Rebecca Sypniewski, a Kirkhof College of Nursing doctoral student, has been both a provider of health care and a caregiver.
With those two lenses, Sypniewski said she sees how fragmented the nation’s health care system is and she’s determined to do her part to change that.
Sypniewski organized a health fair for senior citizens at Evergreen Commons in Holland in mid-February. It was the first health fair held at the senior citizen facility and it was a hit.
KCON nursing students helped Sypniewski lead sessions for participants on osteoporosis, healthy eating, blood pressure management, vision screening and other topics.
Sypniewski will be among the first graduates of KCON’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program in April. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Mary’s College in 1996 and a master’s degree in nursing from Grand Valley in 2003. She works at the GVSU Family Health Center as a family nurse practitioner.
Her doctoral focus is elder health. “I would like to expand my practice as a nurse practitioner to advocate for older adults,” she said. “I would like to develop creative and innovative ways for older adults to ‘age in place’ or live independently.”
Sypniewski’s mother, a retired physician, suffered a major stroke in 2011. Following that experience, Sypniewski said it became more evident to her how the health care system “does not meet the needs of healthy elders or elders with health problems.”
“I have witnessed some of the challenges that are prominent within health care,” she said. “For these reasons, it is important to me that I continue to advocate for older adults.”
Linda Scott, professor and associate dean for graduate programs, said the health fair model Sypniewski established for Evergreen was based on client needs and an analysis of current literature.
“In addition to partnering with the community for health promotion, her dissertation project allows the public to see how nursing practice extends beyond the hospital to make a difference in people’s lives,” Scott said, “and how having an advanced degree in nursing can affect system change.”
Outstanding Biology Thesis Submitted to Competition
The Office of Graduate Studies is pleased to announce the submission of a GVSU thesis to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Thesis Competition! This year's submission was selected out of 5 nominations from various graduate programs at GVSU. Each school may only submit one thesis for inclusion in the competition.
This is the third consecutive year that GVSU has participated in the MAGS Thesis Competition. This year's nomination is by Whitney Nelson who graduated from GVSU in December 2011 with a Master of Science in Biology (Aquatic Sciences emphasis). Her thesis, titled "Composition and Toxic Sensitivity of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Muskegon Lake, a Great Lakes Area of Concern" was described by the reviewing committee as one that "tackled a significant, real-world problem for fresh water lakes" and "makes a valuable contribution to the field."
Whitney is currently at the University of Arkansas working on the genus Monatractides (Acari: Hydrachnidia, Torrenticolidae) and her PhD work will involve describing the species within this genus and producing a phylogenetic hypothesis for the group using both morphological and molecular techniques. She also hopes to explore the use of Hydrachnidia as water quality indicators. Additionally, as water mites in the family Torrenticolidae have been found in nearly all biogeographic regions, she expect that the PEET Water Mites of North America project will provide an excellent opportunity to investigate the community patterns of these water mites using geospatial analysis and modeling techniques.
The publication is now available online at the following link:
Nelson, W.A., Steinman, A.D., Changes in the benthic communities of Muskegon Lake, a Great Lakes Area of Concern, J. Great Lakes Res. (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2012.12.016
This year's review committee included:
Dr. Colleen Brice, Department of English
Dr. Robert Deaner, Department of Psychology
Dr. Joe Iannelli, School of Engineering
Dr. Jeffrey Potteiger, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dr. John Stevenson, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dr. Jennifer Winther, Department of Biology