Awards and Recognitions

2016 Daisy Awards – Faculty

Patti Taylor

Patti Taylor once said “nurses have to help people because it is our profession and our world.” And as everyone in the School of Nursing knows, Patti is more than a lecturer.  She is a mentor and role model, teaching students the art and science of being a nurse.  Late nights, early mornings, weekends, whatever it takes…Patti is there to help students through their studies to become the best they can be.

Patti has devoted her life to serving her country as a military nurse, both as a clinical nurse specialist and as a nurse practitioner.  One of her biggest passions is helping America’s Wounded Warriors by serving as a nurse case manager for Operation Mend.  That work touched others and led to a nursing scholarship being named for her.  Her experience in the Army and working in disaster zones led her to be named the unofficial team captain in 2010, when she was part of a seven-member medical team sent to Haiti after a massive earthquake devastated the country. They were in Haiti for two weeks aboard the U.S. naval ship, the USNS Comfort, which was deployed to provide humanitarian aid. In 2013, she had the honor to be selected as a float rider on The Nurses’ Float at the Tournament of Roses Parade.    Last year, she was awarded the American Association of Nurse Practitioners State Award for Excellence.  Patti has been lecturer at the School since 2008. 

Here is what the students wrote for her nomination:

The MECN Class of 2017 would like to nominate Professor Priscilla “Patti” Taylor for this year’s DAISY award. Professor Taylor deserves this award because she truly has been an extraordinary instructor. Although we have only spent a few months with Patti, she has connected with our class on a personal level and has made us feel important and valued as students. Ms. Patti understands the art of teaching and is aware that not all students learn the same way. She incorporates different teaching methods and makes herself available with flexible office hours. She has demonstrated her devotion to nursing through her work in the military, Operation Mend, the VA and the UCLA School of Nursing. Ms. Patti exemplifies what is it to love and live her passion. Our class is truly grateful, proud and honored to have her as one of our professors. She is certainly someone our class admires. 

Young Kee Markham

Young Kee Markham graduated in the Family Practice specialty, with a gerontology specialty, from our Master’s program in 1989.  She currently lectures in the adult gerontology primary care specialty in the Advanced Practice Nurse graduate program.  For 15 years, she taught gerontology content to Gerontology Nurse Practitioners and for the past five years teaches teenager, adult and gerontology content.  Young Kee says she specializes in gerontology because her heart is with the elderly.  When she’s not mentoring students, she can be found visiting homebound elderly and caregivers and volunteers at the VA hospital care as a gerontology nurse practitioner consultant.  She also lectures on caring for the elderly at hospitals from Monterey to Maui and provide information about nurse practitioners and elderly issues to international nursing guests from China, South Korea and Taiwan.  She believes that the greatest attribute a nurse can have is the ability to mold themselves into delivering the right care needed at that moment for each specific patient.  As an immigrant originally from Seoul, South Korea, Young Kee said since she was a young child, she has benefitted from the California education system and now lectures because she believes she should give back to a School that has given her so much.

Here’s what some of her students had to say about Young Kee:

“She is very passionate in teaching that it is contagious to all her students, including me. Her eyes always lit up as she teaches us how to make a difference as a nurse practitioner in wherever setting we will be placed. She is very knowledgeable and skillful; she teaches us some clinical pearls in each clinical conference and they are highly beneficial and practical in clinical settings.

“I have seen many different kinds of professors in my academic life but Mrs. Markham was exceptional. She embodies a compassionate caregiver and critical thinker whenever she shares her nursing experiences with me and with my group during conferences. She incorporates the complexity of nursing theories into a simple nursing intervention, which I easily adapt into my practice both as an APN student and registered nurse. She also always makes sure that each of her students is allowed to share feelings and insights about nursing care and what can be done to make nursing better.”

“She makes me appreciate and try to emulate her approach to patient care. She always tells us how the education, training, brainpower, and skills that UCLA APN bestows on us are a privilege and a responsibility to the community.”





