HAZLETON, Pa. — Graduates of Penn State Hazleton’s Practical Nursing program marked the successful completion of the program during a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 20, in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium in the Physical Education Building. Twenty-four students completed the requirements to earn a certificate in practical nursing and will be eligible to test for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
The class began its studies in July 2015 for the 18-month program offered in the evening and on weekends in the classroom and laboratory in the Slusser/Bayzick Building. Students took classes at Penn State Hazleton and attended clinical studies at area partner facilities.
Chancellor Gary M. Lawler presided over the ceremony along with Director of Academic Affairs Elizabeth J. Wright and Instructor in Practical Nursing Roxanne L. Downs.
Guest speaker for the event was Dr. Sharon E. Rohrbach who retired after a 30-year career in emergency, urgent care and family medicine.
Rohrbach began her education at Penn State Hazleton and graduated from Penn State in 1969 with a degree in pre-medicine. She received her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1974, at which time she entered family practice.
Her career involved emergency and urgent care medicine, and she served as medical director for a number of urgent care centers. Before she retired, the last years of her career were spent in private family practice in Palo Alto, California.
Upon retirement, she and her husband, Keith, returned to the Hazleton area, where she is involved in volunteering in her church and in the community. She serves on various boards and committees at the campus, including the Penn State Hazleton Educational Council (campus advisory board), development committee, and the Commission for Women. She also volunteers at campus events such as Community Day. The Rohrbachs further demonstrated their commitment and caring when they established a scholarship to assist Penn State Hazleton students with earning a degree.
During the ceremony, graduates received their certificates and pins to signify successful completion of the program.
Graduates and their hometowns include: Rebecca L. Boretski, Beaver Meadows; Sabrina A. Brynok, White Haven; Sindy M. Bueno, West Hazleton; Luisa M. Cedano, West Hazleton; Gabriela Columna, Hazleton; Meranda K. DeFazio, Tamaqua; Paula J. Dice, Weatherly; Ana E. Duverge, Hazleton; Ingrid S. Echavarria, Hazleton; Melissa Espinal, West Hazleton; Stephanie E. Fellin, Drums; Kathryn L. Gallagher, Hazleton; Julie K. German, Berwick; Hannah N. Gryzik, Walnutport; Brittany E. Kressler, Bloomsburg; Sarah C. Kushmeder, Hazleton; Nicole L. Manjone, Milnesville; Leandris Reyes Ortiz, Hazleton; Roelfy V. Rodriguez, Hazleton; Erin E. Shea, Hanover Township; Jessica M. Slotkin, Bloomsburg; Katherine Villano, Kingston; Laura L. Yocius, Mountain Top; and Trisha Ann M. Zola, Conyngham.
Several members of the class also 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. Instructor in practical nursing Laura Jones presented this award to Rebecca L. Boretski.
- Academic Achievement, which is presented to the student earning the highest overall grade-point average. Instructor in practical nursing Denise Kelly presented this award to Jessica M. Slotkin.
- Award for Leadership and Professionalism, which recognizes outstanding leadership and professionalism during the nursing education process. Instructor in practical nursing Joann Famalette presented this award to Stephanie E. Fellin.
- Most Compassionate, an award presented to the student who displays exceptional emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy for others. Instructor in practical nursing Lori Reiner presented this award to Sindy M. Bueno.
- Community Service, which is presented to the student who displays the initiative to reach out to those in need within the community. Instructor in practical nursing Andrea McAloose presented this award to Brittany E. Kressler.
- Spirit of Nursing Award, which recognizes the student who shows excitement, motivation and enthusiasm toward the nursing profession. Instructor in practical nursing Roxanne Downs presented this award to Melissa Espinal.