24 Honored as 2024 Nurses Alumni Organization Pin Recipients for Leadership, Service, and Achievement

By Qaitlyn Ross and Maddy Scharrer

School of Nursing pin

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing is proud to honor 24 incredible nursing graduates with traditional nursing pins, presented by the Nurses Alumni Organization (NAO). This year’s commemoration was held through a virtual celebration on April 24.

The pin of the UW–Madison School of Nursing embodies a proud tradition of service. Each year, select pins are passed on from an alumnus to a new graduate as a sign of the recipient’s achievement and promise. “This year’s honorees are an exceptional group, and we are excited to see them become leaders in the profession and society,” said Jordan Langer, advancement manager for the School of Nursing.

Established in 1927, the NAO includes all School of Nursing graduates from degree and certificate programs. The organization works closely with the School of Nursing to promote fellowship and recognition among alumni, advance School programs and initiatives, further high standards for nursing education and practice, and support School of Nursing students in various ways, including scholarships and awards.

This year, 22 graduates received pins donated by alumni, including a great aunt passing her pin down to her great niece, a grandmother passing hers down to her granddaughter, and a research advisor and mentor passing it down to her mentee. In addition, one received a pin from the Board of Visitors (BOV) and one received a pin from Dean Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN, marking the fifth year the Dean’s Pin has been presented to a graduate for their leadership and service to the School.

Of the 24 total recipients, 22 are graduating from the traditional bachelor of science in nursing (TBSN) program, one is graduating from the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (ABSN) program, and one is graduating from the bachelor of science in nursing at home (BSN@Home) program.

Holly AdamsHolly Adams, TBSN – Susan Glotzer ’62

Holly Adams, a traditional bachelor of science in nursing student and School of Nursing student ambassador, grew up in Cashton, Wisconsin. As she nears graduation and reflects on her time in the nursing program, she is fondly reminded of her White Coat Ceremony, which marked the beginning of her nursing school journey. Adams remembers feeling so inspired and honored to be a nursing student at UW–Madison, and she regards the Pinning Ceremony with the same inspiration as the bookend to her nursing school experience.

During her two years serving as a student ambassador for the School, Adams has loved connecting with alumni, donors, and community partners, as well as serving as a peer advisor to pre-nursing students that stand where she once did. As a representative of the School of Nursing, she has been able to learn more about the impact of Badger nurses and recognizes the value of the program in the community. Each different aspect of the roles she has served in has been rewarding in their own way, and the lessons she has learned in one aspect have helped her improve in others.

For Adams, the guidance she has received from alumni and donors has greatly helped her identify the traits, qualities, and experiences that she strives to share with pre-nursing students in hopes of continuing the tradition of strong, successful, and happy Badger nurses. Jordan Langer, the School of Nursing’s advancement manager, shares that, “Holly demonstrates maturity, integrity, and a strong commitment to advancing the nursing profession. She is a respected member of her cohort and has grown to be a true leader within the School of Nursing. Honoring Holly with an alumni pin is just one way of recognizing her incredible effort and passion she has given to the School as she’s received her nursing education.”

Outside of her role as a student ambassador, Adams has also thrived as a nursing assistant at UW Health’s University Hospital. She was able to work with nurses on her unit to create a nurse and nursing assistant mentorship program designed to increase nursing assistant knowledge, skills, interest in the profession, and comfort as a member of the health care team through a six-month program. This program was nationally recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program, a facet of the American Nursing Association, in 2023. Adams was able to help present the program at the Magnet Conference last October. She notes, “I am grateful to have had the learning experiences to identify needs and find solutions to make the lives of others better.”

Adams believes her unwavering commitment to the UW–Madison School of Nursing is what has most helped her make a positive impact in making health care more accessible, visible, and connected to the community. She is equally as honored to serve the Wisconsin community as she is to receive an alumni pin and join a talented Badger nurse community.

Susan Ten Eyck Glotzer
Susan Glotzer ’62

Adams is grateful that Susan Glotzer ’62, believed in her and chose to donate her pin. Reflecting on her education, what Glotzer remembers most about her time at the School of Nursing was how much she enjoyed it. She appreciates thinking about how different her journey must have been from Adams’, recalling classes in the basement of the old Nurses’ Dormitory and laundering their uniforms, as opposed to lessons taught in the new Center for Technology Enhanced Nursing (CTEN) or having a White Coat Ceremony in the School’s very own auditorium.

Glotzer began her career working at the old University Hospital on the ophthalmology and ear, nose, and throat floor. When her children began school, she took on a role in a pediatric clinic before joining Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York. Glotzer’s last nursing job before retirement was with the Onondaga County Health Department as a maternal and child public health nurse serving the inner city and surrounding rural areas.

When asked why she chose to donate her pin, Glotzer explained that nursing opened the world to her. Growing up in a small town, she did not always know what opportunities were available to her but attending UW–Madison changed her life. Her nursing pin holds great significance to her because of this, and she hopes that it will now be valued by Adams, another small-town Badger whose world is limitless thanks to her School of Nursing education.

Nicole BartelsNicole Bartels, TBSN – Connie Worzala ’75

Nicole Bartels, a student ambassador for the UW–Madison School of Nursing, chose the path of nursing at a young age and never looked back. She loves the empathy, compassion and critical thinking the career requires, and will work as an obstetric registered nurse at UnityPoint Health – Meriter Hospital after graduating.

Reflecting on her nursing school experience, Bartels says she met some of her closest friends on the very first day. Alongside these friends, and the rest of her peers, she has grown a lot and learned even more. Bartels is grateful for how nursing school taught her to trust in herself and her abilities, and to understand that everything will happen when it’s supposed to. In the next chapter, she looks forward to putting these lessons to use to make a difference in her patients’ lives. She is passionate about improving the birthing and postpartum experience, as well as advocating for her patients’ needs. As she develops her own nursing style, she is excited for the greater impact she can have with her new autonomy.

Bartels’ time as a student ambassador for the School has been an exciting and rewarding experience. Jordan Langer, the UW–Madison School of Nursing’s advancement manager, says, “I am nominating Nicole due to her outstanding service through her role as a student ambassador. She understands the importance of staying engaged and giving back to the School that’s provided so much during a pivotal point in her life. Nicole Bartels was destined to be a Badger nurse!”

Bartels has enjoyed many aspects of this versatile role of student ambassador. Specifically, she’s loved getting to interact with a wide variety of the School of Nursing’s community including alumni, prospective students, and even UW–Madison Chancellor, Jennifer L. Mnookin. She values the opportunity to build new connections each time she is able to represent the School in this way.

Bartels especially appreciates her time with alumni. Having been involved in the last two 50-year reunions, she has deeply enjoyed getting to meet and share stories with Badger nurses who share her passions and serve as role models. Bartels says, “I feel such a strong connection with alumni, as we both share such passion for the UW–Madison School of Nursing, and they’ve achieved what I hope to achieve in my life. Hearing their experiences and advice for me was the best part of my time as an ambassador. It means so much to me to receive an alumni pin, as the alumni are so near and dear to my heart. This admiration for UW–Madison School of Nursing alumni is a huge part of why receiving a nursing pin means so much to her.

Connie Worzala ’75
Connie Worzala ’75

Bartels’ pin was donated by Connie Worzala ’75, who has many fond memories with her nursing pin. Worzala’s mother, her inspiration for entering the field of nursing, was the one to pin her. Like her mother, she wore her pin every day, which became a favored talking point between herself and her patients.

Worzala’s career began in a cancer unit for patients with a terminal prognosis before a couple between-state moves led her to roles in rehabilitative, hospice, and cardiac care units. After the birth of her children and some time away from the profession, she returned to nursing and came full circle, finishing her career as a cancer care navigator.

As a student, Worzala strongly felt that UW–Madison was the “only place to get her degree.” She hopes that as this new class of Badger nurses graduates and faces obstacles in their future employment, they remember that with their School of Nursing education they will be able to handle anything. Bartels will carry this sentiment with her throughout her career and looks forward to passing the pin down to another student in the future.

Amber Braun, BSN@Home – Kay Schaus ’60

Amber Braun, who will graduate from the BSN@Home program, has dreamed of embarking on her UW–Madison bachelor of science in nursing journey for over 30 years. After much hard work and dedication required to pursue her degree while also working full time, Braun will finally achieve her goal a month before her 50th birthday.

“I have learned we are never too old to reach for our dreams, have faith in our potential, and push ourselves out of our comfort zone,” Braun said.

For the past five years, and throughout the entirety of her program, Braun has worked for the Veterans Administration in Green Bay as a dialysis nurse. Academic Advising Manager and BSN@Home Program Coordinator Leigh Arora noted Braun’s immense commitment needed to overcome personal and professional challenges that came along with the work-school balancing act. During the program, Braun has soared above and beyond, and has been a dedicated student maintaining high academic success while also working in the field. “She has demonstrated that she is committed to the nursing profession and advancing her nursing practice through continued education,” Arora said.

Reflecting on her UW–Madison School of Nursing journey, Braun would tell her past self that she’s got this, and the dedication through long nights and weekends spent studying are all toward expanding her nursing knowledge. She would say, “Have faith in yourself and your abilities, each challenge makes you stronger!”

Braun looks forward to continuing her nursing journey after graduation and plans to enter a role as a care coordinator for her current unit where she will commit to expanding the Veteran-centric philosophy by leading outreach to the different health care facets of the facility. With her gained skills and bolstered confidence from the BSN@Home program, Braun will enter this position with strengthened nursing practice.

