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Meet Our PhD Students

Natalie BermudezNatalie Bermudez

Natalie Bermudez is a third-year part-time PhD student. Her current area of research interest is related to morality, moral agency, and autonomy in decision-making of the direct care nurse. She has been a registered nurse for 16 years and is currently employed as the Lead Clinical Nurse Educator at Bethesda Hospital East. As a PhD student, she is looking forward to becoming an effective researcher, but her greatest passion is for teaching her nurse colleagues. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, Iota Xi Chapter, and is a Regional Chapter Advisor for the State of Florida for the American Association for Critical Care Nurses (AACN). Most recently, she has become a member of the American Nurses Association in an effort to become more involved in nursing politics, policy-making, and ethics.

Cheryl BirminghamCheryl Birmingham
Cheryl Birmingham is currently a Director of Nursing in Critical Care Services at Memorial Hospital Pembroke.   In her current position, Cheryl's responsibilities include the Intensive Care Units, Ventilator Weaning Unit, Respiratory Therapy, EEG, EKG, Dialysis, and Patient and Family Centered Care.  Cheryl received her BSN from Florida International University in 1991, and her MSN from Florida Atlantic University in 2008. Certifications include: Critical Care Registered Nurse and Nurse Executive-Board Certified.  Cheryl has presented on Hypothermia-A Story Telling Strategy, Research in Trauma Support Groups, Restraints and Chip Away at Nursing Research.  Her poster presentations have been on The Impact of a 24 hour ARNP/Intensivist program and Combating Alarm Fatigue.   She enrolled in the PhD in nursing program to pursue her passion in nursing research.  Areas of interest include: critical care, families and palliative care.  

Raquel BrownRaquel Brown
Raquel Brown is a registered nurse with over 21 years of diverse experience. She has worked with neonates, young adults and geriatric patient/clients. She has been involved in teaching at at all levels with students, clients and clients’ significant others.
Work settings included Medical-Surgical/Telemetry Unit, multidisciplinary Intensive Care Unit, Antenatal Clinic, Neonatal Nursery/Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and University (Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program).
She earned her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. She is currently enrolled as a full time student in the PhD program at the Florida Atlantic University.  Raquel would like to know more about how cultural practices affect outcome of care as individuals combine these practices with "traditional medicine".

Kathleen Cappo Kathleen Cappo

Kathleen Cappo MSN, RN, CNE is PhD student at Florida Atlantic University since 2014. She started out as a medical assistant right of high school 1981 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, then LPN in 1988, practicing mainly in medical offices in Boca Raton where her love of the older adult sparked. After moving to Avon Park, Florida she earned her Associate Degree in Nursing at South Florida Community College in 1999. Continuing explore her passion for the older adult working in step down rehab center. She completed a bridge program ADN to Masters in Nursing Science and Bachelors in Nursing 2006 at the University of South Florida. While working on her Masters she accepted a position as a full time nursing faculty at South Florida State College in Avon Park, Florida in 2003, finding a second love, nursing education.  Since then taught undergraduate programs such as Practical Nursing, Associate Degree Program and currently in a new cohort of RN-BSN Nursing Program since 2015. She obtained the Certificate of Nursing Education in 2012. She was the recipient of the Endowed Chair 2012 from South Florida State College for her work in competency tracking. Kathleen’s interest in research focus is the community-dwelling older adults and their experiences with others through meaningful engagements to co-create a sense of belonging and wellness. She knows her passion for Caring Science and Gerotranscendence will guide her dissertation research focus. She believes Florida Atlantic University is the best fit for her to be successful, guided by the Dance of Caring. She is dedicated in her studies and the work to advance Caring Science and was honored to have attended Ann Boykin Institute Summer Academy for Caring Science for the past two years. 

Linda CassidyLinda Cassidy

Linda Cassidy is an Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. She has recently accepted a new position with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)’s national office as a Clinical Practice Specialist. Previously, she held the position of Director of Clinical Practice, Associate Training and Development, Nursing Research and the Magnet Program at Holy Cross Hospital. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Psychology from Southeastern Massachusetts University, a Master of Education Degree from Harvard University, and a Master of Nursing Degree from Duquesne University. Linda has earned her CCNS, CCRN, and CSC certifications. 
Linda is currently a PhD student and her research interest is healthy work environments and the impact on nurse satisfaction and patient outcomes.  When not working or in school, Linda loves to be outdoors especially near, on, or below the ocean.

