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Sigma Theta Tau International awards recognize achievements and contributions in nursing. Nominate a member today!

Student Leadership Award 

Recognizes a BSN, MSN, and PhD student who is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Xi Chapter, who demonstrates a high level of academic achievement, leadership, and service within the School of Nursing, University and/or the community.


2022 Student Leadership Award Winners

BSN Leadership Award

Amanda Chuang has been involved in a variety of community events including Students Care, and has been recognized by her faculty. One has said: Amanda is deeply committed to her nursing career and has a strong passion for pediatrics and pediatric oncology. She was a Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Fellow in the summer of 2021, caring for oncology and bone marrow transplant patients. Amanda completed an Evidence-Based Project on effective communication with school-aged children about their cancer for her culminating presentation.

ABSN Leadership Award

Grace Seung In Cho is recognized for her commitment to scholarship, leadership and community service. As one mentor stated “Grace’s activities are impressive and productive, the essence of her leadership and citizenship are best viewed through her focus on the holistic health of individuals and communities, and her humility. She is assertive in advocacy for others and for herself as an agent of change.

Doctoral Student Award

Gordon “Stef” Zeis is awarded the Doctoral Student Leadership Award for his “leadership within the classroom, within the school of nursing, and within his agency. He is an exceptional candidate for this award and well-deserved recognition”. As his nominators said. They have also said Stef demonstrates a deep understanding of the role of the DNP-prepared scholar in practice and is an exemplary steward of practice leadership. He enriches the experiences of those around him and significantly contributes to the collective elevation of practice and policy in his environment.



Nurse Researcher Awards

Honor a nurse whose early career or long-term research has impacted the nursing profession.



This mixed methods study employs explanatory sequential design to (1) identify clusters of attitudes and self-care patterns that correspond best with IAH, (2) explore attitudes and self-care in a racially diverse group of adults with T1D with IAH, and (3) integrate quantitative and qualitative findings to develop meta-insights regarding the relationship between attitudes and self-care in this population.


Awards Archive

2021 Student Leadership Award Winners

BSN Leadership Award

Julia Ann Kennedy is receiving the BSN award for her commitment to Nursing Practice, Academic Excellence, the Profession of Nursing, and her value of service. Julia Ann has been active in SNAP as Chapter president, chapter Secretary, and a peer advisor. At the state level, she was a resolution author in 2018 and served as our chapter’s delegate in 2018. Further, she has earned the SNAP Upperclassmen State Scholarship. Being involved with service, Julia has supported the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by volunteering for both Light the Night and the Red and White Ball. In addition, Julia also has volunteered to staff the University’s COVID-19 testing clinic and consistently volunteers to work the sign-in table for our bi-semesterly blood drives. She does all of this while maintaining a high GPA.

Lindsay Krott is receiving the BSN Student Leadership Award of XI chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. Lindsay has served as a leader in many capacities and consistently serves her community. As the previous president of Student Nurses at Penn (SNAP) Lindsay has enhanced previous programs as well as initiating new ones. In order to recruit and engage more members, Lindsay helped create an Instagram and Facebook page for Penn’s chapter for the first time. This resulted in the Penn SNAP chapter winning the Social Media Award for School Instagram at the National Convention. She is actively involved in the University of Pennsylvania band and serves as a mentor within her flute section education. Additionally, Lindsay is a tutor for some of the most difficult nursing classes such as Medical-Surgical Nursing, and serves as a note-taker for those with educational accommodations. In the past, Lindsay worked as an Opioid Prevention Program Intern with the City of Philadelphia Office of the Health Commissioner getting motivated to initiate Narcan training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. her. She has been very involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, fundraising for Light the Night and volunteering at the Red and White Ball as well as coming up with the idea to send Thank You cards to the nurses at our University Hospital in honor of the 2020 Year of the Nurse and Midwife. These are just a few examples of why she deserves this award.