“I look forward to the next chapter that my nursing career has for me and am confident that my UW preparation has instilled the knowledge, passion, and drive to do great things moving FORWARD!” Braun said.

Receiving a nursing pin is an added honor to an already dream-fulfilling achievement. Braun’s pin was donated by Kay Schaus ’60, and Braun is grateful to receive this recognition after her journey.

“Accomplishing my bachelors of science in nursing once looked like a daunting task,” Braun began, “but to achieve it and be recognized by alumnus Kay Schaus as worthy of her nursing pin is an honor and privilege that I will forever be grateful for.”

Schaus was a part of the last class to experience living in the Nurses’ Dormitory during her time at the School of Nursing. For Schaus, there was no question about pursuing nursing. “It was a desire of mine from childhood,” Schaus said.

Schaus worked in public health nursing and was able to make groundbreaking developments. Utilizing a Wisconsin State Department of Health grant, she initiated the first discharge planning program in Northern Wisconsin.

Along with being a pin donor, Schaus has given back to School of Nursing students with the Kay M. Schaus Scholarship. Her hope for the new graduates is for them to keep compassion at the core of their care. “Never lose sight of the individuality and needs of each patient and their family,” Schaus said.

In receiving Schaus’ pin, Braun appreciates the network of nurses she is joining and hopes to continue the UW–Madison nursing tradition of legacy. “As I join the University of Wisconsin alumni network of nursing professionals who have forged the path before me, I am privileged to have their support and guidance moving forward in my practice and pray I do them proud!”

Holly Christy

Holly Christy, TBSN – Lisa Becker ’87

From a young age, Holly Christy knew she wanted to be a nurse. Both her grandmother and her best friend battled cancer throughout her childhood, and she took on a caretaking role for both of them throughout their treatment. It was then that Christy realized how much she enjoyed caring for others, and knew it was something she would continue. In her goal of becoming a pediatric intensive care unit nurse, she hopes to care for patients and families the same way her loved ones were cared for.

Christy has been a very active member of her nursing cohort throughout her time at the UW–Madison School of Nursing. She values advocacy and leadership, which can be seen through her regular attendance at faculty meetings as well as the extracurricular leadership roles she has held.

One role in particular holds special meaning to Christy. For the past year, she has served as a program leader for GiGi’s Playhouse, an organization that provides programming and support for people with Down syndrome and their families. Her role at Gigi’s Playhouse allowed her to execute social and motor skill activities for the adults of the program. She has also been involved with Best Buddies on campus, which fosters relationships between students with and without disabilities. Her passion for working with this population ultimately led her to earning a disability rights and services certificate along with her bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Christy is honored to have a UW–Madison School of Nursing pin as a symbol that represents the legacy of Badger nurses that came before her. She feels blessed to join this community and will remember how these nurses have impacted communities across the country. This is exactly what Lisa Becker ’87, hoped her pin would do when she decided to donate it: serve as a meaningful link to the past.

Lisa Becker
Lisa Becker ’87

Becker always loved science and had strong family influence to consider a career in nursing. However, it wasn’t until she volunteered for the American Red Cross in an emergency room department that she discovered her desire to care for patients in a hospital environment.

Throughout her life, Becker put her nursing degree to use in many ways. Her first job after graduation was as a medical-surgical nurse in a unit that combined cardiac telemetry, oncology, and nephrology. She then gave home health care a try before ultimately deciding to focus on being a mom full-time. Being a stay-at-home mom though, she says, still put her degree to use regularly!

Christy will wear Becker’s pin with pride as she moves into this new chapter of her nursing journey. As she reflects fondly on her time at the School of Nursing, Christy notes that the friends she made in her very first clinical group are still some of her closest friends today, and she will miss their time together after graduation. It’s been hard work to get to where she is, but she wishes she’d taken more time to enjoy the process and not stress as much. “It goes by so fast,” she said. “It is challenging, but well worth any struggles I may have had.”

School of Nursing clinical instructor Britta Lothary, MSN, RN, ANP-C, notes that Christy’s hard work will take her far in her career, saying, “Holly has represented herself as a leader in her cohort for the past two years, and will continue to be a strong leader as a nurse wherever her career takes her.”

Emily Dokken

Emily Dokken, ABSN – Patty Kamienski ’75

Emily Dokken chose nursing because she admires nurses’ roles in patient care. She knew it would be a fulfilling career that would continue to make her grow through challenges. She explained, “Nursing is an amazing career in that we as nurses get to be an intricate part of someone’s life, care for them, and truly work to make a difference in a time of illness or injury.”

Nearing the end of her nursing school journey, Dokken noted the most valuable lesson she learned was to always have confidence in what you are doing. With a foundation of support, she learned to not let “fear of inexperience stop you from trying new things.” Dokken also explained she would advise her past self to trust the process. “Everything will work out exactly as it’s meant to,” she began. “Even when you think it’s not going as planned – trust that it is.”

Dokken is graduating from the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (ABSN) program, and will cherish School of Nursing memories of her summer clinical group trading off bringing breakfast each week. She plans to work at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s surgical/trauma pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and is excited to be entering a role in her dream department and all the growth that is to come.

“I feel motivated to get in to work and start caring for these patients, being an advocate for them and their loved ones,” Dokken said.

Patty Kamienski ’75 and her grandniece Emily Dokken, ABSN
Patty Kamienski ’75 and Emily Dokken, ABSN

Dokken’s pin was passed down to her by her great aunt, Patty Kamienski ’75, who wanted her grandniece to have her pin upon graduation.

Kamienski pursued nursing because of her desire to have a career that involved helping others. She will always remember the amazing School of Nursing instructors who were incredible role models for her.

Kamienski spent five and a half years at UW Hospital, working in the cardiac surgery intensive care unit (ICU) before moving to Akron, Ohio. There, she worked alongside her husband at Akron General, and expanded her skill set by learning perfusion and running the heart-lung bypass pump. She also did preoperative teaching with patients and families.

A piece of advice Kamienski has for graduating nurses is to follow their ambitions with care close to heart. “Never lose sight of your goals,” Kamienski said. “Always remain compassionate and professional.”

Dokken will treasure her great aunt’s pin and will carry on the familial and School of Nursing tradition as she enters the next chapter of her nursing career. “Receiving this pin means everything to me,” Dokken began. “I’m honored to get this pin and continue my family’s legacy as a Badger nurse.”

Brissa Donnelly

Brissa Donnelly, TBSN – Joanne Disch ’68

With a passion for mental health, one of Brissa Donnelly’s life missions is to, “give a voice to the voiceless.” Donnelly chose nursing to pursue this passion, and plans on being a mental health nurse in a behavioral in-patient health center.

“The idea of being a guiding light in someone’s darkest moments fills me with purpose,” Donnelly began. “It is not merely a profession; it is a calling. A profound commitment to nurturing and supporting mental wellness in those who need it most.”

During nursing school, Donnelly says she strove to empower her classmates, friends, and residents, and remind them that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. She is dedicated to being a positive force in the School of Nursing and community, and her reach is widespread. As a Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO) scholar, she has had the opportunity to help connect students to educational resources regarding higher education. Donnelly also takes pride in mentoring fellow students, sharing resources and studying methods. She has also served the campus population as a volunteer flu and COVID-19 vaccine administrator.

Donnelly cherishes the friendships she has made during her time at the School and is grateful she connected with peers who share similar aspirations. Looking back, the biggest lesson Donnelly learned during nursing school was to, “not bite off more than you can chew.” She would advise her past self that it is okay to take time for yourself, and that prioritizing your needs is the pathway to success.

With her School of Nursing journey ending, Donnelly looks forward to what the future holds. “I am thrilled that I will get to work in a field that I genuinely love and look forward to going to every day,” she said.

Joanne Disch ’68
Joanne Disch ’68

The donor of Donnelly’s pin, Joanne Disch ’68, felt a sense of connectedness to the nurses who graduated before her through her pin, and hoped a new graduate would experience the same. This wish held true; for Donnelly, the nursing pin is both a connection to legacy and a testament to her resilience. “As a first-generation college student, I am beyond grateful that I am a part of this long-standing tradition,” Donnelly said. “For me, it represents the countless hours spent studying, the moments of self-doubt that were overcome, and the hurdles that I overcame during this time.”

Disch worked as a nurses’ aide at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Madison and was inspired by her coworkers to pursue her nursing degree. A colleague told Disch that while she may have received her degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing, she became a nurse while working at St. Mary’s. She enjoyed both experiences and felt that the School of Nursing helped her refine her nursing skills.

“I credit the UW–Madison School of Nursing with grounding me in professional nursing and helping me launch an extraordinary career,” Disch said.

Disch has fond memories of her time at the School of Nursing. She will never forget being called to the School’s office of the registrar in early April, 1968, where she received news that she was short of the credits needed to graduate on time. “I was heartsick until the registrar started laughing and reminded me it was April Fool’s Day,” Disch said. “That experience epitomized the environment within the School where staff and faculty were engaged with us and shared friendly and supportive relationships.”

Working through a series of leadership positions, and serving on multiple health system boards and organizations, taught Disch important lessons throughout her career: “Explore new opportunities, get involved with where you work, and periodically find new places to work and attend school,” Disch said.