Kitty ChadwellKatherine Chadwell
Katherine Chadwell is an Associate Professor, clinical nurse specialist and board certified geriatric nurse practitioner who trained in primary care, acute care, and long term care. During her tenure in clinical practice, she worked in the intensive care unit (where she maintained Critical Care Certification over a 25 year period), served as the clinical specialist for an open heart surgery program, and practiced as a CNS/ARNP at a local hospital, where she worked on improving quality of care and clinical nursing practice, particularly around the care of older adults. Courses taught include: Pathophysiology, Medical Surgical Nursing, Advanced Assessment, Care of the Older Adult, Professional Roles and Responsibilities, and Chronic Care Nursing Situations. Dr. Chadwell’s research focuses on safer sexual practices related to HIV, STD’s, substance abuse, and hepatitis. She was the project director for grants funded by SAMHSA and OHAIDP, where she ran a successful college campus HIV prevention program. She is President of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, Broward Chapter and is recognized by Sigma Theta Tau International and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.
Dr. Chadwell has a B.S. from Florida International University, an M.BM.S from Barry University, and M.S.N. and D.N.P. from Florida Atlantic University. She also is certified as a Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) and has consulted on quality, safety, risk management, legal, and hospital accreditation requirements.  

Shirley ConradShirley Conrad
Shirley Conrad MS, RN, CCRN, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC received her Diploma in Nursing from Jackson Memorial School of Nursing, ADN from Miami Dade Community College, BSN from St. Petersburg College, and MS with a focus in Advanced Holistic Nursing from Florida Atlantic University. In 1986, Shirley attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University earing a Bachelors in Aeronautical Science along with pilot certificates, including Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor certificates for Single and Multi-engine land, and Instrument ratings. 
Currently Shirley works in a Trauma Intensive Care Unit as Clinical Assistant Nurse Manager at Level 1 Trauma Center. She holds membership in the AACN, AHNA, STTI, IAHC, FNA, and Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.  Her academic interests include Complexity Science as it informs her belief that there is always more lying beneath the surface, that the sum of the parts are greater than the whole, and that linear approaches to nonlinear challenges are destined to produce unsatisfactory results. 
Shirley entered candidacy in the fall of 2015. Her research focus is nurse coaching. 

Lea CrestodinaLea Crestodina
Lea Crestodina ARNP CWOCN CDE graduated from Broward Community College with an Associate of Science degree in nursing in 1986. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in 1994 and a Master’s degree as a geriatric nurse practitioner from Florida Atlantic University in 2003.She is currently pursuing a PhD in nursing at Florida Atlantic University. 
Clinical experience includes the ICU step down, telemetry, and general surgery.  In 1991, Lea accepted the position of Patient Educator at North Broward Medical Center and in this role taught patients with diabetes and ostomies.  Lea became certified as a diabetes educator (CDE) in 1992 and certified as a wound, ostomy, continence nurse (CWOCN) in 1995 and has been continuously certified in both since that time.  Lea has worked in a number of settings utilizing these specialized skills, including acute care, home care, outpatient and long term care. 
In 2004, Lea accepted the position of Assistant Program Director of the Emory University Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Education Center in Atlanta, Georgia, which she held for 5 years. Eventually, family commitments brought her back to South Florida, where she is employed as the Clinical Manager of Wound Care by Memorial Regional Hospital. Responsibilities include program development and patient care in both the adult and pediatric settings. 
Lea has been involved in multiple organizations, including American Association for Diabetes Educators.  Lea organized rides to diabetes camp for children who would not have otherwise been able to attend. Lea has also volunteered with the Society for Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses, serving on the National Nominations Committee, as a peer reviewer for articles for the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, peer reviewer for the text, Acute and Chronic Wound Care and has chaired several regional conferences. She has also served on the Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing Certification Board for 6 years; the last 2 as chair of the Exam Committee.  
Research interest s include: compliancy with diabetes regimen, limb salvage, pressure ulcer identification and prevention and resilience and health liminality, the vulnerable time between health and illness. 

