Nursing professor wins Penn State alumni award
Carolee Polek


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1:29 p.m., Dec. 1, 2010----Carolee Polek, associate professor in the University of Delaware's School of Nursing, received the Pennsylvania State University Shirley Novosel Award for Outstanding Nursing Alumni on Nov. 1.

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The award, which has been conferred on just 13 Penn State alumni, recognizes significant contributions to the field of nursing. It is conferred annually on a graduate who exemplifies the spirit of nursing and demonstrates a caring, professional style.

In publicizing the award, the Penn State Nursing Alumni Society referred to Polek as a dynamic, well-respected teacher whose innovative, engaging style has earned her several awards. According to the award nomination submitted on her behalf, “getting into one of [her] classes is like getting tickets to a rock concert.”

Polek received the award at a half-day student-oriented event where she made a presentation to the seniors about her nursing career, including her career trajectory, opportunities, and ambition.

“I was excited to hear that Dr. Polek had been recognized for her contributions to the nursing profession,” said Kathleen Schell, interim director of the School of Nursing. “Carolee was a 2008 recipient of a University of Delaware Excellence in Teaching Award. Her passion and creativity inspire students.

“She demands professionalism and a high standard of student performance yet is able to infuse humor and love of life into her courses. I am confident that students learn and also think differently after they complete one of Carolee's clinical or classroom courses. Furthermore, she successfully blends her service to the Special Olympics and various cancer-related organizations with teaching and research. We are fortunate to have her as one of our faculty.”

As an oncology nurse, Polek has dedicated much of her career to helping those afflicted with cancer and educating others on cancer treatment and prevention. Her research findings have been featured in publications such as the Oncology Nursing Forum, Journal of Transcultural Nursing and Blood, and she has made scholarly presentations on a variety of cancer-related topics.

She volunteers regularly at community skin cancer screenings and speaks about “safe sun” practices and other methods for reducing risks associated with cancer.

Polek is a volunteer media spokesperson and serves on the boards of the regional chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Delaware Cancer Consortium, the regional chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society, and the Beta Xi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. She is also a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's speaker's bureau.

In addition to her BSN from Penn State, Polek earned a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from Temple University. She joined the UD faculty in 2001.

Article by Diane Kukich