Student Profiles

Aimee Carew-Lyons, PhD (c), MSN, received her degrees from Northeastern University and Boston College.  She is a third year PhD student at UMass Boston in the Population Health track. Aimee is the Director of Nursing/Patient Services for the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care Transport Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

Linda Connor, MHA, BSN, RN, CPN, is a staff nurse III at Children's Hospital Boston in the Perioperative Program. She mentors staff nurses in evidenced-based practice and professional advancement. Linda is responsible for regulatory readiness audits and works clinically as a surgical Liaison Nurse for the Perioperative Program. She has 37 years of acute care experience in both pediatric and adult critical care, emergency room trauma, and perioperative nursing. Her previous research areas of interest include pediatric sedation, quality care, and family centered care. Linda’s goal in attending the UMass Boston PhD program in Nursing is to further develop her interest in research, education and healthcare with a focus on the impact of health care reform. 

Sabreen Darwish, MSN, RN, is entering her first year as an MS-to-PhD student in the Population Health track. She received her BSN degree from Jordan University of Science and Technology (J.U.S.T.) in 2002. Darwish worked for four years as RN in one of the distinct hospitals in the Middle East; namely King Abdullah University Hospital where she had a unique opportunity to care for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Sabreen’s believe that “nursing is a demanding career” motivated her to work as a teaching assistant and clinical trainer in J.U.S.T. Sabreen obtained her Master’s degree in Adult Health with focus on cardiology from Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2007, and is currently working as a lecturer in J.U.S.T. Sabreen’s research interest is studying CVD population with a focus on the nurses’ role in behavioral change and creating innovative smoking cessation interventions, in order to deliver better nursing interventions and achieve patient outcomes.

Hannah Fraley, MSN, RN, IBCLC will be entering her first year as a PhD student in Population Health.  Hannah is originally from Massachusetts where she received her BSN in 2002 from Simmons College.  She completed her MSN in Nursing Leadership in 2011 from California State University, Fullerton.  She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Association of Women's Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and Intervarsity Nurses Christian Fellowship. Hannah comes with a background in the Perinatal Specialty are of Nursing, including Quality and Nursing Management.  She will be working as an Adjunct Maternal Child Health Nursing Faculty member at Simmons College, as well as a per diem Lactation Consultant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  While completing her MSN and working as a nurse leader for women and children's services, Hannah's eyes were opened to the plight of vulnerable populations of women and children in the United States and worldwide.  She has a particular interest in breaking the silence of the worldwide problem of human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children.

Dany M. Hilaire, PhD (c), BS, RN, is a graduate of Duquesne University. Her interests focus on cancer screening behaviors of underserved populations. Dany’s dissertation will be a pilot study that addresses the role of acculturation on breast cancer screening behaviors of Haitian immigrants living in Massachusetts. She hopes to identify effective methodologies in promoting cancer screening.

Mary Sue Howlett, MS, RN/FNP-BC, CEN is enrolled in the MS-PhD, Health Policy Program.  She has nearly three decades of nursing experience in varied areas including emergency, critical care, and forensics.  She earned a BSN at the University of Vermont and Master’s degree from the UMass Boston, Family Nurse Practitioner Track. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, and Golden Key International Honour Society.  Her research and policy areas of interest include both new graduate retention and the impact of technology on job satisfaction.

Audrey Jasey, PhD (c), BSN, RN, CMSRN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Health Policy Program. She received her BSN from UMass Boston. Audrey is a staff nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. She chose UMass Boston due to the availability of a program in health policy with a focus in nursing and disparities. She is interested in patient safety and health care quality as well as disparities in colorectal cancer screening. Audrey is a member of AMSN, ANA, ENRS, NBNA, Sigma Theta Tau, and Treasurer elect UMB's PhD Nursing Collaborative.
Joyce Johnson, MS, RN, is the Nursing Director of the Thoracic Surgery ICU and  the Thoracic Intermediate Care units at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. Joyce has over 20 years of experience in acute and critical care. She obtained her BSN from UMass Boston and her MS in Nursing Leadership and Business Management from Regis College. Joyce is currently enrolled in the MS-PhD Population Health track and hopes to focus her research on improving cancer care and end of life care in the ICU environment.