MSN Leadership Award

Alexandrea Russell is awarded the MSN Student Leadership Award for her commitment to her fellow students and Nurse Midwifery. Ms. Russell volunteered to be the Student Representative to the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) during her tenure at Penn. Further, she is a meticulous and thorough clinician, a true doula and yogi willing to share her steadfast presence and deep wisdom with everyone, including doing yoga in class. Alex often demonstrated her commitment to addressing health inequities experienced by women. In one course she gave a presentation on maternal mortality across cultures. In this presentation she clearly and succinctly described the relationship between systemic racism and poor maternal health in the US and other countries. In addition, Her enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to women’s health will be assets as a clinician, advocate and future educator will take her far. Alex not only brought her clinical expertise to the classroom, clinical rotations, and work environments, but she also brought intangible qualities such as joy, levity, and a sense of calm providing a source of comfort to her colleagues.

Doctoral Student Award

Beth Quigley is awarded the Doctoral Student Leadership Award for her commitment to Sigma Theta Tau International and the future of nursing. Ms. Quigley has been committed to XI Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau as faculty counselor, Colloquium Chair, and Governance Chair. She is an outstanding instructor of undergraduate nurses engaging sophomore students and teaching them health assessment. She did this full time while pursuing her DNP where she demonstrated excellent scholarship and collaboration among her DNP cohort. Ms. Quigley has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to service at the School of Nursing and in her community. She is a food bank volunteer, advocates by assisting older adults on how to sign up for Covid-19 vaccines, explains various community resources such as how to navigate the health system and how to access Meals on Wheels, supports local grade school with fundraising, and participates in the Minding Your Mind organization. In addition, Beth has been a volunteer coach for certified soccer, volleyball, and swimming.

Olivia Arnold is awarded the Doctoral Student Leadership award for her intelligence, aptitude, and motivation to contribute to nursing science. Ms. Arnold has received funding as a doctoral candidate for her dissertation research and has presented at several Research Congresses. Clearly, Ms. Arnold is a leader serving as Ph.D. Student representative on the Curriculum Committee and Graduate Group; was a simulation instructor of undergraduate students. Additionally, Ms. Arnold served as a preceptor and a member of the policy revision committee in her clinical setting. Ms. Arnold seeks out learning opportunities to further her scholarship. Recognizing the tremendous need for policy engagement related to her work, Ms. Arnold applied to and was accepted as a Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics as an Associate Fellow where she engaged in research on health and health policy and developed multidisciplinary connections. Therefore, she is deserving of this leadership award.


2020 Student Leadership Award Winners

BSN Student Leadership Award

Samelle Arhin is receiving the Sigma Theta Tau XI chapter BSN Student Award for her leadership known on Penn’s campus and within the Philadelphia community. Samelle serves as the president for the Minorities in Nursing Organization, exercising listening and problem-solving skills by listening to the grievances of minority nursing students and presenting solutions to the dean for diversity such as student-faculty town halls and inclusivity lectures for Penn nursing faculty. Samelle’s community efforts are multiple. She has served as a SNAP Peer Mentor and Quaker Days host, the director for New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir, tutor in Urban Public Schools 5th grade English class at Lea Elementary School and a Labor Support doula supporting laboring moms at HUP through their birth. She attended community health fairs and educated women on the importance of HIV testing and helped to design an app for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence among women in recovery homes. Last summer, she served as a coordinator and mentor to 15 high school juniors interested in nursing helping students with the college application process and facilitated a trip to volunteer at Share Food Philly and many other events.


