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Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing celebrates student and faculty achievement

Scholarship and Awards Celebration featured inaugural Nursing White Coat Ceremony

The 2022 Celebration of Scholarship and Awards of the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing was held at UMass Chan Medical School on Thursday, June 2. The annual recognition event preceded the 49th Commencement Exercises taking place on Sunday, June 5, when the Class of 2022 will graduate with four Master of Science, seven PhD in Nursing and 33 Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees, and 11 Postgraduate Certificates.

Chancellor Michael F. Collins thanked Joan Vitello, PhD, the Donna M. and Thomas J. Manning Chair in Nursing and dean of the Tan Graduate School of Nursing; faculty; and staff for stewarding the graduates. He presented the Chancellor’s Award, the evening’s highest honor, to Rachel Niemiec. Niemiec is also this year’s UMass Chan recipient of 29 Who Shine recognition from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

Chancellor Collins’ overarching message to Niemiec and classmates was, “When it comes to what’s going on in the world, we need you!”

New this year the inaugural Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing White Coat Ceremony was held at UMass Chan. The White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage that serves to welcome students to health care practice and elevate the value of humanism as the core of health care. Originated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for medical students in 1993, the White Coat Ceremony was adopted at nursing schools around the world beginning in 2014.

Following introductory remarks from white coat initiative leaders Ezequiel De Leon and Emily Davenport Alonso, members of the DNP Classes of 2022 and DNP Class of 2023 along with postgraduate certificate and Advanced Generalist Registered Nurse Program students received white coats. Those in attendance donned them in unison and recited the Nightingale Pledge.

Dean Vitello presided over the award presentations. “We are celebrating each of you for the commitment and sacrifice you have made to be learners here, especially during these unprecedented, turbulent times,” she said.

2022 awards and recipients are:

Chancellors Award
Rachel Niemiec

GSN Dean’s Award
Amanda Corrinne

Commencement Speaker Recognition
Jennifer DiBenedetto

Carol Bova Scholarship
Sandra Toffay

Lillian Goodman Scholarship
Heather Kennedy

Annie Vigeant Award
Cathleen Cuddihy
Nancy Figuereo

Paulette Seymour-Route Scholarship
Lindsey McGregor

Suzanne T. and John F. Sullivan Scholarship
Grace Winship
Samantha Creamer

Mary K Alexander Academic Achievement and Leadership Award
Emily Davenport Alonso

Janet Fraser Hale Academic Achievement and Leadership Award
Aisling Ryan

Lucie D. Russell Briefcase Award              
Family Nurse Practitioner: Candace Wallace
Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: Oupravanh Phouangmaly
Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: Daniela Carrasco
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: Marsha Charlton

Outstanding NP student in Critical Care Award
Kaitlin Cormier

Jane McCue Magner Award
Irina Rojas

GSN Interprofessional Community Service Award
Worcester Free Care Collaborative
Angela Patterson
Casandra Gale
Kourtney Mantyla
Jacob Waldman
Emily Dillon
Morgan Hill
Rachel Odillia
Joshan Niroula
Jillian Steacy
David Runyan

GSN Community Partnership Award
The Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
UMass Memorial Medical Center Clinical Decision Unit

Nancy and Walter Kowal Scholarship
Monica Mbugua  

Ciborowski Family Scholarship
Kathryn Walker 

Janet Fraser Hale Humanism in Health Care Award
Grace Schierberl

Faculty Daisy Award
Elizabeth (Beth) Keating

Related UMass Chan news story:
Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing to hold inaugural Nursing White Coat Ceremony