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Congratulations to the 2021 Penn Nursing Faculty Award Recipients

All the honorees will be recognized during our virtual, end of the year event on Thursday, May 27, 2021 3-5 PM EST.

Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Scholarly Mentorship

Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, Professor of Perinatal Nursing and Helen M. Shearer Term Professor of Nutrition in the Department of Family and Community Health.

Dr. Spatz’s impact on students’ scholarly growth is quite significant. Her mentees develop their scientific inquiry skills, including evaluating literature, crafting clinical research questions, data collection, and research dissemination. Dr. Spatz’s encouragement and mentorship inspired some of her undergraduate students to join the Hillman Scholars program, and thus they will obtain a PhD and develop their own programs of research. Students praise Dr. Spatz for her unwavering support and advocacy, ensuring they have adequate resources for their academic pursuits. An internationally known breast-feeding, lactation, and human milk expert, Dr. Spatz is a Nurse Researcher at the CHOP’s Lactation Program, and a Clinical Coordinator of CHOP’s Mothers’ Milk Bank. These positions have afforded Dr. Spatz’ mentees incredible opportunities, as she includes students in her research process and connects students of all class years. Dr. Spatz’s passion for and ability to build a constructive and mutually rewarding relationship with her students, both inside and outside of the classroom, speaks to Dr. Spatz’s embodiment of an ideal undergraduate scholarly mentor.

Dean’s Award for MS/MSN/DNP Scholarly Mentorship

Mamie K. Guidera, MSN, CNM, FACNM, Advanced Senior Lecturer in the Nurse-Midwifery Program in the Department of Family and Community Health.

Ms. Guidera is well-known for her inspiring and creative nature. Nationally recognized by the American College of Nurse Midwives for Excellence in Teaching, Ms. Guidera is praised by her peers and her students for her ability to convey sensitive and complicated information in a way that motivates her students to continue their scholarly and professional work. Her deep commitment to student success has remained a constant theme of her mentorship, building lasting relationships and providing them with guidance and feedback that inspires students to become the best-prepared nurse scientists and midwives. Ms. Guidera mentors each student according to their needs, gifts, and talents, cultivating their academic, emotional, and social growth. In many instances, Ms. Guidera’s mentorship and dedication to student success helped many struggling students to stay, and thrive, in their nursing program. Whether through her assistance with clinical placements or facilitating additional support for students who may need academic support, Ms. Guidera readily and expertly shares her exceptional knowledge on all projects, modeling a collaborative approach to her incredible mentorship.

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching

Bridgette M. Brawner, PhD, APRN, Associate Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health.

Dr. Brawner’s undergraduate courses, Nursing and the Community, Research/Inquiry-Based Service Residency, and Psychological and Social Diversity in Health and Wellness, have all left an indelible impact on her students. Students consistently praise Dr. Brawner’s effortless presentation of complex concepts in such a way that students are able to understand and build upon such knowledge. Through skillful and stimulating communication, her lectures are innovative, and use highly engaging teaching methods so that students build meaningful connections between concepts. Dr. Brawner’s graduate courses, Mixed Methods Research and Research Residency, are often described as an enriching experience. Her lessons and class discussions meet students’ individual needs, ensuring that nursing students are well prepared to become successful clinical professionals and nurse scientists. Dr. Brawner provides a variety of resources, content, and opportunities for student discourse in both her graduate and undergraduate courses. She is approachable, kind, and understands the stress of a rigorous education. A dedicated professor and masterful teacher, Dr. Brawner, and her mentorship of faculty and students alike, builds relationships through course discussions and her investment in each student.

Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Aleaha Peoples, MSN, RN, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.

