In 2017, Abby Heydman was the first nurse to win the prestigious Mary Jane Harris Distinguished Service Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education. This is just the most recent of many awards she has received. During her career, Abby’s commitment to the nursing profession has been recognized by her local Sigma chapter, her undergraduate college alumni association, the Alameda County Nurses Association, and the California Nurses Association.
Starting her career has an ICU nurse, Abby quickly moved up the ranks into a supervisor position. After taking an opportunity to serve as Interim Dean for a BSN program, Abby knew that she wanted to further pursue a career in higher education. With that decision, Abby moved to California to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained a PhD in higher education. After first working as a department chair, she then advanced to Dean-Nursing, and finally as Academic Vice President. She even served as Interim President for a brief period while their University President took a sabbatical leave.
Abby supports Sigma’s mission and values, as well as the leadership development and networking opportunities. Specifically, Abby appreciates the support for nursing research and leadership. Although Abby has been a Sigma member since 1969, she began actively participating in 1993. Since then, she has served her chapter as communications chair, webmaster, newsletter editor, treasurer, secretary, president-elect, and president. She has also served internationally as the Region 1 Coordinator and a member of numerous committees. Abby recently retired from her position as a consultant for program development in health sciences, but that hasn’t stopped her from being actively involved in her chapter in her current role as communication chair.