2015 Awards and Accolades

Daisy Awards

Since 2013, the UCLA School of Nursing has honored four outstanding members of our exceptional faculty with the Daisy Faculty Award.  We are proud to shine a spotlight on these individuals who have made a positive difference in students' lives as they prepared to make a difference in the lives of others.

The commitment and inspirational influence of these individuals has had and will continue to have a profound impact on their students who are and will be the future leaders in nursing.

Selected by students from each degree program, as well as faculty peers, these recipients

    Demonstrate enthusiasm for teaching, learning and nursing that inspires and motivates students
    Demonstrates interest in and respect for learners
    Serves as a role model of professional nursing

Silvia Mieure, Bachelor's Program

Silvia joined the School of Nursing in June of 2011 as a clinical liaison in the hospital setting working alongside the students.  In Winter 2012 she became a lecturer and is now  teaching Fundamentals A & B, Med-Surg B for MECN's and does Critical care as the clinical faculty for both MECN and BS. She is also clinical faculty for some of the other med-surg groups that go to the hospital.  


This is what the students said about Silvia:

"Silvia has always been there for us and gave the fourth years a really great foundation in nursing. We really love her teaching style of bringing in her personal experiences so that we can remember concepts better. She is an extremely experienced nurse. We also enjoyed having her for critical care and hope that she has the opportunity to teach more classes because she is a phenomenal teacher.  Another student said:  "She gives us the resources we need to find out the information without feeling any pressure. I can tell that she loves passing on knowledge to future nurses and it is such a joy to learn from her.   And finally: "Silvia tells us to always make sure to do everything with integrity. I value her experience as a nurse and have learned a lot from her."

Dr. Inese Verzemnieks, MECN Program

Daisy%20awards%20-%20IneseJPGDr. Verzemnieks began teaching at the School in 1982 when she was hired to teach Pediatrics in the previous BS program.  She received her doctorate from the School in 1998. She has been the project director for the Center for Vulnerable Populations and is the current Sigma Theta Tau International, Gamma Tau-at-Large Chapter, Faculty Advisor for UCLA students (having recently served terms as Chapter President as well as VP).  She accompanied the group of students to Cuba in December, landing a few short hours after the President announced his change in diplomatic relations.  She teaches Community and Public Health Nursing and Pediatric Tertiary Nursing for the MECNs, as well as Public Health for BS and two courses in the Advanced Practice Nursing program as well.

Here are a few observations about Inese:

Inese exemplifies the qualities that an instructor working with the newer generation of MECNs are to model: enthusiasm for teaching, respect for students new to the nursing profession, patience, and much flexibility and motivation to continue finding new ways to instill a passion for nursing.  Another wrote: I have seen Dr. Verzemnieks working long hours; updating teaching materials so that she models, mentors, and motivates students to excel. One can always find students by her office, seeking her out for questions dealing with the APA format, the TOE-just to name a few.  She is also a "major source of support for the faculty.  For example, she is very technologically savvy with Moodle, and various other software and educational materials-which she willingly shares with others. One just needs to see her course Moodle sites, brochures, flyers, etc. to marvel at her work."

Nancy McGrath, APN ProgramDaisy%20awards%20-%20Nancy

Nancy has been with the School since 1996.  She is a pediatric nurse practitioner in the Department of Emergency Medicine/Pediatrics at Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.  She teaches both theory and clinical tracks in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Series.

This is what was said about Nancy: 

Nancy McGrath is such a valuable member of the pediatric faculty at UCLA.  She has given numerous lectures throughout our program and is always engaging, incorporates the latest practice guidelines, and is extremely knowledgeable on the subject matter.  She often incorporates her clinical experiences into lectures which helps us apply the concepts on a practical and comprehensible level.  She frequently takes the time to forward us links and articles regarding the newest information in Pediatric Healthcare.

