Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

21 individuals pictured who received convocation awards 2020

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, 2nd Lt. 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





University of Wyoming Nursing Students Recognized at Convocation 2018 Ceremony

Congratulations to the 20 students pictured above, who were honored at the 2019 Nursing Convocation Ceremony in the Arts & Sciences Auditorium on Friday, May 17. Students receiving awards who are graduating from the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program: Randy Baxter, Carolyn Pignataro, Meghan Pankey, Jeff Shideman and Sherra StClair; from RN-BSN Completion, Heidi Smith; from BRAND accelerated BSN, Jaclynn Barnes (Convocation Speaker), Kacie McCleary, Emily Bishoff, Laurie Heath, Katharine Baldwin and Aaron Johnston; from the on-campus Basic BSN: Sarah Clinkenbeard, Morgan Lu, Devon Flaim, Marysa Barton, Allison Brown, Meghan Mercer, Emily Stanton, and James Willox. Please scroll down for descriptions of each individual's award...



Jaclynn Barnes

Convocation 2019 Speaker

Jaclynn Barnes, a UW graduate-elect from the UW accelerated "BRAND" nursing program, was selected to deliver the Nursing Convocation 2019 message at the May 17 ceremony. She was selected to speak due to her leadership in her nursing program's cohort. She sits on the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing Pre-Licensure Committee, representing her fellow students in the BRAND Program, "and is always positive and professional," says Kim Raska-Miller, BRAND Program Director. More about Barnes' speech focus and about her career up to this moment can be found by clicking on her name in the heading.

Picture of Randy Baxter, winner of the 2019 Rural Advanced Practice Nursing Award

Rural Advanced Practice Nursing Award , recognizing a graduate student who demonstrates exemplary rural practice in nursing: RANDY BAXTER

Randy Baxter's (DNP-FNP / Powell WY) commitment to his rural community makes him an excellent candidate for recognition. Colleagues, classmates, and instructors appreciate his earnest, honest, and reliable care. One preceptor wrote, “Randy displays excellent professionalism, ethics and legal behaviors. He is self-motivated, reliable, and accepting of patients of many incomes and health literacy levels. He appears to meet the patient where they are and works from there to advance the patient's health and health awareness.”

Jeff Shideman: Change Agent Award

Change Agent Award recognizing graduating DNP student demonstrating commitment to improving and changing health: JEFF SHIDEMAN

Jeff Shideman (DNP-FNP / Cody WY), the recipient of this year’s Change Agent award, is one of the most quiet and unassuming members of his cohort; however, don’t let his reserved nature fool you. He is always reading and thinking, and when he speaks or writes—which he does eloquently—people listen. He truly desires to help people and communities become healthier through thoughtful, collaborative change—whether in an individual behavior, in a system design, or in leadership style. While in our program, he committed himself to learning and applying evidence-based change theories to everything he could think of. There is no doubt he will make a huge difference in the health of the communities where he practices.

Meghan Pankey and Carolyn Pignataro: Dr. Patsy Hesen Haslam Leadership Award

Dr. Patsy Hesen Haslam Leadership Award recognizing graduating DNP student displaying both leadership and grace in DNP program: MEGHAN PANKEY & CAROLYN PIGNATARO

Meghan Pankey (DNP-FNP / Cheyenne WY) and Carolyn Pignataro (DNP-PMHNP / Poquoson VA) are the two recipients of this year’s Dr. Patsy Hesen Haslam Leadership Award. Pankey and Pignataro were recognized by the faculty early in the program for their maturity and natural leadership abilities. They are both incredibly kind, intelligent, well-spoken, well-written, humorous, and resilient. 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.

Sherra StClair: Susan McCabe Psychiatric Mental Health Graduate Award

Susan McCabe Psychiatric Mental Health Graduate Award: recognizinig a graduate in the PMHNP program for demonstrating academic excellence, passion for knowledge and superior clinical practice: SHERRA STCLAIR

Sherra StClair (DNP-PMHNP / Laramie WY) is a a self-driven learner, demonstrating a willingness to go beyond expectations to maximize learning. Her work is detailed, thoughtful. She became a skilled clinician, yet remains humble, relatable to clients. Preceptors remark on her natural skill/ease interacting with others. She is open, nonjudgmental, and has passion to foster clinical excellence for rural Wyoming clients. The late Susan McCabe, known for passionate care of vulnerable psychiatric populations and superior knowledge of psychiatric nursing, would have been proud of this year’s award recipient. In McCabe’s words, “This is the type of student that makes me reassured that I’ll be able to retire one day and know our patients will be in good hands!”

