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CU Nursing 2024 Alumni Awards

2024 CU Nursing Alumni Association Awards

We are pleased to announce the 2024 recipients of the University of Colorado College of Nursing Alumni Association Awards, recognizing the exceptional alumni who are making a remarkable impact on the nursing profession and community.

Join us on Wednesday, June 5, 2024, from 6:00 – 8:30 PM MT, at the CU Nursing Alumni Association Awards reception and ceremony.

Terry Chase, '96 ND
Lifetime Achievement Award

Sara Greene, '19 DNP
Pathfinder Award

Rebecca M. Singer, '04 BSN, '04 ND
Distinguished Alumni Award

Damon Toczylowski, '23 DNP
DNP, ACNPC, CCNS, Major USAF (ret)
Distinguished Alumni Award

Chantal Dengah, BSN '19, MSN '21
Rising Star Award

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Lifetime Achievement Award: Terry Chase

Theresa M. Chase, MA, ND, RN, CEIP-Ed

Theresa M. Chase, MA, ND, RN, CEIP-Ed
PhD Class of 1996

Dr. Theresa (Terry) Chase graduated from the CU College of Nursing in 1996, earning her Nursing Doctorate degree. In 1988, she was riding her bike when she was struck by an impaired driver in a hit-and-run accident, and she sustained a T12 incomplete spinal injury. Four years later, Dr. Chase was inspired to pursue a career in nursing. “As a result of the care I received as a patient and the interactions with many nurses along the way, I became curious about what made me feel better. I was inspired by the Theory of Human Caring by Jean Watson (PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, LL (AAN), a fellow CU Nursing alumna and Founder and Director of Watson Caring Science Institute) and how caring was possibly what helped me feel better,” shared Dr. Chase.

As a wheelchair user, Dr. Chase had to find creative ways to navigate the then-inaccessible campus buildings as well as the prejudice of some who doubted her ability to be a nurse. Yet for all those barriers, there were so many who championed her on her successful education journey. Dr. Chase notes that while it was a challenging program, it was the most beneficial to her and her cohort as it prepared them to face their futures as nurses.

Dr. Chase worked for a total of 25 years at Craig Hospital Englewood, serving as a Patient & Family Education Coordinator for 18 years and the Western Colorado Admission Liaison for seven years. In 2014, she assumed the position of Associate Professor, BSN-Mental faculty at Colorado Mesa University where she remained until her retirement in 2023.

Now, Dr. Chase maintains a practice as a speaker-author-consultant on a mission to assist nursing staff, leaders, and student nurses in training to thrive and flourish. A unique aspect of her work is facilitating mini retreats that incorporate Equine Assisted Learning in personal and professional consulting. “There is still much for me to do in the world and continue this work of professional nursing in innovative and creative ways.”

Pathfinder Award: Sara Greene

Sara Greene DNP, APRN

Sara Greene DNP, APRN
DNP Class of 2019

Dr. Sara Greene serves as the Director of Readiness for the Enterprise Preparedness & Emergency Operations at HCA Healthcare. With a focus on strategic preparedness, she oversees the development of comprehensive emergency plans, playbooks, exercise and training initiatives. Prior to her role, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, providing oversight on healthcare readiness in Western states.

Dr. Greene studied in the Public Health Nursing program and graduated from the College of Nursing in 2019. “From my first introduction to public health, while pursuing my BSN, I knew I was meant to be a public health nurse. The focus on vulnerable populations was the initial draw, quickly followed by the complex intersections of population-based care, politics, and policy,” said Dr. Greene. “It’s easy to find problems that public health programs can solve – we see them in our everyday lives. The difficulty in public health practice is the lack of evidence-based solutions in comparison to our clinical counterparts, constant resource scarcity, and persuading political leaders to invest in programs in which positive outcomes won’t be seen for years. This is what makes the field so exciting.”

Scott Harpin, Dr. Greene’s nominator, notes that while she is humble and may not talk much about awards or honors, she has made an impact both nationally and internationally. Other countries have invited Dr. Greene to be a subject matter expert as she has prepared healthcare systems for high-consequence disease outbreaks, including Ebola, and served on the federal team caring for quarantined COVID-19 patients.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Rebecca Singer

Rebecca M. Singer, DNP, ND, MA, RN

Rebecca M. Singer, DNP, ND, MA, RN
PhD Class of 2004

In 2004, Dr. Rebecca Singer graduated with a doctorate in nursing from the CU College of Nursing. She worked as a clinical nurse at Planned Parenthood and UCH, served as Director of Healthcare Services at the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center, and offered her nursing skills to Doctors Without Borders. Recently, Dr. Singer received a Fulbright Fellowship for Teaching and Professional Service in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is now a clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing.

