Exceptional, diverse, supportive, driven. Penn Nursing students are some of the best in the country, and we are proud that they’ve decided to pursue their goals with us.
Let us introduce you to some of them:
Linda is currently working with her mentors Dr. Linda Aiken and Dr. Matthew McHugh at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. Linda is interested in the intersection of nursing care and health policy and has presented her research internationally and nationally. Her research interest is in measuring quality of health care in various settings - community health, end-of-life care and mental health care.
Her past research projects include a qualitative study of nurses in China working in community health clinics in the urban area, nurse workforce issues in Asian countries, physician and nurse collaborations and a history of Protestant American nurses in China.
Linda has had numerous experiences in social work and promoting children’s educational causes, poverty alleviation causes and causes to improve health care. She has worked with various non-profits such as First Book (low income children’s literacy), PowerUp Gambia (solar power for health care facilities), Givology (child education support) and World Vision (child sponsorship and rural development). Linda has also had internships with Bridging the Gaps working with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health as a patient advocate and a nurse extern at a rural area hospital system in South Dakota.
Throughout her years at Penn Linda has been involved in the leadership of various community service and advocacy student organizations such as Penn for UNICEF (led Human Rights Awareness week), American Red Cross, Civic House Associates Coalition (led Public Health week), and Penn Active Minds (involved in Mental Health Awareness week) and Penn Microfinance Club (involved in planning a national microfinance conference). Linda remains active at Penn Nursing and has been a board member of Student Nurses at Penn, Graduate Student Organization and currently involved on the boards of Doctoral Student Organization and Student Healthcare Alliance at Penn.
Matthew was inspired to become a nurse because of nursing’s focus on holistic care of the individual and its historical receptiveness to innovation in personalized care, which he sees as necessary in the treatment of mental illness, after spending time as a volunteer for several theatre therapy programs.
As a member of the lab, he is currently working on several projects, including the development of a digital toolkit for nurses to aid in the diagnosis and management of PTSD (funded by the American Nurses’ Foundation), a study tracking the physiological markers of the mentally ill, a study on the markers of stress, and the development of an mobile app to treat anxiety disorders in international students.
Drawing on his prior and current experience, his ultimate goal is the integration of therapeutic elements into existing media (such as mainstream video games and television shows) in order to facilitate preventative care in mental health.
Amy Elizabeth (E-beth) Barrera-Cancedda received her Bachelor of Science and Master in Public Health from Emory University, where she focused her studies on Anthropology and Global Health, particularly infectious diseases. Following her graduate studies, she worked for Harvard School of Public Health as a Research Coordinator in Rwanda, where she facilitated the development of a family-centered intervention for HIV/AIDS affected families.
Prior to starting at UPenn, Elizabeth worked for Partners In Health (PIH) as a Tuberculosis Analyst for TB CARE II, a collaborative project between USAID and PIH. While in this position, her chief role was to work closely with Ministries of Health in high burden TB countries to implement novel infection control interventions to reduce nosocomial transmission among healthcare workers in various healthcare environments. After completing this project, Elizabeth became the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation for PIH, in Sierra Leone, during the Ebola epidemic, where she was responsible for collecting clinical data on patient outcomes. Given her interests in nursing and global health, her research interests are focused on mechanisms related to improving professional development opportunities for nurses in countries that have been burned with hemorrhagic fever epidemics, as a means of investing and strengthening the healthcare systems within these contexts. Elizabeth looks forward to continuing her work in Western Africa after graduation, but for now, she is excited to live in Philadelphia with her amazing husband, Corrado, and their wonder pug, named Chorizo.
Alicia is interested in pediatric critical and chronic care, narrative medicine, PTSD, the emotional experience of chronic illness, compassion fatigue, pain medicine, and alternate, innovative forms of media for producing and disseminating health education.
Andrew Dierkes is a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation in his first year of full-time pre-doctoral studies. He holds a BSN and minor in healthcare management from the University of Pennsylvania and is a registered nurse in the state of Pennsylvania. His developing research interests fall at the intersection of ethics, efficiency, and outcomes as they relate to both patients and nurses in the healthcare setting. In addition to his academics, he works as a medical-surgical nurse on a hematology-oncology unit at Pennsylvania Hospital located in Center City, Philadelphia.
Lauren began her studies at Penn Nursing when she transferred after two years of pursuing the premed track and is now fully embedded in the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation.
In May 2014, Lauren graduated magna cum laude with her BSN and was awarded the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Award, Sigma Theta Tau Undergraduate Award, and Class of 1939 Fellowship. Lauren served as the President of Student Nurses at Penn (SNAP) in her senior year and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Doctoral Student Organization (DSO). Her undergraduate work included an historical analysis of Catholic medical missions in Ghana and their contribution to improving maternal care. For her future work, she intends to complete her dissertation research in Botswana studying cervical cancer prevention under the guidance of Dr. Doreen Ramogola-Masire, Dr. Alison Buttenheim, and Dr. Anne Teitelman. Lauren recently completed the HUP/Hillman Clinical Nursing Fellowship as an RN on a women’s health unit and continues to care for gynecologic oncology patients.
Lauren Starr is pursuing a PhD in Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on palliative and end-of-life care. She is researching the measurement of pain in persons with advanced dementia, and the connection between caregiver empathy and pain management in the same population.
Prior to graduating from Penn’s accelerated BSN program in 2015 and becoming a Registered Nurse, Lauren cared for her husband’s 103-year-old grandfather, who lived and died at home with them. She is in Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and a 2016-2018 Jonas Nurse Scholar.