Deborah ElkinsDeborah Elkins
Deborah Elkins is a PhD nursing student interested in gerontology and public healthcare policy.  Deborah began her nursing career in the Veteran’s Administration as a VALOR scholar.  She was a National Health Service Corps Scholar at FAU where she received her MS in the nurse practitioner program in 2000.  Deborah earned a DNP in 2010.

Sandra Gall OjurongbeSandra Gall-Ojurongbe
Sandra Gall-Ojurongbe, MSN, RN is currently an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Over the past 25 years her journey along the path of nursing included several areas of nursing practice. However, for the last 16 years of that journey she has anchored her practice in mental health.
Ms. Gall-Ojurongbe is truly a veteran of FAU completing her BSN in 1997, MSN in 2011 and is currently in the PhD program also at FAU. Last Fall she was awarded a pre-doctoral minority fellowship from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) with the American Nurses Association (ANA). Her research focuses on mental health disparities in the Afro-Caribbean community. Of particular interest to Ms. Gall-Ojurongbe is the prevalence of psychotic disorders, particularly schizophrenia, in the Afro-Caribbean population as a possible stress-related response to immigration in at risk individuals.
Jay GarridoJacinto Garrido
Jacinto Garrido has had a distinguished 26-year career as a Captain and advanced practice nurse in the United States Public Health Service.
Jacinto Garrido, at the request of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, created and developed a one of a kind Special Medical Operation unit, led by nurses providing advance practice care, which encompasses three major programs: aviation medicine, tactical medicine, and shipboard medicine. In the process of developing this program, Jacinto established national healthcare policy to address healthcare service and clinical practice in these unique settings. Using his education and experience as an advanced practice nurse, he was able to design the Special Medical Operations Program to provide quality care for a diverse, multicultural, vulnerable population experiencing difficult situations within a law enforcement platform bridging compassion and care.  
The success of the Special Medical Operations program, which established a healthcare benchmark in a unique clinical environment, was recognized by the Assistant Secretary of Health and the U.S. Surgeon General.
During the summer of 2004, at a personal request of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Jacinto led a flight rescue mission, in coordination with the Department of State and US Embassy that came to the aid of over 250 American citizens, with medical conditions, who were stranded in the Cayman Islands after the devastation of hurricane Ivan.  
Jacinto received his BSN and MSN from Florida International University and his DNP from Florida Atlantic University.  He is a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and American Academy of Nursing. Jacinto is a board certified adult nurse practitioner, adjunct faculty at FAU, and a healthcare consultant.  His current research interest will likely focus on vulnerable populations. 

Angelica HernandezAngelica C. Hernandez

Angelica C. Hernandez is a PhD in Nursing student.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Far Eastern University-Manila, Philippines in 2009 and her Master’s Degree in Nursing with an emphasis in Nursing Education from Grand Canyon University- Phoenix, Arizona in 2014. 
Angelica has been a registered nurse for more than 6 years. Her clinical expertise focuses on cardiovascular critical care nursing and renal replacement therapy. She is currently employed as a full-time nursing faculty in Keiser University-Miami Campus and as a CVICU nurse (per diem) in Broward Health Medical Center. 
As a PhD student, Angelica is looking forward to becoming a research analyst and a researcher, but her greatest passion is honing and teaching nursing students, for them to become a safe and effective nurses.
Angelica’s current area of research interest is related to the impact of the length of time of educational training, preparation and development of CVICU staff nurses in taking care of patients who had an open heart surgery. Angelica aspires to become a researcher, research analyst, an author and a public speaker focusing on how to improve the standards that we have in nursing education.
Angelica is a member of American Association for Critical Care Nurses (AACN), Policy & Procedure Committee of Keiser University- Miami Campus, Nursing Pharmacology Committee of Keiser University- Miami Campus, course coordinator of Advanced Adult Health (Fall 2015) and a course coordinator of Nursing Pharmacology in Keiser University- Miami Campus (May 2015- present).

