WSU College of Nursing faculty and staff recognize retiring senior instructor Mary Stucky with a standing ovation at the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards on May 11.

WSU College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel recognized outstanding faculty, staff and students last week in ceremonies for the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards. Recipients are nominated by their peers and are chosen by a committee made up of faculty, staff and students from the College of Nursing, which has campuses and classes across the state.


PhD: Dr. Ruth Bryant (Spokane)

Ruth was a leader among her peers and consistently provided support and encouragement to her colleagues. Through her position as the Providence Health Care Scholar in Residence, she supported hospital staff nurses, DNP students and faculty members to conduct research, quality improvement projects, and evidence-based practice projects.  She has been an exquisite ambassador for the College and the nursing profession — she is the co-editor of a wound care book and internationally known expert in wound and ostomy care. She is the president-elect of the local chapter of the nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau International, and is active in the Inland Empire Nurses Association. Ruth is recognized for her consummate professionalism, scholarly productivity, and leadership.

DNP: Dr. Ysabel Myers (Spokane)

Ysa exhibited outstanding personal qualities of thoughtfulness, kindness, perseverance and determination through coursework, clinical work with patients and during the implementation of her DNP project. She is a positive influence and role model for fellow students.  She is dedicated to being a strong nursing leader and skillful healthcare provider.

RN-BSN: Jennifer Emberton (Tri-Cities)

Jennifer consistently demonstrated academic achievement above and beyond course assignments. Her personal learning standards are extremely high and she sought out mentoring and research assistant experiences. She was supportive of her student colleagues, an outstanding team member, and role-models culturally safe care. Jennifer is recognized for overall excellence in academic achievement and passion to support her colleagues, and her advocacy for underserved populations.

Clinical Excellence: Tanya Zakajsek (Yakima)

Tanya has consistently demonstrated the ability to adapt her nursing care to the patient’s need, environment and situation. She is warm and empathetic, yet is able to inspire patients to challenge themselves and become healthier. She utilized her learning opportunities to the fullest and approached all situations with great enthusiasm to make the best use of clinical experiences and time. Tanya strives for excellence in all she does and it is a pleasure to honor her with this college-wide award.

Outstanding Pre-licensure student: Kaci Johnson (Yakima)

Throughout her junior and senior years at the College of Nursing, Kaci excelled in coursework.  She engaged in several extracurricular activities including Simulation Club President, student representative for the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and a tutor in the STEPS program.  She was an excellent role model and committed to facilitating the growth of others. One of Kaci’s nominators described her as “one of the most responsible, conscientious students” she had worked with over the course of her teaching career.



Staff Excellence: Kyle Ross 

Kyle Ross accepts his award at the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards ceremony.
Kyle Ross

From the time he started as the Undergraduate Pre-licensure Academic Coordinator, Kyle has shown enthusiasm for his position, the College, his peers, the students and the community. He is continually transforming his role into one that embraces the mission and vision of the College. Kyle’s professionalism and passion for student affairs is clearly evident in how he connects with his colleagues and current students as well as prospective students and their families. His positivity and ability to foster a sense of community makes him a true ambassador for WSU.



Staff Achievement: Sarah Schaub 

Sarah Schaub, left, accepts her Staff Achievement award at the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards ceremony from Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, right.
Sarah Schaub, left, accepts her Staff Achievement award at the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards ceremony from Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, right.

The Staff Achievement Award is designed to recognize “exceptional performance and innovation in an instance” and/or “exceptional creative problem solving in support of the CON mission” and/or “exceptional impact in performing the work of the college”.  Sarah met all of these criteria during the past academic year.  Notably, on her return from family leave last fall, Sarah was a one-person communication office. Having been on leave, she had a backlog of work, but was able to complete an amazing amount of projects. Her strong work ethic and extraordinary organizational skills resulted in successful outcomes as did her ability to collaborate with others. Despite the workload that she had during those months, Sarah was prompt in responding to new requests and consistently pleasant with a can-do attitude.


Jan Holloway Clinical Excellence: Karen Anders

Senior Instructor Karen Anders, left, accepts the Jan Holloway Clinical Experience award from Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, right, at the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards.
Senior Instructor Karen Anders, left, accepts the Jan Holloway Clinical Experience award from Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, right, at the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards.

Karen provides a learning environment that challenges her students to reach a high level of academic and clinical performance. Her clinical prep activities are rigorous, but realistically do-able for the students.  In her course group, she has been a leader in developing assessment tools, simulation activities and other lab activities that enhance students’ clinical learning. She as proactively established new community-based experiences for students that include immunization clinics and health screenings in rural areas. Karen is a positive problem solver; she utilizes a direct approach in her communication style that is articulate and caring. Further, she has been an excellent mentor to new faculty and actively involved in curricular revision.

Diversity: Dr. Demetrius Abshire

Dr. Demetrius Abshire
Dr. Demetrius Abshire

Demetrius has committed his life’s work to understanding the challenges of rural living and disparities in health outcomes. His funded research to date focuses on diversity issues for rural-dwelling patients and gender differences in student success in nursing programs. In teaching Nursing 322, the Human Experience of Illness and Health, Demetrius encourages students to explore, understand, and appreciate the similarities and differences of others by requiring students to participate in an independent culture experiences. Students must complete an event focusing on a culture different from their own and complete an analysis of the event.  Demetrius is a diversity champion.  He “walks the talk” in promoting diversity in the classroom, research, and in his personal life.


Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty: Dr. Marian Wilson

Dr. Marian Wilson
Dr. Marian Wilson

Marian is very clear that the way to engage students and to teach them what they need to know as bachelor’s-prepared nurses is the power of inquiry into clinical problems and questions. Her approach is to help students gain an appreciation for what they already know — thus using a strength-based approach — and to help them reflect on and understand what they need to learn to strengthen their abilities to provide excellent care within an interdisciplinary team. She uses a wide variety of learning tools. Marian’s teaching is extremely well organized and her students thank her for clarity of expectations. She is a role model for undergraduate students. Marian links her research by using her own papers about research process in the classroom — this helps students clarify concepts and understand how classroom learning is practiced in the real world.

Outstanding Graduate Faculty: Dr. Janessa Graves

Dr. Janessa Graves
Dr. Janessa Graves

Janessa positively impacts the graduate programs at the College on a daily basis, consistently going the extra mile teaching and mentoring students. Significant contributions include her leadership in developing and revising the PhD grant-writing course and in developing a graduate certificate in public health. Janessa also led a nationwide study regarding dissertation options and the findings of that study have been submitted for publication. She serves as a research mentor to numerous students and faculty in both formal and informal roles. Janessa’s accomplishments in grant writing, research, publication, presentation, and her service to the College, campus, university and the professions of public health, nursing and medicine are exemplary.


The ceremony also included recognition of Mary Stucky, who is retiring as senior instructor from the WSU College of Nursing, after 30 years with the College. Faculty and staff gave Stucky a standing ovation.

Retiring senior instructor Mary Stucky of the WSU College of Nursing was recognized at the 2017 Spring Excellence Awards.

To see more photos from the ceremony, visit