Mercy Kamau, PhD (c), BSN, RN, RN, was born in Kenya. She is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD program. Mercy graduated from the UMass Boston with a Bachelor’s degree in Management Science and Information Systems in 2003 and a BSN in 2007.  She is the founder and president of the nonprofit organization Health For Nations, Inc., a health promotion initiative that recruits health professionals who volunteer to travel to Africa and performs health promotion projects. Mercy is also the co-director of the Kenya Heart and Sole Program, a College of Nursing and Health Sciences project that has partnered with Health For Nations Inc, with a focus on surveillance, prevention and control of cardiovascular/metabolic risk factors and diseases in Kenya.

Jacob Kigo Kariuki, BSN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD program. He was born and raised in Kenya, where he started his career in nursing after graduating with a BSN degree from the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton in 2008. Upon his graduation, he worked as a new graduate staff nurse before joining P.C.E.A Tumutumu Hospital School of Nursing, where he worked as a nurse tutor until July 2011. While in the PhD program, Jacob has successfully obtained his RN registration in Massachusetts where he is currently practicing as a registered nurse with a home health agency in Brockton. Jacob collaborated with Healey Library team to design and create Open Access for Africa library research guide. This site continues to break barriers that hamper access to scholarly nursing and medical resources by providing link to free access journals and databases, eBooks, lectures and clinical skills videos. With his research focus on prevention of cardiometabolic diseases in resource constrained settings, last spring, Jacob co-authored a peer reviewed article titled The Concept of Risk as Applied to Cardiovascular Disease which was published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing in May 2013. Jacob is a recipient of Brenda S. Cherry Dissertation Research Award, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society Theta Alpha Chapter, Lynch Foundation Scholarship Award and Ruth and William Silen, M.D. Award (third prize) at the New England Science Symposium held at Harvard Medical School.

Maryum Kazmi, PhD(c), BSN, RN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Program at UMass Boston. She graduated in 2006 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ with a BSN. She formerly worked in Yale Medical Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital as an Oncology RN. She is currently working as a home care nurse at VNA Care Network and Hospice. Maryum’s area of interest is decision making in elderly patients in active treatment phase of cancer care. As a research assistant with Dr. Carol Ellenbecker, she was part of a survey study to evaluate BS-PhD programs across the country.

Gretchen Kilbourne, PhD (c), BSN, MS, RN, received a degree in Psychology from Princeton University in 2004 and worked in sales and management for several years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  In the summer of 2010, Gretchen graduated first in her class from the MGH Institute of Health Professions Accelerated Baccalaureate Program and was the recipient of the MGH Institute Award for Academic and Clinical Excellence.  She was also inducted into Society Sigma Theta Tau.  Since then, she has been working as an RN in a Skilled Nursing Facility in Needham, MA focusing on Alzheimer’s and Dementia care.  Gretchen’s areas of interest include: youth sports-related concussions, mental healthcare, pediatric healthcare, education, preventative medicine, and wellness.  Gretchen grew up in Wellesley, MA as the sixth of seven children, and is a former member of the US Women’s National Ice Hockey Team.

MinJin Kim, RN, BSN, is a third year PhD student in Population Health program in Nursing. She received her BSN from Case Western Reserve University. Her research interests focus on spirituality, cancer prevention, and health disparity among underrepresented populations. She has been working as a research coordinator involved in community-based participatory research projects, Cambodian American Health Research Program for Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus prevention and Hepatitis B prevention among Asian American and Pacific Islander Young Adults at-risk. As a junior nursing researcher, she has been actively involved in addressing health care disparities and development of culturally sensitive tools to measure ethnic minority populations’ cultural health behaviors, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes. Her overarching goal is to translate nursing research and theoretical knowledge into practice at community, providers and policy levels. MinJin is a member of Korean Nurse Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and the Eastern Nursing Research Society.

Lindyce Kulik, MS, RN, CWON, CPNP, CCRN will be starting her first year in the MS-PhD Health Policy Track this fall 2013. Lindyce is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children's Hospital. Lindyce has over 30 years of critical care experience caring for patients with congenital heart disease. She obtained her BSN from the University of Minnesota and her MS in Maternal Child Nursing from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include the impact of healthcare reform on patient safety and patient outcomes in the Pediatric Cardiac ICU environment.

