Graduate Studies

Graduate Students in the News


MHA Graduate's Article Published in the SPNHA Review

 Andrea J. Poma, 2011 graduate of the MHA program, authored an article for the SPNHA Review, entitled "A New Model for Addressing Conflicts of Interest in Collaborative Clinical Trials." The full article can be downloaded from this link.


American College of Emergency Physicians Research Showcase

by Kevin Wolf, PAS

Each year, emergency medical professionals gather at the international American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Scientific Assembly. This year's conference took place in San Francisco on October 15th and 16th. The Scientific Assembly highlights current research endeavors and touches on various topics in emergency medicine, such as screening guidelines, diagnostic testing, epidemiologic data, and current treatment modalities, among many others.

My two research colleagues (both fourth year medical students at MSU College of Human Medicine) and I were invited to perform a lightning oral presentation of our research project. A lightning oral presentation is essentially a rapid version of a full oral presentation. We were one out of only twenty-eight researchers invited to present and we were among some of the only students to present at the Scientific Assembly; the other presenters were either MD or DO attending physicians or resident physicians.

Our research project is entitled "Assessment of Risk Factors for Post-Rewarming Rebound Hyperthermia in Cardiac Arrest Patients Undergoing Therapeutic Hypothermia.” Therapeutic hypothermia is a relatively new treatment modality in certain cardiac arrest patients who have been successfully resuscitated with return of spontaneous circulation to salvage the neurons in the brain from potentially dying off. However, a frequent complication that occurs among these patients is something known as rebound hyperthermia, which is defined as a core body temperature of greater than 38.5°C within twenty-four hours of completion of the cooling protocol. Therefore, the goal of our project was to identify potential risk factors associated with rebound hyperthermia and to describe the survival trends among those patients who experienced rebound hyperthermia. Unfortunately, we were not able to identify any significant risk factors associated with rebound hyperthermia. We were, however, able to associate rebound hyperthermia with a higher rate of mortality.

Overall, this was a very worthwhile experience for my colleagues and I, as we were able to interact as members of the emergency medicine community. The inter-professional nature of this project made it unique and each one of us felt extremely privileged and honored to be able to present alongside many distinguished researchers. Furthermore, the presentation was received well by the audience, making this experience special for us, in that we were able to reflect and celebrate our hard-earned research achievements. Lastly, I would certainly encourage other graduate students to pursue similar conferences related to their profession.  



5K Raises Funds for Oasis of Hope

Grand Valley State University’s Physician Assistant program held  a 5k run/walk to support healthy living and raise money and awareness for Oasis of Hope, a medical clinic in downtown Grand Rapids that provides free/low-cost medical care and prescriptions for the uninsured.  There were over 200 people at the event, with over 80 volunteers and over 175 runners or walkers participating that day.  With the help of sponsors 40 prizes were given awarded that day, along with prizes for the top 2 runners for both males and females.  Through our multiple sponsors and the support from those participating in the race, we were able to raise $5,650 for Oasis of Hope.   We would like to thank those who gave their time and money to support our cause and to make it a successful event.


KCON student organizes health fair

Rebecca Sypniewski is shown at Evergreen Commons in
Holland, where she organized a health fair for senior citizens.

Rebecca Sypniewski, a Kirkhof College of Nursing doctoral student, has been both a provider of health care and a caregiver.

With those two lenses, Sypniewski said she sees how fragmented the nation’s health care system is and she’s determined to do her part to change that.

Sypniewski organized a health fair for senior citizens at Evergreen Commons in Holland in mid-February. It was the first health fair held at the senior citizen facility and it was a hit.

KCON nursing students helped Sypniewski lead sessions for participants on osteoporosis, healthy eating, blood pressure management, vision screening and other topics.

Sypniewski will be among the first graduates of KCON’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program in April. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Mary’s College in 1996 and a master’s degree in nursing from Grand Valley in 2003. She works at the GVSU Family Health Center as a family nurse practitioner.

Her doctoral focus is elder health. “I would like to expand my practice as a nurse practitioner to advocate for older adults,” she said. “I would like to develop creative and innovative ways for older adults to ‘age in place’ or live independently.”

Sypniewski’s mother, a retired physician, suffered a major stroke in 2011. Following that experience, Sypniewski said it became more evident to her how the health care system “does not meet the needs of healthy elders or elders with health problems.”

“I have witnessed some of the challenges that are prominent within health care,” she said. “For these reasons, it is important to me that I continue to advocate for older adults.”

Linda Scott, professor and associate dean for graduate programs, said the health fair model Sypniewski established for Evergreen was based on client needs and an analysis of current literature.

“In addition to partnering with the community for health promotion, her dissertation project allows the public to see how nursing practice extends beyond the hospital to make a difference in people’s lives,” Scott said, “and how having an advanced degree in nursing can affect system change.”

Outstanding Biology Thesis Submitted to Competition

The Office of Graduate Studies is pleased to announce the submission of a GVSU thesis to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Thesis Competition! This year's submission was selected out of 5 nominations from various graduate programs at GVSU. Each school may only submit one thesis for inclusion in the competition.

This is the third consecutive year that GVSU has participated in the MAGS Thesis Competition. This year's nomination is by Whitney Nelson who graduated from GVSU in December 2011 with a Master of Science in Biology (Aquatic Sciences emphasis). Her thesis, titled "Composition and Toxic Sensitivity of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Muskegon Lake, a Great Lakes Area of Concern" was described by the reviewing committee as one that "tackled a significant, real-world problem for fresh water lakes" and "makes a valuable contribution to the field."

Whitney is currently at the University of Arkansas working on the genus Monatractides (Acari: Hydrachnidia, Torrenticolidae) and her PhD work will involve describing the species within this genus and producing a phylogenetic hypothesis for the group using both morphological and molecular techniques. She also hopes to explore the use of Hydrachnidia as water quality indicators. Additionally, as water mites in the family Torrenticolidae have been found in nearly all biogeographic regions, she expect that the PEET Water Mites of North America project will provide an excellent opportunity to investigate the community patterns of these water mites using geospatial analysis and modeling techniques.

The publication is now available online at the following link:
Nelson, W.A., Steinman, A.D., Changes in the benthic communities of Muskegon Lake, a Great Lakes Area of Concern, J. Great Lakes Res. (2013),


This year's review committee included:
Dr. Colleen Brice, Department of English
Dr. Robert Deaner, Department of Psychology
Dr. Joe Iannelli, School of Engineering
Dr. Jeffrey Potteiger, Dean of Graduate Studies
Dr. John Stevenson, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dr. Jennifer Winther, Department of Biology



Page last modified February 5, 2013