Candice HickmanCandice Hickman

Candice Hickman is a Clinical Educator and the Simulation Coordinator at Boca Raton Regional Hospital (BRRH) in Boca Raton, Florida. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University. Candice received her BSN from Florida State University in 1994, and her MSN from Nova Southeastern University in 2007. Candice has published on the use of simulation in nursing education, and on the application of caring theory in acute care nursing. She frequently presents at nursing conferences on topics related to nursing education, promotion of patient safety through simulation, and delirium prevention in hospitalized patients. Candice’s research interest is the prevention of delirium in hospitalized older adults. Her dissertation title is The Effect of a Patient-Centered, Caring-Based Delirium Prevention Intervention in Orthopedic Surgical Patients. 

Ayse Kaltsas
Ayse was born and raised in Turkey. She received her BSN from the Florence Nightingale Nursing College at Istanbul University. She relocated the United States in 2004 and received her MBA from the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University. Ayse is in the BSN-PhD track and her research focus area is the nursing leadership and nursing response to disaster management. Her work experience covers various healthcare settings including surgical, neonatal intensive care, community health, in-service training, and the project management of healthcare programs. Currently she works with the Pediatric Services of America in home health. Ayse is a member of Golden Key International Honour Society.

MaryAnn LeavittMary Ann Leavitt
Mary Ann Leavitt, MS, RN, CCRN received her BSN from Florida State University. She completed her MS in Nursing Education from Florida Atlantic University in 2013.  She has practiced for over 20 years in the fields of Critical Care, Cardiac Cath Lab and Electrophysiology.  Caring for patients with heart failure increased her awareness of the problem of frequent hospital admissions for patients with this diagnosis.  This led to her research interest in the transition of these patients from hospital to home with the goal of decreasing readmissions.  She is currently a Clinical Educator at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, as well as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the College of Nursing, and a member of Sigma Theta Tau nursing honorary.

Christine MoffaChristine Moffa
Christine Moffa has been a nurse for over 18 years. Her areas of clinical practice include pediatric and women's health. After receiving a Master's in Nursing Education from in NYU in 2007 she began working as the clinical editor for the American Journal of Nursing, where she continues to work on freelance assignments. She started the PhD program at FAU in the Fall of 2012, and was awarded the Presidential Fellowship and Lost Tree Scholarship. Her research areas of interest include nurse empowerment, healthy work environments, and the elimination of workplace incivility. She is the founder and president of the College of Nursing Student Council and College of Nursing Student Organization (CONSO). 

Misa NagataMisa Nagata
Misa Nagata, RN, HNP, MA, APHN-BC, CCRN, is a holistic nurse practitioner with integrative medicine in private practice and a surgical/trauma level-one critical care nurse in New York City. She is a graduate of New York University in both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, originally enrolled as an internationally transferred student from Tokyo, Japan. Since graduation, she has been certified as CCRN (adult acute and critical care nursing) from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and as AHN-BC (board-certified advanced holistic nurse) and thereafter APHN-BC (board-certified advanced practice holistic nurse) from the American Holistic Nurses Association for almost a decade. She is a new PhD student of Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, and a recipient of the Presidential Fellowship Award in Fall 2015. Her research areas of interest are: self-care as a tool for compassion and its effect on healthcare environment; collective power in support group settings through nurse coaching and counseling approach; ecological/environmental safety and harmony on health; and noninvasive intervention with integrative modalities (mindfulness meditation, etc.) for symptom management, stress reduction, wellness promotion and/or healing process. 

