Awards and Honors

College of Nursing Awards and Recognition

Dr. Margaret Moore-Nadler

Nadler AwardDr. Nadler has been awarded the ASNA Citation of Excellence Award for 2018. 






Dr. Leigh Minchew

Dr. Leigh Minchew has been accepted as a Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program Fellow for the 2018-2019 program year.Dr. Leigh Minchew








Dr. Sharon Fruh Podcast

Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Fruh! Sharon presented her work by Podcast published by Consultant360. The title of the podcast is Obesity: Small Changes Make a Big Difference.

STT Chapter Awards Recognition Event

South’s Zeta Gamma chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing was well represented at the 44th Biennial Convention in Indianapolis October 27-November 1, 2017.STT Chapter Key Award

Zeta Gamma was presented with our 4th Chapter Key Award at the Chapter Awards Recognition Event.  The Chapter Key Award is the highest level of recognition awarded to STTI chapters.  2017 was the fourth year that Zeta Gamma received this award. The Chapter Key Award, established in 1991, honors STTI chapters that excel in chapter-related activities such as:  

  • Membership recruitment and retention
  • Publicity and programming
  • Professional and leadership development
  • Local, national, and international collaboration

ASNA Faculty Awards - 2017

ASNA Faculty AwardsMr. Tyler Sturdivant is a 2017 Alabama State Nurses Association Outstanding New Member Award recipient. This state-level award is awarded to an ASNA member who has been active for less than two years and has contributed significantly to ASNA and the profession on the local, state, and national level.

Dr. Bridget Moore is a 2017 Alabama State Nurses Association Cindajo Overton Outstanding Nurse Educator Award recipient. This state-level award is awarded to an outstanding nurse educator, defined as a person who demonstrates excellence in the academic setting by expanding the knowledge of students and the profession through teaching, scholarship, and service.

Ms. Brenda Woodmansee is the 2017 Alabama State Nurses Association Louise Barksdale Outstanding Nursing Practice Award recipient. This state-level award is awarded to an outstanding member who demonstrates or has demonstrated exemplary nursing practice and is active in professional organizations on the local, state, and national level.

Dr. Chondra Butler

Dr. Chondra ButlerDr. Chondra Butler  has been awarded the College of Nursing Excellence in Teaching award for 2017. The purpose of the Excellence in Teaching Award is to recognize outstanding educators in the College of Nursing. Outstanding Educators are those who consistently capture the attention of the learners and challenge them to value knowledge and to expand their intellectual ideas.




Dr. Loretta Jones, Dr. Casey Elkins, Dr. Kathy Bydalek

Dr. Kathy BydalekDr. Casey ElkinsDr. Loretta JonesCongratulations to Dr. Loretta Jones, Dr. Casey Elkins, and Dr. Kathy Bydalek for being selected to participate as scholars in the 2017 Health Disparities Research Training Certificate Program (HDRTP) at UAB.  The application process is very competitive and we are so proud of our three faculty who have been accepted into this rigorous research program.
The objectives of the Health Disparities Research Training Award Program are to:

  1. Develop independent researchers in the area of health disparities research through individualized mentored training.
  2. Provide instruction in scientific research methodology and design.
  3. Provide training in health disparities and innovative approaches to reduce them.
  4. Teach scientific writing and grant preparation skills to produce a grant submission to an external agency.

Dr. Heather Hall

Dr. Heather HallDr. Heather Hall has been selected to participate in the 2017-2018 American Association of Colleges of Nursing - Wharton Executive Leadership Program. This competitive fellowship is designed to further develop and enhance leadership skills in senior academics in colleges and schools of nursing.







Dr. Margaret Moore-Nadler

Dr. Margaret Moore-NadlerThe College of Nursing is proud to announce that Dr. Margaret Moore-Nadler is the 2017 recipient of the Semoon and Youngshin Chang Humanitarian Award. Margaret has been instrumental in organizing Project Homeless Connect for several years. The award is named for Dr. Semoon Chang, retired professor of economics and finance in the Mitchell College of Business, and his wife.






Dr. Sherry Lawrence

Dr. Sherry Lawrence has been awarded the College of Nursing Excellence in Teaching award for 2016. The purpose of the Excellence in Teaching Award is to recognize outstanding educators in the College of Nursing. Outstanding Educators are those who consistently capture the attention of the learners and challenge them to value knowledge and to expand their intellectual ideas.