Fatma Zohra Mataoui, MD, RN, BSN, is in her second year and is currently pursuing a PhD in Health Policy with an oncology focus in the BS-to-PhD program at UMass Boston. She graduated from the Medical School of Algiers, Algeria in 1989 as a general practitioner and continued to work as a primary care physician in both hospital and clinical settings for two consecutive years. Once in the United States, she used her medical background to teach college-level science courses while raising a family of her own. Fatma graduated with RN-BSN from UMass Boston’s Accelerated Baccalaureate Program in summer 2011.  Currently, she works as an RN in a skilled nursing facility in Braintree, MA, primarily focusing on providing care to patients affected by Huntington’s disease. Her professional goal is to be part of a multidisciplinary research team and her career goals are to make a difference in caring for cancer patients and reducing disparities in health care through science, policy change, and research.

Julianne Mazzawi, MS, RN, is the Assistant Nursing Director for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston in addition to being an adjunct faculty member at Emmanuel College. Julianne received her BSN from Emmanuel College and her MS in Nursing Leadership and Business Management from Regis College. Julianne is enrolled in the MS-PhD Population Health track and hopes to focus her research on neonatal outcomes that occur when   Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are used prenatally. Julianne has worked for over thirty years in pediatric, neonatal and maternal health. Julianne is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau Pi Epsilon at Large and a member of National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

Ampicha Nawai, MSN, RN, is enrolled in the MS to PhD program in the population health track. She received her master’s degree in adult nursing from Chiang Mai University. Ampicha has 10 years of experience in various nursing specialties, including orthopedics, adult health, geriatrics, community nursing, health promotion and nursing education.  She was awarded a Royal Thai Government Scholarship to pursue her doctoral degree at UMass Boston.  Her area of interest is gerontological nursing, focusing on improving the management of pain in older persons.

Chizoba C. Nwosu, MSN, FNP-BC, WCC, is a second year part- time student in UMass Boston MS-to-PhD program (Health Policy Track).  She earned her BSN from Boston College and her MSN from Emory University. She is a Nurse Practitioner at Boston VA Healthcare System. She also serves as a mentor for nursing students as part of Simmons College Dotson Bridge and Mentoring Program. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society. Her research will focus on the impact of nurse leadership on the retention of nurse practitioners.

Ijeoma Julie Ogunlade, PhD (c), MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CPON, is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD Population Health program. She received her BSN from Regis College and her MSN from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She currently works as a hematology/oncology staff nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital and a family nurse practitioner at CVS Minuteclinic. She chose UMass Boston because of the student body’s diversity and the institution’s dedication to global outreach. Her research interests focus on parental uncertainty and health-related quality of life in children with cancer. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Children’s Oncology Group, the Association of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Nurses, Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society for Catholic Colleges   and Universities, and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society.

Jonathan Padua, PhD(c), BSN, RN is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD program. He earned his BSN from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He currently works as a staff nurse in critical care at Brigham and Women's Hospital. His area of interest includes health systems strengthening in low resource settings and global health, and has recently completed an internship as part of a capacity building project for professional nurses in Monrovia, Liberia.

Rebecca Penders, PhD (c), BSN, RN, is enrolled in the BS-PhD Health Policy Program.  She received her BSN from the University of Maine in 2004 and has been working as a labor and delivery nurse ever since.  She is currently a staff nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, WA. Rebecca sought UMass Boston for her doctorate because of the program’s unique Health Policy focus.  Her research interest is in breastfeeding health policy, particularly breastfeeding and the workplace, or employment policies that promote the health of infants, mothers and society.  Rebecca is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau and is a recipient of the GAANN Grant and Lynch Fund Scholarship.  

Heather Harker Ryan, BSN, RN, is a second year student enrolled the BS-to-PhD Population Health program. She received her BA in Anthropology from the Barnard College and her BS in Nursing from Columbia University. She is currently the Program Nurse in the Preventive Cardiology Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, focusing on children with cardiovascular risk factors. Heather is excited to learn from prominent nurse researchers in her area of interest at the University of Massachusetts Boston, which include the prevention and treatment of hypercholesterolemia and hypertension in pediatric populations, and nursing education. Heather is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing, and the Preventive Cardiology Nurses Association.

