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PhD breakfast winner with Dr. Hernandez

Welcomes, awards and tunes greet doctoral students

minute read

Written by Debra Melani on September 4, 2019

New and returning doctoral students were welcomed back Tuesday morning with a table of gold sunglasses, a buffet of steaming food and a playlist of eclectic songs, from Pharrell Williams to Kool & the Gang.

Hosted each year by the College of Nursing’s Office of Admissions and Student Affairs team, the breakfast kicks off a week of events focused on connecting new PhD students with returning students. This year, the Health Systems Leadership DNP students were also invited.

“They share a course with our PhD students and truly have begun learning more about their roles as they contribute to the research process,” CU Nursing’s advisor of graduate programs, China Hutchins, said of the inaugural DNP class returning for its second year. Hutchins directs the welcoming event.

After mingling, eating and moving to those wildly varied tunes, students were introduced to CU Nursing’s new Associate Dean of Research and Scholarship, Teri Hernandez, PhD.

Dean’s Early Scholar Awards announced

Hernandez presented the $10,000 Dean’s Early Scholar Awards to four promising first-year students, one from each focal area of study and one for overall best (Aimee Techau, Biobehavioral Science; Brittni Goodwin, Caring Science; Melissa Florell, Health Care Systems; and Mia Roberts, Caring Science, Overall Best).

The morning’s emcee and, as it turns out, DJ, told the new students that staff designed the week ahead to help them connect and transition smoothly into their new endeavor.

“These people who have been in these courses ahead of time are your best resources,” said Paula Meek, CU Nursing’s director of the PhD program.


PhD Early Scholars

Importance of mission emphasized

Noting that the number of PhD nurses lags behind DNPs at a ratio as high as 35-to-1, Meek said CU Nursing takes it mission seriously. “We pride ourselves on making nurse scientists,” Meek said, adding that another source of pride, and one newcomers need to remember, is that every course builds.

“The way it builds is it blows your mind first, and you start thinking about things you had no idea you should think about, and then you move on,” Meek said.

“This is a time to celebrate,” Meek said, referring to her unusual playlist. “This is going to be one of the best days of your life,” she said, explaining why students were greeted by song No. 1: Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.”

A positive future lies ahead

PhD Breakfast with future DNPs

Borrowing from Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” Meek told the group that it was time to be inspired. “A PhD program is ‘a room without a roof’. It will not seal you at any level. You can go anywhere and do anything.”

But the most important message of all comes from her final Timbuk 3 song, Meek said, donning a pair of gold sunglasses: “The future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.”

The week of activities culminates Thursday night and Friday with a student research poster session and a college-wide symposium.

Topics: Research, Students