Donnelly will heed Disch’s advice as she plans to go back to school after a few years to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. One day, she hopes to open sober living homes that provide mental health services along with substance abuse treatment and support services. The nursing pin she has received from Disch will inspire Donnelly in her pursuits.

“This pin will serve as a daily reminder of the nursing journey that Joanne Disch trailblazed and how I strive to make such an impact,” Donnelly said.

Alexandra GoldenbergAlexandra (Alex) Goldenberg, TBSN – Laurie O’Leary ’65

Alexandra Goldenberg chose nursing because she loves learning about the body and how she can use her knowledge to improve the lives of others. She values that nursing is a profession that requires human connections and believes it’s a true privilege to work with and uplift individuals in vulnerable points in their lives.

Goldenberg has served as a leader throughout the UW–Madison School of Nursing community in many ways, the biggest of which being her time as a student ambassador. She has worked in countless outreach projects since 2022, and her supervisors and peers can count on her for polished work every time. Goldenberg strives to bring an open mind to all her workplace relationships and is noted as a source of peace among those she works with. Jordan Langer, advancement manager for the School of Nursing shares, “Alex is one of the most pleasant individuals you will ever work with. She is positive, cheerful, and conscientious. Her attention to detail and problem-solving skills will certainly help her contribute to the health care field.”

As her time in nursing school comes to an end, Goldenberg’s advice to her past self would be to treat herself with more kindness. Even reflecting on the beginning, her White Coat Ceremony, she remembers her energy and excitement as she began her path. Along the way though, being surrounded with so many other successful students made it easy to compare herself. She knows now that everyone is on different journeys and time spent comparing herself to others would be better focused on positive thoughts.

This idea of focusing on yourself also ties in with many of the lessons Goldenberg will carry with her after graduation. Being in tune with her needs, and advocating for them, has been an especially valuable lesson from her time in clinicals. She explains, “Only you know what you’re struggling with, and only you know when you feel comfortable with a skill. By sticking up for yourself, you can ensure you receive the support and knowledge you need to succeed.”

Laurie O'Leary
Laurie O’Leary ’65

Goldenberg received her nursing pin from Laurie O’Leary ’65. O’Leary, like Goldenberg, fondly remembers the bond she shared with her classmates during her time at the School of Nursing. In a class of only 18, O’Leary’s memory of her friendships remains strong to this day.

When O’Leary was only 10, she was diagnosed with polio and hospitalized. She loved the nurses that cared for her during her stay, which was ultimately what led her to pursue a career as a nurse. Since graduating from the School, she has worked in multiple facets of the obstetrics field, including time spent in prenatal and lactation care, all within different hospitals and clinics around Madison.

O’Leary looks forward to her nursing pin getting some more use, and her advice to the newest Badger nurse graduates is to, “Be strong and keep your sense of humor!” Goldenberg will carry this lesson with her as she begins her career as a nurse resident at American Family Children’s Hospital after graduation. After the work she has put in to enter into the nursing workforce with confidence and assurance, she is truly looking forward to beginning this next chapter of her nursing journey.

Natalie HaldersonNatalie Halderson, TBSN – Christine Lillesand ’85

Natalie Halderson dreamed of a career where she could interact with others and make a difference in people’s everyday lives. After experiences in caregiving and nursing assistant roles, she knew nursing was the right fit. Post-graduation, Halderson will enter a nurse residency program in general care pediatrics. She hopes to spend a few years as an RN to discover her specific health care passions, and then plans to pursue a graduate nursing degree in that area of choice.

“There are so many different types of nursing careers, and I can’t wait to see which one fits me best and where I will find the most fulfillment,” Halderson said.

As Halderson approaches this new chapter, she acknowledges and embraces the fact that she still has more to figure out in the vast world of nursing. A key piece of advice Halderson would give her past self is that it’s okay to not have everything predetermined. “I would tell my past self that I don’t need to strive for perfection or have everything planned out to be successful,” she said.

While at the School of Nursing, Halderson has made an impact while maintaining high academic standards. She has served the community through various leadership roles in the organization Community Health Volunteers of Madison, where she notably organized a run/walk that raised thousands for the Carbone Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Greatest Needs Fund. Along with this, Halderson has volunteered at a free clinic, conducted research through the School, has taken courses toward gaining Spanish language proficiency to provide more equitable care, and much more. Her dedication does not go unnoticed, and she will graduate with honors from the traditional bachelor of science in nursing program.

One of the most important lessons Halderson takes away from her time at the School of Nursing is the importance of showing the people in your life that you appreciate them. “After witnessing many clinical scenarios, I’ve realized that nothing is promised and to always extend love to others,” Halderson said. Hand in hand with this, Halderson cherishes the friendships cultivated through the School, and is glad to have had their support while navigating the challenges of the program.

After graduation, Halderson looks forward to being in the health care field every day and discovering where her nursing passions lie. As she is about to embark on this new chapter, she feels honored to receive a nursing pin and carry on the tradition of nursing excellence that came before her.

“I hope someday I will be the nurse that other nursing students look up to and continue the amazing legacy that nurses have,” she said.

Christine Lillesand ’85
Christine Lillesand ’85

Halderson received her pin from Christine Lillesand ’85, who hopes the pin’s meaning will inspire Halderson as it did her. “The pin always symbolized strength and courage to me, and certainly I found both as I matured as a nurse,” Lillesand said. “Perhaps that aura will help the next nurse who wears it.”

Lillesand initially attended the UW–Madison School of Nursing due to a nudge from her parents. But, throughout her career in transplant nursing, she realized it was the right choice for her all along. Her career saw her take on roles serving as a transplant staff nurse and a kidney transplant coordinator, performing work in clinical trials, and teaching medical-surgical nursing after obtaining her master’s degree in nursing. While she has worked in various parts of the country, her career began and ended at UW Health’s University Hospital before retiring in 2022.

Helping patients through stressful health struggles was rewarding for Lillesand, and she enjoyed assisting patients in finding their voices to collaborate with their health care team. “[A patient’s transplant journey] was the time when they needed a compassionate and empathetic advocate by their side, guiding them through a myriad of testing and evaluations,” Lillesand said.

Patient advocacy was an integral part of Lillesand’s career, and she advises new graduates to learn their patients’ stories and health journeys in order to fight for them. “Educate and empower them to understand this new, and perhaps scary, circumstance in which they find themselves,” Lillesand says. “Don’t underestimate the power of a warm touch or a hand to hold.”

Like Lillesand, Halderson understands the importance of advocacy in nursing and will emphasize it in each role she takes on. Halderson explained, “I’ve purposefully used my academics as a way to gain knowledge to become an excellent nurse who understands the issues that my patients may face and advocate for them.”

Julie Jones

Julie Jones, TBSN – Christine Eisenreich ’74

Julie Jones, a student ambassador for the UW–Madison School of Nursing, chose a career in nursing because of its versatility. With all the different avenues one can take, she appreciates the flexibility and impact that nurses can have in their careers. Jones hopes to make an impact after graduating by reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes in communities. After spending some time working to gain relevant pediatric inpatient experience, she hopes to obtain her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or master of public health (MPH) degree to help her reach these goals.

While Jones has thoroughly enjoyed her collaborative experiences at the School, she has also learned a lot about self-care. Working alongside peers and professors in simulations and clinicals to practice skills has been a favorite memory of hers. However, she has also come to understand that, as important as that strong sense of community is for success, it’s equally important to take time for yourself. “This will benefit you and others around you,” Jones said. “There are many challenges that we will face, and having a strong sense of community and support is imperative for well-being.” As she grows and develops new connections in her career and further studies, she will carry these lessons with her.

Jones is recognized as a strong representative of what it means to be a Badger nurse. Supervisors maintain that “Julie is a most deserving candidate for this recognition.” The proud history of the UW–Madison School of Nursing inspires Jones, and she is honored to be a part of this tradition.

Christine Eisenreich
Christine Eisenreich ’74

Jones received her pin from Christine Eisenreich ’74. Above all else, Eisenreich donated her pin with pride and respect for the nursing student that had to learn about public health the past four years in unprecedented ways.

Eisenreich, a Dane County native, discovered her interest in family health at a young age as she learned from her own family doctor. Upon beginning her nursing degree, she knew primary care was the best way to combine her passion for self and family care into one practice.

Eisenreich says, “As the oldest girl in a family of eight children, I grew up in an atmosphere of self-reliance, self-help and hard work,” she said. These qualities show themselves throughout Eisenreich’s multifaceted career. From working in supportive roles in nursing homes and clinics, to eventually taking on roles in leadership and administration in college health services, she has remained a strong advocate for taking the job that you have and developing it into a position you feel is important.

Her fondest memories of her time at the School of Nursing revolve around the dedication of the faculty, camaraderie of the students, and the generally encouraging environment. As Jones accepts Eisenreich’s pin, she reflects on similar memories along with the uniquely strong connection alumni have with the School. The School of Nursing has shaped Jones’ time at UW– Madison for the better, and she is beyond excited to follow Eisenreich’s footsteps as a successful Badger nurse.

Taylor Joslin

Taylor Joslin, TBSN – Board of Visitors Pin Recipient

Taylor Joslin, a 2024 graduate of the traditional BSN program, is this year’s recipient of the Board of Visitors pin, which recognizes a student’s leadership and strategic guidance.

