CSM Newsroom

CSM Faculty Welcomes 59 Graduates to Nursing Profession at Pinning Ceremony

May 22, 2024
Nursing graduates pose together
CSM faculty welcomes 59 graduates to nursing profession at pinning ceremony.

The College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM) Spring 2024 nursing graduates celebrated their achievements at the La Plata Campus with a time-honored pinning ceremony that allowed CSM faculty to welcome 59 of their now former students as peers and colleagues in the field of nursing. 

The graduating class chose the theme “Leave the World a Better Place than You Found It” for their event, which Professor Robin Madera said “encapsulates the very essence of nursing” during her opening remarks.

“As you stand on the precipice of a new chapter of your life, it is essential to reflect on the profound responsibility that comes with the privilege of being a nurse,” Madera said. “As you step into the world of nursing, I urge you to embrace this responsibility wholeheartedly. Let your actions be guided by empathy, your decisions rooted in integrity, and your compassion boundless. Leave no stone unturned in your quest to leave the world a better place than you found it.” 

Linda Goodman, professor of nursing, served as the mistress of ceremonies and welcomed attendees to the celebration of students’ hard work. She pointed out that the ceremony was being held during National Nurses Week and invited all nurses in the audience to stand and be recognized.

“Success in nursing school isn’t an accident or a gift; it is hard work, perseverance, hours upon hours of studying, and sacrifice at many levels,” she said. “Today we welcome a new group of peers to our profession. I expect you to go forward and do great things.”

During the ceremony, Goodman also took a moment to recognize CSM Professors Annette Ragland and Deborah Rutledge, who are retiring this year. Goodman shared that combined, they have given over 50 years of service to CSM. 

Before the students were called to the stage, Professor Lauren Guy explained the significance of the pin each nurse would receive, joking that “a nursing ceremony wouldn’t be a nursing ceremony without one more lecture from a nursing professor!”

She said that the modern pinning ceremony 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. To share the honor, Nightingale in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates and by 1916, the practice of pinning new graduates was standard throughout the United States. 

“As you go forth into the world of nursing, wear your pin with pride - you worked hard to receive this well-deserved honor,” Guy concluded.

Students received their pins from faculty pinners Robin Madera, Deborah Rutledge, Dawn Leukhardt, Eden Kan, Morag Dahlstrom, Lisa Gonzalez. Linda Hamel presented the candidates. 

"It’s All About the Little Things”

The featured speaker for the event was Adwoa Amponsah-Poku, a family medicine nurse practitioner in Bryans Road. She shared the lessons she has learned over her long and varied nursing career.

“No matter where we find ourselves in our nursing careers, one thing remains constant: our ability to change the world in a positive way,” she shared.

“It's all about the little things,” she continued. “It’s about showing kindness and compassion to every person you meet, whether they are a patient, a family member or colleague. It’s about taking the time to listen to your patients and understand their fears and concerns and treat them with dignity and respect. It’s about advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves and standing up for what’s right even when it’s hard. But most importantly, it’s about never giving up. When you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, just remember why you chose this profession in the first place. Remember the difference you are making in people’s lives and let that motivate you to keep you going no matter what.”

She closed by reminding students to take care of themselves and encouraging them to live their theme of leaving the world a better place.

"We Became a Family”

Graduating student Taylor Phillips was selected by her classmates to speak on behalf of the graduating class. She spoke of the relationships that the class fostered during their time at CSM and the importance of persevering even on the days when their profession was difficult.

“In those difficult days, we must strive to maintain a positive outlook for our patients but our colleagues as well, and, in doing so, leaving the world better than we found it,” she said.

She closed by leading her fellow graduates and all the other nurses in the room in a recitation of the nursing pledge.

"If You Want to Change the World, Start with Yourself”

Closing remarks were provided by Annette Ragland, professor of nursing, who shared a quote from Ghandi: “If you want to change the world, start with yourself.”

“Each of you has profoundly changed: you’ve grown as a person and you've realized a dream,” she said. “Always continue to believe that what you do will make a difference in this world – one patient, one coworker, one family member at a time. That ripple effect will positively affect many people. Set your goals, visualize your future, and make this world a better place.”

Students who proudly received their pins included:

Lauren Anderson

Megan Riley Armstrong

Lora Ayikoe “Academic Achievement in Nursing” Award

Lakeshia Batista

Evie Marie Beches

Rhamiel Beltran

Johanna Blackson

Wendy Bollino

Rebekah Bonney

Jacob Brickell

Ashleigh Brown “Achievement in Nursing” Award

Crystal Brown

Mary Caperton

Nick Carter

Alana Cawood

LaShae Nicole Ciriaco 

Monica Michelle Corbin

Rebbecca Douglass 

Saige Duby

Emily Ann Echols

Sierra Emory

Katelyn Garrison

Samantha Lerene Gegor

Tanner Goshorn

Bethany Nicole Griffin

Arianna Hardy

Nicole Hemmer

Ianee May Jaluag

Emma Kelly

Danielle Leginze

Yuk Yi Leung

Enma Lopez

Jennifer Lugaila

Krisha Marie Melchor

Savannah Miles

Rachel Nelson

Alexa Nguyen

Soilla M. Oliver

Madison Osakowicz

Taylor Phillips

Aleta M. Plater

Emily Post

Nasya Rahman

Heather Roecker

Courtney Romba

Adrianna Romero

Meagan Ryan

Kierstie Schaefer

Rebecca Schindler

Abby Scrivener

Samantha Smith

Tara Somers

Kelley Stoneback

Kristan Thomas

Sara Vanryswick

Andre Jumaine R. Vergara

Trixia Bernadette R. Vergara

Jalesa Watkins

Michea Wright



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