Melissa Thomas was the recipient of the 2019 Graduate Student Service Award, which is given to a graduate student that supports the ideals of the College of Nursing and the nursing profession by engaging in service activities that support individuals, families and/or communities, and that encourage and foster the nurse’s personal and professional development.
Thomas is a graduate of the bachelor of science in nursing program and a current graduate student. She has been involved in several fundraising events for the Oncology Unit at Mount Nittany Medical Center (MNMC). In March 2018 she participated in the Pantene Beautiful Hair Lengths Campaign by donating her own hair. The program supports those going through cancer treatment by providing them with wigs.
“She has been a significant advocate for many of our students and faculty regarding orientation and an invaluable resource and support system for the time for the time we spend at MNMC or our very own College of Nursing throughout the semester,” said Mary Anne Ventura, instructor in the College of Nursing, in her recommendation letter for Thomas.
The Alumni Society Undergraduate Student Service Award is presented to an undergraduate nursing student that supports the ideals of the College of Nursing and the nursing profession by engaging in service activities that support individuals, families and/or communities, and that encourage and foster the nurse’s personal and professional development.
The year's winner was senior Amy Estes. Not only does Estes hold a 3.53 GPA, but she is highly involved with THON as a member of the OPPerations Committee; she is part of the College of Nursing’s mentoring program; and she is a member of a student group called Harmony, which is a multidisciplinary performing arts program that helps integrate children and young adults, both with and without special needs.
“She matured after only a few weeks in the clinical environment and became so focused on proving how she truly enjoys being a provider of care as well as a patient advocate,” Ventura said in her recommendation letter about Estes.
In addition to this honor, Estes also received the Kim Gedney Guzik Award. Gedney Guzik was a former faculty member who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2002. The award goes to a student who excels clinically, exhibits strong academic qualifications, and shows emerging leadership attributes.
“Amy is truly a model student, and I only wish that all of our students had her drive, strong work ethic, and incentive to do the very best for those she cares for, while in and out of clinical encounters,” Ventura said.
The college continues to encourage students to excel not only inside the classroom, but outside as well. All of the recipients have been recognized for their excellence in the nursing community and will be seen as role models for their peers for their remaining time at Penn State.