Sarah Clinkenbeard: Carol Macnee Scholarship Award

Carol Macnee Scholarship Award for demonstrating excellence in scholarship and/or research: SARAH CLINKENBEARD

Sarah Clinkenbeard (Basic BSN / Loveland CO) joined the “Strategies for Risk Reduction” research team as a junior. Despite limited research experience, she began working on projects immediately! She was integral to implementation of the online survey, “Use of the Term Prediabetes”, and to publication of the manuscript, “Demands of multiple behavior change in type 2 diabetes risk reduction”. She participated in research presentations regarding a project examining a lifestyle health-related self-concept questionnaire and its relationship to physical activity. A busy senior, she attended a national research conference to present results of an online survey project. An outstanding team member, she displayed excellent collaboration with the nine-member research team. Her work displays passion, dedication, maturity, and composure.

Heidi Smith: Professional Nurse Award

Professional Nurse Award for excellence in practice, in community and professional service, awarded to grad of RN-BSN Completion: HEIDI SMITH

Heidi Smith (BSN Completion / Douglas WY) has been a registered nurse for 11 months, currently working in Casper on Wyoming Medical Center’s medical floor. She appreciates her experiences, learning much about access and quality of healthcare. Her interest for continuing nursing education peaked when UW faculty member David Bodily visited Eastern Wyoming College to promote the ReNEW Completion program. Encouraged by instructors to complete her BSN, she found ReNEW curriculum a seamless transition as an ADN grad. She is excited to see where her BSN will take her, planning to pursue an MSN in education or leadership. She has been an excellent student, exemplifying leadership and professionalism throughout her coursework.

Kacie McCleary: Passion for Nursing Award

Passion for Nursing Award to graduate of BRAND accelerated BSN Program, for demonstrating passion in nursing: KACIE MCCLEARY

Kacie McCleary (BRAND / Casper WY) has a remarkable passion for nursing. Her love for the profession has been recognized by patients, clinical faculty, and nurses with whom she has worked throughout her clinical experiences. Her med/surg clinical instructor said, “She has a genuine love for her patients and colleagues that is evident from the moment she arrives on the unit. She often requests to take the most challenging patients in order to use her talent and skill to brighten someone’s day and also to gain any new insights that can benefit her next patient. Her smile and enthusiasm are contagious, and also demonstrate her gift of self to those who need her compassion the most.”

Morgan Lu: Rudolph "Rudy" and Louise Anselmi and Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship

Rudolph "Rudy" and Louise Anselmi and Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship, for demonstrating leadership and responsibility: MORGAN LU

Morgan Lu (Basic BSN / Mead CO) demonstrated leadership and responsibility as a true self-motivator and enthusiast about her endeavors. One endeavor was at the Downtown Clinic. She conducted a survey to discover the cause as to why the patient population there did not engage in exercise. From there she went on to contact community resources to set up a safe exercise environment, provide current health education and tailored programs for the patient. She said, “I have learned that making change requires determination and a heart to meet the needs around you. It is important to not lose hope and keep pressing on towards the goal at large.”

Emily Bishoff: Rudolph "Rudy" and Louise Anselmi and Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship

Rudolph "Rudy" and Louise Anselmi and Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship, for demonstrating leadership and responsibility: EMILY BISHOFF

Emily Bishoff (BRAND / Billings MT) demonstrated leadership and responsibility by building a solid foundation of support and communication within her BRAND cohort. She created extra Zoom reviews for classmates to study for tests and strived to maintain a positive learning environment with her classmates and her faculty. She conducted herself in a respectful manner at all times and in all settings, including the hospital bedside setting. This senior never hesitated to take the responsibility to admit to her shortcomings and learn from her mistakes.  

Devon Flaim: Gertrude Gould Memorial Award

Gertrude Gould Memorial Award, for excellence in public health nursing: DEVON FLAIM

Devon Flaim (Basic BSN / Cheyenne WY) is an exceptional student who has done a wonderful job in the community setting--in a public health agency. She took the lead in caring for patients during mother/baby home visits, outreach efforts, immunization clinics, and care for a variety of other public health clients. In her clinical setting, she was able to see the big picture of population health and apply concepts of social justice. For her project, she created a brochure for uninsured people living in poverty to help them find needed resources for housing, medication, and other needs. She understands the mission of helping people in need, and provides care with dignity for the patient.

Marysa Barton: Amelia Leino Memorial Award

Amelia Leino Memorial Award recognizes on campus, Basic BSN grad for demonstrating academic excellence and strong aptitude for family nursing: MARYSA BARTON

Marysa Barton (Basic BSN / Green River WY) has demonstrated academic excellence and has shown great interest and aptitude in family nursing. She does an excellent job in both clinicals and in the classroom. She is a wonderful student who showed caring and compassion in all of her clinical experiences. Her work with Mom and Baby home visits in public health won her great feedback from the nurses. In OB, she jumped in to clinical experiences, and her compassion and clinical interest was evident. Her love of maternal child nursing has led to her getting a job in OB nursing after graduation. She truly was an exceptional student throughout her time in the BSN program.

