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Distinguished Graduates Spring 2011

Posted: July 13, 2011

Oralia Diaz

Oralia Diaz
Outstanding Graduate Student

Oralia Diaz is one of our recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Starting with studies in sociology and political science in Guadalajara, Mexico, and then completing a TA in Spanish and International Relations from Southwestern University, Oralia found her way to the Alternate Entry Masters in Nursing Program. Oralia is graduating as a bilingual Clinical Nurse Specialist whose goal is to nurture the health, education, and social welfare of underserved populations, and the Latino community in particular. She serves on the Board of Directors for Keep it Healthy, an Austin-based non-profit dedicated to reducing the incidence of diabetes and obesity among vulnerable Latino families in Central Texas. She has participated in Legislative Days at the Texas Capitol, meeting with legislators on significant issues related to regulation of advanced nursing practice in Texas. Oralia is a Hospice volunteer and works in Home Health coordinating care and health education for chronically ill patients. She has worked as a research nurse with Dr. Sharon Horner on the “Enhancing Children’s and Parent’s asthma management project” and more recently with Dr. Alex Garcia on the “Home-Based Diabetes Symptom Self-Management Project”. One of her references said that “She is a relentless patient advocate” and her physician preceptor was so impressed with her work that she was invited to continue her clinical rotation in the summer after she completed the required coursework. We are proud to have you as one of our graduates. Congratulations.

Jonathan Hecht

Jonathan Hecht
Outstanding Graduate Student

Jonathan Hecht is our second recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Jonathan is one of our own BSN graduates of about 6 years ago and has been working in the Intensive Care Unit at Brackenridge Hospital. He has been here before, having been selected as the Outstanding Undergraduate Student when he graduated with his BSN. He has been the MSN representative to the Association for Nurses in Graduate School. He has achieved Critical Care and Cardiac Medicine subspecialty certifications as well as a certification in Neuroscience Nursing. He will soon be certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and plans to continue as the Critical Care Educator, coaching and educating nurses on the recognition and management of complex health problems. Jonathan is frequently an invited speaker locally and nationally. He has done “management of patients requiring chest drainage” for the Alternate Entry masters students many times, and recently did “Management of patients with acute and critical neurological conditions “for the CNS students. Last year he was a speaker at the American Nurse’s Association National Database for Nursing Quality Indicators…his topic was “Identifying patients at ultra high risk for pressure ulcer development”. And this summer he is to speak at the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Trauma conference on “Delirium in the ICU.” One reference said he is amazingly current in the research affecting nurses and patients, even sending articles to his professors to read that are not even assigned in class. One said “Jonathan is probably the top CNS student I have had in many years”. And, finally another said, “If you look up the word outstanding in the dictionary, Jonathan’s photo would be there!” Congratulations.

Emily Piling

Emily Piling
Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Emily Piling is the recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. She came to UT as a new freshman, far away from her home in Pennsylvania. “Emily is an exceptional nurse” one of her references said. And from the time she started at the University of Texas, she has been an exceptional student. She became actively involved with the UT Nursing Student Association (UTNSA), coordinated student-led tours for the Freshman Admissions Office, did a Longhorn School Bus project, and created a Pen-Pal Committee with a local elementary school. She served as the Vice President and then President of the UTNSA. She co-authored a resolution at the State TSNA convention titled: “In support of patient accessible hand hygiene”. She was in the School of Nursing Honors Program and completed an undergraduate research project, “How do parents define parent advocacy?” as you see in your programs. This research was presented at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research. Emily also worked as a School of Nursing Tutor and an Undergraduate Research Assistant working with Dr. Sharon Horner and served on School and University committees. Her references agree she is an exceptional role model for fellow students. One summed it up by saying and I quote: “She will go out into the profession of nursing as a shining example of what a new nurse can and should be.” Congratulations.