Lauren graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 2004 with a degree in English literature, a certificate in American Studies, and a focus in Bioethics. After graduation, she worked for the Bioethics Advisory Committee of Singapore and the Genome Institute of Singapore on the genome project of Asia and legislation protecting human subjects in research. She is a 2004-2005 Henry Luce Scholar. Upon returning to the U.S., Lauren worked for the Advisory Board Company in Washington DC as a research analyst in hospital consulting. She then spent three years working at Google in New York City as a healthcare analyst in research and marketing across sales and product development. After working in the start-up world, Lauren worked for Scripps Networks Interactive in New York as a Digital Research and Analytics Manager finding stories in big data and making data meaningful and actionable for sales and programming teams.
Lauren’s mentors are Mary Ersek, PhD, RN, FAAN and Christine Bradway, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN.
Building on her Penn MPH capstone research focusing on the evolution of the informed consent document, Sydney works with her mentors on the issues surrounding decision-making among families and caregivers. She is assisted in all things by her constant companion, “Henley,” the Labrador retriever.
Stephen hails from Iowa, the land of corn and soy, where he studied math and statistics at the University of Iowa. As an undergraduate, his research focused using computational statistics and spatial models to analyze environmental and epidemiological data.
He fled the cold weather to live in Austin, Texas, where he worked variously as an after-school teacher, a cook at a homeless shelter, a “compost pedaller”, and a nurses’ aide at the children’s hospital. His experiences in Austin led him to pursue a career studying health inequity and community-based health research, particularly in pediatric and adolescent populations.
Madelyne was the first student to pilot the HUP/Hillman Clinical Nursing Fellowship in 2014, which includes 7 months of full-time work as an RN and is now a mainstay of the Hillman Program in Nursing Innovation. Madelyne’s research interests include LGBT health, with specific focus on reproductive health and the impact of pregnancy and childbearing on minority women.
Madelyn works with Dr. Barbara Medoff-Cooper on her trial of a transitional telehealth home care intervention for parents of infants with congenital heart disease.
She entered the Hillman Program in June 2012 and successfully graduated with her BSN in December 2013, continuing on to the doctoral program.
My research interests revolve around understanding why people die where they die and how place and displacement impact the quality of the dying process. With the help of my mentors, Mary Ersek and Julie Sochalski, I plan to examine a specific case of this issue through my dissertation: what is the impact of rurality on place of death and quality of care at the end of life for Veterans dying in inpatient VA facilities?
This study will be based on data from the Performance Reporting and Outcomes Measurement to Improve the Standard of care at End-of-Life (PROMISE) Center at the VA. To this end, I am interested in learning and applying different statistical methods, including observational study design, spatial analysis, and statistical learning, and examining how quality and performance is measured in end-of-life care.
Josh is an international student from England and a Junior in the BSN program. He is looking forward to a career conducting research in the nursing field and his interests lie within global women’s health, international health ethics, and health disparities.
He was recently awarded two grants from Questbridge, a non-profit that connects low income and diversity students with top academic institutions within the United States. Through Questbridge, Josh was also fortunate to be awarded an international grant from Penn for four years of undergraduate study. The research that he plans on completing is a study looking at increasing quality antenatal care and maternal care access and education using technology based interventions in Nepal.
Josh is currently a residential adviser in Riepe college house. After he graduates he hopes to find a position as a professor at a nursing school and continue to pursue research in global women’s health.
Marcus Henderson is a senior in the School of Nursing, and plans to sub-matriculate into the dual degree MSN Health Leadership and MPH program.
Prior to attending Penn, Marcus went to Franklin Learning Center High School in his home town of Philadelphia where he majored in Health Related Technology. It was in that program that Marcus developed his passion for nursing and mentorship, and began his leadership journey. Marcus is a member of the Student Nurses at Penn (SNAP) and the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA).
As a freshman, he successfully ran for Central Philadelphia Regional Coordinator on the SNAP State Board of Directors. He continues to be an active member in SNAP and has since assumed the role of State Vice President and now State President. In addition, Marcus was elected to the NSNA Board of Directors as Ex-Officio Director and Chair of the Council of State Presidents. Marcus is the Nursing Chair for Class Board 2017 and has been in this role since fall 2013.
Aside from his organizational leadership, he is interested in the study of nursing history, diversity in the nursing workforce, public health, health policy, and how all of these areas intersect. Marcus is a research assistant for the School-Wide Health Equity Research Collaborative and the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity at Penn Nursing. Eventually, he would like to obtain a PhD in Nursing.
Clare Whitney is a senior in the School of Nursing from Schroon Lake, New York. She is also pursuing her PhD as a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation. Her passion for women’s health and mental health has been informed and nurtured by her nursing coursework as well as extracurricular experiences.
Ian McCurry is a senior in the School of Nursing from Somerset, Massachusetts. Ian combines his many academic passions with an aim to become the most holistic clinician possible.
Through his work with the Center for Health Equities research, he is currently the Principal Investigator on two grant-funded studies that focuses on young adults with developmental disabilities who are pursuing post-secondary education and the delivery of healthcare services to homeless individuals in Philadelphia.
In addition, Ian manages a local homeless shelter, has worked as a Clinical Chaplain on the Heart and Vascular Intensive Care Unit at HUP, and is an Adjunct Chaplain at the hospital, working with families through critical illness and counseling them through death and dying. He is a member of the Penn Glee Club, with which he has traveled to Tanzania, Qatar, and Western Europe, and has performed for senators, Supreme Court justices, and President and Mrs. Obama.