and partner with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in an effort to better understand the needs of these patients, bring this knowledge and skill back to classmates, and positively impact their nursing practice. She is a true leader and a great role model for all of us in finding our voice to speak up within our communities.” Congratulations, Anne!


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Petrus, Daniel of Dubois, WY / Rudolph "Rudy" & Louise Anselmi & Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship for demonstrating leadership & responsibility

Daniel Petrus (BRAND student) has consistently demonstrated leadership and responsibility. He currently represents the BRAND cohort as a student representative on the pre-licensure program committee. In this role, he consults with classmates and provides a cohort report to the faculty. One classmate commented, “Dan is a leader. When times are tough or we get frustrated with something, he tells us to buckle down, focus, and get it done. He’s a take-charge kind of guy, and this helps keep us on track when we lose focus. He also tells us to stop whining, because whining doesn’t lead to greatness.” Dan shows a confident assertiveness at clinical and nurses have depended on him when help was needed. His fall clinical instructor said, “He is always one step ahead of me. He leads the team and inspires those around him with confidence, yet in the humblest way. He easily admits when he doesn’t know something and takes action to quickly find the answer, which comforts me in a new nurse.” Congratulations, Dan!


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Skaar, Torey of Laramie, WY / Gertrude Gould memorial Award for demonstrating excellence in public health nursing

Torey Skaar (Basic BSN student) was able to participate in all areas of her public health agency. She gave many vaccines to adults and children, helped screen for HIV and participated in disaster preparedness activities. Maternal/child home visits were her favorite activity. She wrote, “I have loved my time at Albany County Public Health! The most rewarding experience I have had has been spending time with the maternal child health nurse. I have loved going to client homes and listening to their concerns and questions. There have been some families we have visited who need extra help with breastfeeding, which I love learning more about. I also have really enjoyed the visits with clients from different cultures, as I love learning about new cultures.” At all times, she demonstrated professionalism, compassion, and a high level of engagement with her clients. Congratulations, Torey!


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Skagen, Greta, of Cheyenne, WY / DNP-FNP: DNP Project Excellence Award, for demonstrating excellence in DNP scholarship

Greta Skagen and Crysta Sullivan are co-recipients (DNP-FNP students): Recognizing the importance of annual adolescent wellness visits and how few teens take advantage of these visits, Skagen and Sullivan worked with two pediatric clinics at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) to increase the percentage of adolescents who obtained annual wellness visits. The DNP-FNP students' project involved working with several people from many different levels of the organization and ultimately resulted in high-quality posters and postcards that cover the importance of these exams and how they are covered by most payors. Congratulations, Greta & Crysta!


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Smith, Alexandra of North Pole, AK / Rudolph "Rudy" & Louise Anselmi & Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship for demonstrating leadership & responsibility

Alexandra Smith (Basic BSN student) excelled in the didactic, and particularly, the clinical settings. During her time at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center, Lexie exhibited leadership in planning the care for patients with complex medical conditions and assisting the nurses in coordinating the multidisciplinary management of patients. She advocated for patients within the hospital and assisted nurses in promoting health outcomes through discharge teaching and assessing the patient’s potential needs once discharged. Her growth as a leader continued in her senior year when she proposed mentoring of junior students in didactic courses. She also coordinated with Cheyenne Regional Medical Center to have UW athletes visit hospitalized children. In summary, Lexie’s leadership—only touched upon briefly here—has benefited her fellow students and most importantly, her patients. Congratulations, Lexie!


Smiling woman with dark brown shoulder-length hair rolled back from forehead

Sullivan, Crysta, of Gillette, WY / DNP-FNP: DNP Project Excellence Award, for demonstrating excellence in DNP scholarship

Crysta Sullivan and Greta Skagen are co-recipients (DNP-FNP students): Recognizing the importance of annual adolescent wellness visits and how few teens take advantage of these visits, Skagen and Sullivan worked with two pediatric clinics at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) to increase the percentage of adolescents who obtained annual wellness visits. The DNP-FNP students' project involved working with several people from many different levels of the organization and ultimately resulted in high-quality posters and postcards that cover the importance of these exams and how they are covered by most payors. Congratulations, Crysta and Greta!


Young smiiling woman with long brown curly/wavy hair and blonde highlights

Thiele, Nicole of Buffalo, WY / Beverly McDermott Award for demonstrating leadership and political activism

Nicole Thiele (Basic BSN student) was active in leadership in her role as treasurer in SNA. She has an extremely positive attitude and is looked up to by those around her. Outside of school, Nicole was active in the rights of those with disabilities and could be found on numerous occasions at the Ark Arena helping those with special needs. Congratulations, Nicole!


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Williamson, Travis of Rapid City, SD / 2020 DNP Project Excellence Award for demonstrating excellence in DNP scholarship

Travis Williamson and Jayme Donaldson (DNP-PMHNP students) are co-recipients: They worked with several primary care clinics associated with the Sheridan VA Medical Center to improve clinicians’ knowledge about and ability to screen for opioid use disorder (or OUD), as well as to refer patients with OUD for medication assisted treatment (or MAT). Jayme and Travis’ project resulted in much growth both within the participating primary care clinics but also in the VA’s MAT clinics. Congratulations, Travis & Jayme!


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