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Announcing UWM College of Nursing’s 55th Anniversary Distinguished Alumni

State of Wisconsin with icons Congratulations 55 Distinguished Alumni Awardees

UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing is proud to recognize the following alumni for their outstanding work as clinicians, researchers and educators. The group of awardees has impacted the field of nursing in extraordinary ways. We recently honored these alumni with historic and prestigious awards.

Distinguished Alumni Award Honorees

Beth Peterman (BS 1974, MS 2000)

Beth Peterman

My belief in living one’s life with purpose and true meaning came to fruition and was nurtured at UWM College of Nursing as I pursued my nursing degrees. What ensued was a career path that was heavily focused on health and well-being in the service of others. UWM College of Nursing provided me the ability to embrace the ‘arts’ of critical thinking, organizational skills, collaboration, and leadership, all of which served me well in nursing roles as I fully engaged being a provider of nursing care and an educator to those requiring care and those seeking careers in nursing.   

Margaret O. Schmelzer (BS 1973)

“The UW-Milwaukee, College of Nursing, changed my life course and launched me into the profession I love. While there, I matured and learned the value of collegiate education. It taught me the importance of preparation, organization, and critical thinking. I remember my public health coursework and professor with great fondness as it unleashed within me my goal to become a public health nurse. My education at UWM shaped my life’s foundation.”

Julia Snethen (PHD 1998)

Julia Snethen

“Attending the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing was foundational to my development as an educator, researcher, and scholar. The faculty and coursework expanded my knowledge of the discipline of nursing and healthcare. Not only did my degree expose me to a world of possibilities, it was the ‘golden ticket’ that enabled me to stretch and grow professionally towards attaining my career goals.”

Marivic B. Torregosa (PHD 2011)

My degree from UW- Milwaukee has prepared me to become an independent researcher, academician, and now a college administrator. I am proud of the education I received from my Alma Mater.

Julie A. Willems Van Dijk (PHD 2008)

“As a public health nurse leader, my doctoral education at the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing grounded me in the value of data transparency and data-driven policies. It challenged me to be a continuous learner and to dig for the root causes of the challenges I confronted in my practice. Because of my coursework and my dissertation studies, I have furthered advanced practice around the social determinants of health and health equity. And finally, as a member of the inaugural online PhD program, I learned so much about being a pioneer in innovation.”

Pioneer Award Honorees

UWM College of Nursing honors the following individuals for their work as pioneers in nursing research, clinical practice, education or community impact. Please help us congratulate the following for their efforts and earning the UWM College of Nursing Pioneer Award.

Melissa Anne Brown (BS 2001)

Melissa Brown

“My degree from the UWM College of Nursing opened the door to my 20+ year nursing career at Advocate Aurora Health. I was fortunate to get hired as a result of my clinical rotation onto a Med/Surg floor at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center.  Without the experience provided by UWM, I’m not sure where my career would have taken me.”

Jessica Castner (PHD 2012)

“The UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing opened doors of opportunity that would not have existed for me otherwise. As an early adopter of hybrid online-distance doctoral education, the College of Nursing allowed me to be immersed in learning with a cohort and faculty committed to achieving and providing the highest quality education, regardless of format. The faculty and learning environments were profoundly and authentically inclusive and supportive of diversity. Several strengths of the program included faculty, administrative, and alumni mentorship from leaders in the field highly engaged in professional societies, scholarly editing, policy, education, research, and more. The UWM alumni community continues to foster my ability to innovate and lead. Thank you.

Cheryl Ann Ceretto (MN 2000)

“I attended UW College of Nursing 1994-2000 earning my Masters in Nursing (MN).  My education presented values such as diversity, leadership, creativity, compassion and collaboration.  The experiences at UW College of Nursing have enhanced my professional as well as my personal life by building confidence and expertise as a caregiver, educator and leader – at work and at home.

I retired in February 2021 and as I reflect over the past 43 years of my career, I feel that my education at UWM College of Nursing has been in part who I have become making a difference in the history and advancement of diagnosis and care of patients with arrhythmias.”