Event Recap: 2023 Nursing Student Professional Development Day

Apr 25, 2023

*Recordings are now available for Nursing Student Professional Development Day!

On April 20, 2023, the Pennsylvania Action Coalition Cohort of Exchanged Learning (PA-ACCEL) Mentorship Program hosted a free all-day virtual event open to all undergraduate and graduate nursing students. This event included several professional development sessions to increase students' confidence in their career development and readiness to succeed in their transition to the nursing profession.

The PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program was created by the PA Action Coalition's Nurse Diversity Council (PA-NDC) in partnership with Lincoln University's Department of Nursing to bolster Lincoln’s nursing students’ capacity to be successful in nursing school and in their transition to professional nursing practice.

Session 1: LEAD Professional Development

Students learned about professionalism, strategic career mapping, networking, and how to continue professional development after graduating. This session also included a Speed Networking activity for students to practice elevator pitches with nursing professionals, also known as our VIPs.

What is LEAD Professional Development? LEAD Professional Development is an innovative program Villanova University's M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing created for nursing student career development. The program prepares students to be accountable for their career path and increase their proficiency through experiential learning activities.

Watch here!

*The recording of this presentation is available upon request. Please email Zaharaa Davood at .

LEAD Professional Development Presentation & Speed Networking Activity:

  • Anne Fink, PhD, RN, CNE 
    Associate Dean for College and Student Services
    Director, LEAD Professional Development Program
    M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, Villanova University 
  • Dr. Anne Fink currently serves as the Associate Dean for College and Student Services and Director of the LEAD Professional Development Program. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings and has over 30 years of experience in nursing education. Her research agenda focuses on health and healthcare disparities of women and children. Anne has published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at regional, national, and international conferences, been a Test-Item Writer for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and is a Reviewer for The Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, the Journal of Professional Nursing, and Nursing Education Today.

Dr. Fink's Bio (Continued)

  • Anne has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Thomas Jefferson University, a Master of Science in Nursing from DeSales University, and a Ph.D. in Nursing from Villanova University. She is the current Chairperson for the Pennsylvania League for Nursing Area I, a Board of Director for the Pennsylvania League for Nursing, and will be on the ballot this summer for election as a Board-of-Governor for the National League for Nursing.

VIPs for Speed Networking Activity:

  • Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, MGA, FAAN
    President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation
    Vice President of Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross
  • Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake is the president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (the Foundation), a charitable, private foundation founded in 2011, and also the vice president of community affairs at Independence Blue Cross (Independence). In her role with the Foundation, she leads strategic, programmatic, and operational efforts to fulfill the Foundation’s mission to lead sustainable solutions that improve the health and wellness of the community. Under her leadership, the Foundation has established itself as a collaborator, innovator, and thought leader in addressing emerging health needs in southeastern Pennsylvania. As the vice president of community affairs, Marshall-Blake develops and manages relationships with community partners to advance Independence’s social mission efforts.

Rev. Dr. Marshall-Blake's Bio (Continued)

  • Marshall-Blake is passionate about giving back to the community. She is involved with more than 30 professional and civic organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the United Negro College Fund, and is the former president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omega Omega Chapter. She is also an associate minister at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
  • Currently, she also serves on more than 25 non-profit boards and committees including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association — Corporate Responsibility Committee, The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia’s Paradigm Award & Scholarship Committee, the Urban Affairs Coalition, and the Urban League of Philadelphia. Marshall-Blake also serves on Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions Executive Advisory Council and Rutgers School of Nursing — Camden Dean’s Leadership Circle. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice.
  • Barbara A. Todd, DNP, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN
    Director – Practice & Education- Advanced Practice, Hospital University of Pennsylvania
    Senior Fellow, Center for Health Outcomes & Policy
    Adjunct Asst Professor of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
  • Dr. Barbara Todd has practiced as a nurse practitioner in the Philadelphia region for the past 32 years. She is an experienced clinician and administrator for advanced practice providers. She has been instrumental in developing NP models of care in several large academic medical centers. Her clinical interest has been in cardiovascular health, with a focus on valvular heart disease and role transition for nurse practitioners. She has published extensively and presented nationally on advanced practice clinical and administrative topics. She is certified in both family practice and acute care.

