Verbal History of individual alumni: Josh Hamilton, Leissa Roberts, Gaurdia Banister, Mary Behrens, Jeanine far!

Verbal History

.from UW Nursing Alumni and Friends

Scroll down to enjoy the linked videos/voice tapes below which provide.

  • an interesting look at the history of nursing at the University of Wyoming, and

  • an insight into the lives of our amazing nursing alumni.

Alumni included below so far are in alphabetical order as you scroll down the page: Gaurdia Banister, Mary Behrens, Josh Hamilton, Jeanine Niemoller, Leissa Roberts.

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Gaurdia Banister

About Gaurdia Banister

Gaurdia E. Banister, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, FAAN (BSN '80)

Dr. Banister is the UW School of Nursing's Distinguished Alumna for 2008 and the University of Wyoming's Distinguished Alumna for 2014. She is currently Executive Director, Institute for Patient Care at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Among many awards Banister has received over her career, in 2012 she was honored with the Mary Mahoney Award at the American Nurses Association House of Delegates meeting, acknowledging significant contributions to advancing equal opportunities in nursing for members of minority groups. She also sits as Co-Chair on the UW School of Nursing's development board, "Friends of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing." In addition to viewing the video, check out the most recent UW article on Banister.

Mary Behrens

About Mary Behrens

Mary L. Behrens, BSN, MSN, RN, FNP-BC (MS FNP '98)

Mary Behrens received the 2015 Wyoming Nurses Association Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence throughout her diverse career. She helped to establish an education pathway for nurses in Vietnam through the Friendship Bridge Humanitarian Teaching Project.she served as mayor of Casper, Wyoming.she was a member of the 2005 America delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, where she testified on the worldwide nursing shortage. Behrens sits on the Friends of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing Development Board, serves as VP of the Wyoming Center for Nursing & Health Care Partnerships, and is the nursing representative on the UW Health Science Advisory Board. In addition to viewing the video, check out the most recent UW article on Behrens."Honored with WNA Lifetime Achievement Award" 2015.

Josh Hamilton

About Josh Hamilton


(MS '03, Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Hamilton is the school's Distinguished Alumnus for 2015. He is currently Dean of the Engelstad School of Health Sciences at The College of Southern Nevada, is also president and chief clinical officer of The Hamilton Group, LLC, an innovative behavioral health center in Las Vegas, is an adjunct clinical professor for the College of Medicine at Roseman University in Henderson, and a contributing professor at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has achieved honors as outstanding educator, doctoral scholar, and Phi Theta Kappa 'terrific learning coach', and he is a nationally recognized consultant in educational program development and evaluation in nursing. In addition to viewing the video, check out the most recent UW article on Hamilton.

Susan Polston Mills

About Susan Polston Mills

Susan Polston Mills, PhD, MSN, RN (BSN '96)

Susan Polston Mills is 2018 Distinguished Alumna for the UW FWW School of Nursing for her outstanding contributions to the nursing profession and her excellence in administration. Mills has filled the position of vice-president of quality improvement with Superior HealthPlans of Texas since 2008, and in November of 2018 promoted to Senior VP of Quality. Nominators praised her integrity, accountability, commitment to nursing leadership, demonstration of professionalism, passion for improving the health of the community, and championing nursing practice excellence. In additiion to viewing the video, check out the most recent article on Mills.

Jeanine Niemoller

About Jeanine Niemoller

Jeanine Niemoller, RN, MS, BC, RAC-CT (BSN '81, MSN '96)

Jeanine Niemoller recently retired from serving in the role of Director of the Extended Care Faculty, Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie Wyoming, but retirement has merely redefined her activities. She has been Vice-Chair for the Wyoming Center for Nursing (WCN), a center created by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Partners in Nursing grant. Niemoller, as part of the WCN advisory board, "formed relationships with a range of constituents that have come together to improve nursing retention and recruitment, educational capacity, and to build consensus on nursing issues in the State of Wyoming," states The Wyoming Center for Nursing website. Niemoller is recipient of awards from the Wyoming Nurses Association as District 12 Nurse of the Year (2013) and Outstanding Service to WNA (2011). Niemoller currently is an adjunct faculty member for the UW School of Nursing, and sits on the "Friends of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing" development board. More about Niemoller can be found from her participation in an online mentoring event for the school in 2015.

Leissa Roberts

About Leissa Roberts

Leissa Roberts, DNP, FACNM (BSN '81)

Dr. Roberts is the UW School of Nursing's Distinguished Alumna for 2016. She is currently Associate Dean of Faculty Practice for the University of Utah College of Nursing. She developed the Sutter Health Graduate Assistantships program, making it possible for students to obtain a graduate assistantship while serving patients at a nurse triage call center. She was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Nurse-Midwives in 2015. She was Principal Investigator for research studies contributing to the development of Coping with Labor Algorithm, now utilized throughout the US and internationally. serves nationally as a reviewer on the American Midwifery Certification Board Discipline Review Committee, is an Ad Hoc Member with the American College of Nurse-Midwives and Childbirth Connection task force. and much more. In addition to viewing the video, check out the most recent UW article on Roberts.


Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

University of Wyoming
Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing
Dept. 3065; 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY  82071
Phone: (307) 766-4312
Fax: (307) 766-4294

Email: or check out our "Contact Us" page for contact information per program or individual

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