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Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing: The Distinguished Alumni Award is open to any graduate of the UT Austin School of Nursing who has demonstrated significant sustained leadership in education, practice, or research to improve the health of their community, state and/or nation.

Rising Star Alumni Award: The Rising Star Alumni Award is open to any graduate of the UT Austin School of Nursing who received his or her degree in the last ten years and who has evidenced leadership, impact, and innovation in healthcare delivery and/or healthcare policy and who is actively engaged in contributing to the profession.

Recipient of 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing

Barbra Mann Wall, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen and Dr. Barbra Mann Wall

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen presents Dr. Barbra Mann Wall
the Distinguished Alumni award

Dr. Wall is an internationally recognized nurse historian whose research demonstrates nurses’ strong influences on the development of hospitals and nursing schools. She holds the Thomas A. Saunders III Professorship in Nursing at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. She also directs the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry.

Dr. Wall received her BSN from the University of Texas at Austin and her MS in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University. She earned a PhD in History from the University of Notre Dame. She has been funded by the NIH and private grants.

Her award-winning book, Unlikely Entrepreneurs: Catholic Sisters and the Hospital Marketplace, 1865-1925 (Ohio State University Press, 2005), integrated history and nursing practice to inform how America’s two-tiered approach to health delivery (private and public) served a diverse American populace.

Her second book, American Catholic Hospitals: A Century of Changing Markets and Missions, analyzed the heretofore invisible role of Catholic sister nurses as leaders of the largest not-for-profit health care system in the United States and the tensions that developed as religious institutions attempted to directly shape health policies in a diverse milieu.

Her book Into Africa: A Transnational History of Catholic Missions and Social Change explores the intersection of religion, medicine, gender, race, and politics in sub-Saharan Africa after World War II. This book won the Lavinia Dock Award in 2016 from the American Association for the History of Nursing and the American Journal of Nursing award for Best Book in History and Policy.

Her most recent book Through the Eyes of Nursing: Educational Reform at The University of Texas School of Nursing, 1890–1989, co-written with Dean Emerita Billye Brown, was published this year. It uses UT Austin as a case study to examine the academic evolution of nursing education.

Dr. Wall also is co-editor, with Dr. Arlene Keeling, of two books on the history of nursing in disasters: Nurses on the Front Lines: When Disasters Strike, 1878-2010 (2010); and Nurses and Disasters: Global, Historical Cases (2015); and she is the Editor-in-Chief of Health Emergency and Disaster Nursing, the official journal of the Disaster Nursing Global Leader Degree Program.

Recipient of 2017 Rising Star Alumni Award

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen and La Tashia Kiel

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen presents La Tashia Kiel
the Rising Star award

La Tashia Kiel, RN, MSN

La Tashia received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UT Austin in 2007, her Master of Science in Nursing from UT Austin in 2014 and is currently enrolled in the doctor of nursing practice program. She has been an instructor in clinical nursing at the School of Nursing since August 2016.

While she was an undergraduate student, La Tashia was also an athlete on the UT Austin women’s track and field team from 2002 to 2006. Starting her junior year, she became captain and helped lead the team to two National Championships.

A few years ago, La Tashia and her husband George founded the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to address colon cancer through education, public outreach, and research, after George’s mother Debra Kiel died of the disease in 2014 at the age of 57.

The Kiels are especially concerned about the growing number of young people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year and sponsor many popular athletic events throughout the year in order to speak to this population about their risk of getting the disease.

The Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation has been so successful in raising awareness that it recently received the 2017 David Jagelman, MD, Award for Advocacy in Colorectal Cancer from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, an organization dedicated to advancing and promoting the science and practice of the treatment of patients with colorectal diseases.

Click here to view the list of past Distinguished Alumni Recipients

Click here to view the list of past Rising Star Alumni Recipients