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Ph. D Graduates


Windy Alonso, Ph. D., RN

Identifying disparities: Rural-Urban Comparison in Mechanical Circulatory Support
Post-doctoral fellow, University of Nebraska Medical Center


Barb Birrie,l Ph. D., ACNP-BC, FCCM

Surrogate Decision–Making in the Context of Critical Illness
Assistant Research Professor, Penn State College of Nursing


Erin Kitt-Lewis, Ph. D., RN

Informal Family Caregiving at The End Of Life: A Discursive Analysis
Assistant Research Professor, Penn State College of Nursing


Alison Walsh, Ph. D., RN

The Effect of Heart Failure on Health-Related Quality of Life during Critical Transitions in the Life Course
Assistant Teaching Professor, Penn State College of Nursing


Alexa Watach, Ph. D., RN

Sleep, Physical Activity, and Executive Function in Obese Adolescents with and without Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome: A Feasibility Study
Post-doctoral fellow, University of Pennsylvania


Hyunju Yang, Ph. D., RN

Inflammation, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, and Fatigue in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Michael M. Evans, Ph.D., M.S.Ed., RN, ACNS, CMSRN, CNE

Assistant Chief Academic Officer and Associate teaching Professor, Nursing, Penn State Worthington Scranton Dissertation: “Somatic Awareness and Self-Symptom Recognition in Advanced Heart Failure Patients”


Lina Hixson, Ph.D., RN

Nursing Instructor, Graduate and Professional Studies Program, Waynesburg University ​Dissertation: “An Examination of Faith Community Nursing Interventions in the Promotion of Successful Aging”


Casey Pinto, Ph.D., CRNP, M.P.H.

Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine Dissertation: “Rural Adolescents and Young Adults: Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Acquisition”


Colleen Ciano, Ph.D., RN, CNE

Nurse Practitioner
Dissertation: “The Prevalance of Insomnia Among Perimenopausal Women Transitioning to Menopause”


Pamela C. Spigelmyer, Ph.D., RN, CNS

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Duquesne University
Dissertation: “Resistiveness to Care as Experienced by Family Caregivers Assisting People With Dementia”


Cara Bicking Kinsey, Ph.D., M.P.H., RNC-NIC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer
Dissertation: “Effect of Prior Perinatal Loss on Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Maternal–Infant Bonding”


Patricia A. Knecht, Ph.D., RN, ANEF

Chair, Division of Nursing, Immaculata University
Dissertation: “Demystifying Job Satisfaction in Long-Term Care: The Voices of Licensed Practical Nurses”


Gwen McGhan, RN, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Nursing, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Dissertation: “Caregiver Outcomes and the Impact of Resources for Family Members Providing Care to Community-Dwelling Older Adults”


Nikki Hill, Ph.D., RN

Assistant Professor of Nursing, Penn State University Park
Dissertation: “Personality as a Moderator of Cognitive Stimulation Outcomes in Older Adults at High Risk for Cognitive Decline”


Mary Lou Kanaskie, Ph.D, RN, AOCN

Clinical Nurse Educator/Nurse Residency Program Coordinator, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Dissertation: “The Experience of Cognitive Change in Women with Breast Cancer Following Chemotherapy”


Andrea Yevchak Sillner, Ph.D., GCNS-BC, RN

Assistant Research Professor of Nursing, Penn State University Park
Dissertation: “Informal Caregiver Recognition, Detection, and Reporting of Delirium in Hospitalized Older Adults with Dementia”


Marianne Adam, Ph.D., CRNP

Assistant Teaching Professor of Nursing and Coordinator of the RN to B.S. Program, Penn State Schuylkill
Dissertation: “The Lived Experience of Becoming a Diabetic: A Phenomenological Study”


Nedra Farcus, Ph.D.

