News Release, College of Southern Maryland

Included among the many ceremonies connected to the College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM) 60th Spring Commencement this May was a traditional nurse pinning recognition held May 16. Fifty-four associate degree nursing candidates received their nursing pins and celebrated their accomplishments with their professors, faculty and family.

“Are you ready?” asked Professor Linda Goodman, MS, RN, CHSE with CSM Health Sciences Division, as the ceremony began. “You all have worked very hard to get here. You may remember I told you, it wasn’t going to be easy. I told you it was going to be worth it. And today’s the day. Congratulations!”

To kick off the festivities, CSM Nursing Professor Robin Young, MSN, MSM, RN-BC explained the history of the modern pinning ceremony which dates to the 1860s, when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George in recognition for her tireless service to the injured during the Crimean War.

“The nursing pin dates back to well over 800 years,” shared Young. “The nursing pin symbolizes a rite of passage for graduates into the professional world of nursing. Nurses care for patients daily with commitment, honor and courage. Our CSM nursing pin is a symbol of this commitment of honor and courage to those we care for. Wear you pin with pride.”

Keynote speaker Mary Lou McEwan, BSN, RN had already met many of the graduates as several of CSM’s clinic courses were taught on her unit floors at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

“There is no more honorable profession than nursing. None,” McEwan told the audience. “When you are passionate and love what you do and you love your patients, everything is possible.”

McEwan reminded the students their days would be challenging.

“You will be faced with so many challenges I can’t begin to explain,” she said. “Be creative. Use your resources. Don’t be afraid of relying on your critical thinking. And never, ever, ever give up.  What does being a patient champion and advocate mean? It means fighting for their God-given right. Always do what is right; not what is easy.”

Molly Abell offers class reflections.

After the presentation of nursing candidates and their pinning, Molly McKeever Abell, of Mechanicsville, took the stage to address her fellow classmates. Just the night before, Abell had been presented with the CSM Health Sciences Division “Academic Achievement in Nursing” during the Annual Academic Excellence Awards Reception for maintaining the highest GPA in her class.

“We did it!” she echoed, before offering comical comparisons to the nursing diagnoses she and her classmates had learned over the last two years, with pretend nursing-student diagnoses.

“Fourth-semester diagnosis … We began to understand the warnings of nursing school… We had to learn the world of mother baby nursing … We learned that although Harris Teeter is open 24 hours, you can’t group study there all night before an exam if you’re going to talk loudly about the birth process.”

“We became smarter,” she continued on a more serious note. “We finally realized that we would not graduate knowing everything. And maybe that was the point. Maybe nursing school is not meant to teach us everything there is to know about nursing; but, everything there is to know about ourselves. As we reflect on the past two years – I want to remind every individual classmate that you were nurses long before today. You were nurses every time you continued to work tirelessly every day of every semester.”

Abell told the class that while they may have noticed changes in the patients they effected, she had noticed changes in them.

“I have watched you persevere and became stronger after every failure and I watched you become more gentle because you’ve seen what really matters when people take their last breath,” she shared. “I’ve watched you gracefully and tactfully accomplish the unimagined and the seemingly unattainable. I am proud to be among you, but even prouder to have learned from you.”

The following are the names of the CSM students who graduated with associate degrees in nursing May 17, 2019.

From left, first row are Kamryn R. DiGeorge, Abbie E. Everly, Kacie L. Midkiff, Rosa E. Ortiz and Krystal Z. Wilkerson. From left in the second row are Lynn Beardmore, Lauren N. Fletcher, Morgan E. Martin, Jacquelyn L. Mason-Cockrell, Darlene M. Welling and Kaitlyn K. Hilgenberg

Calvert County

  • Lynn Beardmore
  • Jacquelyn L. Mason-Cockrell
  • Kamryn R. DiGeorge
  • Abbie E. Everly
  • Lauren N. Fletcher
  • Kaitlyn K. Hilgenberg
  • Morgan E. Martin
  • Sophie Rose Michael
  • Kacie L. Midkiff
  • Rosa E. Ortiz
  • Darlene M. Welling
  • Krystal Z. Wilkerson
From left, in the first row are Ashleigh N. Byers, Tanya M. Clark, Jasmine A. Dyson, Nicole C. Gallo, Kayla F. Getgen, Jerry R. Hollebon, Lauren K. Russell, Katrina S. Shepard, Allyson R. Bell and Shamara Black. From left in the second row are Alea A. De Belen, Courtney L. DeBold, Summer L. Duelley, Kristina Guzzardo, Jessica L. Hightower, Miranda E. Martin, Caitlin J. Nutter, Rylee Otten, Walker N. Penzenstadler, Stephanie M. Smith and Leslie Thompson.

Charles County

  • Alea A. De Belen
  • Allyson R. Bell
  • Shamara Black
  • Ashleigh N. Byers
  • Tanya M. Clark
  • Courtney L. DeBold
  • Summer L. Duelley
  • Jasmine A. Dyson
  • Nicole C. Gallo
  • Kayla F. Getgen
  • Kristina Guzzardo
  • Jessica L. Hightower
  • Jerry R. Hollebon
  • Miranda E. Martin
  • Caitlin J. Nutter
  • Rylee Otten
  • Walker N. Penzenstadler
  • Lauren K. Russell
  • Katrina S. Shepard
  • Stephanie M. Smith
  • Leslie Thompson
From left in the first row are Molly M. Abell, Hannah E. Aley, Brittany N. Carr, Angela M. Cox, Kristina DeLuze, Breanna E. Dodge, Jennifer E. Lampe, Keri L. Lane, Kasey Long and Angela Middleton. From left in the second row are Kristen L. Phetteplace, Terrice S. Stewart, Brittany E. Vallandingham, Stacy N. Beach, Harmony L. Carter, Jessica Fantaccione, Jacquelyn G. Guadalajara, Adrienne M. Harris, Jacob N. Hawes, Laura S. Litland and Kristen M. Sasscer.

St. Mary’s County

  • Molly M. Abell
  • Hannah E. Aley
  • Stacy N. Beach
  • Harmony L. Carter
  • Brittany N. Carr
  • Angela M. Cox
  • Kristina DeLuze
  • Breanna E. Dodge
  • Jessica Fantaccione
  • Jacquelyn G. Guadalajara
  • Adrienne M. Harris
  • Jacob N. Hawes
  • Jennifer E. Lampe
  • Keri L. Lane
  • Laura S. Litland
  • Kasey Long
  • Angela Middleton
  • Kristen L. Phetteplace
  • Kristen M. Sasscer
  • Terrice S. Stewart
  • Brittany E. Vallandingham

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...