Beth OlafsonBeth Olafson
Elizabeth Olafson is currently the Director of Clinical Education and an Assistant Clinical Professor at Florida International University’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Elizabeth has over thirty years of experience in nursing practice including clinical, educational, and administrative roles. She earned her BSN and MSEd from the University of Miami and her MS in Nursing Education from Florida Atlantic University. Her research interest is in end of life care focusing currently on parental decision making for their children in life threatening or limiting situations. Elizabeth Olafson is affiliated with The American Nurses Association, The Florida Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International, Southern Nursing Research Society, and The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

Manika PetcharatManika Petcharat
Manika Petcharat is a recent PhD student. She comes from Thailand. She graduated the Master degree in Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing from Mahidol University since 2011. She is currently a lecturer in Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing department at Naresuan University, Thailand almost 4 years after finished Master degree. She also enjoyed her time in teaching nursing students, especially in Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing subjects that are her major area.
Her previous research focused on learning disorders in adolescents who are likely to have inappropriate development of specific learning skills including reading, writing, calculation, or a combination of different skills. They suffer from constant failures in their studies and have to live with the stigma, and they may also suffer from the disease factors, especially adolescents who are at the age when they begin to be aware of individual differences and give more significance to learning outcomes. One of the most important effects that are considered major mental health problems of children and adolescents with learning disorders is depression, which is commonly found in adolescents who are undergoing rapid developmental stages and have emotional instability and vulnerability.
Furthermore, nowadays the prevalence of learning disorders has been increased. She plans to continue to study in this area. So her further research will focus on intervention to reduce depressive symptoms in adolescents with learning disorders and her research topic will be "The effect of cognitive behavioral group intervention and social skills training for reducing the risk of depression in learning disorder among adolescents in school;" however, it can be developed or changed in the appropriate way.

Suzy PinosSuzy Pinos
Suzanne Pinos is currently on the BSN to PhD track with an education focus.  She is currently employed as Registered Nurse on a Telemetry unit in a local Palm Beach county hospital.  She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, Iota Xi Chapter and on the board of the FAU College of Nursing Student Organization.  Suzanne is the founder of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Palm Beach County Chapter.  She is the research assistant for the College of Nursing statistician and works on several research projects.   Her current research interest is in gerontology specializing in the education of Alzheimer’s disease and prevention of health disparities in the Hispanic community.

Regine PlacideRegine Placide
Regine Placide, MSN, MPH received her BSN from Florida State University. She completed her MS in Nursing Education from Florida Atlantic University in 2013.  Regine also holds a Masters in Public Health from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.  She is a member of nursing leadership at the Florida Department of Health's Children's Medical Services and began working as a graduate research assistant in December 2013.  Her area of expertise is community health, focusing specifically on children and youth with special health care needs.  Her research in the PhD program will focus on children and young adults with disabilities. Professional memberships include the Association of Black Nursing Faculty, March of Dimes, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Graduate Nursing Student Academy.  

Bandana PoudelBandana Neupane Poudel
Bandana Neupane Poudel is an International student from Nepal. She is a full-time student in the BSN to  PHD program here at FAU. Bandana is also doing a research assistantship at the College of Nursing. Bandana did her BSN at B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Nepal. After her BSN, she taught in the Manipal College of Medical Sciences Nursing Program for about three and half years. She taught Fundamentals of Nursing, Maternal Health Nursing and Integrated Science to Proficiency Certificate Level  and BSN students. Bandana also guided and supervised the students in medical-surgical units, orthopedic units and community field postings.  She also has one year of experience of wardenship in the nursing hostel of Maipal College of Medical Sciences.
Bandana’s research during her BSN was a descriptive study of knowledge of Swine flu on school students of one the schools of Dharan, Nepal. It was done after a world-wide pandemic outbreak of H1N1 flu virus in 2009/2010. Currently she is interested in studying mental health in elderly people in Boca Raton.  Bandana has a passion for teaching.  She is also interested in caring for children and elderly people.

Beth PrattBeth Pratt
Beth Pratt holds a BA in Biology from St. Olaf College (’92), a BSN from Johns Hopkins University (‘96), a MS in Forensic Science from Florida International University (’01), and a MS in Nursing Education from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) (’13). Beth has 15 years of nursing experience in a variety of settings, including labor and delivery, correctional mental health, community health, infertility, antepartum home health, and teaching.  She is an active committee member in her local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau - Iota Xi chapter, co-founder of the FAU College of Nursing Student Organization, and liaison for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Graduate Student Nurses’ Association.  She is passionate about women’s health, specifically the interplay between perinatal depression and the possible protective role of exclusive breastfeeding.  