Dr. Todd's Bio (Continued)

  • She has served on the planning committee for the American Association of Nurse Practitioner international conference. She is a fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and American Academy of Nursing. At the American Academy of Nursing, she served on the Primary Care Expert Panel. Through her work during the Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration Project, she has developed a keen interest in studies to evaluate clinical preceptorship models.
  • Tyra Ford
    Director, Professional & Personal Development
    Career Center, Villanova University

  • Patricia Bradley, PhD, RN, FAAN 
    Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence;
    Associate Professor
    M. Louise Fitzpatrick College Of Nursing, Villanova University 
  • Dr. Bradley is a leading expert in psychiatric mental health nursing. She has a particular expertise in the psycho-social aspects of breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship among African American women, and has developed training programs and culturally relevant, literacy appropriate educational materials focusing on the needs of the African American community. She also has a strong interest in diversity and developing cultural competency in healthcare providers and eliminating disparities in the health problems of the underserved.

  • Khaira S. Mitchell MSN, MHA, RN
    Nursing Professor and Simulation Coordinator 
    Lincoln University School of Nursing
  • Khaira Mitchell is currently a Nursing Professor and Simulation Coordinator at Lincoln University School of Nursing. She teaches Pharmacology, Adult Health Clinical and coordinates all nursing skills and simulations for the school of nursing. She has been a Registered Nurse for 19 years and has extensive experience in critical care, healthcare management, community outreach and most recently higher education. Khaira received her BSN from Hampton University in 2004 and her Master in Nursing and Healthcare Administration from University of Phoenix in 2011. When she is not helping save lives or enriching young minds, she enjoys cross fit, photography, international travel and spending time with her family.

  • Linda Maldonado, PhD, RN
    Associate Professor, Louise Fitzpatrick College Of Nursing, Villanova University
    Visiting Professor, Center For Peace And Justice Education, Villanova University


  • Michelle Lockett Green, DNP, RN
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    M. Louise Fitzpatrick College Of Nursing, Villanova University

  • Jeanette Paulsen
    Associate Director, Industry Advising 
    Career Center, Villanova University

  • Vanessa Rutigliano
    Assistant Director, Industry Advising 
    Career Center, Villanova University

  • Katie Brogan
    Assistant Director, LEAD Professional Development Program 
    M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, Villanova University 

  • Shukriyyah Mitchell-Hinton, BSN, RN
    Senior Director of Outreach and Advocacy
    The National Nurse-Led Care Consortium 

  • Carol Toussie Weingarten, PhD, RN, ANEF 
    Associate Professor, M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, Villanova University
    Advisor, Villanova University Chapter Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP-Villanova)

Session 2: Peer Mentoring 

During this session, students debriefed and reflected on the topics presented during the LEAD Professional Development session. Students were divided into breakout groups for a group discussion with their peers.

Session 3: Personal Finances

Students learned about various personal finance tips such as budgeting, investing, student loans, retirement, etc.

Presented by: 

  • Marguerite Hall, Ed.D. 
    Registered Representative, Founder and President, RoMaR Financial, LLC
  • Dr. Hall became a financial representative in 2012 after assisting in the handling of her mother’s estate. Going through that process helped her realize that the decisions made by her mother were based upon limited financial education. She acquired her license in life and health insurance and Series 6, security license, while working at Mutual of Omaha. As a captive registered representative at Mutual of Omaha, Dr. Hall realized that she could better serve her clients as an independent broker. In 2016, RoMaR Financial was formed with the mission of providing financial education to clients to empower them to make an informed financial decision for themselves, their families, businesses, and ultimately community.

  • Derrick Wilson
    Financial Coach
    Selective Financial Solutions, LLC 

Watch Here!

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Session 4: Legal Implications for Nurses

Students learned how new nurses can protect their licenses, medication safety, and much more!

  • Presented by Anthony D. Cox, Jr., Esq.
    Associate, Eckert Seamans
  • Anthony D. Cox, Jr. concentrates his practice on a wide variety of complex commercial and business litigation matters as well as professional liability and professional and occupational licensure defense. In addition to Anthony’s litigation experience before state and federal courts, Anthony also has extensive experience defending professionals and entities before state and federal agencies including, but not limited to, the Pennsylvania Department of State, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

Anthony D. Cox, Jr. Bio (Continued)

  • Anthony also has appellate experience handling matters on appeal before the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Anthony previously practiced as a litigation attorney at the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs handling matters before all of the State Boards. While in law school, he served as a judicial intern with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as well as a student law clerk to President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

Watch here!