Ms. Peoples co-teaches Nursing of Young and Middle-Aged Adults with Ms. White. Not only does Ms. Peoples consistently demonstrate expertise in her course curriculum, she also is able to stimulate student interest and foster their professional development. Many students and faculty praised Ms. Peoples’ ability to present complex curriculum and foster a diverse set of student interests, as well as develop student’s critical thinking skills. Her effortless ability to create an inclusive classroom environment, combined with her concern for student well-being, has allowed those who take her courses to become successful nurses, students, and researchers. Ms. Peoples delivers difficult, and sometimes abstract, course content in a variety of mediums to create memorable connections between course concepts and real-life application for all kinds of student learners. Course discussions create nurses who are critical thinkers and ask important, thoughtful questions throughout their didactic and clinical process. Through her interactions with students inside and outside the classroom, Ms. Peoples’ dedication to student well-being and success is ever-present, and she creates meaningful, long lasting relationships with her students for years to come.

Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Maria White, MSN, RN, CCRN, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.

Students praised Ms. White’s seamless blending of her clinical expertise within her course curriculum. In her course Nursing of Young and Middle-Aged Adults, Ms. White and her co-teacher Ms. Peoples work to create a stimulating, yet compassionate, learning environment so that all students can develop excellent critical thinking skills. Ms. White’s students become nurses who are well-prepared and quick thinkers. Most notably, Ms. White strives to ensure her classroom environment is inclusive and welcoming, creating a rapport with her students that she is accessible, kind, and available for additional help when needed. Her use of diverse media to convey complex lessons allows all learners to understand the material and how to apply it to their future as clinicians. Ms. White’s teaching methods remain innovative and engaging every year, and students have grown to appreciate her teaching style. Her classroom and relationship with her students are described as supportive, engaging, and kind. Ms. White’s enthusiasm is unparalleled, and her regular engagement with students both inside and outside of the classroom proves Ms. White to be an invaluable professor.

Dean’s Award for Exemplary Professional Practice

Deborah Becker, PhD, ACNP, BC, CHSE, FAAN, Practice Professor of Nursing in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.

As the Director of the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, Dr. Becker worked to develop an online, three-course streamlined gerontology acute care program, not only preparing Penn Nursing students, but also assisting frontline nurses, advanced practice nurses, and other healthcare professionals to be exceptional providers. Dr. Becker consistently collaborated with leaders at various clinical sites, including University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, Christiana Care, and the SIM Lab. Additionally, Dr. Becker’s leadership in the Annual Interprofessional and Intercollegiate Education Disaster Preparedness and Response Simulation prepares Penn students of all disciplines to use their critical thinking skills in order to approach, consider, and manage an emergency, especially with interdisciplinary colleagues. Students of Penn Medicine’s Advanced Practice Critical Care Fellowship praised Dr. Becker’s role in designing the curriculum and maintaining relationships with alumni of the program. Dr. Becker is recognized as an expert educator, collaborator, and thought leader who has consistently made significant contributions to nurse practitioner education and partnerships. Dr. Becker exemplifies a practice leader who has created lasting impact on nurse innovation and education.

Barbara J. Lowery Faculty Award, Doctoral Student Organization

Peggy Compton, PhD, RN, FAAN, van Ameringen Chair in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and an Associate Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health.

Doctoral students praised Dr. Compton’s unmatched mentorship, generosity, kindness, and endless support for their success. In addition to her care and concern for her mentees, Dr. Compton is focused on providing opportunities for student growth and helped with a re-designing the DSO website. She establishes a mutual respect with her mentees and cultivates student interests in a diverse range of topics, preparing students for their future as clinicians and researchers. A dedicated mentor, Dr. Compton supports doctoral students through both formal and informal teaching and mentoring. As such, her students can practice creative freedom within her structured guidance. Dr. Compton’s leadership in planning the SON Annual Research Day so that students can disseminate their research, combined with her assistance in the review process of the DSO Health Equity Grant, further evidence her influence on these future nurse researchers. As a warm and enthusiastic professor, Dr. Compton has had an incomparable impact on Penn Nursing students, shaping the personal and professional trajectory of many nurse scholars.

Outstanding Nurse Educator Award, Graduate Student Organization

Dawn Bent, DNP, MSN, CRNA, Program Administrator for the DNP-Nurse Anesthesia Program and a Lecturer in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.