Joslin was raised in Appleton, Wisconsin by her dad, a dental lab technician by training, and her mom, Susan, a Badger nurse from the class of ’99. Because of her parents’ health care backgrounds, she was always drawn to a career in the health sciences. Ultimately, it was Joslin’s admiration for her mother’s supportive, selfless, and compassionate nature that led her to following in her mother’s footsteps.

When applying to colleges, Joslin knew she didn’t want to move too far from home, and attending a prestigious nursing school was important to her, as well. The UW–Madison School of Nursing balanced these two criteria perfectly, but it did not come without its challenges. Throughout Joslin’s whole life, she has faced many challenges. Nursing school, at times, being one of them. While she acknowledges the difficult and exhausting moments from the past four years, she maintains that they’ve also been the most rewarding and fun years of her life. Joslin has never let her obstacles keep her from getting where she wants to be, and is a firm believer that nursing school is what you make of it.

As an honors student, and a member of a research team assisting Assistant Professor Wan-chin Kou, PhD, RN, Joslin has led and participated in multiple research initiatives to address health disparities among industrial workers and truck drivers. Most recently, she was able to present her honors project findings at the 2024 Midwestern Nursing Research Society Conference, and organize a community outreach event with the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association. Joslin has demonstrated deep commitment to the mental health support of industrial workers as well as learning about the environmental, social, and systematic barriers to healthy lifestyles that industrial professions such as truck driving face. Dr. Kuo, her faculty mentor, shares that, “Taylor’s contagious passion for nursing, and dedication to patient care and community engagement, reflects the future of nursing faculty and leadership. Through her diligence, thoughtfulness, and responsibility, I know Taylor represents just what we’re looking for as leaders and scientists in the field.”

Joslin’s favorite memory from the program over the years has been finding her best friends. The friends she’s made in her cohort have taught her that surrounding yourself with the right people — especially those who share and understand your passions — can make it so much easier and more exciting to achieve your personal goals.

As Joslin prepares for this new chapter, she is most excited about gaining greater levels of independence. While she’s loved her nursing school experience, Joslin will not miss her “student,” “assistant,” or “extern” titles from nursing school. With that being said, though, she recognizes that her most influential preceptors have been those who were confident in their practice without being afraid to continue learning. She believes that nurses can thrive off adaptive efforts to promote quality care and is excited to work in critical care where opportunities for growth are profound and plentiful.

Joslin is deeply grateful for the chance to wear the Board of Visitors pin. She states, “Receiving this pin is not only an honor of recognition, but also a reminder of my potential.” When the time eventually comes to pass down her pin, she hopes it will tell a new Badger nurse that she believes in them while also encouraging them to believe in themselves.

Peyton Kane

Peyton Kane, TBSN – Patricia Peters ’61

Peyton Kane grew up around health care professionals. This familial influence, along with some time shadowing different health care professions, ultimately led her to the nursing path. With her nursing degree, Kane hopes to provide the best care possible to patients, make them feel comfortable in a scary environment, and eventually work with future nursing students along their own journeys.

Some of Kane’s best memories from her time at the School of Nursing revolve around her professors. She remembers stressing so much about things like skills labs and check offs, but eventually came to realize how much the professors truly want the students to succeed. One memory that stands out is the first-year gift Clinical Associate Professor Traci Snedden, PhD, RN, CPNP, CPN, CNE, FNAP, gave her cohort: a microphone. As Kane has navigated ups and downs, the gift has encouraged her and her fellow students to advocate for themselves like they will for future patients.

As a first-generation college student, Kane admits she lacked knowledge on certain application processes and how best to plan for the career she wanted. These struggles presented many obstacles on her nursing journey, including getting denied admission by the School on her first attempt. Instead of letting this rejection prevent her from obtaining her goals, it only made her push harder. Kane knew she had the grades and the passion, and she recognized the knowledge she was lacking at the time was something she could and wanted to learn. Kane persevered, made it her mission to excel, and was accepted into the traditional bachelor of science in nursing program on her second try. Since entering the program, she has earned term honors each semester, built confidence in her skills, and has impressed her professors, peers, and nursing mentors on a consistent basis.

What stands out most about Kane is the strong connections she builds with everyone she works with. Her work ethic in and outside of the classroom is well known by her peers, and she still makes time to support and uplift others. One member from her cohort, Trinity Roehl, says “Peyton listens without judgment, is always optimistic, and knows how to see the good in situations. She is not one to let challenges set her back, but rather, uses them to grow and educate herself more. Her journey through undergrad is inspirational, and I’m grateful to have experienced her positivity.”

Pat Peters
Patricia Peters ’61

Kane received her pin from Patricia Peters ’61. Peters also grew up with nursing role models and remembers wanting to be just like them since she was young.

Peters’ career began in bedside nursing, but she ultimately moved into teaching as a nurse educator. Before retiring, Peters used her field experience to serve as the department head of nursing in a hospital environment. One lesson she has learned, and hopes to pass on to Kane, is to prioritize treating the patient and their family how you would want your own family treated in the same situation.

Peters notes her caring nature as for why she wanted to donate her pin. She explains, “I feel I had a wonderful nursing career and hoped someone having my pin would also be committed to giving top notch care and having a positive impact on patients and their family.” In this rewarding moment, she wants to encourage Kane to set high goals and keep working until she achieves them. Kane will put this advice to good use as she begins a new role at UnityPoint Health – Meriter Hospital.

Aleka Kraemer

Aleka Kraemer, TBSN – Roberta Gast ’65

From an early age, Aleka Kraemer knew nursing was her calling, but Kraemer has had a different nursing school experience than most of her peers. As a mother of two, she is honored to have her children, Payton and River, by her side as she completes nursing school and takes a big step closer to fulfilling her dreams. Kraemer looks forward to continuing work at UW Health’s University Hospital in inpatient thoracic care, with future plans of returning to the UW–Madison School of Nursing to pursue her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and become a nurse educator. “Ultimately, my goal is to become a nursing professor, ideally at the School of Nursing, to inspire and educate future generations of nurses,” Kraemer explained.

Support among peers has been a highlight in Kraemer’s nursing school journey. One of her favorite memories is her second-semester clinical group, which she notes was the “all-star team.” Everyone was focused and determined, but also dedicated to supporting one another. The lifelong friendships Kraemer fostered throughout the program are irreplaceable. “The bonds created in nursing school are truly something special,” Kraemer said.

Of all the lessons learned in nursing school, Kraemer emphasized the importance of practicing empathy and compassion in patient care. She explained, “Understanding and connecting with patients on a human level can make a huge difference in their overall well-being and recovery journey.” As an aside, Kraemer mentioned that prioritizing self-care and balance is essential in being able to provide this kind of care for others.

Kraemer has already put this virtue into practice. Peers note that she has brought a passion into her nursing pursuits and a care for others that has positively impacted her patients. “Aleka is supportive, diligent, dedicated, and knows how to make any patient smile on any day,” peer Katelyn Drake said. “I have seen her work magic caring for patients within our clinical rotations and know she will be an amazing nurse.”

Kraemer states she feels honored to receive a nursing pin and hopes to exemplify its meaning each day in practice. From a peer perspective, Drake has witnessed Kraemer’s commitment and impact, and notes Kraemer is well-deserving of the honor. “This pin will be a token of her hard work throughout nursing school, and a token from the nursing school for the great impact she has made not only on her peers and instructors but the future of nursing,” said Drake.

Roberta Gast ’65
Roberta Gast ’65

Kraemer’s pin was donated by Roberta Gast ’65, who retired in 2007 and would like her pin to go on to another good home.

Gast chose to pursue nursing because she had an interest in the health care field and wanted to help others. Throughout her nursing career Gast worked in various roles, serving as a staff nurse and instructing in emergency room and medical-surgical environments, and holding positions in the Veterans Administration, including staff nurse and nurse manager. With her experiences in mind, Gast advises new graduates to keep their patients’ needs at the forefront, be respectful toward coworkers and interdisciplinary teams, and stay updated with evolving nursing knowledge.

As Kraemer prepares to graduate from the traditional BSN program, she looks forward to living out Gast’s advice by striving to have a positive impact on her patients throughout her career. “I am filled with excitement and anticipation for opportunities to make a real difference in people’s lives,” Kraemer said.

Marissa Lambert, TBSN – Christine Frederick ’74

Marissa Lambert was led to nursing due to her desire to positively impact others and support people in vulnerable times. A student in the traditional bachelor of science program, Lambert feels she learned valuable lessons applicable to both nursing and life throughout nursing school. “The most important lesson that I have learned in nursing school is to be confident in myself, and to see mistakes as an opportunity to grow, not as a setback,” Lambert said.

Peers explained Lambert exudes the compassionate qualities needed to make a great nurse. “I met Marissa on my first day of nursing school, and her endless kindness, optimism, and great energy made every day better,” classmate Katelyn Drake began. “She befriends everyone she meets, leads through example and calm demeanor, and embodies what Badger nurses value and care most about.”

Now on the tail end of nursing school, Lambert has experiential advice she would give to her past self: be proud of all your accomplishments whether they’re big or small. “Do not only celebrate the big ones,” she said. “Every small step is progress towards achieving your goals.”

After graduation, Lambert plans to move to Florida with aspirations to begin working in labor and delivery or postpartum nursing. As she enters her next chapter, the School of Nursing tradition of legacy will follow and inspire her in the form of the nursing pin. “Receiving this nursing pin serves as a reminder for me about all the nurses who have come before me,” Lambert said. “Seeing the impact they have made in their careers inspires me as I begin my own.”