Zahra RahemiZahra Rahemi

Zahra Rahemi was admitted to the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Nursing Ph.D. program in fall 2013 as an international student. In Iran, she has held various practice roles in nursing including in the emergency room and intensive-care unit. She has served as a nurse educator, manager in a hospital system, and faculty member at the Kashan University of Medical Sciences, School of Nursing. Since coming to FAU, she has worked as a research assistant and teaching assistant, in courses including the Evidence Based Nursing Practice and Skill Lab. Her research interests are in the area of older adults, end of life, advance directive, and acculturation. She has several related published manuscripts as well as several under review and in preparation. Her developing program of research will focus on innovative strategies to encourage older adults, especially those with different ethnicities, to make decisions about their healthcare before they are unable to do so. Older adults, their families, and society can benefit from outcomes of these innovative strategies through reducing burdens and costs of unwanted treatments and late decisions, especially at the end of life.

Stacey RavidStacey Ravid

Stacey Ravid has had an extraordinary nursing career spanning over twenty years. Her focus areas in nursing are Emergency Department and Hospice.  She started her career at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Ga., working at this renowned institution for over twelve years.  She was utilized on various units and gained experience in a range of nursing disciplines.  She was a Geriatric Care Manager responsible for the care of sixty patients, as well as the continuing education for over seventy CNA’s.  Her most challenging nursing job was caring for brain and spinal cord injury patients in the ICU unit at Shepherd Spinal Center.  In 2011, Stacey graduated with a Master’s degree in Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Acute Care from Liberty University.

In addition to traditional nursing and allopathic medicine, Stacey trained in the field of alternative medicine.  Studying Super Foods with David Wolfe, she was able to help a village in Ethiopia grow Super Foods with minimal water, with the knowledge gained from this seminar.  She studied Auto Immune disorders and Immune System healing at the Immune Restoration Center in Asheville, N.C.  In addition, she completed many courses at the Wise Women Conference in Black Mountain N.C. including; Healing Foods, Homeopathy, Medicinal Herbs, Detoxification, Vitamin Supplementation, Ozone Therapy, Touch Therapy and Women’s Health.  While in India, working for an International Adoption Agency, she studied Aruvedic medicine with an expert practitioner.  She strongly believes in the benefits of traditional and alternative healing modalities.

The honors she received are as follows; high school valedictorian- 1983, President of the Student Council- 1986, California Institute of the Arts, dean’s list- 1991-1992, Ga. Perimeter College, Northside Hospital Service Award- 1999, President of the Board of Illien Adoptions International- 200-2003, and Graduate of High Distinction- 2011, Liberty University.

Stacey's primary area of research interest is the immune system, which she has been studying since the age of twelve.  She is particularly fascinated in the immune system’s ability to fight microscopic organisms.  She strives to be on the front-lines of research that discovers remedies and prevention to the diseases caused by these organisms.

As Stacey pursues a long and fulfilling nursing career in the healing arts, she hopes to teach nursing, as well as be involved in research that will have a positive impact on the health of people worldwide.

Carol ReiveCarol Reive

Carol Reive was born in Canada and started her nursing studies in Montreal.   She moved to California where she graduated from Palomar College in San Marcos.  During  her early career she worked as a Trauma, Open-heart and Neuro ICU nurse at Scripps La Jolla, and later  in Florida as an Open- Heart CVICU  and ER nurse.   While working Carol pursued her education receiving both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing from FAU and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Iota Xi chapter.  From 2001 She has worked as  an Emergency Room and Urgent care Nurse Practitioner in multiple hospitals , and several private clinics.  She has been a clinical preceptor for Nurse Practitioner Students as well as podiatry and medical students.  In her spare time she runs a horse rescue charity.  Her interests lie in teaching and  research of equine assisted therapy health benefits, PTSD  and alternative holistic therapies.