Dr. Heather Hall

Dr. Heather Hall has been selected to the Provost Faculty Fellows Program for the 2016-17 academic year. The Provost Faculty Fellows Program is a new professional development opportunity for faculty members interested in developing leadership and administrative skills at the University level. As a part of the program, Fellows will increase their understanding of university-wide academic initiatives, strategic planning, budget issues, and challenges in higher education. In addition, Fellows will also make direct contributions to the Provost's Office by taking on special projects and assisting in other operational activities.


Dr. Casey Elkins was inducted as a fellow in the National Lipid Association May 21st, 2016.

Faculty members Dr. Katie Erdlitz and Stacee Bertolla presented at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in March. Title of their presentation was: The Transgender Community and the PNPs Role.

Congratulations to Dr. Ashley Marass on winning the 2016 Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) CompassPoint Writing Award. Each year, the editorial board chooses an individual who has contributed significantly to the organization by submitting exceptional publication(s) for our membership. Her continuing education article, "Adolescent Health: Issues at Camp" was chosen as the exemplar in writing and we are thankful for your continued support in advancing the mission and efforts of camp nursing. Also, a proposal by Dr. Marass and her USA team was chosen as one of the top six in the country for a novel approach to educating athletes about concussions.

Dr. Heather Hall AACN Fellow

Dr. Heather Hall has been selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to participate as a fellow in the 2015 Leadership for Academic Nursing Program.

Dr. Sherry Lawrence AACN Fellow

Dr. Sherry Lawrence has been selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to participate as a fellow in the 2016 Faculty Policy Intensive held in Washington, D.C. in March.

Dr. Sarah Roberts and Dr. Theresa Wright

Dr. Sarah Roberts and Dr. Theresa Wright CON Excellence in Teaching Award for 2015

The purpose of the Excellence in Teaching Award is to recognize outstanding educators in the College of Nursing. Outstanding Educators are those who consistently capture the attention of the learners and challenge them to value knowledge and to expand their intellectual ideas.

Alabama Gerontological Society presented the Professional Award to Dr. Joyce Varner, a professor of nursing at the University of South Alabama. “It makes me feel humbled,” Dr. Varner said when receiving the award. “It makes me feel proud and it validates the work that I have been doing for the last 15 years which is entirely focused on elders and their needs.”

Dr. Varner’s passion is teaching advance practice nurses how to properly care for elderly individuals and teaching caregivers how to take care of themselves so they can deliver better care. “Throughout my entire career, I’ve focused on what the elderly’s needs are and the needs of their caregivers,” Dr. Varner said. “Because their care is only as good as the emotional, mental and physical health of the people who care for them.” Dr. Varner has served two terms as vice-chair of the Alabama Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators. She is a regular speaker at Alabama Nursing Home Association seminars.

According to AGS, the Professional Award is presented to an individual employed in the field of aging in recognition of exceptional efforts above and beyond the scope of their job description and duties in enhancing the lives of older Alabamians.

Alabama League for Nursing awards Dr. Debra Swanzy with its Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Debra Swanzy emulates all things positive in a professional teacher. She works tirelessly to ensure or verify every aspect of her courses are correct within the electronic platform of the course and within the classroom. You will not find an error, typo or otherwise, in her courses. Students are never confused about what is due when or what is expected of them in her classes. Although Dr. Swanzy has been the coordinator of multiple undergraduate courses for several years now, she always studies the content and searches the literature to stay abreast of what is correct and pertinent to give her students the best education possible. On the graduate level, Dr. Swanzy creates the same level of perfection in her courses. She has worked closely with other graduate faculty to ensure the necessary content for the DNP is covered in the curriculum and has revamped several course to make the course meet the needs of the students and the DNP program.

Dr. Swanzy has a sincere love of teaching and the nursing profession which shines through in every situation. She shoots for the stars and usually obtains what she is reaching for. For a few examples, Dr. Swanzy made it possible for students (all 160 of them) who declared nursing as their major to be transported via buses to the university hospital and actually arranged for the helicopter crew to fly the helicopter for the students. Recently she made arrangements for 18 senior citizens (age 80-96) to come participate in a learning experience with nursing students. The task was quite impressive considering the majority of the senior citizens could not drive.