Christine Frederick ’74
Christine Frederick ’74

Lambert’s pin was donated by Christine Frederick ’74, who cherished her nursing pin and says she is happy to give it a new purpose by passing it down to Lambert.

Frederick always enjoyed science classes, and that, along with volunteering as a hospital “candy striper”, helped her discover that nursing was the career path she wanted to pursue. She was led to the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing, where her favorite memory was administering vaccinations to ROTC students. “[It was] hard to tell who was more nervous, student nurses or the ROTC candidates!” Frederick said.

Throughout her nursing journey, Frederick traveled as a Red Cross nurse, worked on a surgical floor and then in an emergency department, followed by part-time chart review while raising her family. She returned to full-time work in nursing leadership roles for at-home care and nursing home facilities before her final position as an instructional aide for a technical college nursing department before retirement. Much like her own career, Frederick encourages new graduates to explore the vast opportunities available in the profession.

“A nursing career offers so many opportunities for you,” Frederick said. “Find your passion and see where it leads you.”

Lambert will certainly enter the field as a passionate nurse, well-equipped with School of Nursing knowledge and personal attributes that will help her excel. “Marissa is an outstanding person who is going to be an outstanding nurse,” Drake said.

Helen Maragos, TBSN – Betty Hess Maragos ’51

If Helen Maragos could give advice to her past self, it would be, “You got this. You can do this,” a phrase she first heard from her best friend when she decided to return to school to pursue her bachelor of science degree in nursing. After high school, Helen worked in the energy efficiency field for five years before deciding to begin her nursing journey. Nursing has always been an interest, and though she reports it took her a long time to believe her friend’s words, she took the leap and now is one step closer to her career aspirations of working in critical care within a pediatric setting.

“I have always been drawn to nursing because it is a challenging, dynamic, and rewarding career with so many opportunities to make a positive impact on someone’s life,” Helen said.

Throughout nursing school, Helen has learned many valuable lessons she will carry with her into the next steps of her career. “Nursing school has instilled the importance of taking a holistic approach to patient-centered care, being an advocate, and being politically active,” she said.

Betty Hess Maragos ’51 and her granddaughter Helen Maragos
Betty Hess Maragos ’51 and her granddaughter Helen Maragos at Helen’s high school graduation.

Helen is following in the footsteps of her grandmother, Betty Hess Maragos ’51, who was also a Badger nurse and valued political activism. Helen admired her grandmother’s feminism and the way she spoke up for what she believed in. She notes her grandmother fought for equity and change throughout her life, and Helen aspires to do the same. Applying these virtues to nursing practice and letting them guide her life will make Helen an avid advocate in and out of the clinical setting.

Helen was presented with her grandmother’s pin at the pinning ceremony. It will serve as a link between them, and remind her of their shared values and missions.

“I’m honored to receive my Yaya’s pin,” she began, later adding, “To me, receiving this pin signifies picking up where she left off and continuing to advocate for my patients, friends, and community,” Helen said.

Betty wanted her granddaughter to receive her treasured pin, and though she passed just three days after Helen was notified she got an interview with the School of Nursing, Betty knew Helen would get in and planned for her pin to be passed down.

“Betty never knew Helen was accepted, but she was confident that Helen would be,” Betty’s daughter-in-law, Johnna Schink Maragos, said. “Before she passed, Betty instructed us to be sure to give Helen one of her most highly regarded possessions, her nursing pin.”

While at first Betty’s father believed it was unnecessary for her to attend college, Betty persisted and was the first member of her family to go receive higher education. “She was an extremely proud graduate of the School of Nursing,” Johnna said. “Betty fought her way to school and was happy to say her father became very proud of her accomplishments.”

Betty worked as a nurse in various health care facilities in both Madison and Milwaukee, where her favorite part of the job was bedside nursing and direct patient care. Along with her fulfilling nursing career, Betty was a “compassionate concerned citizen who acted on her beliefs by donating time and money to causes she held dear.” She was an advocate for women’s rights and equal rights for all.

“Betty treasured education in every form and never stopped learning,” Johnna said. “She shared that love of learning and critical thinking skills developed at the UW with her children and grandchildren.”

Helen truly embodies her grandmother’s passions, and on top of sharing her values, she also looks forward to the lifelong learning that comes with a career in nursing. “I am excited to meet and learn from more experienced nurses,” she began. “Our education never really stops, so I am excited to move into the next phase.”

Alex Mentink

Alex Mentink, TBSN – Georganne Wilke ’94

From a young age, Alex Mentink knew she wanted to pursue nursing as her career. Her grandfather had numerous health issues when she was a child, and she saw firsthand the compassionate care his nurses provided for him. The positive impact her grandfather’s nurses had on him, and on her family, is exactly what she hopes to achieve with her nursing degree.

This past semester Mentink has been working at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans’ Hospital and has come to refer to her patients as “my veterans” because of the close bonds she’s formed with each of them. Her time on the hospice floor has led her to becoming a strong advocate for the visitation privileges, proactive care, and overall comfort of her patients. Through both this role and an externship she had in 2023, Mentink has been able to greatly develop her nursing assistant skills. However, she still takes advantage of every opportunity she can to practice and improve. The positive experiences she has had so far in her nursing journey are largely due to how she goes out of her way to make connections. Both the nurses on her floor, and her patients, build trust in Mentink and her quality of care.

As the Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, native prepares for graduation, there is much she will miss about the UW–Madison School of Nursing. The past few years have gone by quickly, but they have been filled with great memories and great friendships. The friends she has made at the School have provided her with strong support systems both inside and outside of academics. Grace Schumacher, the peer that nominated Mentink, says, “Alex is a peer that I look up to, and I know I can always ask her for help. She will be an amazing nurse because she consistently demonstrates exceptional skill and compassion.”

Mentink is grateful for all the time her cohort has had together, even the hours spent studying, and would tell her past self to enjoy every moment while she can. “Nursing school is difficult, but also goes by so quick,” Mentink said. “Looking back on the past two years, it has been filled with such great memories — studying with friends, hanging out during class breaks, and making the best out of any moment.”

The most important lesson Alex has learned at the School, and one she hopes to carry with her, is to be confident in her abilities. After graduating from the traditional bachelor of science in nursing program in May, Mentink will work at Bellin Health in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She most looks forward to having more free time and moving to a new area for this next chapter of her life.

Georganne Wilke ’94
Georganne Wilke ’94

Receiving an alumni pin carries great meaning for Mentink. She is the recipient of the pin donated by Georganne Wilke ’94, and both women feel honored to be involved in the process. Mentink feels honored to be part of this tradition, while Wilke is honored to give a new graduate a little bit of history.

Wilke began her career as a dietitian before discovering her interest in the nursing field. After graduation, she went on to earn her geriatric certification before working as an interdisciplinary nurse. A move to North Carolina led her to working on-call in multiple skilled nursing facilities as both a staff RN, and as a part of a medical-surgical unit.

Wilke’s advice to new graduates is to explore the field. She explains, “Don’t be afraid to change what type of nursing you’re doing. There are plenty of choices!”

Jacqueline Olen, TBSN – Christine Fietzer ’74

Jacqueline Olen grew up watching her mom help others as a nurse and nurse educator. She always knew she wanted to have a similar impact on others through wellness and medicine. Her passion was further reinforced as she progressed through her first bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology and worked as a certified nursing assistant, where her interest in “making people feel safe, dignified, healthy, and cared for” was fostered.

Olen came to the School of Nursing after receiving her bachelor’s in neurobiology from UW–Madison. She has been an exemplary student, maintaining a notable academic record alongside serving her peers and the community in leadership roles. Olen has been a student leader in the Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE) Advisory Committee, the vice president of communications for the School of Nursing Student Council, and a volunteer and former president of the student mental health organization, Badger SPILL, among other endeavors. Through her involvement, she has aimed to represent her peers and advocate for the nursing student body’s best interests.

As her time at the School of Nursing comes to a close, Olen reflects on lessons learned. If she could advise her pre-nursing school self, she would emphasize enjoying learning and growing. “Your path will work out exactly how it was always meant to be, and you will be so happy to touch so many lives throughout your journey,” she said.

She also highlighted discovering the importance of balancing humility with confidence, which will stick with her throughout her nursing career. “You are always more capable than you realize, however, there’s always so much that you do not know,” Olen said.

After graduation, Olen will continue to learn and strive to make an impact. She plans to continue her higher education journey while working in a neurology or progressive care unit as a bedside nurse. One day, she intends to become either a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, or a nurse educator. Should she choose the latter, she would love to come back to teach at the UW–Madison School of Nursing.

In all her endeavors, no matter what path she takes, Olen knows she will continue to utilize important lessons learned throughout her School of Nursing journey. “I am eager to be a part of the most trusted medical profession, embodying the values instilled in me during my time at the School of Nursing and my concurrent clinical experiences,” Olen said.

Christine Fietzer ’74
Christine Fietzer ’74

Olen is grateful to receive a UW–Madison School of Nursing pin, which she sees as a symbol of passed-down knowledge, compassion, and commitment to nursing. She received her pin from Christine Fietzer ’74, who loved the idea of someone else making use of her pin once again. Fietzer has enjoyed having her pin all these years but is happy to be passing it on to a new School of Nursing graduate.

