Skip to main content

Student Awards

School of Nursing Awards

The following charts outline major awards within the School of Nursing and the University community, along with competitive post-graduate study abroad fellowships. Students are urged to nominate themselves or others for these awards and to seek information from their advisor, the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships (CURF), or the Office of International Programs. More information about award nominations is disseminated to students during the academic year.



Eligible Nominees

Jeanne Frances Hopkins


Undergraduate or Graduate nursing student who has achieved academic excellence while embarking on a uniquely Penn curricular opportunity. May include a strong secondary interest evidenced by elective course work and related extracurricular activities, Penn athletics, a coherent cluster or minor, or a dual degree. BSN/MSN is excluded as a dual degree.


Undergraduate or Graduate Student


Henry O. Thompson Prize in Ethics


Master’s or doctoral student - student essay focused on ethical thinking and action


MSN or PhD Graduates


Ann Wolbert Burgess Endowed Student Award


Honoring demonstrated excellence and leadership in nursing, with a preference for psychiatric or mental health nursing, as evidenced by a doctoral dissertation that holds significant promise as a contribution to nursing knowledge. The student must have successfully defended the dissertation proposal at the time of nomination and have either graduated or be scheduled to graduate in May or August of that year. The student’s chair needs to include a letter indicating this anticipated completion date.


PhD Graduates


Claire M. Fagin Award


A high level of leadership within the School, University, or larger community (one award will be given)


BSN, MSN, DNP or PhD Graduates


Dean’s Award


Epitomize the philosophy of the School of Nursing. [Student leadership, citizenship, social activism.] (one award to be given)


BSN, MSN, DNP or PhD Graduates


The Rosalyn J. Watts Diversity Scholar Leadership Award


Graduating BSN Senior whose outstanding qualities of scholarship and leadership exemplify a commitment to the Penn SON Office of Diversity and Cultural Affairs goals by serving as a role model, as well as a leader of programs and initiatives that promote meaningful interaction among diverse groups to strengthen the multicultural, social, and scholarly climate of the Campus and School of Nursing.




Theresa I. Lynch Award


Consistent contribution to the advancement of the School of Nursing. [Criteria similar to that used in selecting the Dean’s Award recipient may be implemented in the selection of this award recipient. In addition, Dean’s Award nominations may alternately be considered for this award.] (one award will be given)


BSN, MSN, or PhD Graduates


Norma Lang Award


Undergraduate or master’s graduate who has demonstrated excellence in academic/scholarly practice. Preference will be given to graduates that have demonstrated excellence in Penn Nursing Network practices as well as activities with clinician educators in their practice settings. Specific contributions can include: leadership, innovative practice models, student led research, and/or commitment to a specific community/patient population. Students may be nominated from someone in the practice setting or they may self-nominate (one award will be given).


BSN, MSN, DNP Graduates


Mary D. Naylor UG Research Award


Contributions to advancing nursing knowledge through research activities. Specific criteria to be included: initiative, creativity, intelligence, and persistence.




Wealtha McGurn Research Award


Graduate demonstrating excellence in research with a particular focus on pediatric primary care or adult health.


MSN and PhD Graduates


Teaching Assistant Award


Cognitive Competence includes: constructs course assignments; interprets abstract theories/ideas clearly; utilizes new or unexpected situations to show relationship to subject under study. Professional competence includes: sets achievable goals for students; demonstrates technical skill in nursing activities; shows interest in making contribution to the improvement of nursing; participates w/standing faculty in SON activities. Interpersonal competence includes: respects confidentiality of student relationships; demonstrates confidence in the student; allows expression of diverse points of view; follows through on commitments; gives constructive evaluation without humiliating student; establishes environment conducive to discussion. Research Assistants and Course Assistants are not eligible.


Teaching Assistants


Joyce E. Thompson Award in Women’s Health


Leadership and excellence in maternal and child health. The nomination in the form of a one-page essay, if student is self-nominating, or a one-page letter, if clinical faculty member/instructor is nominating, must address how the nominee demonstrated these qualities.

MSN Graduates


Dorothy Mereness Award


Exceptional ability in scholarly writing. [Could include, but is not limited to, scholarly writing for a research project.] A writing sample or paper must be submitted along with the nomination (one award will be given).


BSN, MSN, DNP or PhD Graduates


Marion R. Gregory Award


Distinguished doctoral dissertation. Dissertations are to be considered by doctorally-prepared faculty. A copy of the proposal to be submitted with the nomination. The student must have successfully defended the dissertation proposal at the time of nomination and have either graduated or be scheduled to graduate in May or August of that year. The student’s chair needs to include a letter indicating this anticipated completion date.


PhD Graduates


Sigma Theta Tau Award


Academic achievement and leadership.


BSN, MSN & PhD Graduates


Penn Nursing Alumni Student Award


Given to BSN, MSN, or PhD graduate graduating in the current year who contributes to the achievement of the Alumni Society goals by fostering loyalty to the school and university, maintaining the professional and social bond among their classmates and promoting professional development during their student experience at Penn. May be individual or group.


BSN, MSN, DNP or PhD Graduates