Practical nurses graduate from Penn State Hazleton

Two rows of men and women in white nursing uniforms; one row standing and another seated

Penn State Hazleton's Practical Nursing Class of 2023.

Credit: Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — Surrounded by family and friends, graduates of Penn State Hazleton’s practical nursing program marked the completion of the program during a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 12, in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium of the Physical Education Building. 

The class of 19 students successfully completed the requirements to earn a certificate in practical nursing and will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurses to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). The cohort began in August 2022, taking classes in the practical nursing laboratory at Penn State Hazleton and attending clinical studies at area partner facilities. 

Graduates and their hometowns are: Brianna Nicole Adams, Rock Glen; Yeslin Soet Concepcion, Hazleton; Kendra Georgette Dixon, Pottsville; Ryan Keith Gensel Jr., Hazle Township; John Jacob Hasay, Shickshinny; Alondra Y. Jimenez Diaz, Hazleton; Maria D. Melendez, Weatherly; Colton Ray Mensch, Berwick; Maranda Nichole Mensch, Berwick; Jazmin Mordan Diaz, Hazleton; Brandi Nicole Morgan, Zion Grove; Skylar Marie Netchel, Pottsville; Ana M. Pena Corniell, Hazle Township; Johanna Maria Pena, Weatherly; Michelle Maria Perez Rodriguez, Hazleton; Kristin L. Rossi, Drums; Yojairy Rafelina Santos Venture, Hazleton; Yaritza Sosa, Kingston; and Theresa Marie Torres, West Hazleton. 

Several members of the graduating class earned special recognition with an award. The awards and winners included: 

  • Excellence in Clinical Practice, an award presented to the nursing student who best displays a high regard for clinical care and clinical aptitude. This year’s recipient was Brandi Nicole Morgan. 

  • Award for Leadership and Professionalism, which recognizes outstanding leadership and professionalism during the nursing education process. Colton Ray Mensch was this year’s recipient. 

  • Most Compassionate, an award presented to the student who displays exceptional emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy for others. This year’s recipient was Kendra Georgette Dixon. 

  • Community Service Award, which is presented to the student who displays the initiative to reach out to those in need within the community. This year’s recipient was John Jacob Hasay. 

  • Spirit of Nursing Award, which recognizes the student who shows excitement, motivation and enthusiasm toward the nursing profession. This year’s recipient was Maria D. Melendez. 

  • Patricia D. Kelly, R.N. Academic Award in Practical Nursing, an award presented to the student earning the highest overall grade-point average. Kristin L. Rossi was this year’s recipient. 

Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Elizabeth J. Wright presided over the ceremony along with Assistant Chief Academic Officer and Associate Teaching Professor of Biology Amie Yenser and Practical Nursing Program Coordinator Andrea C. Shook.  

Guest speaker Kimberley Perchak, vice president of operations at Providence Place Senior Living, addressed graduates and attendees. Perchak discussed how the skills she gained as an adult learner at Schuylkill Technology Center, and throughout numerous other roles while advancing her career at Providence Place, taught her the value of lifelong learning.