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Session 5: Career Trajectory Panel

This panel was comprised of nursing professionals with different nursing backgrounds. Panelists shared how they navigated their transition to the nursing profession, crafted their careers, and how students can get involved in their field/specialty.

Watch here!



  • Essence Williams-Sutherland, MSN, RNC-MNN, CBC, LCCE
    Nurse Manager Family Connects Program, Central Jersey Family Health Consortium (CJFHC)
  • Essence Williams-Sutherland is passionate about maternal child health and has been working in the field of maternal child health for over twenty years. She currently works as the Nurse Manager for the Family Connects Program affiliated with the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium (CJFHC) where she manages a team of 5 nurses and provides care, education, advocacy, and support to nursing staff and mothers, children and families in the Mercer County, NJ Community.

Essence Williams-Sutherland's Bio (Continued)

  • As a graduate of Frontier Nursing University’s CNEP Program, Essence received her MSN in October 2018 with a concentration in Nurse-Midwifery. Essence is a graduate of Temple University’s Accelerated Second Degree BSN Program earning her BSN in 2009. She is also a graduate of Haverford College and received her BA in religion and women’s studies with a concentration in Africana studies in 2004.
  • Essence is a member of the South Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Essence is also nurse mentor and member of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition Nurse Diversity Council Mentorship Program affiliated with Lincoln University and the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Mentorship Program affiliated with Drexel University. She finds joy in mentoring nursing students from Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Drexel University.  She continues to attend program meetings and support midwives, nurses and other birth workers in the underserved community.
  • Linda Maldonado, PhD, RN
    Associate Professor, Louise Fitzpatrick College Of Nursing, Villanova University
    Visiting Professor, Center For Peace And Justice Education, Villanova University


  • Onome Osokpo, PhD, MSc., MSN, RN
    Provost Postdoctoral Fellow Postdoctoral Research Fellow (T32NR009356)
    Associate Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University Of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Osokpo is a Provost Postdoctoral Fellow and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health in the Penn School of Nursing. His work explores the social determinants of health—key factors that influence health and well-being, health care access, and health outcomes.

Dr. Osokpo's Bio (Continued)

  • Dr. Osokpo holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania where he was a Kass Scholar at the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health, a Jonas Nursing Scholar, and a Fontaine Society Fellow. He received his MSN in the Adult and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program from the University of Pennsylvania and a BSN from Stony Brook University. His degrees prior to nursing comprise a Bachelor of Science in chemistry education and a Master of Science in analytical chemistry.
  • Cecilia Zamarripa, PhD, RN, CWON
    Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse, Manager
    UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside
  • Dr. Cece Zamarripa is a Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) Nurse for 38 years and currently manages the WOC Nursing Department at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Prior to that, Cece practiced WOC Nursing at Baylor University Medical Center Dallas, Texas; Rush University Medical Center. Cece has been involved with several WOC Nursing and Nursing Education roles. In 2010, Cece had the privilege of being the Joint Commission Resources Patient Safety Scholar in Residence. Her teaching experience includes RN to BSN program at Slippery Rock University, Community Health Nursing, clinical instructor at Duquesne University, Preceptor for nurses completing their WOC Nursing Education Program, and Course Co-Coordinator for the Wound Treatment Associate (WTA) and Ostomy Care Associates (OCA) programs.


Dr. Zamarripa's Bio (Continued)

  • Cece is involved in the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®), is a current volunteer for WOCNext Conference Planning Committee. Cece is involved in her professional specialty organization as WOCN Peristomal Consensus Panel in November 2020. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Western PA Area Chapter for National Association of Hispanic Nurses, WOCN® Society™, the World Council of Enterostomal Therapist (WCET) and a current Board of Director for WOCN®.  
  • Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, MGA, FAAN
    President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation 
    Vice President of Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross


  • Betzaida Medina Sasse, RN, BSN
    Critical Care Nurse, Intensive Care Unit, Jefferson Torresdale Hospital
    President, National Association of Hispanic Nurses Philadelphia Chapter