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Distinguished Graduates Spring 2012

Posted: Aug. 1, 2012

Jonathan Hecht

Eduardo Chavez
Outstanding Graduate Student

Eduardo received his first Bachelors Degree in Entomology from Texas A&M University, completed his BSN here at UT-Austin, and is graduating with his Masters here today. He received the prestigious national Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar Award to support doctoral study from The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence. The program now includes more than 200 students in nearly 85 schools across the US. It is the largest program addressing the nation’s dire shortage of nursing faculty. 

He has also received the Excellence in Action Award from University Medical Center at Brackenridge Hospital, and he completed a Nursing Research Fellowship at the Center for Nursing Research at Seton.

Eduardo has demonstrated excellence in clinical practice. He has been an important part of the School of Nursing Children’s Wellness Center (our school-based clinic in the Del Valle ISD), working as a nurse, helping to train the summer nurse interns, often being called upon to provide bilingual health care education. He currently works in the Emergency Department at Dell Children’s Hospital. He volunteers on the Austin Community Emergency Response Team.

At the Seton Center for Nursing Research he has served as the Senior Research Project Coordinator. He has been a co-presenter at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society Convention, the Central Texas Clinical Research Forum and the Seton Family of Hospitals Nursing Symposium. He is a member of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing and serves as the Vice President of the local chapter of the Longhorn Association of Men in Nursing.

One of his references said it best: “He is such a positive role model for nurses in general and male nurses in particular. He is a dedicated and committed scholar with a very humble attitude. He is a quiet leader that will achieve great things.”

And we will be watching you achieve great things as a doctoral student.

Congratulations, Eduardo!

Emily Piling

Elena Garcia
Outstanding Undergraduate Student

While maintaining excellence academically, Elena volunteered at St. Davids, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Cancer Society, and several events with the American Heart Association. She served as a campus tour guide for Longhorn Saturday’s and Family Weekend, and helped with Expore UT and numerous other campus events. She was a peer mentor and was selected for the Latino Leadership Council and the Goldman Sachs Scholars Leadership Seminar in New York City. She served as the President of the Hispanic Student Nurses Association. All of these things are outstanding and impressive….but what we found in her personal statement was even more compelling.

Elena’s personal statement describes her journey to The University of Texas at Austin from a humble background, the first in her family to go to college. Her initial focus on self-growth and the desire to make her family proud shifted to community empowerment when she began in the nursing program, and, more particularly when she was accepted into the Nursing Honors Program. Through the experiences with Dr. Clingerman’s research, traveling to the Rio Grande Valley to perform cognitive interviews, she understood the health disparities and how research provided a voice for this underserved population. She thought more could be done to address health disparities if she involved more students. So that’s when she initiated a restart of the Hispanic Student Nurses Association. One of her references said: “Elena had a vision of tasks that needed to be done and as her motivation and efforts continued to grow, so did the number of Hispanic/Latino students who have become involved in this valuable organization.” Through her strong leadership, the membership has grown to over 40 students this year, with many younger students ready to lead the organization next year.

Her faculty mentor wrote: “Elena is the most well-rounded nursing leader that I have come to know. She reflects the type of nurse that UT School of Nursing will be proud to identify as one of their own. 

Congratulations, Elena!  We are proud of you.