Instructor in Nursing (retired), Penn State Altoona
Dissertation: “A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study: Living with the Certainty of Death”


Peggy Shipley, Ph.D., RN, CSN

Assistant Professor of Nursing, Bloomsburg University
Dissertation: “Life Patterns of Family Caregivers of Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”


Kimberly Fenstermacher, Ph.D., CRNP

Assistant Professor of Nursing; Director, Graduate Programs in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, York College of Pennsylvania
Dissertation: “Perinatal Loss and Bereavement in Non-Hispanic Black Adolescents”


Cherie Adkins, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Nursing, York College of Pennsylvania
Dissertation: “Exploring the Personal Narratives of Mothers of Former Preterm Infants now at Preschool Age”


Donna Hart Gage, Ph.D., RN, FAAN

Health Care Consultant and Mediator, BMC Associates
Dissertation: “Patients’ Expectations and Satisfaction with Nursing Care, and Their Nurses’ Awareness of their Expectations”


Tara Jankouskas, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Nursing, Messiah College
Dissertation: “Crisis Resource Management Training: Impact on Team Process and Team Effectiveness”


Lisa Kitko, Ph.D., FAHA, FAAN

Associate Professor of Nursing, Penn State
Dissertation: “The Work of Spousal Caregiving in Heart Failure”


Eric Messner, Ph.D., CRNP

Nurse Practitioner, Family and Community Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Dissertation: “Transition to Fatherhood in the Context of the Cesarean Birth”


Cherie Soprano, Ph.D.

Psychiatric–Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Dissertation: “Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Responding to Passive Behavior in Elderly Nursing Home Residents with Dementia: A Single-Subject Design Study”


Katherine Curci, Ph.D., CRNP

Nurse Practitioner, Family and Community Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Dissertation: “The Relationship Between Interdisciplinary Practice and the Job Satisfaction of Nurse Practitioners in Pennsylvania”


Melinda Steis, Ph.D.

Community Health Coordinator, Orlando (Florida) VA Medical Center
Dissertation: “Nurse Recognition of Delirium Superimposed on Dementia in Hospitalized Older Adults”


Patricia Sweeney, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Wilkes University
Dissertation: “Perceptions of Patients’ Post-Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery Related to Health-Related Quality of Life and Satisfaction When Nurse Practitioners are Active Participants in Care”


Margaret Harris, Ph.D., CRNP

Dissertation: “Burden, Uncertainty, and Patient Symptomatology in Family Caregivers of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Patients: A Prospective Study”


Pamela Adamshick, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Nursing, Moravian College
Dissertation: “The Lived Experience of Girl-to-Girl Aggression”


Linda Hatfield, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Evidence-Based Practice, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Dissertation: “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial Examining the Analgesic Properties of Oral Sucrose During Routine Immunizations at 2 and 4 Months of Age”


Pamela Starcher, Ph.D.

Dissertation: “The Relationship Between Self-Actualization and Caring Behavior in Nurse Educators”


Martha Johnston, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Health Services Administration, Eastern Washington University
Dissertation: “The Nursing Home Certified Nurse Assistant Work Environment, Staffing, and Outcomes Model: Development of the Nurse Assistant Work Index”


Nancy Johnston, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Nursing, Cedar Crest College
Dissertation: “Physiologic Markers and Subjective Symptoms Predicting Onset of Labor in Healthy Gravidas”


Sharon Auker, Ph.D.

Dissertation: “The Image of the Profession of Nursing and Its Discursive Representation in Print Media”


Patty Hannon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Nursing, East Stroudsburg University
Dissertation: “An Investigation of the Impact of Short-Term Quality Intergenerational Contact on Children’s Attitudes toward Older Adults”


Chin-Fang Liu, Ph.D.

Dissertation: “A Profile of Field Energy Following a Sudden Episode of Physical Disablement: A Rogerian Perspective”


Sharon Falkenstern, Ph.D.

Director of the School of Nursing and Allied Health, Clarion University
Dissertation: “Nursing Facilitation of Health as Expanding Consciousness in Families Who Have a Child with Special Health Care Needs”


Victoria Kellogg, M.B.A., Ph.D., J.D., CRNP

Dissertation: “Testing an Innovative Method to Collect Adverse Events Data: A Methodological Study”


Cynthia Mailloux, Ph.D.

Professor of Nursing, Misericordia University
Dissertation: “Relationship and Extent to Which Perceptions of Faculties’ Teaching Strategies, Students’ Context, and Perceptions of Learner Empowerment Predict Perceptions of Autonomy in Female Generic Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Students”


Susan Loeb, Ph.D., RN, FGSA, FAAN

Associate Professor of Nursing, The Pennsylvania State University
Dissertation: “The Relationships Among Health Motivation, Health-Promoting Behaviors, Health Promotion Program Participation, and Health Screening Adherence in Community-Dwelling Older Men”


Janice Penrod, Ph.D.

Professor of Nursing, The Pennsylvania State University
Dissertation: “The Advancement of the Concept of Uncertainty Using Phenomenological Methods”