Somporn Sitthisongkram, MS, RN, was awarded the Royal Thai Government Scholarship to study in a PhD Program in Nursing. She is a first year student in the MS-to-PhD program in Population Health. She received her BSN from Boromarajonani College of Nursing Nakorn Lampang and her Master’s degree (Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing) from Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Somporn is a nursing lecturer and has worked at Boromarajonani College of Nursing Chiang Mai for ten years. Her work experience includes teaching health promotion, community health care, psychiatric nursing, and nursing education. Somporn’s main research interests are mental health, substance abuse and psychiatric nursing.

Joan Shea, MSN, RN, CPON®, received her BSN from Curry College and her MSN from UMass Boston. She is currently a Staff Nurse III on the Hematology/Oncology/Clinical Research Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital where she has spent the majority of the past twenty years. Joanie is a member of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing where she serves on the national level as a member of the steering council. She is also a member of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Sigma Theta Tau. Joanie’s primary interest involves the nursing care of pediatric hematology patients and families, particularly those affected with Sickle Cell disease. Joanie is enrolled in the MS-PhD in Population Health track and hopes to focus her research on adolescents and young adults with Sickle Cell trait.
Sarah Ann Smith, MSN, RN, CPNP, CCRN, CPEN, is enrolled in the Population Health Track.  She received her BSN from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and her MSN from Regis College.  Sarah currently works on the Critical Care Transport Team at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her research interests include pediatric critical care, specifically specialty pediatric transport team outcomes and parent presence during resuscitation.

Lori Stevens, MBA, BSN, NEA-BC, is the Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Hallmark Health. Lori received her BSN from the University of Massachusetts and her MBA from the Simmons School of Management and is currently working on her PhD in Nursing in Health Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Lori has over 20 years of hospital nursing experience including clinical experience in medical surgical, critical care and labor and delivery.  Lori transitioned to nursing administration in 2001 and has held roles with progressive leadership responsibility, including the role of director of ambulatory program development where she oversaw the development of a 43 million dollar comprehensive ambulatory care center in a community setting.  Lori is a member of many professional nursing organizations including the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives, where she serves on the Government Affairs Committee.  In addition, Lori is a member of the American Association of Ambulatory Care Nursing where she serves as Chair of the Legislative Committee.  Lori’s research interest is in conscientious objection by healthcare workers.

Julio A. Toro, PhD (c), RN, OCN, was born in Puerto Rico. He is one of first two BS-to-PhD students enrolled in the fall of 2007.He came to Massachusetts in 1984 to earn a biology degree from Harvard College and later attended UMass Boston, graduating in 1995 with a BS in Nursing and Chemistry. Julio’s clinical experience includes psychiatric nursing and over ten years of experience as an oncology nurse, a role he reports “defined him”. He is interested in how an individual's time orientation affects his or her decision making. His dissertation is on determinants of colorectal cancer screening via colonoscopy.

Ashley Waddell, MS, RN, CNOR, is a staff development specialist at Boston Children's Hospital.  She contributes to educational programs and maintenance of the policy infrastructure within the Department of Patient Care Services, and co-chairs the Legislative Action Interest Group; a forum made up of direct care nurses, nurse leaders and government relations representatives that meets monthly to discuss and develop strategies regarding Federal and State legislation related to pediatric health care and the practice of nursing. Prior to working as a staff development specialist, Ashley was a staff nurse on an inpatient medical unit and in the main operating room at Boston Children's Hospital.  Outside the hospital, Ashley is on the Board of Directors and Government Affairs committee for the Organization for Nurse Leaders for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and she co-chairs the communication team for the Massachusetts Action Coalition which is working toward advancing the recommendations laid out in the Future of Nursing report. Ashley received her BSN in Nursing from the University of New Hampshire in 2001 and her Masters of Science in Nursing Administration from Northeastern University in 2008. Ashley's research interests are around workforce development, both for nurses entering practice and for those aspiring to leadership roles.

Alan Wright, SM, RN, is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD program. He has over 30 years of healthcare experience with work as a nursing home orderly, refugee health educator, health insurance administrator and home health association executive.  Since 2000, he has worked in the software field developing software and training Medicare agencies in data collection and analysis. He currently works for Bayada Home Health Care, a national home health company, as a senior data analyst. His research interest is in understanding how the home health care industry can be improved in order to play a more effective role in health care reform, particularly within the Medicare sector.