Nancy has gone above and beyond when it comes to placing students at clinical sites that provide the best possible experiences. She has gone even farther for me personally, by ensuring I had excellent preceptors close to my home in San Diego–which was so helpful to me–but by no means a requirement of hers. She is extremely supportive of her students and remains an approachable resource for questions regarding our courses and clinical experiences.

It is clear that Nancy has strong relationships with her colleagues due to the fact that they often also volunteer their time to speak in our classes or precept students. I know they do this out of their great respect for Nancy's clinical practice and dedication to her students.

Nancy serves as a role model for professional nursing by her involvement at Harbor UCLA, and through leadership in local, state, and national organizations.  Her commitment to nursing education and nursing's future reinforces how worthy she is of this award!

Dr. Jan Mentes, PhD Program



Dr. Mentes has been with the School since 2000.  Her research focus in in improving the care of older adults, primarily in areas of oral hydration, oral care and delirium detection and management.  She developed the graduate course N210 – Nursing Science which explores the state of science in nursing.  Currently her main focus is serving as a mentor for the Bridges to Doctorate program which partners with Charles Drew University nursing students to increase the ethnic diversity of those pursuing research careers.

This is what one of her doctoral students had to say about Dr. Mentes:

Success in achieving a PhD truly depends on mentorship, and Dr. Mentes embodies the qualities of a valuable mentor. Although Dr. Mentes is busy and inundated with responsibilities, there has never' been a time when she could not meet, speak on the phone, or review my work. When my confidence waivered, it was Dr. Mentes who reflected on the value of my work, and essentially helped me refocus my energy. When I have been "stuck" and unable to describe what I was experiencing, it was Dr. Mentes who found ways to diminish the obstacles, and helped me to move forward. She is able to anticipate not only my needs, but also the needs of my colleagues, even when we are unable to verbalize them. She has worked tirelessly not only with myself, but the students in our program to develop symposia and present at conferences. These invaluable experiences have allowed us to gain confidence in articulating our ideas, responding to our audience, and engaging in conversations with researchers that have both shaped and expanded our vision. Dr. Mentes embodies the definition of an inspirational faculty member, and is a jewel in the crown of the UCLA SON. She is brilliant, compassionate and humble, and empowers students to reach their full potential.


2014 Awards and Accolades

Nursing School Hub named the School of Nursing #13 in its list of the Top 50 Most Progressive Nursing Schools.  Indicators included investment in advanced technology, an experienced and recognized teaching staff, opportunities for learning experience while in school, research funds invested in the nursing programs and recognition of the school by other organizations., which provides helpful information to prospective graduate students through peer-written ratings and reviews has selected the School of Nursing as the #3 ranked nursing graduate program!

Nursing School Hub selected UCLA as one of the Top 30 Cutting Edge Nursing Schools. Criteria for the list included cutting edge technology and infrastructure, world class facilities, world class faculty, world class opportunities for experience, recognition by other publications
Bright Hub: The Hub for Bright Minds Named the UCLA School of Nursing as one of its Top 10 Best Colleges for a Degree in Nursing Named the UCLA School of Nursing as one of its Top 50 Most Social Media Friendly Nursing Schools of 2014
The UCLA School of Nursing is ranked #7 in National Institutes of Nursing funding among schools of nursing.


Faculty Awards




Jan Mentes (left) was elected as a Fellow by the American Academy of Nursing for 2014.




Dr. Nancy Pike (right) received the "Lisa Milanovich Acute Care PNP Scholar Award" at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Annual Meeting. This award is given to an acute care PNP each year who is contributing to advancement of the role and profession.




Dr. Deborah Koniak-Griffin (left) was presented with the Distinguished Nursing Research Lectureship Award during the awards luncheon at the 2013 Western Institute of Nursing.  During the same conference, Dr. Adey Nyamathi (right) delivered the prestigious State of the Science address where she discussed nurse-led research in developing countries conducted over the past decade,  the challenges experienced by nurses in furthering global-health nursing research, and provided recommendations to meet global health needs.





