Beloved Traditions Go Virtual in 2020

December 12, 2020

Nursing education during a global pandemic looks and feels dramatically different from normal circumstances. Even though there was nothing normal about most of 2020, the school celebrated a series of treasured signature events with all the enthusiasm of an in-person occasion.


Congratulations to the 134 degree recipients in the Class of 2020! The class is comprised of 115 Master of Science in Nursing candidates, 16 Doctor of Nursing Practice candidates, and 3 PhD candidates, whose degrees are awarded through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Congratulations to all our prize winners! They are:

  • Annie Goodrich Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Dilice Robertson ’08 MSN, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC

  • Charles King, Jr. Memorial Scholars Aid Prize

Camille Lawhead ’20 MSN

  • Milton and Anne Sidney Prize

Dr. Bridget Lynn Basile Ibrahim ’20 PhD


“GEPN is so fast,” said Linda Honan, ’89 MSN, PhD, CNS-BC, RN, ANEF, FAAN. “I was always afraid [the students] would forget the rigors of what they had been through. And my hope is that when they look at the journals 10 years later, they have patience for people who are going through it now.”

“When you write, you learn what you think about things.”

A professor of nursing in the Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing (GEPN) program, Honan has cultivated CWA since its infancy, encouraging students to enter and fostering confidence in their writing with the same vigor that she demands proficiency in their clinical skills.

Many congratulations to this year’s winners!

They are:

  • Amy Isabelle ’20 MSN: Med Math for a World on Fire
  • Josh Kwan ’21 PMC: I See Me
  • Camilla Soto Espinoza ’21 MSN: Focus

Check out event photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using hashtags #YaleNursing2020 and #Yale2020. Watch the full video on our YouTube channel.

For the complete list of honorees and to read the full text of the winning essays, visit


Delta Mu Chapter President Andree de Lisser, ’79 MSN, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC welcomed new members to the Sigma Theta Tau International honor society with remarks that spoke to the context of the ongoing global health emergency and racial injustice crisis.

Guest speaker Jeremy Egner, television editor for the New York Times, spoke movingly about his experiences contracting and recovering from COVID-19 and the role his nurses and other healthcare workers played in his treatment.

“No one bears the kind of witness that nurses do.”

“Nurses are there in our darkest moments. Too many times during this pandemic they are the only ones there, as patients passed away, too contagious for their own families to touch. But nurses are also there in the birthing room, bearing witness to the precious new ones as we welcome them into our world,” Egner said. “Who else can say they are there for the highs and the lows?”


Orientation 2020 offered an exclusively virtual slate of programs and activities, and not even the shadow of COVID-19 could block out the bright anticipation of fall classes and classmates.

“While we recognize that these are unusual times, please know that this does not diminish our enthusiasm about you and your incoming cohort joining our YSN family this fall,” said Saveena Dhall, Associate Dean of Student Life and Belonging in her warm welcome remarks.

The new cast of Orientation Leaders shared their pre-Yale lives, and experiences include the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and the core of a honeybee hive. Other returning students arrived at YSN with the skills to make the perfect Starbucks coffee drink, grow an urban farm, and serve on an opioid response team.

Welcome new students!


More than 150 guests gathered from as near as Connecticut and as far as Kenya to celebrate the GEPN students earning their Certificates in Nursing.

GEPN Chair-elect Dr. Sascha James-Conterelli DNP, CNM, LM, FACNM saluted the students that she has come to know so well during an intense year. “You showed up, and showed out, even though we were online,” James-Conterelli said. “And you demonstrated to us that you are dedicated to this profession. You persevered, you raised the bar, and you demonstrated your excellence. You are a true demonstration of why YSN is what it is. I’m so proud of you guys!”


Preceptorship bridges the gap between the classroom and the clinical area where nursing is practiced. YSN is grateful for the incredible generosity of our alumni to help educate, grow, and diversify the next generation of providers and to foster better health for all people. Many thanks to all of our preceptors this year for devoting their time and energy to our students, and many congratulations to all our Preceptor of the Year Award winners!

  • Susan Brown MSN, RN, APRN, PMHNP
  • Philip Costello RN, APRN, FNP
  • Meridith Cowperthwait PNP
  • Keona Dawson MS, APRN, ANP-BC, CC, AGPCNP
  • Jill Fischer PsyA, APRN, BC, FNP
  • Tory Larsen RN, MSN, APRN, AGACNP
  • Cathie Miller RN, CNM, WHNP

this article and many more can be found in the fall 2020 issue of yale nursing matters, read more