Ashley RiveraAshley Rivera

My name is Ashley Rivera RN, MSN, CDE. Not known for being a wall-flower, I believe in the power of a positive attitude and a smile. I keep centered through my loving husband, my three rambunctious children and being outdoors in my organic garden. My practice experience includes Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Liver Transplant, Medical Surgical, High Risk Pregnancy, Diabetic Education and Telemetry. I started my health care journey as an EMT, but came to love nursing for the continuation of care aspects. I have worked both inpatient and outpatient at different stages of my nursing journey. Currently I am Adjunct Faculty for Nova Southeastern University, practice clinically in Telemetry, and work as a research assistant. I entered the PhD program in August of 2015 and received a Jonas Scholarship in 2016. My primary research interests are family-centered and palliative care in the chronically ill pediatric population. I also hold a strong love for community health and entry-level nursing education.

Mercy Rodriguez
Mercedes (Mercy) Rodriguez was inspired early in life to pursue nursing after witnessing the care given to her terminally ill father by her mother. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1984, and her Masters of Science in Nursing Education in 1995, from Barry University in Miami, Florida. Drawn to the psychiatric nursing experience as an undergraduate, she has worked as a staff nurse and an Associate Nurse Manager in behavioral health.  In 1990, she joined Jackson Health System (JHS) in Miami, Florida in the role of Clinical Educator for Mental Health Services.  In 1993, she transferred to the Education & Development Department. Over the last twenty five years she has built a career in education at JHS. She served as the Interim Associate Director of Education and has currently chosen to return to the Nurse Educator role.
Mercy has a passion for creativity and facilitating learning.  She has used her behavioral health skills to guide the experience of countless of new graduate nurses by providing a compassionate ear and support groups for them to share and validate their experiences.  Believing that caring is the essence of humanity, she has strived to deliver the message that caring begins with the self.  She developed and coordinated the education initiative for Relationship-Based Care and the integration of Madeleine Leininger’s Theory of Cultural Care Diversity and Universality at JHS.  Her research interests stem from her desire to explore stories and loss experiences of refugee populations, particularly Latino and Cuban, and the transition impact on emotional well-being and mental health. 

May RosenzweigMay G.S. Rosenzweig
May earned her bachelor’s  in nursing degree in 1993 at Lehman College at City University of New York. She earned her Master’s degree in Nursing as an Adult Nurse Practitioner with subspecialty in Acute Care in 1999 at Columbia University in New York. She started her nursing career in medicine and neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Center from 1993 – 1999. She then started working at a medical rehab unit at Mount Sinai as the nurse practitioner from 2000- 2001. She moved to South Florida in 2001 after getting married, worked at JFK medical center as a clinical nurse practitioner in medicine in 2001- 2002.  May decided to change her specialty to primary care and started working in Glades Medical Group from 2002 – present. She enjoys her position as a primary care provider and since then also precepts nurse practitioner students around the area.  She is excited to start her PhD program in the Fall 2014. Her research goal is aimed in focusing on nursing and medical preventions of Alzheimer’s disease. She wants to focus her career in healthy aging and how to properly care for dementia patients. She has been an adult nurse practitioner for 15 years.

Heather Saifman

Ms. Saifman is a student in Florida Atlantic University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Program. She holds a faculty position as an Assistant Professor at a local private College of Nursing; teaching in their undergraduate BSN program. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in nursing education from FAU in 2010.  She is a graduate of the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Allied Health and Nursing’s (CAHN) Teaching and Learning & Leadership and Management Academies, where she currently serves as a Center for Academic and Professional Excellence (CAPE) executive council member.  As a clinician she has worked as an Intensive Care Unit nurse for 16 years, while being recognized as a clinical leader, earning Critical Care Registered Nurse board certification, and mentoring new graduates. She has served as a Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Upsilon Chi Chapter, Member Delegate, and as a Board Member for the Florida League for Nursing.


She is actively pursuing her research interests in the development of new nurse leaders, generational sensitivity and succession planning.  She has presented her research on peer mentoring on local and national conference platforms; most recently in 2014 at the National League for Nurses (NLN) Education Summit in Phoenix Arizona. She is credited as a co-author on “Factors that lead Generation Y nurses to consider or reject nurse leader roles” and has presented the findings of this work at the International Nursing Administration Research Conference (INARC) in 2014.