Dr. Bent has never waivered in her advocacy for students, maintaining their safety within clinical settings as a top priority. To ensure that educational needs are fulfilled, Dr. Bent adapted courses when needed but maintained academic rigor without sacrificing the content. Continuously complimented for her ability to go above and beyond for nursing students, Dr. Bent has devoted countless hours to the advancement of nurse anesthetist students and always communicated with them promptly and honestly. Her classes, such as Advanced Principles of Nurse Anesthesia, create an environment of shared learning, emotional support, and cohesion amongst curriculum. Dr. Bent’s expertise is not lost on students, as her instruction is unparalleled, relaying difficult content in a way that students can remember and apply to their own patients and health care delivery, elevating their professionalism as future nurse anesthetists. Dr. Bent has personified the leadership, character, and level of excellence she instills in her students. They have expressed their deepest gratitude for her contribution to the advancement of their nursing and leadership endeavors.

Undergraduate Award for Teaching, Student Nurses at Penn

Monique Dowd, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, CSG, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.

Ms. Dowd’s class, Fundamentals of Nutrition, allows BSN students an important perspective on patient health. Ms. Dowd leads by example and brings a holistic approach to students’ nursing careers and patient care. Her undergraduates praised Ms. Dowd’s ability to use real-life patient encounters to impart extensive knowledge onto her students that will create thoughtful nurses and healthier patients. Ms. Dowd provides helpful, notable lessons on a variety of topics and health-specific diets, complete with anecdotes, statistics, and tangible examples. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of cultural understanding when patients have cultural or religious dietary restrictions. As a clinician and an educator, Ms. Dowd seamlessly forges the bridge between her classroom and her clinical environment, such that her students will be able to do the same with the knowledge they gain in her classes. A thorough and engaging instructor, Ms. Dowd ensures the lessons in her course are applicable or relatable to content in other nursing courses, strengthening students understanding of nursing and nutrition. Ms. Dowd embodies the characteristics her students will strive to emulate in their careers.

Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Advising

Holly Harner, PhD, MBA, MPH, RN, WHCNP-BC, FAAN is the Afaf I. Meleis Director of the Center for Global Women’s Health and a Practice Professor of Women’s Health.

Dr. Harner’s extensive knowledge of the undergraduate curriculum and willingness to support students is a hallmark of her advising at Penn Nursing. Dr. Harner’s students were grateful for her accessibility, as she made a significant contribution to their academic, professional, and personal development. In addition to her professionalism, her advisees have praised her kindness, knowledge, and insight into potential nursing career paths, whether it is a PhD or a specialization within the nursing field. Dr. Harner does not leave any question unanswered, thoroughly evaluating possible outcomes and explaining her reasoning for her advice to students. Her organization and great memory ensures that her advisees feel supported, heard, and that they are receiving individualized advice. Dr. Harner’s calm demeanor and positive outlook make undergraduate students feel at ease when they discuss academic or professional conflicts with her. Her ability to propose a variety of solutions to undergraduate challenges allows all students to thrive. Dr. Harner’s advice, leadership, and rapport with her students will propel these future nurses into successful careers.

Dean’s Award for Exemplary Citizenship

Annie Hoyt-Brennan, MSN, RN, Director of Helene Fuld Pavilion for Innovative Learning and Simulation and a Simulation Education Specialist.

Ms. Hoyt-Brennan has led the Simulation faculty and staff through an enormous challenge in delivering both virtual and in-person simulations for nursing students. In addition to simulations, this project included online and in-person skills training, and disseminating simulation and skills training packets for students, as the majority of courses moved to a digital format. Her leadership allowed nursing students to remain on track in their programs, successfully solving complex scheduling challenges in the lab. Other than clinical placements, the Simulation Lab provided the only in-person experiences that students had. Ms. Hoyt-Brennan also managed all purchasing, tracking, supplying, and training students on how to use personal protective equipment. Additionally, Ms. Hoyt-Brennan’s dedicated effort was instrumental in ensuring that students could attend clinicals in settings that advanced their learning, but where the site did not have extra PPE for students. Her quick problem-solving, innovative solutions, attention to detail, and commitment to students across all of our academic programs is impressive, heartwarming, and inspiring. Ms. Hoyt-Brennan’s inspires the Penn Nursing community to prepare successful nurses and students.