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Twelve UW Nursing Students Honored at Virtual Nursing Convocation Ceremony

May 20, 2021
Samantha Baker, Lauren Hamilton, Roland Maldonado and Kristin Wilkes

Twelve recent graduates of the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing were honored with awards during this year’s annual nursing convocation ceremony, which was presented in a virtual format.

This year’s convocation took place May 14. Awards were named in 11 categories. The ceremony can be viewed at

Students receiving awards, listed by hometowns, their majors and descriptions of the awards, are:

Casper -- Marc Hayden, a psychiatric nurse practitioner graduate with the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program, Professional Nurse Award. This award recognizes excellence in practice, community and professional service. Hayden, whose practice focuses on at-risk youth, has provided community service through the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Casper Boxing Club and as an academic tutor for at-risk youth. His professional service includes seven years of mental health work as a technician and registered nurse at Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper.

Fort Collins, Colo. -- Kathryn Haugen, a graduate with the Basic Bachelor of Science (BSN) Program, School of Nursing Spirit Award. This award is presented to a student for demonstrating exceptional spirit and enthusiasm. Haugen’s enthusiasm for nursing is readily apparent and has been an impetus in her application and acceptance into the Veterans Health Administration’s Veterans Affairs (VA) Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) Program, a yearlong nursing externship. She worked first as a clinical student, then as a VALOR extern at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center.

Fort Collins, Colo. -- Kelli Schueler, a Basic BSN Program graduate, Dorothy Tupper Senior Award. This award honors students who demonstrate caring, compassion and interpersonal communication. Her nominator stated, “To me, that is the heart of nursing, and Kelli shows that in every aspect of her nursing care. She was able to communicate her patients’ needs to the nurses and followed through on those needs. It was a pleasure to be a part of her education.”

Highlands Ranch, Colo. -- Emily Albury, a Basic BSN Program graduate, Amelia Leino Memorial Award. This award recognizes a Basic BSN graduate for demonstrating academic excellence. Albury has shown excellence in the classroom, and in simulation and clinical settings. She also has shown caring and compassion in all clinical experiences, and her favorite areas are maternal/child and pediatrics. Although she spends most of her time in pediatrics, she enjoys working with her patients and families.

Laramie -- Tija Allen, a Basic BSN Program graduate, Gertrude Gould Memorial Award. This award is for excellence in public health nursing practice. Allen has done a wonderful job in clinical sites, including the community setting. She has a great understanding of caring for patients during inpatient experiences, as well as home visits, outreach efforts, immunization clinics and care for a variety of public health clients, says her nominator.

Laramie -- Samantha Baker, a DNP Program graduate, Dr. Patsy Hesen Haslam Leadership Award. DNP faculty member Ann Marie Haslam Hart created the award in memory of her mother, Patsy Hesen Haslam. Haslam was a nursing and public health advocate in southern West Virginia. Her community leadership inspired educational and public health initiatives across Appalachia. The award recognizes a graduating DNP student who displayed both leadership and grace in the DNP Program.

Laramie -- Jerry Hamann, a Basic BSN Program graduate, Rudolph “Rudy” and Louise Anselmi and Jeri Kirk Family Trust Nursing Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to students for demonstrating leadership and responsibility. Hamann has been able to exercise organizational, motivational and people skills effectively and consistently throughout the nursing program with trusting relationships being the outcome of his endeavors. He has consistently exhibited leadership and responsibility through organizing communications for his cohort; presenting himself professionally during faculty interactions; and helping his team remain responsible professionals during all encounters.

Laramie -- Roland Maldonado, a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program graduate, Susan McCabe Psychiatric Mental Health Graduate Award. This award is for demonstrating academic excellence, passion for knowledge, and superior clinical practice demonstrating commitment to improving and changing health. Maldonado has been a self-driven learner who has demonstrated a willingness to go above and beyond expectations to maximize his learning. Instructors, preceptors and patients consistently remark on his natural skill and ease with which he interacts with patients. He has a clear passion to foster clinical excellence for clients living in rural Wyoming.

Laramie -- Matthew Moran, a Basic BSN Program graduate, Lina Kennedy White Memorial Award. This award is given for demonstrating an interest and aptitude for geriatric nursing. Moran has cared for many older patients throughout his clinical time in the program. As part of this process, Moran not only considers the biopsychosocial and spiritual domains of the human experience, but also how all life experiences impact the needs and management for older patients.

Monument, Colo. -- Lauren Hamilton, a DNP Program graduate, Dr. Patsy Hesen Haslam Leadership Award.

Torrington -- Kristin Wilkes, a Family Nurse Practitioner Program graduate, Rural Advanced Practice Nursing Award. This award is presented to students for demonstrating exemplary rural practice in nursing. Wilkes has lived and worked with rural populations for most of her life. She has experience in home health, public health, long-term care and school nursing. Wilkes has demonstrated her commitment to rural primary care, completing clinical rotations in Douglas, Guernsey, Newcastle and Torrington. She knows the distinct challenges in bringing care to rural and frontier communities throughout Wyoming.

Worland -- Lily Myers, a Basic BSN Program graduate, Beverly McDermott Award. This award is given for demonstrating leadership and political activism. Myers has taken an active role in the COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts in Laramie through her employment at Ivinson Memorial Hospital. Her demonstration of responsibility and accountability is clear in her work. She also has been a leader in classroom and clinical settings.

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