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Sigma in the news   

Sigma announces new academy scholars

INDIANAPOLIS – Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is pleased to announce the scholars selected to participate in the 2020 cohort of the New Academic Leadership Academy, Experienced Academic Leadership Academy, and Nurse Leadership Academy for Practice. Sigma academies began in January 2020.

About Sigma Academies
The newly-launched academies support all nurses in a variety of career stages and focus areas:

  • New Academic Leadership Academy - Enhances the leadership skills and career trajectory for nurses in their first 5 years of academic appointment
  • Experienced Academic Leadership Academy - Enhances the leadership skills and career trajectory for nurses with 6 or more years of academic appointment
  • Nurse Leadership Academy for Practice - Provides a leadership development experience designed to prepare nurses at the forefront of clinical nursing practice to thrive in a rapidly changing healthcare environment

2020 Scholars

New Academic Leadership Academy 
Melissa Heitzman, DNP, RN – Edgewood College of Nursing
Keely Lowe, MSN RN-BC, CMSRN – Midway University
Sharon Nelson, MSN, RN – Lees-McRae College
Donna-Marie Palakiko, PhD, RN, APRN – University of Hawaii at Manoa
Laura Petri, PhD, RN-BC – Stevenson University
M'Lyn Spinks, DNS, RN, CHSE – Kennesaw State University

Experienced Academic Leadership Academy 
Azza Ahmed, DNS, IBCLC, CPNP, FAAN – Purdue University
Cynthia Allen, PhD, APRN, BC, FNP-BC – George Washington University
Connie Barbour, EdD, RN, CNE – University of West Georgia
Julie Beck, DEd, MSN, RN, CNE – Wilson College
Daniel Cline, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, CEN – Seattle University
Mary Goering, PhD, RN-B – University of Minnesota
Tara Hilliard, PhD, APRN, ACNP-BC – Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Ann Horigan, PhD, RN – Emory University
Marsha Hughes-Gay, PhD, MSN, MPH, RN, CNE – Indiana University School of Nursing
Beth Hultquist, PhD, RN, CNE – Baylor University
Gulrose Jiwani, PhD, MN, RN – University of Prince Edward Island
Susan Lee, PhD, RN, CNE, CPXP – University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Christina Leonard, DNP, APRN, FNP, CNL – Duke University School of Nursing
Pamela Love, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE – Grand Canyon University
Karen Maxwell, EdD, RN-BC – Regis University
Michele McMahon, DNP, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC – Purdue University Global
Meg Moorman, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC – Indiana University School of Nursing
Jami Nininger, DNP, RN – Mount Carmel College of Nursing
Oscar Ocho, DrPH, MPhil, MPH, BScN, RN – University of the West Indies
Maria Ochoa, EdD, MN, RN – Fundacion Universitaria Juan N Corpas
Karen O'Connell, PhD, RN, CEN, NEA-BC – Northern Kentucky University
Angela Owens, DNP, RN, CCRN-K – Purdue University Global
LeAnne Prenovost, DNP, MSN-Ed, MBA, RN, CNE – Chamberlain University 
Angela Schooley, PhD, RN, CNE – Purdue Northwest University
Devita Stallings, PhD, RN - Saint Louis University, Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing
Joan Stanek, DNP, RN, ANP-BC – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Cassandra Vonnes, DNP, GNP-BC, APRN, AOCNP, CPHQ, FAHA – Moffitt Cancer Center
Elizabeth Wells-Beede, PhD, RN, C-EFM, CHSE – Texas A&M College of Nursing
Pamela Willson, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE, NE-BC, FAANP – Texas State University
Cindy Zellefrow, DNP, MSEd, RN, LSN, PNHA-BC, EBP-C – The Ohio State University College of Nursing

Nurse Leadership Academy for Practice 
Linda Bayer, BSN, RN, CPN – Penn State Health
Allison Bekx, BSN, RN, CPN – Children’s Wisconsin
Melissa Grella, MSN, RN, CPN – NYU Winthrop Hospital
Melissa Hatter, MSN, RN,CNM – OB-GYN Associates
Wendy Reese, BSN, RN – Children’s Wisconsin
Bridgette Smoot, MSN, RN, CMSRN – Centra Health
Kristin Kornetzke, BSN, RN – Children’s Wisconsin
Mahi Terefe, BSN, RN – Providence Elderplace


About Sigma
The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Founded in 1922, Sigma has more than 135,000 active members in over 100 countries and territories. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and others. Sigma’s more than 540 chapters are located at more than 700 institutions of higher education throughout Armenia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, eSwatini, Ghana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, and Wales. Learn more at