UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing Alumni Society Board has selected five current undergraduate and graduate students and engaged alumni with distinguished nursing awards. The Alumni Society Board established their student awards to recognize students’ academic achievement, leadership skills, and contributions to the college, community, and the university, and established the alumni awards to recognize alumni who have a record of significant professional achievements in their field and to acknowledge their dedication to the college and their respective communities.
The student awards recognize an undergraduate, graduate and doctoral student who supports the ideals of the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and the nursing profession by engaging in service activities that support individuals, families, and/or communities and that encourage and foster the nurses personal and professional development.
The Alumni Society Board Undergraduate Student Service Award
Alyssa Tygh is a fourth-year bachelor of science in nursing student minoring in health policy and administration, originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She has held several leadership positions on the local, state and national levels through the Student Nurses Association at Penn State (SNAPS), the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP), and the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA). Tygh currently is president of SNAPS and president of SNAP. After graduating this May, she said she hopes to work in an emergency department, and in the future she wants to attend graduate school to work in healthcare policy, law or leadership.
The Alumni Society Board Graduate Student Service Award
William Watson is a 2016 graduate from the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and is expected to graduate in May 2022 from the Master of Nursing program, family nurse practitioner track. He has taken on various intensive care unit roles at the Lehigh Valley Health Network and Hershey Medical Center and had a brief stint as a team lead for the COVID-19 testing site at Hershey Medical Center. In June of 2021, he began volunteering with Valley Health Partners Street Medicine Team where he helped care for people who are homeless in Lehigh and Northampton Counties. The team meets individuals who reside in either encampments, the woods, or on the street, and holds “office visits” at soup kitchens and shelters to help this underserved population manage their acute and chronic health needs.
The Alumni Society Board Doctoral Nursing Student Excellence Award
Brandi Peachy graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor of science in nursing in 2004, from Bloomsburg University with a master of science in nursing in 2008 and is currently expected to graduate with a doctor of nursing practice in May. She has worked in a pediatric intensive care unit for almost 18 years and now works full-time as an undergraduate nursing instructor at Penn State. She has been married since 2004 and has four children. She coaches her children in soccer and basketball and is a volunteer with her church’s children’s ministry.
The alumni awards recognize an alumnus/alumna who has provided outstanding volunteer service to the college and/or is actively working in the healthcare field who has impacted the healthcare industry in a profound way, who supports a model of professional practice in their organization through leadership , innovation, strong mentorship and overall practice.
The Paula Milone-Nuzzo Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award
Wendy Forrest Edgar is a 1992 graduate of the Ross and Carol Nurse College of Nursing and earned a master of science in nursing from Widener University in 1998 after completing the Family Nurse Practitioner Program. She is currently enrolled in Penn State’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and plans to graduate in May of 2023. She currently works as a full-time member of the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing’s faculty at the Fayette Campus and works part-time as a nurse practitioner at Children’s Express Care in Washington, Pennsylvania. While working on her bachelor of science in nursing at Penn State, she was very active in the Student Nurses’ Association, serving as vice president; and served as co-chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee for three years. She is incredibly proud to have been an integral part of the class of 1992’s gift, the Pennsylvania State University stone sign which sits outside Beaver Stadium.
She has served on the college’s probationary Alumni Society Board when the School of Nursing became the College of Nursing. She was elected as the inaugural president on the College of Nursing’s Alumni Society Board, and before that she served for seven years on the College of Health and Human Development’s Alumni Society Board, representing the School of Nursing.
She is currently serving her second elected term on the Penn State Alumni Association’s Alumni Council and serves as a board member of the Washington-Greene Counties Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. She resides in Venetia, Pennsylvania, with her husband and daughter, who hopes to attend Penn State; and her son, who is a second-year student in the Smeal College of Business at University Park.
The Alumni Society Board Outstanding Alumni Award
Pamela Harris-Haman is a 1981 Penn State graduate from the Johnstown area. Following graduation, she started working in the NICU at the medical center in Hershey. In 1989, she attended Georgetown University and earned a certificate as a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP), then began her career as an NNP at the medical center in Hershey as the first board-certified NNP at that hospital. She earned a master’s degree in neonatal nursing and a doctor of nursing practice at Stony Brook University in New York. In 2019 she relocated to Texas to accept a position as an assistant professor in the NNP tract at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Her research interest is in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and she has been developing a program to provide resources and education to pregnant mothers with opioid use disorder, as well as providing education to nurses and community members.
In 2011 she began traveling to Africa with Touching Lives Ministry. Each summer she serves as the American medical director and conducts a medical camp near Lake Victoria. She works with universities and hospitals in Kenya to standardize practice and education for neonatal nurses and provides them with educational resources. She is currently working with Project Hope in Sierra Leone to mentor BSN and MSN faculty and works with the Council of International Neonatal Nurses in Zambia to develop a program to train neonatal nurses. She has spoken nationally and internationally on neonatal nursing topics and is a section editor of the journal Advances in Neonatal Care. In addition to being involved in numerous nursing organizations, she has raised 5 daughters and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.
Each award nominee is evaluated by the Nursing Alumni Society Awards Committee, and with consideration to many different criteria. These recipients exemplify what it truly means to be a nurse or nurse educator and have been formally recognized by the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing.
To nominate a nursing alumnus or student for an award, email CONAlumni@psu.edu.