MSN Student Leadership Award

Aaron Ahlgren Huntley, BSN, RN is receiving the Sigma Theta Tau Xi Chapter MSN Student Award for his scholarly work, his personable demeanor and take-charge personality and community involvement. For instance, at a recent outreach event on MLK day, planned activities, procured resources and collected valuable data. His well-thought out planning resulted in the nursing involvement being extremely well-received by both the event hosts and the pet-owners who attended the event. Aaron is also a compassionate individual with a generous heart. In spite of the intensive AGACNP program, Aaron has been an ardent volunteer at SPCA assisting with cat socialization, fund-raising events, paperwork and laundry for the organization weekly. Aaron is always seeking opportunities to expand his experience at Penn. On top of his full-time student status, he is a research assistant working with Dr. Peggy Compton and collaborating with Dr. Terri Lipman and the School of Veterinary Medicine on a Quality Improvement project working towards optimizing outcomes of both pets and pet-owners in outreach programs.


PhD Student Leadership Award

Clare Whitney, MS, RN is being awarded the Sigma Theta Tau Doctoral Student Leadership Award as a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation in the School of Nursing, simultaneously working on her Masters in Bioethics through the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy in the School of Medicine, and obtaining a Teaching Certificate through the Center for Teaching and Learning at Penn. Claire volunteered on several committees including the PhD taskforce, developing a curriculum map for the program and putting substantial effort each week supporting local COVID-19 testing efforts. Clare is a high-achieving student and has a deep commitment to others within the community.

2019 Student Leadership Award Winners

BSN Student Leadership Award

Breanne Mastromarino, BSN, an undergraduate nursing student and member of Sigma Nursing is honored for her outstanding leadership and passion. Breanne has been active in Xi Chapter including her participation of the publicity committee and has been instrumental in updating our website making Xi Chapter more visible. In addition to earning a BSN, she minored in Medical Sociology and has been accepted as a sub-matriculated student in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. Breanne is a born leader having served as the Nursing Chair of Class Board and in a variety of other on-campus groups such as Student Nurses at Penn (SNAP), the Penn Newman Catholic Community, and Penn Nursing Peer advisory to name a few. Breanne has been on the Dean’s List and received the Wellesley College Book Award for “outstanding academic record and character with significant extracurricular contributions to school and community”. She has accomplished this as she studied abroad, and participated in the Englewood Hospital Surgical Science Research Course and Georgetown Summer Medical Institute.


MSN Student Leadership Award

Joshua Boscak, BSN, RN, a full-time student in the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner is recognized for his leadership and service and has been active in a variety of projects. He has gone above and beyond to enhance student experiences by participating in extra interdisciplinary and interprofessional simulation events for undergraduate and graduate students. Jason attended the Graduate Open House, sharing his enthusiasm for Penn with potential graduate students. He addressed potential student questions especially as they applied to his oncology minor. Beyond that, he serves as a research assistant and a bone marrow transplant coordinator, leading and participating in interdisciplinary team meetings. Prior to coming to Penn, he consistently participated in leadership activities. For instance, he collaborated with a team to implement a new local palliative care clinic implanting a hybrid tele-palliative medicine clinic, a novel approach at the time. Finally, Jason’s peers nominated him for a nursing excellence award.


PhD Student Leadership Award

Alicia Kachmar, Nu’15, MS, BSN, RN, a doctoral student, has evolved as a writer and scholar, getting certified in narrative medicine in her pursuit of narrative science. Alicia has been recognized by her colleagues for her scholarly writing as a nominee for the Dorothy Mereness Award for excellence in scholarly writing with students attesting to her willingness to mentor others, and being a “generous and thoughtful colleague”. In addition to her excellent research, Alicia has shown real leadership in integrating new approaches to nursing education into the curriculum during her years at Penn. For example, she played a leadership role in developing a new narrative course in the undergraduate program. She also helped teach its first iteration, making critically important pedagogical suggestions, helping to guide students, and facilitating discussions and the creation of novel assignments. She played such an important role that the School hired her to teach several classes in spring 2018.