Gail SullivanGail Sullivan
Gail Sullivan MSN, ARNP-BC, CCRN, PhD Student began her career in 1983. She earned a BSN from the College of Mt. St. Vincent in NYC. She has a 30 year clinical career history in areas of medical-surgical, critical care, orthopedic, neurology, and closed head injury unit. In 1996 she earned her MSN, ARNP and worked over six years with an indigent population in primary care. More recently she has taught nurses in BSN and ASN programs, and in a local hospital as a critical care educator. As an independent contractor she has taught ACLS, BLS, CCRN, PCCN, and critical care coursework. Her research interest is in the Science of Caring and long-term care. She plans to complete her studies in 2016.

Cheryl Wallin
Cheryl Wallin, MSN, RN, NE-BC is a registered nurse with a Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration and Financial Leadership.  Ms. Wallin has been a nurse for more than 30 years working in medical units, cardiac and new born intensive care unit as well as pediatric home health and public health.  Currently Ms. Wallin is the director of nursing at the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Medical Services office, Department of Health, state of Florida providing care coordination and specialty clinic services to children with chronic special healthcare needs.  Ms. Wallin received her MSN and BSN from Florida Atlantic University in 2011.  Ms. Wallin is board certified as a Nurse Executive through the American Nurses Association.   Along with her husband, Ms. Wallin is co-founder of TuJJe Ministries, Inc.  and is the Health Director coordinating a permanent clinic, outreach clinics and a community health leader program in Uganda. Ms. Wallin also volunteers as a parish nurse and is involved in community of faith activities at Church in the Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens.
Ms. Wallin is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and Sigma Theta Tau International Iota Xi Chapter. She will present her qualitative pilot study, Barriers to Mosquito Net Use in an Underserved Population in Uganda, Africa at the STTI 27th International Research Conference in South Africa, July 2016. Ms. Wallin is currently a PhD student and her area of interest are global health and cultural humility.

Jane WilsonJane C. Wilson

Jane C. Wilson, RN MSN has over 29 years of experience in nursing.  Jane is a faculty member at Palm Beach Atlantic University with a passion for maternal child health. Currently she is involved in the breast feeding initiative recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF in educating new mothers to breastfeed for the first 24 months of life.

Starting off her career graduating from a diploma nursing program, she then continued her education earing her BSN at Kutztown University and her MSN nurse educator track at Liberty University.  Jane has had a wide variety of experiences over her long career including working at the dynamic teaching hospital, Lehigh Valley hospital, a magnet hospital in the area of the OR, maternal child, and homecare. Currently, Jane provides quality instruction to Bachelor degree nursing students in the classroom as well as in the Labor and Delivery Suite, Operating Room, Recovery Room, Newborn Nursery, and Postpartum clinical settings.

Her area of research centers upon the health promoting activity of breastfeeding. Jane is passionate in promoting breastfeeding but she also endeavors to illuminate the complex social and economic conditions that may challenge the possibility of successful breastfeeding of woman of diverse ethnicities and economic levels.

Jane is a proud recipient of the Friends of Nursing Award 2011, the Alma Award for Excellence in Home Care Nursing 2011, Employee of the Quarter, Lehigh Valley Home Care 2010, and the Kutztown University Nursing Scholars Award 2010.  Jane is an active member of Nurses Christian Fellowship, and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Jane is a Compassion International Sponsor for a child from 2010 to present, and is a Fresh Air Fund host family from 2003 to present.

Joy Zwick
Joy entered the nursing profession in 1999 after earning a BSN from Malone University. She has practiced in long term care, and acute care for 15 years. In 2007, she received a master's degree in nursing from Walden University with a specialization in nursing education and also holds a certification in critical care nursing from AACN. She currently works as a clinical specialist for the critical care units at Memorial Hospital West. Responsibilities include providing education and promoting professional development for nursing and ancillary staff. As a nurse practicing in critical care for over 13 years, Joy has developed an interest in improving the outcomes of critically ill patients. Research interests include promoting nurse-driven interventions to positively impact patient outcomes, such as implementation of progressive mobility interventions for mechanically ventilated patients. She also has worked on developing a precepting program to successfully integrate nurses without critical care experience into the ICU setting, believing that adequate preparation for the critical care nursing role is essential to quality patient care.