Congratulations to the Preceptor of the Year Award Winners!

October 28, 2020

The annual Preceptor of the Year Awards are traditionally held in person in June, but the global COVID-19 pandemic prompted a pivot to a virtual celebration. The real-world interaction might have been missing, but the warm feelings of gratitude were front and center. Watch the video honoring preceptors here, and read below for lightly edited excerpts of remarks from students and faculty.

Congratulations to all the recipients!

Susan Brown MSN, RN, APRN (PMHNP)

Yale Behavioral Health Services at Hamden

“Sue encourages students to compassionately meet patients where they are and to genuinely give them the attention and care they deserve. I’ve been able to see her work through situations that are tough and tricky while still maintaining the dignity of her patients. She’s a strong advocate for patients, and I’m truly amazed at all her work accomplishments.”

-Polly Huynh, ’20 MSN

Philip Costello RN, APRN (FNP)

Cornell Scott - Hill Health Center

“Thank you so much for your street smarts, your kindness, your guidance, and your overall great positivity with the patients and with us as well. I really learned to appreciate that no matter the circumstance of the person in front of me, regardless of condition, background what have you, they deserve the best that we can give with whatever resources we have at hand.”

-Kathy Doan, ’16MPH, ’21 MSN

“My time working with Phil was so valuable. Cornell Scott Hill Health runs a wonderful homeless outreach program in which Phil and his entire team go out to various soup kitchens, the Green—wherever our clients might be—and really meets people where they’re at and supports the houseless community in New Haven.”

-Chloe Minervini, ’21 MSN

Meridith Cowperthwait (PNP)

Pediatric & Medical Associates 

“Our students have always had incredible experiences with her. Her most recent student wrote, ‘She always took the time to explain the diagnosis and management of each patient I encounter. She taught me how to proceed with patient education and follow up with her patients’ results. She is a kind, professional, and very knowledgeable preceptor.’”

-Lecturer Elyse Borsuk, ’90 MSN, CPNP-PC, APRN

Keona Dawson MS, APRN, ANP-BC, CC (AGPCNP)

Bristol Health Medical Group Plainville

“As a dedicated clinical mentor, Keona believes that students should have a meaningful internship experience. 

Through expert clinical instruction, and with humble character, Keona disseminates her knowledge of successes and failures to students. Keona takes pride in providing all her patients with an excellent experience.”

-Christa Varnadoe ’20 MSN, BS, RN, OCN and YSN Clinical DNP student

“Cleary the students who spend time with you get to see what an awesome mentor you are. I have been privileged since the day we first met to know that myself.”

-Dr. Ami Marshall, ’04 MSN, Ed.D, APRN, ANP-C 

Specialty Director for Adulty/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program

Jill Fischer PsyA, APRN, BC (GEPN)

Preceptor for GEPN Psych Mental Health rotation

“I nominated you for this award because you provide such an enriching experience for all of us during our psych mental health rotations and were truly an outstanding preceptor. You provided the perfect blend of education, supervision, and support. With your guidance, I felt empowered to step out of my comfort zone and was really able to grow in my work with patients.”

-Jennifer Araujo, ’22 MSN

“You were such a positive light on all the units and were an amazing role model for the type of provider I aspire to be. I especially wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer my endless questions of what it’s like to be a psych NP and for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I am grateful to have had you as a preceptor and I think you’re so deserving of this award. Congratulations!”

-Catherine Hartigan ’22 MSN

Tory Larsen RN, MSN, APRN (AGACNP)

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

“He truly has a gift for teaching, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to learn from him. He always went above and beyond for me. He enhanced my skills in neurology and critical care medicine. He gave me confidence, and he inspired me. 

I remember coming home from my first clinical rotation and immediately knowing that if I were able to soak up as much knowledge as possible fromhim, I would become a better provider.”

-Rae Caliento ’20 MSN

Cathie Miller RN, CNM (WHNP)

Griffin Faculty Physicians

 “Her practice is this really inspirational full circle where almost every week we would have these multigenerational patient visits where Cathie would have served as a midwife in this patient’s birth and now this patient is an adult presenting for their pregnancy or GYN care. The deep, unique, and authentic care and energy that she brought into each patient’s visit really created this patient population that looked to her with trust, with love, and this certainty that they were safe in her care.”

-Rowan O’Connell-Barger, ’21 MSN

“When I was a not a midwife yet but aspiring to be, she opened her practice to me to shadow as a learner before I was even a midwifery student, so that I could spend time seeing what it is like to be a midwife day to day. I learned how to do fundal heights and how to be with people and talk with pregnant people. It was just a wonderful experience and gave me the fire that I needed to make it to where I am today in my career. So I, along with our students, would like to thank Cathie Miller for being an awesome midwife and an awesome preceptor.”

-Dr. Erin McMahon, CNM, Ed.D. 

Nurse-Midwifery Specialty Director 

Becoming a Preceptor

Have you ever considered serving as a preceptor? YSN depends on the generosity of our alumni to help educate, grow, and diversify the next generation of providers and to foster better health for all people. We cannot do it without your help! Would you consider “paying it forward” by providing a learning opportunity for a YSN student? Check out the full details here or contact Tracy Chidsey (, Director of the Clinical Support Unit.