Dr. Swanzy teaches difficult courses well. She strives to protect and maintain the quality of the nursing program at USA. Students have great respect for Dr. Swanzy because she is an expert in her courses and because she treats all students with dignity and respect. Because of her expertise and kind nature, students migrate to her for help and advice on a daily basis. She always greets students with a smile and students leave her with a smile even when things do not go the students' way. Students recognize Dr. Swanzy's excellence in and love of teaching. She has received several awards through student nominations. She is the quality instructor she is because of her love for the students and nursing. She is not boastful or self-serving. Dr. Swanzy is very deserving of the Excellence in Teaching award from ALN.

Dr. Susan Willians has been awarded the Sigma Theta Tau Research Award (Zeta Gamma Chapter) for her pilot study conducted in the Fall. She presented her pilot study "Effect of Perceived Stress and Bullying on Cortisol and Depressive Symptoms in Ninth Grade Adolescents" at the Council for Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) on September 19th, 2014 in Washington, DC. This pilot was funded with approximately $1,500 from the local chapter Zeta Gamma in Mobile, AL. This pilot study was presented at the Council for Advancement of Nursing Service this Fall 2014 in Washington, DC. In addition, she received a $500.00 check from Sigma Theta Tau as a research award to help cover some of the cost of her dissertation study. In recent months, Susan has been awarded these scholarships: Louder Family Dissertation Scholarship - $1,000; Alabama Board of Nursing Scholarship - $4,000; Alabama State Nurses Association Academic Scholarship $1,250; Alabama State Nurses Association Member Scholarship $1,250

Dr. Carolyn Dolan, professor of community/mental health nursing in the College of Nursing and paralegal studies instructor for the School for Continuing Education and Special Programs, was sworn in and admitted to the U.S Supreme Court Bar on March 3. Dolan, who is also a member of the American Association of Nurse Attorneys, was one of five nurses sworn in before the nation’s highest court during the ceremony. Dolan was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 2005. She received a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Auburn University in Montgomery, a master of science degree in nursing from USA and a law degree from the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery.

Dr. James Harris, Community Mental Health Professor of Nursing was inducted in the Alabama Hall of Fame by the Board of Visitors of the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama October 10, 2013. Individually and collectively the five inductees have greatly influenced the profession of nursing and healthcare in the state of Alabama and the nation. Honoring the inductees is to honor the most noble of professions.

Dr. Leigh Minchew, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and WHNP Specialty Track Coordinator for MSN and DNP Programs was recently elected as Vice Chair of the Alabama Office of Women’s Health Steering Committee. The Alabama OWH is comprised of representatives from the Alabama State Hospital Association, Alabama State Nurses Association, Alabama Pharmacy Association, Alabama Dietetic Association, Medical Association of the State of Alabama, Business Council of Alabama, and Consumers. Most members are appointed by the governor and serve women throughout Alabama by providing education on health promotion. Dr. Minchew has served on the Steering Committee for the past four years and has served as Program Committee Chair for three annual Women’s Health Update conferences.

Dr. Joyce McCullers Varner has been solicited by Professor Brendan McCormack, of the Institute of Nursing Research at the University of Ulster/Royal Hospitals, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Older People Nursing to serve as a member of the Editorial Board. The International Journal of Older People Nursing is an international forum for advancing knowledge in gerontological nursing. The Journal publishes scholarly and accessible material that challenges assumptions and provokes new ideas, helping nurses develop and inform their practice and engage in the debates about the health and social care services for older people. This is an international peer reviewed journal and has an extensive readership world-wide

Dr. Lynn Chilton, DSN, GNP-BC/FNP-BC has been invited to be the Health Policy Editor for The Journal for Nurse Practitioners. This is a peer reviewed journal with an advanced practice nursing readership of over 50,000 nurses. Dr. Chilton also is a Reviewer on the Editorial Advisory Board for Geriatric Nursing as well being a Reviewer for the Editorial Advisory Board for Advance for Nurse Practitioners. Both of these journals are peer reviewed and have an extensive readership among Advanced Practice Nurses.

AHN Faculty member Tom Meyer, has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) beginning December 1st. He'll be traveling to Minneapolis for the annual meeting in October.

Aaron Gilligan, AHN Faculty member, participated in item writing for The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) at the Chicago, IL headquarters of Pearson VUE in August. "Participating in item writing for the NCLEX really helps an instructor get a grasp of what student nurses need to know when they sit for the Board examination. I recommend the experience to all nursing faculty."