School of Health Sciences Newsletter Spring 2021

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Pinning – An annual tradition preserved

Judith Ndiwane

Judith Ndiwane

As Autumn Quarter 2020 concluded last November, the School of Health Sciences hosted a pinning ceremony celebrating 33 students who earned their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. 

Abiding within the state of Washington COVID restriction protocols and under the advice of the SPU COVID Strategy Team, safety measures were established to permit an in-person pinning event with participating students and faculty members.

The energy in the room was electric; it was the first time in nine months that the entire cohort had met in person since the pandemic had begun. One did not need the masks removed to see huge smiles on the faces of everyone there. 

Interim Dean Antwinett O. Lee expressed her joy as she welcomed all to the special ceremony celebrating the students and their journey to becoming nurses. Faculty member Carol McFarland prayed over the graduates, acknowledging their adventure through nursing school with seasons of commitment, growth, challenges, hope, and endurance under the sovereign hand of the Father God. Provost Laura Hartley expressed congratulations to the graduates on behalf of President Dan Martin and the SPU Leadership Team. Provost Hartley commended the graduates for selecting the profession of nursing that is not only essential but also requires compassion, care, and courage. 

The scripture Philippians 2:1–11 was selected and read by student Sophia Navarro. A prayer of blessing was delivered by student Liana Peralta. Student speaker Adrienne Herms reflected on her initial disappointment on being assigned to the first Winter Quarter cohort but reflected on how truly grateful she was for the valued relationships, experiences, and learning that took place with this group of students. She said she is proud to be a member of this cohort of extraordinary new nurses ready to advocate for excellence, change, and advocating for health care in the community. Class president, Hugo Lam, expressed sincere gratitude to the School of Health Sciences faculty and staff for their continued support through the program. 

Special recognition during the ceremony included presentation of awards by Interim Associate Dean Lena Hristova. There was a tie for the award for Outstanding Academic Scholar given to Elaine Huynh and Makenna Okeson for achieving the highest GPA in the nursing major. The Outstanding Clinical Practitioner was awarded to Taylor Delahoussaye, chosen by the SHS faculty as the student demonstrating the highest level of performance in the clinical setting. The Award for Competence and Character was presented to Judith Ndiwane. This peer-awarded honor is for the student who values serving others and has demonstrated excellence in scholarship while exhibiting honesty and integrity.

Faculty member Desiree Hoffman explained the significance of the pin as a graphic interpretation of SPU, representing learning and the achievement of four qualities of competence, character, wisdom, and grace. Donning the pin ushers the graduates into the nursing profession. The highlight of the program happened as each student name was announced and they took center stage to put on their SPU nursing pin. 

Erika Busz led students reciting the Florence Nightingale Pledge and faculty member Erla Champ-Gibson concluded the ceremony in prayer and blessings over the students. 

The pinning ceremony is all about honoring and celebrating nursing students and their journey to becoming nurses. We are truly grateful for the in-person gathering and the support of family and friends who were able to watch the ceremony on YouTube. The Lydia Green Nursing Program faculty proudly welcome their newest colleagues into the nursing profession.

Highlights for this quarter

SHS logo

The Nursing program recently received a $5,000 donation from Dana Mallett and Nancy Ezell. Two adjustable exam tables with stirrups will be purchased for the Clinical Learning Lab. We are very grateful for their continued generosity and support of the nursing program.

Health and Human Performance (HHP)


Dale Cannavan, department chair and associate professor of exercise science, presented his work on the foot at the Kabuki Education week in February. His work titled, “The Foot: Training from the ground up,” uncovered the importance of the foot in movement, force production, and injury risk. It also explored methods for training the foot.

Katie Thralls Butte, assistant professor of health and human performance, is leading her department’s Diversity Action Committee. Committee members are: Bomin Shin (UG Faculty), Keyaira Corbray (HHP student), Rebeca González (SHS Staff), Mya Davis (UG student), Jennifer Reyes (GR), Glenda Shepard (GR student), Jill Wang (GR student).

Jerrett Mentink, assistant professor of physical education, is also an accomplished author who founded Kids in the Clouds, which provides in-flight children’s reading materials. He also shares an anti-bullying message that includes Christ’s “love thy neighbor as thyself” lessons to elementary schools in the Northwest, California, and Arizona.


