More than 100 recognized at Nursing Pinning Ceremony

Aug 7, 2023Gail Crutchfield
August 2023 Nursing Pinning

The August 2022 class for the Wallace State Nursing program listen as class president Caleb Fortner address the audience at the pinning ceremony on Aug. 3 at Traditions Bank Arena inside the Tom Drake Coliseum at Wallace State Community College.

Hanceville, AL — Wallace State Community College recognized more than 100 students at the Department of Nursing Education’s August pinning ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 3. The event was historic in several ways, including having the highest number of mobility students graduating from the program and a joint enrollment student achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA in courses at both Wallace State and UAB.

“Nursing school is a very challenging endeavor,” said Deborah “Pepper” Hoover, chair of the Department of Nursing Education of the students who entered the program when the outcome of the COVID 19 pandemic was still uncertain. “To enter when the reports have been bleak regarding the nursing shortage and to decide that you want to be one of these brave individuals who strive to serve others in the face of COVID debates, is amazing. You chose the nursing profession at a time when you were never needed more. We are so glad that you selected Wallace State for your nursing education. It is our pleasure to welcome this group into nursing at this important time.”

“These unique individuals have worked very hard to earn this degree,” Hoover added. “Creating a culture of possibility to empower students to realize their dreams, developing strong healthcare partnerships, and achieving the vision of academic excellence are goals of the nursing department at WSCC. These graduates have redefined these benchmarks in an unprecedented time.”

Lisa German, Vice President for Learning and Dean of Health Science, acknowledged how much has changed in the health care field since she first started her career 40 years ago. From progress in protective measures of universal precaution to prevention and patient privacy. But one constant has been the impact nurses and other health care professionals have on their patients.

“That’s the one thing in health care — you never have to worry that you have the ability to positively impact lives. I think that’s the best part of what we do,” German said. “If you keep that in focus, 40 years from now, I wish for you a profession that brings to you what it’s brought to me. Congratulations and thank you for choosing Wallace State and we wish you well.”

Speaking on behalf of his classmates, class president Caleb Fortner thanked family and friends for their support, love and understanding during their educational journey, and expressed his appreciation to the faculty and staff of Wallace State Nursing.

“Since day one, you’ve shown us not only encouragement, compassion and support, but also the dedication that is truly the backbone of the Wallace State Nursing program,” Fortner said. “Being by our sides throughout this journey, not only guiding us with knowledge, but also the wisdom and experience. Your unwavering dedication and your passion and your commitment to our success have shaped us into the nurses we are today. You have not only imparted knowledge but have also inspired us to make differences.”

August 2023 Mobility

Members of the Wallace State Nursing August 2023 mobility cohort pose for a photo after the pinning ceremony on Aug. 3 at Traditions Bank Arena inside the Tom Drake Coliseum at Wallace State Community College. The cohort is the largest yet of mobility students made of credentialed health care professionals who earned an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing.

Mobility, Joint Enrollment Cohorts Recognized

The WSCC Mobility Program saw its largest graduating class since offering the option in 2018, with 29 students earning an associate degree in the nursing program. The mobility program offers credentialed health care professionals the opportunity to complete a nursing degree in three semesters. This cohort included licensed practical nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, diagnostic imagers, occupational therapy assistants and physical therapist assistants.

Members of the mobility cohort include Shanna Alexander, Denny Bernat, Matthew Blankensopp, Rachel Brantley, Carla Burns, Natalie Chambers, Alisha Christie, Angela Goza, Madeline Hales, Icelynn Hall, Madison Harbison, Kelly Heflin, Adrian Hendrix, Bonnie Hubbard, Katelin MacBaine, Hollie Oliver, Anna Sharbono, Zenda Smith, Melanie Stewart, Keionna Summerhill, Maeghan Sutton, Ashley Tidwell, Porschia Upshaw, Dalton Waid, MarQuita White, Katelyn Widner, Alicia Williams, Brandi Wix and Michiko Yamane.

UAB Nightingale Award

UAB/Wallace State Nursing Joint Enrollment graduate Carlos Smith is pinned by Wallace State Community College Nursing instructor Amy Burtram during the Wallace State Nursing August 2023 pinning ceremony held Aug. 3 at Traditions Bank Arena inside the Tom Drake Coliseum at Wallace State Community College. Smith was recognized as the UAB Nursing Nightingale Award winner at the UAB Senior Recognition Ceremony on Aug. 1.

Ten students were recognized as being part of the fifth cohort in the UAB/WSCC Joint Enrollment program, earning both an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree from the partnering institutions. Those students included Chelsea Craddock, Amber Davis, Eternity Hayes, Judith Jackson, Andrew Jones, Hannah Lackner, Kristian Madison, Makayla Scott, Carlos Smith and Miranda Weems. Smith was selected at the UAB Nightingale Award Winner during the UAB Senior Recognition Ceremony on Aug. 1.

August 2023 Nightingale Awards

Judith Jackson, left, of Bon Air, AL, Peter Howell of Hanceville, and Matthew Blankensopp of Fultondale, each received Nightingale Awards during the Wallace State Nursing August 2023 pinning ceremony held Aug. 3 at Traditions Bank Arena inside the Tom Drake Coliseum at Wallace State Community College.

Nightingale Award Winners recognized

Three students were recognized as Nightingale Award Winners from the August 2023 pinning class. Matthew Blankensopp, Peter Howell and Judith Jackson each received the award that is given in recognition of a student’s commitment to excellence in scholarship and dedication to compassion and exemplary patient care.

Blankensopp, one of the 20 mobility program graduates who entered as a paramedic, was noted has having “clinical judgement that far exceeded expectations” and “demonstrated an intensity and passion for nursing” that was evident to all he worked with. He also led study groups and encouraged other classmates when needed.

Howell, a traditional associate degree student, was noted as showing exceptional professionalism during clinicals and servant leadership as vice president of his class, having “quietly undertaken tasks to improve the educational experience for all students in the nursing program.”

Howell was also recognized at Wallace State’s May 2023 commencement ceremony as the winner of the 2023 Presidential Award for Health Science Excellence.

Jackson, a UAB/WSCC Joint Enrollment graduate, was described as the “most well-prepared and knowledgeable student nurse” by one of her preceptors who could “personally attest to her excellence as a nurse.” Jackson maintained a 4.0 GPA in her courses at Wallace State and UAB, a first according to Hoover. She was also named the 2023 Nursing Program Award winner and served as her class secretary/treasurer.

Other nominees for the Nightingale award were Shanna Alexander, Amber Davis, Brooke Helton, Saquoya Long and Maggie Romirez Rodriguez.

Applications open now for Spring 2024

The Wallace State Nursing program is currently accepting applications through Oct. 1 for the Spring 2024 semester for the traditional associate degree nursing, practical nursing and UAB/WSCC Joint Enrollment program options. Applications for traditional, joint enrollment, and mobility options will be accepted March 15-May 15 for Fall 2024 admission.

Registration for the Fall 2023 semester in underway. Regular and Mini Term I classes begin Aug.18. Flex Start terms begin Aug. 25 and Sept. 1. Mini Term II classes begin Oct. 19. For more information, visit, call the main campus at 256.352.8000 or come by Lion Central in the lobby of the James C. Bailey Center Monday-Wednesday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or Friday 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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