Allison Brown: Beverly McDermott Award

Beverly McDermott Award for demonstrating leadership and political activism: ALLISON BROWN

Allison Brown (Basic BSN / Erie CO) has been a great role model for responsibility and leadership, working to advance the UW Student Nurses Association as president. She reached out to include new students and created additional SNA events in which students can become involved. As an SNA officer, she helped plan and organize various activities, including a bone marrow drive, trips to support families at Ronald McDonald House, and several ongoing activities for residents of Spring Wind Assisted Living. In addition to service activities, this student supported social events to help all nursing students connect in the program. This student has been a wonderful leader and a role model for integrity and inclusion.

Laurie Heath: Beverly McDermott Award

Beverly McDermott Award for demonstrating leadership and political activism: LAURIE HEATH

Laurie Heath (BRAND / Cheyenne WY) has a true talent for helping others find their voice. Her leadership within the cohort started in the first few weeks of the program, encouraging peers’ involvement within the community and leading the team in Relay for Life event. She provided peers with information regarding community events, united others in expanding their voice for nursing. One peer commented, “She takes charge and rallies the troops. She helped us become assertive in advocating for change, making the nursing profession more visible within the local community/state. She is a true leader and a great role model for all of us in finding a voice to speak up within our community.”

Meghan Mercer: Dorothy Tupper Senior Award

Dorothy Tupper Senior Award, for demonstrating caring, compassion and interpersonal communication skills: MEGHAN MERCER

Meghan Mercer (Basic BSN / Cheyenne WY) has demonstrated exceptional caring throughout her time in the nursing program. She combines a strong knowledge base, clinical skills and a lot of care and compassion. During her OB clinical experience, she was able to reach out to a family that was experiencing a potentially life-threatening complication for both mother and baby, and served as a real support for them as they went through this experience. The nurses on the unit complimented this student’s caring and compassionate manner as well as her supportive actions during the clinical emergency.

Katharine Baldwin: Dorothy Tupper Senior Award

Dorothy Tupper Senior Award for demonstrating caring, compassion and interpersonal communication skills: KATHARINE BALDWIN

Katharine Baldwin (BRAND / Wilson WY) is a compassionate, caring, knowledgeable, and professional nursing student. She is always prepared for class and clinical and has a positive demeanor with peers, staff, faculty, and community partners. She is pleasant to work with and treats everyone with the utmost respect. She truly listens to her patients and provides safe, competent care. Her Med Surg clinical instructor shared this insight: “She has a terrific bedside approach and manner with patients… She truly has a gift for creating a trusting rapport with every patient she encounters… Patients have even voiced disappointment when she could not be their nurse.”

Emily Stanton: Lina Kennedy White Memorial Award

Lina Kennedy White Memorial Award for interest in and aptitude for gerontology: EMILY STANTON

Emily Stanton (Basic BSN / Castle Rock CO) has a strong interest in geriatric nursing. She is highly motivated to seek out new learning experiences, expanding her knowledge when clinical challenges arise. She shows great aptitude in caring for older adults in both acute care and community-based sites. She is ultra-professional and able to think critically. She jumped into the collaborative team approach to nursing in geriatric clinical settings, has a wonderful knowledge of nursing care of the older adult and a desire to give the best care she can. Keeping her focus on patient safety, she is still responsive to patient and family needs. Her caring and compassion stand out.

Aaron Johnston: Lina Kennedy White Memorial Award

Lina Kennedy White Memorial Award for interest in and aptitude for gerontology: AARON JOHNSTON

Aaron Johnston (BRAND / Jacksonville NC) is a very intelligent young man who always puts forth his best work. He establishes trusting relationships with his patients and colleagues. This student strives to find just a few extra minutes in his busy day to really listen to his patients and meet their needs. He demonstrates respect and caring to this special geriatric population.

James Willox: School of Nursing Spirit Award

School of Nursing Spirit Award recognizing on campus Basic BSN graduate for demonstrating exceptional spirit and enthusiasm: JAMES WILLOX

James Willox (Basic BSN / Douglas WY) was nominated for this award because he indeed does fit the award’s specifications as a student who cheered everyone up, who was a pleasure to have in class, and who makes us proud to have as a graduate of our program. This student has exemplified true caring, for both his fellow peers and the faculty. He always has a smile and an encouraging word. His caring attitudes carry over to his nursing care of patients.

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