Perpetua inducted as Fellow

In January 2021 DNP adjunct faculty member Elizabeth Perpetua, DNP, ACNP-BC, FACC was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

DNP Interview Day

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program held an Interview Day on Jan. 30 as an opportunity for applicants to gain an understanding of the program and for evaluators to get to know prospective students. The event was highly successful, with feedback from applicants and SPU participants indicating that although a virtual format may not have been the first choice, it was effective, efficient, and even had some unforeseen benefits.

Deepest thanks to the current DNP students, alumni, instructors, and staff who made the 2021 DNP Interview Day a success.

APRN Specialty Certification

2020 Graduates of SPU’s DNP program achieved a 100% first-time pass rate on their specialty certification exams. Congratulations to all!

Current student and alumni updates

Donna Kang (DNP-CNS student) has been accepted to present her poster titled, “Body Fluid Exposure Management: Improving Provider Adherence to Clinical Practice Guidelines,” at the NACNS 2021 Annual Conference in March 2021.

Azeb Zeleke (DNP-FNP, Class of 2020) is currently participating in the International Community Health Services ARNP/Family Nurse Practitioner Residency.

Josephine Eshun (DNP-FNP, Class of 2020) is currently participating in the Community Health Care Family Nurse Practitioner Residency.


SHS students at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Course Modalities and COVID-19

Many thanks to our extraordinary faculty who have exercised their flexibility, innovation, and perseverance to provide high quality learning for our students despite COVID-19. Even through remote learning, the relationships that make our program special have continued to flourish.

DNP students have continued to progress in their clinical practica, with a mix of in-person and telehealth experiences. Lab experiences, including weekly focused physical and standardized patient exams, have been conducted in NUR 7212 Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Reasoning with increased physical distance and approved personal protective equipment.

We look forward to the return of face-to-face learning as soon as it is safe to gather in groups.

Rebeca González (undergraduate administrative assistant) and Julie Ann Harrington (manager, budget and business operations) processed over 200 nursing applications, and the admissions team, faculty, and community partners interviewed over 100 nursing students for the Autumn Quarter 2020 and Winter Quarter 2021 cohorts.

Candice Xia (DNP student) and Jesse Diaz (adjunct faculty) have been doing an awesome job of providing temporary help in the Clinical Learning Lab (CLL).

Rebeca Gonzalez, Maddie Richardson, and Lena Hristova conducted a successful orientation for the Spring Quarter 2021 nursing cohort.

Nursing students Rachel Mylar, Megan Yoshioka, and Caitlyn Stoltzfus are organizing a Spring Quarter 2021 fundraiser competition between the undergraduate nursing cohorts.

Twin sisters, Jagrup and Simran Kaur from the Spring Quarter 2021 cohort, are organizing a mentoring program for undergraduate nursing students.


Vicki Aaberg co-authored a publication in the Nursing Education and Health Promotion Journal. “Sexual competence in higher education: Global perspective in a multicentric project in the nursing degree” Mecugni, D., Caldeira, E., Aaberg, V., Dias, H., Gomez-Cantarino, S., Aguilar-Frias, S., Barros, L., and Sim-Sim, M. (2021).

Heidi Monroe co-authored the book Christian Ethics and Nursing Practice with Richard Steele, professor of moral and historical theology. Their book with be honored at the annual School of Theology Book Celebration, which will be held this year (virtually) on Thursday, April 22, 3–4:30 p.m.


Who are we? Here’s a quick look at the students and faculty of the HHP and Nursing programs, plus a pictorial look at the graduate program.

HHP Graphic 3

HHP Graphic 1

HHP Graphic 2


Major heartfelt thanks to Christine Hoyle for her vision and leadership over Graduate Nursing programs. She worked with former Dean Lorie Wild on the initiation of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at SPU. By June 2021, the DNP program will have graduated two DNP cohorts. Bravo Dr. Hoyle for your exemplary work and dedication to the Lydia Green Graduate Nursing programs. The legacy of your work will live on forever.

Interim SHS Dean Antwinett O. Lee will be a keynote speaker at the University of Washington School of Nursing (UW SoN) Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) Ambulatory Care Conference 2021 in April. Topic: The Lived Experience of Dealing with Exhaustion, Resilience, Hope, and Gratitude During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Gone but not forgotten

Joy Plein, developer of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Washington, died peacefully on Feb. 19. She was born in 1925. Included in her obituary in The Seattle Times is a reference stating that “Joy taught pharmacotherapeutics for nursing at Seattle Pacific College.”


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