2021 Research Grant Winner

Yeji Hwang: Social isolation and anxiety in individuals with cognitive impairment: Retrospective Analysis Using a National Longitudinal Study


2020 Research Grant Winners

Olivia M. Arnold, BSN, M.Sc. RN: Path Analysis to Understand Neurocognitive Outcomes of Children Exposed to Lead and Adversity

Onome Osokpo, MSc., MSN, RN: Socio-Cultural Factors Influencing Self-Care By Community-Dwelling African Immigrants With Chronic Illness: A Mixed Method Study

Beth Hogan Quigley RN, MSN, CRNP: Fall Prevention and Injury Reduction Utilizing Virtual Sitters in Hospitalized Patients


2019 Research Grant Winners

Brittany Koons, PhD, RN, is a postdoctoral research fellow (National Institutes of Health, National Institute for Nursing Research T32NR009356) at the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar Program. Dr. Koons’s proposal is entitled “Prospective Study of Symptom Profiles and Length of Posttransplant Hospitalization Among Lung Transplant Candidates”. Dr. Koons is interested in lung transplant candidates’ physical and psychological symptoms. In this project, she proposes a single-center prospective cohort study to identify symptom profiles among patients waiting for a lung transplant and examine the relationship between symptom profiles and physiology and posttransplant hospital length of stay. She will prospectively enroll 150 adults who are listed for their first lung transplant at a large academic medical center and follow those who undergo transplant through hospital discharge. Participants’ symptoms will be assessed within three months of receiving a lung transplant to identify distinct symptom profiles. The relationship between symptom profiles and length of hospitalization after lung transplant will also be assessed.


Patricia Pawlow, GNu’94, MSN, ACNP-BC, is an advanced senior lecturer and associate program director for the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult Oncology Minor/Post-MSN Certificate, Streamlined Post MSN Adult Gerontology ACNP Certificate Programs. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Her study is entitled “Exploring Palliative Care Needs of Patients Awaiting Lung Transplantation and Their Family Caregivers”. This study will describe the palliative care needs of lung transplant candidates and their caregivers from the patients’ and caregivers’ perspective using a cross-sectional study design. The study will include 150 patients referred for lung transplant evaluation or on the lung transplant waitlist at the University of Pennsylvania Health System Lung Transplant Program and 150 of their family caregivers. The study will explore the relationship between demographic, social, and clinical factors and palliative care needs. This research will be the first study to provide a comprehensive assessment of the palliative care needs of this population.


Diane L. Spatz, Nu’86, GNu’89, GR’95, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN is a professor of perinatal nursing and the Helen M. Shearer Term Professor of Nutrition. She is internationally recognized for her research and scholarship in the field of human milk and breastfeeding, particularly for vulnerable infants. Her study is entitled “An exploration of the use of technology (Angel Eye camera system) as part of the NICU mother’s lactation journey”. Dr. Spatz and her colleagues aim to understand mothers’ of hospitalized infants experiences using live video streaming with one-way audio communication technology (Angel Eye camera system) as part of the lactation journey. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently installed 113 Angel Eye cameras in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit. As a novel area of inquiry, qualitative research methodologies will be utilized in this project. Participants will include mothers of infants less than 30 days old who are currently enrolled in the Angel Eye program. Participants will be individually interviewed either in person or using secured web-based technology. Data will be analyzed and salient themes will then be derived to describe the mothers’ experiences.


Kristin L. Corey, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, NewCourtland Center for Transitions & Health Postdoctoral Fellow, has been awarded a Sigma Theta Tau International Small Grant for her proposal: Latent Profile Analysis to Understand Differences in Psychological Distress and Sleep Quality among Former Family Caregivers of People with Dementia, 6/1/2019 - 5/31/2020.

Penn Nursing’s Karen Hirschman, PhD, MSWSalimah Meghani, PhD, MBE, RN, FAAN and Jesse Chittams, MS are co-investigators for this project.

Former family caregivers of people with dementia may experience psychological distress and sleep disturbances for many years after the care recipient’s death. The purpose of this study is to identify unique profiles of characteristics that may place former dementia caregivers at risk for psychological distress and sleep disturbances after caregiving ends. A cross-sectional design will be used to recruit a sample of former dementia caregivers to complete an online survey.