Dr. Elizabeth Thomas (left) was elected as Fellow in the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. She has been an active member of the local, state and national groups for over 26 years.




Drs. Deborah Koniak-Griffin, Adey Nyamathi and Linda Sarna (right) were inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame for Sigma Theta International in July at the 25th International Nursing Research Congress.  The Hall of fame recognizes nurse researchers who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition and whose research has improved the profession and the people it serves.


2014 Daisy Foundation Awards

This is the second year we have presented the Daisy Award to esteemed faculty, a practice we expect to become a lasting tradition and an integral part of the UCLA School of Nursing's culture.

The faculty honored were selected by their respective student cohorts, fellow faculty, staff, and alums, as those who best embody the following characteristics:

  • Excellence in teaching
  • Demonstrates care and compassion with students
  • Provides an environment where students can freely express opinions in a respectful manner
  • Is fair and unbiased in his/her treatment of individual students
  • Collaborates effectively with the healthcare team to facilitate student learning in the patient care environment

Lecturer Barbara Demman, was chosen to receive the DAISY Award for the Bachelor's student cohort.

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"Here are just a few of the things said about Barbara:

"She is exceptionally intelligent, compassionate, and caring. She is a brilliant teacher and student/patient advocate. Overall, she makes learning fun and stimulating, and she makes us excited about our futures in nursing."

"Barbara Demman is a shining example and motivational force because she truly lives what she believes… that you empower yourself when you empower someone else."

"If I become even one-quarter of the nurse she is I will be happy. I think I have a girl crush!"

"To put it simply, if the UCLA School of Nursing cares about its students, they will allow Barbara Demman to teach for as long as she can. She is truly the best instructor at this institution and no one rivals her in ability to connect and teach."



Lecturer Cathy Gabster was chosen to receive the DAISY Award for the MECN student cohort.

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Here are just a few of the things said about Cathy:

"Her enthusiasm is quite contagious and leaves me eager to branch out and learn more. In essence, she is a vivacious, spirited teacher that has power through articulate speech, humor, and an apparent love for humanity that bleeds through as she lectures. She mesmerizes the audience, capturing our attention, compelling us to her flame of knowledge. Her sweet demeanor, witty remarks, and Socratic teaching methods make it easy to approach her, providing a sense of comfort to ask questions, voice a constructive criticism, or nervously share our fears and angst regarding the program. In a few words, she is AWESOME! GO GABSTER!"




Dr. Anna Gawlinki, Adjunct Professor, was chosen to receive the DAISY Award for the MSN student cohort.

gawlinski_frontHere are just a few of the things said about Anna:

"She is the one professor that made this program worth it. She is the most diplomatic person I've ever met. Honorable, wise, calm, caring and an unbelievable professor. I wish I could be half the woman she is."

"Anna is one of many adaptable, fun-loving, hard-working professors at UCLA. She is wonderful, kind, supportive, and makes the lessons fun, which makes us try harder. Anna makes me feel important and successful at school. Lastly, she is very considerate and connected with her students. She makes learning wonderful and entertaining for us all. Thank you Anna! I appreciate all of your hard work!"



Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Sally Maliski, was chosen to receive the DAISY Award for the PhD student cohort.


Here are just a few of the things said about Sally:

"Sally, in spite of the demands of her current administrative position, demonstrates concern, commitment, and compassion for men suffering from cancer and at risk for a variety of issues. She shares her concern, not only with the men and their families, but with all the students as she introduces them to the important work they may be led to do."

"Dr. Maliski is an innovative educator who supports and challenges students to develop their scholarship and program of research. Her role as my faculty advisor and N205B instructor has been difficult, but also extremely fulfilling. She is knowledgeable in her skills as a researcher and serves as example to students as a successful career in both qualitative and quantitative research."




Honorees for the 2013 inagural DAISY faculty awards were Dr. Dottie Wiley (Bachelor), Dr Carol Pavlish (MECN), Ms. Laurie Love (APN) and Dr. Mary Sue Heilemann (PhD).