Amanda Keddington, MSN, RN
University of Utah
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2024
Current Position: Faculty, University of Utah College of Nursing
The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Organizational Leadership degree is vital in addressing critical healthcare gaps. This specialized doctorate degree fills a crucial need, teaching participants to steer nursing advancement, advocate for the profession, and implement evidence-based practice. This program empowers nurses to lead complex healthcare systems, drive innovation, and elevate patient care quality. The DNP-OL degree serves as a catalyst for change through leadership, mentorship, and knowledge implementation, thus fostering leaders who can navigate healthcare leadership while championing the advancement of nursing.
This program has guided me in identifying my leadership style and strategic thinking processes. I also have a thorough understanding of project leadership and management and have been able to apply this knowledge in practice through my practicum experience. I intend to translate this knowledge into academic nursing education. It is vital to have nursing, education, business, and leadership experience to guide a nursing program, particularly through this era of significant change.
Karen Towne, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC
PhD in Nursing
University of Kansas
Anticipated Graduation Date: December 2024
Current Position: Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty Fellow, Center for Faculty Development - University of Mount Union
Jonas Scholar 2021-2023
As a nurse educator, public health nurse, and beginning nurse scientist, I am a passionate public health advocate. I enrolled in the University of Kansas Nursing PhD program because I see research as a root form of advocacy where evidence is discovered, documented, and disseminated to drive improvement initiatives which benefit the individuals, communities, and populations we serve as nurses. With an emphasis track in symptom science and faculty expertise in public and environmental health, my program has enabled me to connect individual- and systems-level knowledge to examine pressing public health issues. Beyond the excellent distance and intensive educational experience, faculty mentors have encouraged me to strive for professional, scholarly, and intellectual opportunities such as presentations, publications, scholarships and grants, and scholarly recognitions.
My dissertation explores the relationships between allostatic load, disaster-related prenatal stress, and pregnancy outcomes. My long-term goal is to examine the underlying relationships between disasters and prenatal stress and their impacts on fetal, childhood, and transgenerational health. Public health nurses, who possess expertise in advocacy, prevention science, population health, and emergency management, are well-positioned to explore stress mitigation interventions as part of disaster preparedness and response efforts. In the future, my goal is to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration to mitigate fetal exposure to disaster-related prenatal stress and to provide public health policymakers with the credible data for evidence-based decision-making.
Andrew Lim, MBA, BSN, BA, RN
PhD in Nursing
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Anticipated Graduation Date: Summer 2024
Current Position: Graduate Research Assistant
Curiosity has always been my trait growing up. I knew that I was going to end up in academia and I just had a more roundabout route. After receiving my second baccalaureate (this time in nursing), I decided to look at doctoral programs. I enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Nursing after talking to faculty members and receiving guidance on potential topics of research.
The areas that piqued my interest included cancer control, cancer care, and underserved population. I was fortunate to be introduced to my current committee chair, Dr. Robin Lally, who has been instrumental in encouraging me to explore areas of social psychological factors of cancer prevention in the sexual and gender diverse (SGD) community. The fact that we have an NCI cancer center right here in Omaha also played a role in my enrollment.
My experiences here at UNMC have exceeded my expectations. The tremendous amount of support from faculty and peers as well as the institution itself allows me to navigate the nooks and crannies of scientific inquiries and develop my research trajectory. Once I complete the program, I hope to receive more training, especially in the SGD field. My goal is to bring an SGD health research program to the area and help incorporate more SGD content in health professional education curricula.
Lakshmi Nair, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC
PhD in Nursing and Health Innovations
Arizona State University
Anticipated Graduation Date: Fall 2025
I decided to pursue a PhD in Nursing as I wanted to strengthen my skills in research to work in the psychiatric and addiction nursing field. The opiate and drug use epidemic has the world perplexed and we need more effective interventions supported by evidence to fight this disease. It is my hope to contribute to the science in the field and bring about substantial changes we see and treat substance use disorders.
Arizona State University has helped me build substantial skills in mixed methods research as I continue to work with imminent faculty who are pioneers in the field. I hope to pursue a research plan that substantially contributes to our understanding of prevention, early interventions, and management of substance use disorders with a special focus on adolescents and young adults. I hope to develop a novel intervention that uses heart-rate variability biofeedback as an adjunct intervention in the management of alcohol cravings which can be further adapted and studied across different substance use disorders. My leadership roles outside of the PhD program with the Arizona Indian Nurses Association’s Mental Health Initiative will continue to inform my work in my community and volunteering efforts for the mental health of young adults and vice versa.
David Agor, DNP, PMHNP-BC
University of Pennsylvania
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2026
During my DNP program at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, I started investigating novel treatments for mental illness as part of my public health class. Then I was exposed to nutritional psychiatry, a novel branch of psychiatry aimed at improving microbiome dysbiosis with nutrients to improve mental health, and I became fascinated with the topic. However, there is a paucity of nurse researchers exploring nascent therapies for mental illness. Therefore, I decided to enroll in a PhD program to develop a program of research focused on affecting the implementation of nutritional psychiatry for the sexual and gender minority (SGM or LGBTQIA+) population.
I hope to serve at a research-intensive university researching nutritional psychiatry policies for SGM and helping educate the next generation of nurse scientists. Also, I am interested in having a joint appointment at para-governmental organizations and think tanks with global policy influence, such as the World Health Organization. Nurses are needed at every table where health care is discussed, and I hope to represent nursing effectively at those tables.