Growing up hearing stories from her mother’s time as a nurse, Fietzer knew she would one day follow in her footsteps. “It was the only career I wanted,” she said.

Fietzer’s nursing journey is a great example of how uniquely different everyone’s path can be. She started her career as an RN after earning her diploma from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing and eventually returned to school at the School of Nursing to pursue her bachelor of science in nursing on the primary track. Regardless of her previous time working, she truly enjoyed her clinical experience while earning her degree at the School of Nursing.

Over the years, Fietzer has experienced the nursing workforce through various roles, including six years as a visiting nurse, 11 years as a discharge planning nurse, 10 years as an AIDS clinical trial research nurse, and experience teaching at a two-year nursing program while completing her master’s degree in nursing.

Her advice to new grads has been woven throughout all her positions. “Prioritize the care of the patient no matter what kind of nursing you are doing,” Fietzer says.

Olen will certainly live out Fietzer’s advice, as her own nursing values emphasize dedication to patient care. “I knew that nursing was my calling and that I wanted to uplift nurses to become leaders in health care to better serve our patients,” Olen said.

Emma Peterson-JohnsonEmma Peterson-Johnson, TBSN – Jean LaChapelle Lund ’40

Emma Peterson-Johnson understands the lasting impact quality nursing care can have. Growing up in a “chronically ill family,” Peterson-Johnson experienced this first-hand, recognizing just how important nurses are in the lives of patients and their loved ones. This inspired her to pursue a career in nursing.

“I aspire to be that same ‘light in a moment of vulnerability’ for every individual I care for,” Peterson-Johnson said.

Peterson-Johnson has overcome intense hardships throughout nursing school, especially during this past year. Last summer, Peterson-Johnson unexpectedly lost her father while she was completing a nursing internship. She became the primary caregiver for her younger sister and disabled mother, along with heading the legal and financial duties that came with an unexpected death. Despite this new role and the difficulties that ensued, Peterson-Johnson did not succumb to the pressure and successfully maintained her academic standing.

On top of these new responsibilities, she has stayed active in her nursing school studies, including completing two particularly trying clinical rotations that presented her with various challenges and situations such as student oversight and conflict management.

Peterson-Johnson also served in a Wisconsin MEDLIFE leadership role as the events coordinator her junior year, an organization that works internationally to create sustainability in health care, development, and education. She was also inducted into Sigma Theta Tau’s Beta Eta at-Large Chapter this past fall. Throughout her nursing school journey Peterson-Johnson successfully balanced demanding academics, extracurricular involvement, and familial responsibilities to get to where she is today.

“​​Nursing school has been a long, winding road of obstacles that should have stood in my way–yet they haven’t,” she began. “This spring, I will graduate towards the top of my cohort with a resilient academic career behind me.”

After graduation, Peterson-Johnson plans to work at an underserved birthing center in Madison before pursuing dual certification in family practice and midwifery. She looks forward to everything she will learn from her patients throughout her career.

“Every time I leave a room, I feel like I’ve gained something new, and I can’t wait to see how my ‘toolbox’ grows!” she said.

As she enters her professional nursing career, Peterson-Johnson feels “absolutely honored and humbled to be a part of this Badger nurse tradition” of receiving the nursing pin. With the pin as a token of past nursing excellence, she aims to fill the big shoes that came before her. “I hope to continue the legacy of leadership and excellence set forth before me by pushing the envelope in the maternity care realm.”

Jean LaChappelle Lund
Jean LaChapelle Lund ’40

Peterson-Johnson’s pin was donated by Jean LaChapelle Lund ’40, who wanted her pin to be donated to a new graduate after she passed. “It was important to her that her professional legacy would be carried on that way,” Lund’s daughter, Kathryn Johnson, said.

Throughout her time at the School of Nursing, Lund enjoyed the friendships forged with her fellow nursing classmates along with the responsibility required to work with patients and doctors. She pursued nursing because she wanted a profession that would be both rewarding and would allow her to support herself.

After graduation, Lund worked for the Barry County Health Department until settling down to marry and have her two daughters, Christine and Kathryn. Later in life, she returned to the health care field working for the Calhoun County Health Department alongside her husband.

Christine and Kathryn believe their mother would advise new graduates to “go forth into the world armed with knowledge and their caring personalities to promote health and wellness in their own unique way.”

If Peterson-Johnson could give advice to her past self, she would say “Everything will be okay.” Through every obstacle thrown her way, Peterson-Johnson has emerged as a more resilient person who is prepared with her “toolbox” to enter the professional world of nursing.

“Despite feeling impossible at the moment, the challenging patients and life situations will make you a stronger, well-rounded individual in the long term,” Peterson-Johnson said.

Trinity RoehlTrinity Roehl, TBSN – Carol Newman ’60

Trinity Roehl’s path to nursing is inspired by personal experiences she and her family have faced. With a brother who is disabled and needs complex neurological care, Roehl has witnessed how nurses have played a crucial role in his health over the years. “Throughout his hospitalizations, we have been surrounded by individualized, compassionate care – especially from the nurses,” Roehl said. She knew from a young age that she wanted to impact lives similarly.

Roehl faced adversities growing up that led her to believe a four-year degree was not in the cards for her. But, she never underestimated herself and didn’t let these challenges become barriers to her future. Now a first-generation college student, she has worked through hardships and thrived in the School of Nursing’s traditional bachelor of science in nursing program while continuing to be a support for her family.

Peers have noted that Roehl manages everything with grace. “There are not many students who could excel in their academics, provide respite for struggling peers, and act as a guardian for their disabled sibling all while staying engaged in every aspect of their education,” fellow nursing student Emma Peterson-Johnson said.

Despite struggles, Roehl says she would not change a thing. She sees these challenges as experiences that have made her who she is today.

“These things shape how I interact with others, see the world, and have fostered an open mindset,” Roehl said. “Coming from many challenges in life, I have learned to look for the blessings that each day holds.”

Roehl has had many achievements during her time in the School of Nursing, including being invited to join the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses, speaking on behalf of her experience as a nurse extern in a maximum-security prison, advocating for students who need accommodations, and more.

Along with her school-related achievements, Roehl takes immense pride in her unique role as a caretaker and second guardian for her brother, who has taught her invaluable life lessons. She noted that without her firsthand experiences with disparities her family faced, she would not be the strong, confident advocate she is today.

“He has taught me many things that I could have never gained elsewhere. I have learned patience, kindness, grace, and gratitude,” Roehl said.

Reflecting on nursing school, the biggest lesson Roehl learned is the importance of taking care of yourself “guilt-free.” She explained, “Find the things that make you happy, relaxed, and like nothing else matters, and do those things as often as you need to. Remember that your past self would be proud of where you are at today.”

As Roehl nears the end of nursing school, she has come full circle, finishing her last clinical rotation with her friend, Brissa Donnelly, who she also started her first clinical rotation with. Roehl will also fondly remember hanging out with her four best nursing school friends in Curran Commons. After graduation, Roehl plans to pursue pediatric nursing, and she looks forward to contributing to her patients’ lives and the nursing community.

If Roehl could give advice to her past self, she would say, “Live in the moment, find happiness in everything, and never take a second for granted. Only you get to determine your life, so make the most of it while you can.”

Carol Newman ’60
Carol Newman ’60

Roehl’s pin was donated by Carol Newman ’60. Newman’s choice to go into nursing was simple, yet noble: she wanted to help others. Throughout her career, Newman worked in medical-surgical nursing, followed by nurse and diabetic educator roles. While working as a medical-surgical nurse, Newman often did home care on weekends when she was not working at the hospital. During the last few years of her career before retirement, she also instructed an exercise class for people with cardiac conditions and helped in podiatry.

Newman’s career in medical-surgical nursing provided her the opportunity to work with and understand many different patient needs. She recommends new graduates explore a wide range of what the field has to offer to better understand how to combat different situations.

Newman chose to donate her pin because she thought a new nurse would appreciate having it, and Roehl certainly will. The pin will stick with Roehl as a reminder of her strength and all she has accomplished.

“Receiving this pin reminds me that I am a part of something much bigger than myself,” she began. “It emphasizes the hard work and dedication it takes to become a nurse, and allows me to be part of a community that I am very passionate about.”

Grace SchumacherGrace Schumacher, TBSN – Susan Ritter ’81

Grace Schumacher chose nursing because she always had an interest in health. After watching her grandfather receive a kidney transplant at UW Health, she realized it was the nurses who had the biggest impact on his hospital stays. This idea has continued to inspire Schumacher to want to be in a position where she can impact people’s lives for the better, and she knows firsthand that nursing is a great way to do that.

Throughout her nursing journey so far, Schumacher has thrived and learned to succeed in even the toughest of situations. However, confidence in her abilities didn’t always come naturally. In her application processes for UW–Madison, the School of Nursing, and even her first nursing job, she experienced a lot of self-doubt. Over time, she has worked hard to build faith in herself, and if she could change anything she would go back and tell herself that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to.

Schumacher doesn’t have a specific favorite memory from her time in the School of Nursing because she feels lucky every day she gets to spend time with friends from her cohort in and out of class. She does, however, have one biggest lesson she has learned, and that is that success depends on the network one has. “I have made the best friends here in the nursing program, and they are a key part of my success,” she said. “We consistently work together to study and help expand our knowledge. On top of that, I came into the nursing program with a great support system that has helped me succeed, as well. My community has been essential to my success, and this has become incredibly obvious throughout nursing school.” As she prepares to begin her new role at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, she will miss her friends greatly despite her excitement of starting her new position.

