Q & A with Zhiyuan Effy Yu ’15, PhD’19, Cert’19

Headshot of Zhiyuan Effy Yu '15, DNP'19, Cert'19
Zhiyuan Effy Yu ’15, PhD’19, Cert’19

Where do you consider your hometown?

I was born and raised in China, but I consider Madison my second home since I spent eight years there for my undergraduate and graduate education.

Why did you choose the UW–Madison School of Nursing?

The main draw for choosing UW–Madison was the people. During my undergraduate program, I was fortunate to work with my research mentor and connect with several graduate students. Through the interaction with these individuals, and hearing their stories, I was convinced that the graduate program here at UW–Madison would put me in a position for success.

Where are you now? How are you using your UW nursing degrees?

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland. My research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of adversity and resilience, and the related health impact among families of young children. During my postdoctoral training, I have been directing two interrelated projects that examine the impact of adverse and positive childhood experiences on parenting and parent well-being that may shape the health of the next generation.

What’s the most rewarding part of being a nurse?Effy Yu stands next to railing with water and ferris wheel in background

The possibility of everyday leadership—being able to understand a person in the context of life circumstances and help them in a way that makes sense to them.

What advice would you give to first-year nursing students?

Be patient with this period of transition. Talk with your peers and you will see that you are not struggling alone. Take time to adjust and readjust to the challenges that you encounter.

What advice would you give to recent alumni?

I am a recent alumnus myself and I think it’s important to maintain a sense of connectedness with the school. There are easy ways to engage through social media or updating your information on the School of Nursing website.

Who was your favorite instructor, faculty, or staff member at the School of Nursing? Why?

Dr. Barbara Bowers was and remains my graduate mentor and advisor. I am where I am right now because of Barb. She sees the potential in all her students, and nurtures the culture of collaboration that allows us to flourish. She is the role model of inclusivity—our research group always has a diverse research area of focus and people from different cultural backgrounds. She creates a safe space for students to build camaraderie because our differences are celebrated, not separated.

What was your favorite experience at the School of Nursing? Why?

Spending time with my research group because it was a place where we grew together, with laughter, tears, group discussion, typing in silence, sketching on the whiteboards, and of course snacks.

What’s the biggest challenge facing nurses today?

COVID-19 and the inequities unveiled are one of the greatest challenges, as well as opportunities facing our profession today.