2018 Research Grant Winners

Solim Lee, MSN, RN: Understanding the Heart Failure Patients’ Symptom Perception Process: A Mixed Methods Study.

The purpose of the study is to explore HF patients’ process of symptom perception and its related factors in a hospitalized patient using a convergent mixed methods (QUAL+quan) design.

Jennifer Morone, MA-ATR, BS-RN: The Influence of Social Determinants of Health on Family and Self-management of Type 1 Diabetes in Black Single Parent Families

The purpose of this exploratory is to expand our understanding of what are the most influential SDOH components for black single caregiver families, how do they influence type 1 diabetes family and self-management, and what are potential solutions for addressing these components in this high-risk population.

Saumya Ayyagari, RN, BSN: A Qualitative Study Investigating Lived Experiences and Perceived Reproductive Health Needs of Female Participants at Prevention Point

This qualitative phenomenological study aims to elicit the perspectives of adult female participants of Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP) regarding their lived experiences, their evaluation of available reproductive health services, and their reproductive health needs.



Sigma Theta Tau Xi Chapter Awards Criteria



Required Submission

Sigma Theta Tau BSN Student Leadership Award
This award recognizes a graduating BSN student who is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Xi Chapter, who demonstrates a high level of academic achievement, leadership and service within the school of nursing, university and/or the community.

A letter of recommendation written by faculty, students or staff. More than 1 signature is welcome on the letter or more than 1 letter are welcome as well.

The letter should provide discussion of their academic achievement, including:

Discuss the nominee’s leadership qualities including examples of leadership activities at school or in the community.

Discuss the nominee’s participation in service whether at SON, at the University or in the community.

Please send letters to

Sigma Theta Tau MSN Student Leadership Award

This award recognizes a graduating Masters student who is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Xi Chapter, who demonstrates a high level of academic achievement, leadership and service within the school of nursing, university and/or the community.

A letter of recommendation written by faculty, students or staff. More than 1 signature is welcome on the letter or more than 1 letter are welcome as well.

The letter should provide discussion of their academic achievement, include

Discuss the nominee’s leadership qualities including examples of leadership activities at school or in the community.

Discuss the nominee’s participation in service whether at SON, at the University or in the community.

Please send letters to

Sigma Theta Tau Doctoral Student Leadership Award
This award recognizes a graduating Doctoral student who is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Xi Chapter, who demonstrates a high level of academic achievement, leadership and service within the school of nursing, university and/or the community.

The letter should provide discussion of their academic achievement, include

Discuss the nominee’s leadership qualities including examples of leadership activities at school or in the community.

Discuss the nominee’s participation in service whether at SON, at the University or in the community.

Please send letters to



International Awards for Nursing Excellence

Recognize a nurse or group for the International Awards for Nursing Excellence.

Showcase of Regional Excellence

Highlight chapters’ achievements in relation to the Presidential Call to Action.

Chapter Key Award

Honors chapters that excel in chapter-related activities.

Honorary Membership

Acknowledge someone who has greatly contributed to the advancement of nursing.

The Episteme Award

The Baxter International Foundation’s Episteme Award acknowledges a major breakthrough in nursing knowledge development that has resulted in a significant and recognizable benefit to the public and comes with a generous $15,000 stipend to the award recipient. In the tradition of the Nobel Prize, The Episteme Award is presented to a person or team for highly significant research.

Penn Nursing is home to seven award winners, more than any other school of nursing, including Dorothy Brooten (1989), Lois K. Evans and Neville E. Strumpf (1995), Ann Burgess (1999), Linda H. Aiken (2001), Loretta Sweet Jemmott (2007), Mary D. Naylor (2009), and Therese Richmond (2017).

Research Hall of Fame

Penn Nursing has three XI Chapter Research Hall of Fame recipients which include our current Penn Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN (2015) Barbara Riegel, PhD, MN, FAAN, FAHA (2015) Therese Richmond, PhD, FAAN, CRNP (2013).