In this new role, Schumacher will be working in a plastic surgery unit, and is excited for the unique opportunities it provides her. She is looking forward to learning in-depth skills that not many nurses get to experience, and, above all, looks forward to assisting in gender-affirming surgery. She was exposed to gender-affirming care during an externship in the summer of 2023, and cannot wait to learn more in her new position.

Schumacher received her pin from Susan Ritter ’81, and is extremely excited to be a part of the nursing pin tradition and have a symbol of support from an outstanding fellow nurse. Supporting one another is a value Schumacher holds close, and she’s enjoyed supporting her peers, her patients, and the nurses she’s worked with throughout her time in nursing school. Alex Mentink, a fellow nursing pin recipient, states, “Grace is a prime candidate for this award because she always goes above and beyond. She makes sure to get to know her patients, do research on them, and check in often to ensure their needs are met.”

Ritter shares a similar sentiment in the importance of patient care in diverse environments. She appreciates the wide variety of patient populations and practice settings that the nursing field provides, and she hopes to encourage Schumacher to enjoy exploring their options as they begin their own path.

Even from childhood, Ritter had an interest in medicine. Nursing stood out to her specifically because of its flexibility and its opportunities to maintain the work-life balance she desired.

Throughout her career, Ritter was able to experience many different units, having spent the most time in hospice and long-term home care. After completing her bachelors of science in nursing, Ritter eventually went on to obtain her master of science in nursing as well as collect certifications in palliative, geriatric, and critical care along the way. She has found great intellectual fulfillment in her time as a nurse and, in donating her pin, hopes to pass on that success.

Learning and expanding her knowledge has been important for Schumacher, as well. While she will not miss the homework from nursing school, or constantly thinking about assignments she has to complete, she admits that there is a lot from nursing school that she will miss when she graduates from the traditional bachelor of science in nursing program in May, and she is thankful for the entire experience. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn nursing next to my peers at UW–Madison,” Schumacher said. “I am grateful for the education and the friends I have made along the way. I cannot wait to continue my nursing journey.”

Isabelle WeberIsabelle Weber, TBSN – Lois Loescher ’74

Isabelle Weber expresses that despite not choosing nursing until her second year at UW–Madison, nursing is now an integral part of who she is. She originally chose nursing because of her desire to be beside people during some of their most vulnerable moments. However, during her time as a nursing student, she has also discovered her passion in advocating for critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICU).

As she gears up for graduation, Weber is grateful for the knowledge she has gained and is excited to keep learning as she moves forward. When asked what advice she’d give to her past self, Weber said she wishes she knew it was okay not to know everything. “I remember how nervous I felt the first time a patient asked me a question that I didn’t know the answer to,” she admitted. “Now, I feel confident admitting when I don’t know the answer and using my resources to find it!” This principle is one Weber will carry with her as she begins working as a nurse resident in the trauma and life support center at University Hospital. This position will provide her with opportunities to challenge herself, ask questions, and learn new things every day.

Along with this excitement for her new role comes appreciation for all the UW–Madison School of Nursing has contributed to her nursing journey. Weber has learned invaluable lessons not just in nursing practice, but also in the impact nurses can have. Nurses play a larger role in health care than she could have ever imagined. “We are required to notice minute changes to our patients’ health, critically think in life-threatening situations, advocate for our patients’ needs, and empathize with people at their weakest,” she said. As a result, Weber is honored to join fellow Badger nurses in fighting for the best care possible for her patients.

Lois Loescher ’74
Lois Loescher ’74

Weber received her nursing pin from Dr. Lois Loescher ’74, PhD, RN, FAAN, her mentor. One of many things the pair has in common is the strong relationships they’ve built in their nursing cohorts, and both attest that those relationships are their favorite memories of their time at the School.

Dr. Loescher began in an emergency department ICU right after graduation. In light of her father’s later cancer diagnosis, however, she returned to school with the goal of pursuing a career in cancer research. She has since completed both her master and doctorate degrees, and has developed her own research in intervention mechanisms to reduce melanoma in high-risk persons. Eventually, she switched to academia full-time, and led her own PhD program at the University of Arizona. Now, in her retirement, she volunteers her time and experience to the Red Cross in Disaster Health Services.

After her 50-year nursing career, Dr. Loescher still attests that, “Nursing chose me.” In donating her pin, she hopes that Weber will wear it with the same pride she did for 50 years. Her advice to Weber and the rest of the new School of Nursing graduates is, “Persevere! Work can be overwhelming but know that there are so many opportunities in nursing that you should never have to consider leaving the profession.”

Weber is incredibly grateful to be receiving her pin from Dr. Loescher. She had the opportunity to get to know Dr. Loescher through a project focused on health promotion in older adults, and they have remained in contact ever since. Weber says, “Dr. Loescher is equally passionate about her own health as she is about nursing. She emulates all that I hope to be, both as a nurse and a person. I couldn’t be more thankful to Dr. Loescher for donating her pin and choosing to honor me as I move into my career as a nurse.”

Ryan Weiland, TBSN – Cheryl Utke ’89, MS ’96

Ryan Weiland originally came to UW–Madison on a pre-med track but transferred to nursing after seeing how hands-on and impactful it was to patients. He deeply enjoys getting to connect with patients and family members and believes there’s no better career than nursing to do both of those things. After graduating, Weiland will spend the next year completing UW Health’s Nurse Residency Program, while also working in the neurosciences intensive care unit.

What Weiland most looks forward to in this new chapter is greater independence and the chance he will have to create his own opportunities to provide the best care possible for his patients. The journey to graduation has been equally full of great friends and obstacles to overcome. Balancing simulations in the Center for Technology Enhanced Nursing (CTEN), regular exams, clinicals, and personal hurdles all at once has no doubt been difficult. However, Weiland is grateful for how it has taught him the importance of work-life balance, self-care, and the ability to persevere when life gets tough. Peers say that this commitment of Weiland’s is what stands out about him the most. Peyton Kane, a fellow nursing pin recipient, shares, “Ryan is committed to learning as much as he can and providing the best care he can for his patients. He has been able to overcome difficulties in his personal life to show up for his patients, peers, and himself.”

In addition to this perseverance, Weiland values how much he has learned about empathy. When he began his nursing journey, he didn’t always know how to understand what his patients were going through emotionally. His knowledge of how to physically care for them only went so far. It wasn’t until the fall of 2023 that his own experience being a patient made things clearer. In the span of a week, a positive COVID-19 test turned into COVID-19, pneumonia, mononucleosis and a septic embolus in his lungs. As a future nurse, he kept his composure and understood what the doctors were saying. Watching his mother bear the weight of this news, however, is what made it all begin to click. Weiland explains, “I’ll never forget looking over at her in the corner of the room wiping tears from her face. Panic filled my body, and I finally grasped the severity of the situation as soon as I saw my mom grappling with the fear of me having to be in the hospital. I finally understood what it truly meant to be a patient in an unfamiliar situation, dealing with a new diagnosis, while also having to deal with how my family and friends would react to the news. It was terrifying.” He continues, “I will forever carry with me the fear of feeling alone in the emergency room after my mom had fallen asleep. From that moment on, I knew that I needed to be there for my patients more than just physically. I knew that spending a few extra minutes in each of my patients’ rooms to build a sense of trust and camaraderie goes such a long way. Finding a way to make each patient feel a little less alone while they’re in my care is my biggest priority in my career.”

This experience changed Weiland’s life and perspective completely. Not only did it give him a passion for going the extra mile to support his patients, it inspired him to create his own non-profit organization working with homeless patients. Through his work, he’s learned the huge impact small details can have. This developing organization aims to provide blankets to the homeless population of Madison, Wisconsin, as they endure harsh winters. Despite being a work in progress, Weiland is proud to say they’ve already begun this distribution effort and he can’t wait to see the effort grow.

Cheryl Utke ’89, ’96 MS
Cheryl Utke ’89, ’96 MS

Weiland is the recipient of Cheryl Utke’s nursing pin. After a nutrition class in high school led her to investigate her own family’s health history, Utke has been passionate in her promotion of healthy lifestyles. She loves educating others on wellness, participating in primary prevention initiatives, and has been a dedicated vegetarian since that very nutrition class.

As a two-time Badger nurse, Utke received her bachelor of science in nursing in 1989 before returning to complete her master of science in nursing degree in 1996. She tried her hand in a variety of fields before ultimately landing in community health. In addition to her rewarding career as a nurse, she has found great fulfillment in raising her two beautiful daughters.

Utke’s pin, a gift from her family, was something she wore proudly throughout her entire nursing career. Now retired, she is excited for the opportunity to pass it on and wishes her best of luck to the newest class of Badger nurses. Weiland is honored to receive a pin from a Badger nurse alumnus, saying, “I hope to embody this achievement and everything it stands for each day in practice.”

Carly Weinberger, TBSN – Julia Heusinger ’76

Perseverance is the greatest lesson Carly Weinberger learned from her time at the UW–Madison School of Nursing. After working as a certified nursing assistant in various environments, Weinberger grew passionate about nursing and chose to pursue her bachelor of science in nursing. But from the beginning of her journey, many obstacles were thrown her way that sometimes tampered with her faith in medicine and her motivation to complete the program.

