Awards and Accolades Summer 2020

Student Accolades and Accomplishments

  • ECU nursing students posted a 97.97% pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam through June with 241 new BSN graduates passing the licensing exam. The ECU College of Nursing continues to prepare the most new nurses of any four-year institution in North Carolina.
  • East Carolina Association of Student Nurses (ECANS) was awarded the Stellar School Chapter from the National Student Nurses Association.
  • Undergraduate student Hadley Hilton and graduate student Sandra Leggott received The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students in appreciation of their commitment to extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate patient care.
  • BSN student Cassie Knittel recently was named a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the Southern MidAtlantic Navy Nurse Corps Association.
  • MSN Adult Gerontology student Lauren Urban accepted an emergency travel nurse contract in Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital to help with the influx of patients resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • RN to BSN student Gracie Hearne Vaughn and BSN student Cassie Knittel each received a $700 scholarship from Pitt Golden K Kiwanis Club.

Faculty Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Dr. Rebecca Bagley was recently appointed to the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME)’s Board of Review.
  • Dr. Shannon Baker Powell and Dr. Martha Engelke’s article “Experiential Learning to Engage Millennial Learners in an Undergraduate Nursing Research Course” was recently published in Nursing Education Perspectives.
  • LaTonia Chalmers serves as President of the NCNA Psychiatric Nursing Council.
  • Cheryl Elhammoumi, Dr. Carolyn Horne, Susan Lally and Dr. Holly Wei were named recipients of this year’s DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty from The DAISY Foundation.
  • Dr. Mark Hand was elected to serve as a member of the Board of Governors for the National League for Nursing (NLN) for a three-year term.
  • Dr. Lee Ann Jarrett-Johnson was among the recipients of the 2019-2020 ECU Scholar Teacher Award, which recognizes faculty members who effectively integrate scholarship, research and creative activity in classroom teaching.
  • Dr. Susan Kidd was appointed as the new Chair of the Department of Baccalaureate Education.
  • Heather Kindl has been making masks to donate to groups including a refugee community in her local community in Wake county and a mask-making community that has been assisting health care facilities. Kindl recently donated proceeds of $425 (equal to 85 masks) from mask sales to the College of Nursing Priority Fund. She had previously donated proceeds from mask sales to a Wake county non-profit. For those interested in contributing to this effort or who would like to purchase a mask, Kindl requests a “free-will” donation of $5 per mask. She can be reached via email at
  • Dr. Donna Lake recently published the article “A Call for North Carolina to Surround the Seriously Ill and Caregivers with Interprofessional Collaborative Teams” in the NC Medical Journal.
  • Dr. Charleen McNeill and Dr. Mel Swanson recently co-authored the article “Emergency Preparedness Competencies Among Nurses” in The Journal of Nursing Administration.
  • Dr. Charleen McNeill is part of a team of East Carolina University public health experts working with statewide partners on a project that will explore the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on North Carolina.
  • Dr. Pamela Reis was appointed to serve as an alternate for the UNC Faculty Assembly.
  • Dr. Michelle Skipper’s article “Precepting in the New Normal” was published in Tarheel Nurse. It amplifies the need for preceptors to step up to the challenge of helping to prepare future nurse practitioners.
  • Dr. Jan Tillman is spearheading a volunteer collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to pair unemployed or underemployed health care providers with the long term care facilities that need them.
  • Dr. Mike Urton serves on the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists and the NC Association CNS Council with the NCNA
  • Dr. Holly Wei published two new studies that provide insight on how health care professionals can avoid burnout, with one assessing health care providers’ susceptibility to burnout and ways to avoid it while treating COVID-19 patients.
  • Suzanne Wertman was selected as a 2020 Fellow in the American College of Nurse-Midwives. She joins ECU College of Nursing faculty members Dr. Rebecca Bagley and Dr. Pamela Reis in earning this distinction.
  • Dr. Tomika Williams co-authored “Psychological Impact of COVID-19 in Oder Adults and Nurses in Geriatric Care Settings,” which was published in the latest issue of Tar Heel Nurse magazine.
  • Dr. Heather Wright has assumed the role of Interim Associate Dean for Research & Scholarship.

College of Nursing faculty grants receive funding

  • Dr. Alta Andrews’ EAHEC ECU Clinical Site Development project was funded for $10,000.
  • Dr. Sylvia Brown’s EAHEC Off Campus Clinical project was funded for $67,727.
  • Dr. Nancy Dias’ pilot grant, Testing a Theoretically Based Digital Intervention for Bereaved Parents, was funded for $65,437 by the Palliative Care Research Cooperative group.
  • Stephanie Hart’s Hospice and Home Care grant was funded for $7,500.
  • Dr. Susan Kennerly’s Duke Preventing Pressure Ulcers with Repositioning Frequency and Precipitating Factors project was funded for $146,622. Her Duke Administrative Supplement project received a no cost extension of $23,821.
  • Dr. Kim Larson’s Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation grant received funding for $50,000.
  • Dr. Maura McAuliffe’s HRSA Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship was funded for $22,315.
  • Dr. Charleen McNeill’s University of Arkansas Promise or Peril? The Ambivalence of Rural Tourism project was funded for $7,000.
  • Dr. Annette Peery’s EAHEC Education Mobility Grant was funded for $54,590.
  • Dr. Pamela Reis’ ANEW Traineeship was funded for $698,374.
  • Dr. Donna Roberson’s Carolina GWEP grant was funded for $114,036.
  • Dr. Holly Wei’s CCI Foundation grant was funded for $25,000.

Alumni Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Deborah Brown, MSN ’03, recently published the book “Woman 2 Woman,” that reached the No. 1 spot in’s new release category.
  • Ensign Mason Cobb, BSN ’17, served aboard the USNS Comfort in New York City working to help alleviate overcrowded hospitals resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. He was featured in the latest issue of East Magazine.
  • Aiyana Coward, BSN ’19, was recognized by Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center for her role in caring for COVID-19 patients. Her story is one of Novant Health’s “Healthy Headlines”:

    “Just weeks into the job in late April, she perched bedside with her training nurse as a family sang to their father – a retired truck driver who once logged a million miles without an accident. As McArthur Mackey took his final breaths, the family gazed into the room via the internet from their laptops and phones from around the country and joined together to sing ‘I’ll Fly Away.’”

  • Ben Kitchin, MSN ’16, has grown a very successful midwifery service in Wayne County. His midwifery service received a certificate from ACNM for benchmarking best practices. His practice includes five CNMs who are all Pirate Nurses.
  • Cassandra Elder, MSN ’17, has started and grown a very successful midwifery service in Raleigh. Her practice, City of Oaks Midwifery, received a certificate from ACNM for benchmarking best practices. Her practice boasted a 2019 cesarean birth rate of 6%, while the national average is about 31%.
  • Dr. Diana Worcester, DNP ’18, recently had her article “While normal life is halting, aging is not: A Perspective Piece During the COVID-19 Pandemic” published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

Keep us posted! Alumni, please send updates about your career accomplishments along with your preferred name and graduation year(s) to