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Welcome to the New Academic Year, 2022-2023 from Dean Antonia M. Villarruel

Welcome to the fall semester! This time of year always feels like a new beginning—a fresh start after the summer, perhaps the start of new projects. Even though the work is ongoing, there’s a sensation that something is different. Certainly, as the pandemic continues, we have learned to live with ever-changing guidelines and protocols (more on that in a second)—but to borrow a quote from the singer Lizzo, “I got a feelin’ we’re gon’ be alright”!

Today as we—returning students, faculty, and staff—regroup to begin the academic year, please help greet Penn Nursing’s new additions, who very much are launching a new chapter in their lives! This semester we are joined by 104 BSN, 107 ABSN, 98 MSN, 8 PhD and 2 Hillman Scholars PhD, 31 Post-Masters DNP and executive leadership, 23 Nurse Anesthesia DNP, 24 Post-graduate APRN certificate, and 10 non-degree students—to all of our new students, I say congratulations and welcome! Our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to provide the best educational experience possible.

Faculty Appointments and News

It isn’t just new students we have to welcome! Please extend a warm welcome to new Penn Nursing faculty:

  • Carmen Alvarez, PhD, CRNP, CNM, FAAN – Associate Professor of Nursing
  • Stephen Bonett, PhD, RN - Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Jackelyn Y. Boyden, PhD, MPH, RN - Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Seul Ki Choi, PhD, MPH – Research Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Kate Townsend Creasy, PhD - Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Katelin Hoskins, PhD, MBE, CRNP – Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Abigail Howe-Heyman, PhD, CNM, RN – Practice Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Donna Sabella, MEd, MSN, PhD, CRNP, PMHNP-BC – Practice Professor of Nursing
  • Colleen Tewksbury, PhD, MPH, RD, CSOWM, LDN - Assistant Professor in Nutrition Science
  • Abigail Wilpers, PhD, WHNP-BC – Research Assistant Professor of Nursing

Please also join me in congratulating two of our faculty in new appointments—

  • Patricia Pawlow, PhD, ACNP- BC – Practice Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Beth Quigley, DNP, RN, CRNP – Practice Assistant Professor of Nursing

New Staff

Additionally, I’m pleased to announce new staff who started with us over the summer:

  • Allison Pataro, Research Specialist, Biobehavioral and Health Sciences
  • Jackson Felkins, Clinical Research Assistant, Family and Community Health
  • Jennifer Forbes-Nicotera, Research Project Manager, Family and Community Health
  • Jennifer Morgan, Research Project Manager, Family and Community Health
  • Kevin Schott, Director of Engagement, Eidos LGBTQ+ Health Initiative
  • Kim Strauch, Executive Director, Leonard A. Lauder Community Care Nurse Practitioner Program
  • Melody Taylor, Grants Coordinator, Office of Nursing Research

Welcome to you all!

Upcoming Events

One of the things I always look forward to at the start of the new academic year is an opportunity to get together with all of you. Whether you are at Fagin Hall or working remotely, there are some great events happening soon. Do keep an eye on the Penn Nursing events calendar for a full listing, but I’d like to highlight one that’s the highlight of every fall semester:

The annual Back to School event will take place this year on Tuesday, September 13 at 1:00 to 3:00 PM, outside on Legacy Walk (the courtyard between Fagin Hall and Stellar-Chance Laboratories). We will be doing it in “Philly Style,” showcasing the city we love alongside the nursing school we love. More details will be emailed out as the date approaches—please join us for fun, food, and giveaways.

Pandemic Protocols

The pandemic has continued to impact into our lives in many ways, and as a School that values evidence-based care, our COVID-19 protocols change to reflect the science. Each of us has a responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy. We have already received the University of Pennsylvania’s guidelines for fall semester. However, being a leader in the health care space comes with additional responsibilities—and Penn Nursing has protocols specifically for nursing students. Please review both the university’s guidelines, as well as Penn Nursing-specific guidelines—both available on Penn Nursing’s COVID-19 Sharepoint portal. Any changes to the guidelines in response to new conditions will be available here as well.

While we continue to adjust to the many changes brought on by the pandemic in our work, teaching, and research, I remain incredibly proud to be your Dean. I’ve said since the beginning that our School—no matter the challenge or change—our students, staff, and faculty have done a stellar job of adjusting. That continues to be true, and I thank you for your dedication, commitment, and responsiveness. You are truly why Penn Nursing is known for its excellence.

I wish you all the best and much success during this exciting year—and I hope to see you at the Back to School event! Thank you again for being a part of our Penn Nursing community.


- Toni