“I have had an immense number of personal experiences that made it extremely difficult to persevere throughout the intense schooling that nursing school requires,” Weinberger began, “but nonetheless, I still will succeed.”

Caregiving often transcended clinicals and entered Weinberger’s personal life. During her first semester, Weinberger lost her grandfather on the same hospital floor she worked on. Continuing to work on that floor was trying for Weinberger’s mental health, but she stuck around for various reasons, one being so she could afford her schooling.

In her second semester, Weinberger and her family dealt with more health struggles that led her to commute between school and home to help provide care for family members. She recalls pushing through these hardships to continue her educational journey while also being there for her family in this time of need. “One week in particular I remember driving to my parents’ house after a full day of class, helping my mom with what she needed that night, then leaving at 3 A.M. that morning to arrive to clinical on time,” Weinberger said.

Her third semester was free of family health hardships, and she regained motivation for nursing school. However, in her final semester, two more tragedies struck. One included an incident concerning her brother, who is stationed in Florida. With the distance hindering her ability to be there for him in person, Weinberger struggled.

Soon after this, her father was given a daunting medical diagnosis. This was a final straw for Weinberger, and for a time she wanted nothing to do with medicine and lost motivation to complete the nursing program. But, after weeks of testing, a glimmer of hope shone through in the form of her father’s diagnosis being deemed non-life-threatening.

“This little sliver of hope is my driving force to finishing off strong,” she said.

Peers attest that even through the hardships Weinberger faced, she has been an exceptional student and a reliable peer her classmates can lean on. “She has experienced many difficult personal situations and overcame them all to be an even stronger student,” peer Peyton Kane said.

Weinberger’s admirable perseverance has pushed her to succeed in completing the program and reaching her end goal. For Weinberger, receiving the nursing pin signifies both the completion of her education and her entry into nursing’s “noble tradition.” She said, “It is a symbol of dedication, compassion, and service that connects me to a legacy of exceptional Badger nurses.”

Weinberger’s pin was donated by Julia Heusinger ’76, who is proud of her School of Nursing education and wanted to ensure her pin was passed down. “I am forever grateful, and donating the pin seemed a fitting way to show my gratitude as well as honor a new graduate nurse starting their career,” Heusinger said.

Throughout her childhood, Heusinger’s parents would read Nurse Nancy to her nightly. She continued the tradition by reading the Cherry Ames nurse series in fourth grade, and quickly fell in love with nursing practice.

“I can’t ever remember a time that I did not want to be a nurse,” Heusinger said.

Heusinger remembers valuable teachings from School of Nursing instructor Bernice “Bunny” Owen, PhD, RN, that helped her throughout her career. Specifically, it was Dr. Owen’s work with a friend dying of cancer that left an impact on Heusinger. “…it moved and inspired me so much to be that kind of nurse: meeting the needs of my patients where they were and advocating for them,” Heusinger said.

Heusinger advises to always be willing to learn more and to speak up for patients. In turn, nursing can “enrich” your life.

“I have been blessed to be with patients when they take their first breath, and when they breathe their last,” Heusinger said. “These experiences helped me grow and change not only as a nurse but as a person.”

Weinberger will enter the health care field with personal and professional experiences that prepare her to tackle anything thrown her way. Her nursing school journey may have come with struggles, but keeping her end goal in mind helped her push through. She explained, “Graduating nursing school is for me. It is what I want. I know that I need to do this for myself because it has been a dream of mine for years.”

Shoua Xiong, TBSN – Dean’s Pin Recipient

The Dean’s Pin was awarded to Shoua Xiong, who has made an immense impact on the UW–Madison School of Nursing, and the broader community, through her contributions to nursing research and community service pertaining to health care disparities.

Advocacy within the U.S. health care system has been essential for Xiong, a first-generation Hmong college student. Navigating the system was often challenging for her and her family, with Xiong often advocating and translating English for her parents within health care settings. These experiences inspired Xiong to pursue a career in nursing to continue advancing health care accessibility for minority communities.

“I was determined to continue supporting my parents and family, as well as people like them, to understand the importance of taking care of their health, building trust in our system, and bridging the gap for racial and ethnic minority populations,” Xiong said.

Xiong’s studies in the School’s traditional bachelor of science in nursing program have already included working toward these aspirations, as her research centers around perinatal experiences and challenges Hmong women face in the health care system. Xiong’s findings, which show a pressing need for culturally sensitive support during perinatal care, have been presented at events such as the 2024 Midwest Nursing Research Society Conference, and are being prepared for publication. For her research, Xiong was awarded the prestigious 2023-2024 Hilldale Research Fellowship.

“Shoua epitomizes the mission of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing, which is dedicated to cultivating leaders who drive advancements in health care systems and promote better health outcomes through rigorous research, education, and practice,” Assistant Professor Maichou Lor ’11, MS’12, Cert’14, PhD’17, RN, said.

Dr. Lor, a mentor for Xiong, notes that Xiong also emulates the Wisconsin Idea, as she has also had an immense impact on the Madison community through volunteering. Xiong has lent a helping hand to many organizations, including UnityPoint Health – Meriter Hospital’s HELP program, the 211 Referral Specialist, and the 2024 Hmong New Year celebrations, among other involvements. In these roles, Dr. Lor explains Xiong served as a “vital Hmong translator and assistant, bridging linguistic and cultural gaps to ensure individuals have access to essential services and support.” Through and through, Xiong has shown exceptional leadership in both the School and the community. She was recognized for her leadership by the UW-Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, earning the Interprofessional Event Leadership Badge.

Xiong will walk away from the School of Nursing with the understanding that her inner strength is greater than she once thought, noting, “As a first-year nursing student, I never imagined that I would make it through nursing school.” With everything she balanced as a nursing student, she has learned through and through that she overlooked her abilities.

“The days are so fast paced with classes, clinicals, lab simulations, and other course requirements that sometimes I may not realize everything I’ve done,” she began. “At the end of the day, it takes resiliency, commitment, and perseverance to do it all over again the next day and every day. Even though I may feel like breaking down at times, it’s my inner strength that I persevered throughout my nursing school journey, and it should not be underestimated.”

After graduation, Xiong looks forward to growing further in the nursing profession through a one-year residency program on the path toward a PhD in nursing. She plans on researching the reduction of health disparities for populations with low health literacy and limited English proficiency. Most of all, Xiong plans to provide care, support, and education that can positively impact her patients’ lives. Dr. Lor notes, “Her dedication to addressing health care disparities and her unwavering commitment to serving her community embodies the highest ideals of the nursing profession.”

Xiong feels honored to receive the Dean’s Pin as part of this long-standing tradition, and she is committed to upholding the legacy of those who came before her. Reflecting on her nursing school journey with the knowledge she has now, Xiong would remind her past self to, “Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek out new experiences.”

Tess ZaunerTess Zauner, TBSN – Sally Ambrust ’70

Tess Zauner has always had a deep passion for health and wellness. As she realized her desire to work in many different environments and be involved with direct care, it became clear nursing was the path for her.

Zauner’s journey at UW–Madison began back in 2013 when she was admitted to pursue a bachelor of arts degree. She graduated in 2017 with a degree in international studies with a certificate in global health and accepted a position in home health care. A large part of this role included working with patients who have physical disabilities. This experience was a turning point for Zauner as it was one of the first things that ultimately led her to the nursing field. She is excited about the flexibility nursing can offer her when it comes to advancement and change within health care.

Over the past four years, she has worked at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in the cardiology and transplant unit. Throughout her student nursing career, she served as both a nursing assistant and a telemetry technician.

Outside of her time working, the past two years as a traditional bachelor of science in nursing program honors student have been quite busy for Zauner. As a student with so many passions, she’s learned to balance school and work with several other involvements. Fellow student Jennifer Halvorson affirms that, “Through her nursing research on fentanyl testing, her volunteer efforts and activism involvement for Dane County, and her enthusiasm regarding her nursing skill development, Tess continues to exemplify the spirit that the UW–Madison School of Nursing holds close as their educational foundation.”

Among many things, Zauner is grateful for peers like Halvorson and the lifelong friends she’s made on her journey at the School of Nursing. When asked about the most important lesson she’s learned while in nursing school, Zauner says, “Every detail matters, but you cannot see the whole situation until you take a step back.”

After graduation, Zauner greatly looks forward to continuing to serve veterans in her future as a Badger nurse. The opportunity to engage people in their health care and overall wellness at a higher level is what excites her most – that and some hard-earned extra vacation time! In gearing up for graduation itself, the Pinning Ceremony has certainly been on Zauner’s mind. To her, the nursing pin represents not only expanding The Wisconsin Idea beyond the school and to the community, but it represents the passing of the torch within the field.

Sally Ambrust ’70, who passed on her pin to Zauner, shares a similar sentiment. Ambrust values her pin as an important symbol of the nursing profession, and she is proud to share it with a new Badger nurse carrying on the tradition.

Ambrust always planned to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse. After graduation, she stayed near campus to work in a general surgical unit for several years. Eventually, she took on supervisory roles serving as the nurse manager for a trauma unit, a plastic surgery unit, and a prisoner unit.

Through her diverse career, Ambrust has learned that the opportunities for nurses are truly endless. Her advice to Zauner, and the rest of the newest class of Badger nurses, is, “Don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities you didn’t expect to encounter. The range of positions for nurses is endless.”