Graduate students Matthew Koterwas and Emily Banning have been named Jeanne K. Buxbaum Scholars.

Buxbaum Scholars

Seven nursing students receive scholarships for work with older adults


2:13 p.m., Nov. 11, 2014--Two graduate students and five undergraduates have been named Jeanne K. Buxbaum Scholars in the University of Delaware’s School of Nursing for the 2014-15 academic year.

Buxbaum is the benefactor of assistantships and scholarships awarded to graduate and undergraduate nursing students who demonstrate academic excellence and a sincere interest in older adults or persons experiencing sensory deprivation.

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“With a record number of highly qualified candidates, we are happy to announce our largest class of exceptional, enthusiastic scholars,” said Veronica Rempusheski, Jeanne K. Buxbaum Chair of Nursing. “With their beliefs shaped by personal relationships and experiences, the Buxbaum Scholars are inspired by the contributions of older adults and have a strong desire to improve the lives of the older adult population through service and research.”

Buxbaum Scholars have an opportunity to work as research assistants with Rempusheski to broaden their research experience in aging and receive hands-on experience in proposed and funded projects and community engagement activities with older adults.

Emily Banning, a full-time second-year graduate student in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) program, earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Baker University and was enrolled in graduate courses at Washburn University before acceptance into UD’s master of science in nursing degree program. Originally from Kansas, Banning now lives in Newark, Delaware.

Having a grandmother affected by Alzheimer’s disease and experiencing several years of working in long-term care with older adults, Banning developed an intellectual curiosity about the disease process and approach to care and treatment of those affected with Alzheimer’s disease. Banning is interested in seeking ways to improve the dynamics of elder care and the health outcomes of this population. Her long-term goal is to obtain a doctoral degree and conduct research to add to the body of nursing knowledge about the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

Matthew Koterwas, who lives in Wilmington, Delaware, is a first-year, full-time graduate student in the FNP program. As one of UD’s first undergraduate Buxbaum Scholars (2007-09), Koterwas is the first to hold the dual honor of receiving the Buxbaum assistantship at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from UD in 2009 and since then has been employed by Christiana Care Health System in the Surgical Critical Care Complex.

Crediting his parents and strong relationships with both sets of grandparents, Koterwas has developed a deep appreciation and respect for the older adult population. As a research assistant for Rempusheski, Koterwas said he believes it will prove invaluable in achieving his long-term career aspirations of interacting with older adults and developing a greater understanding of ailments affecting the older adult population as a primary care practitioner.

Angela Gonzales is a sophomore from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. Her interest in geriatrics began at a very young age in a tightly knit extended family in which she had very strong relationships with her grandparents. When her grandmother developed progressive health problems, she helped provide care and in the process discovered the challenges faced by older adults. She wants her life's work to involve helping the aging population. Gonzales said she believes the UD nursing program and Buxbaum Scholarship will help her to become an advocate for the health, comfort, security, and quality of life for older adults.  

Julie Harlam is a sophomore from East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Personally touched by her grandfather’s experience and fortunate enough to observe dedicated and caring nurses, Harlam developed an interest in not only geriatrics, but also helping others. She envisions a nursing career working with older adults with dementia. As a Buxbaum Scholar and research assistant, Harlam has the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience to further her interest in working in the geriatrics community.  

Audrey McGowan, from Pearl River, New York, is a junior. McGowan’s interest in working with older adults and people with sensory deprivation stems from having an enriching relationship with her four grandparents and her experience working with older adults with disabilities. She finds working with the older adult population personally rewarding and appreciates the history, wisdom, and insight they provide. McGowan plans on pursuing a career in geriatrics in the community or hospital setting. She said she feels that receiving the Buxbaum Scholarship and the research assistant experience is a great next step in her journey to become a geriatric nurse.

Paulina Renda is a sophomore from Wantagh, New York. Renda’s interest in gerontology and geriatric nursing was sparked by observing the nurses who cared for her grandfather after a stroke; she credits much of his recovery to his nurses.  That experience cemented her career choice in nursing and a decision to spend much of her free time working with the older adult population through volunteering. Renda’s experiences with older adults have led to an appreciation of their vitality, knowledge, experience, and contributions to society as a whole. Her goal in gerontology is to honor older adults by providing the most knowledgeable, evidence-based nursing care with the compassion, understanding and sensitivity they deserve.

Natalie Roddy is a sophomore from Wilmington, Delaware. Raised to believe elders are figures of wisdom and knowledge, Roddy enjoys spending time with older adults. Watching the nurses care for her grandmother, she witnessed the importance of treating a person, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. This experience influenced her decision to become a geriatric nurse. After graduation, Roddy said she expects to explore the world of gerontology and the many settings within which she can provide care and comfort to older adults as well as to persons nearing the end of life.

Banning, Koterwas, Gonzales, Harlam, McGowan, Renda and Roddy join continuing Buxbaum Scholars Rachael Cooper, Julia Pohlman and Kearstin Raby.

Photos by Ambre Alexander Payne and Evan Krape 

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