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Meet Our Students and Alumni
Tim Fuss, a current student in the PhD in Nursing program is employed as an Associate Professor of Nursing at Montgomery College in Silver Spring, MD. Tim’s dissertation research is on the relationship of activity and fatigue in men receiving external beam radiation for prostate cancer. While he has been in the program, Tim has had the opportunity to participate in several research practicum experiences at the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the mentorship of Dr. Leorey Saligan, a scientist who leads the Symptoms Biology Unit at NINR. This has allowed Tim to work with and learn from members of an interdisciplinary team, with expertise in nursing, genomics, and neuroscience. During his practicum experiences, Tim was able to interact with patients, collect and analyze data, work in the lab, and present posters at NIH and a national nursing conference. Tim also attended the 2017 NINR Boot Camp, “Precision Health: From ‘Omics’ to Data Science” which focused on application of genomics to nursing practice and the emerging use of “big data.”
In relation to his experience in the PhD Nursing program at UND, Tim stated
“I chose UND because it was a respected public institution with an online PhD program, supplemented with campus visits. UND is large enough to have ample resources but small enough to receive personal attention from faculty and staff. Living near NIH, UND was the perfect option to combine resources for on-site research with classes and faculty available online. Through the campus visits, face to face interactions with classmates and faculty have allowed me to form relationships and friendships that will last for a lifetime.”
Upon graduation, Tim hopes to continue collaboration and research at the NINR as he advances in his role as nursing faculty member.
Mel Brandau, PhD, '16
Dr. Melvina “Mel” Brandau is a 2016 graduate of the PhD in Nursing program. Dr. Brandau is employed as an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at Ohio University, in Athens, OH. Dr. Brandau’s dissertation research was a grounded theory of victims’ experiences with cyberbullying in adolescence, and she continues with this topic as her focus of research.
Dr. Brandau expressed this, about her experience as a PhD student at UND:
“The University of North Dakota’s PhD in nursing program gave me the knowledge and skills I needed to be successful as a nurse scientist. Even more so, I felt encouraged and supported, and that went a long way in building up my confidence. As a tenure-track faculty member, I know now that UND was a great choice and I feel well-prepared to move forward in my career.”
Laurie Johansen, PhD, '17
Dr. Laurie Johansen is a 2017 graduate of the PhD in Nursing program at UND. She is currently the Chair/Director of Nursing at Southwest Minnesota State University. Dr. Johansen’s program of research reflects her passion for rural nursing practice and rural populations. Her dissertation was titled “Commuting away: The experiences of RNs who live in rural communities and commute away for employment in non-rural communities” and a portion of her study is featured in a book chapter of Winter & Lee’s (2018) Rural Nursing: Concepts, Theory, and Practice (5th ed.). Additional publications from Dr. Johansen’s dissertation are also in progress. Dr. Johansen’s research has important implications for improving the recruitment and retention of nurses in rural communities, and ultimately, improving the health of rural populations by helping to insure their access to a stable nursing workforce.
In reflection of her education at UND, Dr. Johansen stated:
"The online learning environment at the University of North Dakota (UND) provided me with the opportunity to advance my education as a distance learner. Being a graduate of the UND PhD in Nursing Program, I feel prepared as a nurse scientist to pursue my research interests. Broadened understanding of the complexities of rural health and rural nursing is in my future and the future of those I serve, as I eagerly pursue my program of research. What a wonderful opportunity!"