WCHHS celebrates transition of students to colleagues at 2018 Commencement ceremonies

From three events on Commencement weekend, Radford University health care professionals from the Waldron College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS) advanced confidently, but nostalgically, toward their new careers.

On May 4 at the School of Nursing (SON) Pinning and Awards Ceremony in Bondurant Auditorium, 70 nurses were pinned and took the Nightingale pledge to join their profession. Doctoralcandidates in physical therapy in the company of more than 100 friends and family donned white coats and pins on May 4 in the Muse Banquet Hall at the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) White Coat and Pinning Ceremony.

DPT Chair Brent Harper said the DPT Class of 2018 was 26 “talented men and women who have achieved a milestone and are beginning a rewarding career of service.”

DPT White Coat Donning Anusha Atyam

While flanked by her family and DPT Chair Brent Harper, Anusha Atyam dons her white coat, ceremonially bestowed by Professor Kristen Jagger.

DPT Pinning ambiance
Medical Facilities of America Student of the Year Erica Boggs celebrates the completion of her three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program with colleagues Callie Carter (left) and Natalie Holman (right).

Medical Facilities of America Student of the Year Erica Boggs, of Norton, will be joining the staff at the Reliant Rehabilitation Skilled Nursing Center in Abingdon before the ink dries on her diploma.

“The pinning ceremony is surreal. I want to show my little brother what you can do,” said Boggs, a first-generation college graduate. She earned her DPT at Radford after earning an undergraduate degree from UVa-Wise. “I am leaving a family here at Radford. The faculty and my fellow students are great.”

Goochland’s Callie Carter echoed Boggs’ acknowledgement of her faculty, who are now colleagues.

“I got to know them as clinicians who treat their clients compassionately,” said Carter, who will join Pivot Physical Therapy in suburban Richmond after graduation.  “I will take their examples with me along with so much knowledge and good memories."

Natalie Holman of Charlotte will join the staff at the Tri-County Therapy in Greenville, South Carolina to work with pediatric patients.  She reflected on the DPT program’s camaraderie and rigor.

“These are people who are friends and I will lean on them now as professional colleagues,” Holman said.

SON Pinning Action-Hayley Seidenberg and family
Hayley Seidenberg (center) is joined by her family and nursing colleagues after her pinning at the 2018 School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

A sense of family permeated the School of Nursing (SON) Pinning and Awards Ceremony as well.

Mary Crowell of Stafford was pinned by her parents, Ann and Steve. Both are military veterans and they beamed with pride after pinning their daughter. Crowell is scheduled to begin training as a Navy Nurse after graduation.

“She is going to care for Marines and Sailors and their families. We could not be prouder,” said Steve, a career Marine. “Navy Medicine has been good to us and Mary will good to her patients.”

Mary aspires to be a flight nurse and was Radford’s first-ever recipient of a Navy Nurse Candidate Scholarship.

“This is a big one,” Crowell said. “My Radford experience couldn’t have been better, and I am excited, thankful and prepared for my next adventure.”

The tradition of service that is central to the nursing profession was reflected in the pinning of Hayley Seidenberg. More than half a decade of nursing experience teamed up to pin her as her grandmother, mother and a cousin – all nurses – joined her on stage. 

Seidenberg’s grandmother, Kaye, said, “Since she was 6, you could tell she was going to be a nurse. She was compassionate and had great assessment skills. She will do well.”

During the ceremony, the SON announced the recipients of its annual awards.

  • Mark Forbes – Kitty Parker Smith Leadership Award
  • Julia Graham – Janet Hardy Boettcher Nursing Excellence
  • Makayla Marshall – Marcella J. Griggs Excellence in Geriatric Nursing Award   
  • Cassidy McRorie – Janice S. Mooney Excellence in Pediatrics Award   
  • Amanda Bradley – Mildred A. Hopkins RN Excellence in Nursing Award   

For Bradley, one of 19 nurses who upgraded their credentials through the R.N – B.S.N program, there was little time celebrate.

“I will put my pin on my name tag tonight when I start my shift at 7 p.m. and wear it proudly,” said Bradley, who is a labor and delivery nurse at Sentara’s facility in Lynchburg and mother of a 5-year-old son. “It was hard to manage work, family and school and I am proud of the accomplishment,” said Bradley.

WCHHS reception Vandergrift faculty award
2018 Waldron College Outstanding Faculty Award winner and Associate Professor of Social Work Kerry Vandergrift is flanked by WCHHS Dean Kenneth Cox and Associate Dean Corey Cassidy.

More than 150 WCHHS graduates, students, faculty and staff closed out the college’s 2018 Commencement celebration with a reception on May 5 in Cook 107.

Dean Ken Cox recognized the college’s graduates and then revealed the WCHHS 2018 outstanding faculty and staff awards.  Sarah Bradbery and Tabitha Greear were named co-winners of the WCHHS Outstanding Staff Award and Associate Professor of Social Work Kerry Vandergrift was selected as the 2018 WVHHS Outstanding Faculty winner.

“As they revealed the award, I listened to the description of the winner and thought ‘I really should meet this person, I can learn something from them. Imagine my surprise.’” said Vandergrift. “To teach is why I came to Radford and I am honored to work with and be recognized by my colleagues.”

May 8, 2018
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182