“I always knew I wanted to do work that involved radical engagement with individuals, families, and communities. I also knew that I wanted to do global work. I took my time figuring out that nursing would be that job,” said Dr. Singer. “I was inspired by an interview with a nurse-midwife who worked for Doctors Without Borders and eventually turned that inspiration into a reality. My Jewish upbringing has taught me that repairing our broken world by pursuing justice for all is the most important work we can do. Nursing allows me to do that work in so many ways.”

Dr. Singer was drawn to the creative, engaged, and social justice-oriented work being done at CU and the fact that students were encouraged to explore how they wanted to build their own authentic nursing practice. She is grateful for her invested and accessible instructors, her classmates, and the training she received that allowed her to work around the world helping people in crisis.

“I am so honored to receive this award. Every day in my teaching, I think about my education at CU and strive to bring the energy, knowledge, and commitment to excellence that I experienced to my classroom.”

Distinguished Alumni Award: Damon Toczylowski

Damon Toczylowski, MAJ, NC, USAF (Ret.) DNP, CCNS, ACNP-C, CNE

Damon Toczylowski, MAJ, NC, USAF (Ret.)
DNP Class of 2023

Dr. Damon Toczylowski graduated from the CU College of Nursing in 2023, earning a doctorate in nursing with an emphasis on veteran military health. He is an adjunct faculty member at the school and also works as a nurse practitioner at the Rocky Mountain Regional Medical Center-Cardiology Clinic.

Having grown up with several nurses in his family, Dr. Toczylowski was inspired by their work and sought out ways to help his friends, especially when they were ill. He entered the US Navy at 18 and served as a hospital corpsman for three years, working alongside skilled nursing professionals. Following ROTC at Marquette University, he served as a US Navy Nurse before becoming an acute care nurse practitioner and certified clinical nurse specialist in the US Air Force.

He moved to Denver after retiring from the US Air Force in 2019 and sought to achieve a DNP to hone his professional nursing practice. “Shortly after starting a role in the surgical intensive care unit at the VA in Aurora, a PhD and DNP option for the Veteran and Military Health Care program was established and I knew this was absolutely the correct fit for my professional and academic pursuits,” said Dr. Toczylowski. “The support I received is invaluable, and I would not be where I am today without the guidance and mentorship [at CU] and the love of my family.”

Rising Star Award: Chantal Dengah

Chantal Dengah, DNP, CNM

Chantal Dengah, DNP, CNM
DNP Class of 2023, BSN 2019

Dr. Chantal Dengah’s lifelong desire to become a midwife came into focus when she hemorrhaged while birthing her oldest child. The attending midwife was so adept at stopping the bleeding and empowering her, she knew she wanted to learn how to do the same for others.

Although certain life events prevented Dr. Dengah from pursuing her formal education for many years, she devoured books on midwifery and birth—always hungry for more. “My journey getting there was long, but once I got the chance to start my formal education, I dug in as much as I could and haven’t stopped.” Dr. Dengah went from community college through the Integrated Nurse Pathway program to CU where she eventually earned her master's degree in nurse midwifery. In 2023, she graduated from Frontier Nursing University with her doctorate degree.

Dr. Dengah serves as a nurse midwife at the Stride Community Health Center in Aurora and is an adjunct professor at CU’s College of Nursing. She hopes to continue to expand her work in diverse ways, having a deep passion for patient advocacy and empowerment. “As I branch into teaching, it is my hope to inspire and empower the rising generation of nurses to think critically, lead with empathy, and be empowered to be disruptors and systems innovators when change is needed.”

Shannon Pirrie, one of Dr. Dengah’s nominators, noted that her unwavering passion, exceptional academic performance, and profound dedication to midwifery set her apart as an exemplary figure during her time in the educational program. Her ability to deeply understand and advocate for the midwifery model of care, integrating it seamlessly into her practice, speaks volumes about her dedication to advancing the standards of maternal and newborn health.

Congratulations to all 2024 honorees! Save the date for Wednesday, June 5, 2024, from 6-8:30 p.m., where we will celebrate these incredible alumni at the CU Nursing Alumni Association Awards.

Alumni Association Awards Registration


Nominate a CU Nursing Alumni for the 2025 Awards

Topics: Alumni