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CENTER VALLEY, Pa.  –Penn State Lehigh Valley Practical Nursing graduates marked the successful completion of the program during a ceremony on Friday, Dec. 20, at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus. 22 students completed the requirements to earn a certificate in practical nursing and will be eligible to test for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

The class began their studies in July 2018 for the 18-month program offered in the evening and on weekends in the classroom and laboratory at the Penn State Center at Overlook. Students took classes at Penn State Lehigh Valley and attended clinical studies at area partner facilities.

Chancellor Tina Q. Richardson presided over the ceremony along with Practical Nursing Program Director Heather L. Clark. Guest speaker for the event was Joan Timalonis, instructor at Penn State Lehigh Valley. Student reflections were offered by Tiffany Ruch.

“Words cannot convey how special this is to me. We embarked on this journey as individuals and are leaving as a family,” Ruch said. “We had long days of clinical, working late at night, studying in the early morning and now we are standing in front of you as new versions of ourselves.”

During the ceremony, graduates received their certificates and pins to signify successful completion of the program.

Graduates and their hometowns include Grether E. Camilo-Hernandez, Allentown; Camena Tahera Juliana Cham, Easton; Sara Claridad Barchiesi, Bangor; Abigail Catherine Dennis, Emmaus; Jessica Lynn Durst, East Greenville; Brianna Christine Lee Ewell, Easton; Kimberly Grace Heverly, Riegelsville; Alexis Michaela Johnson, Nazareth; Jennifer A. Lawless, Bethlehem; Alyssa Marie Leon, Coplay; Ashley Aurora Morales, Bath; Jamie Mount, Northampton; Kimberly Christie Ramraj, Allentown; Kaalee Riddick, Allentown; Tiffany Ruch, Bangor; Tanya Marie Santly, Bethlehem; Marie C. Sedlock, Bethlehem; Felicia Shaner, Easton; Jaime Lee Sizemore, Bath; Courtney Nicole Sliker, Easton; Tania Y. Tapler, Center Valley; Elesandra Zayas, Bethlehem.

Several members of the graduating class also earned special recognition with an award. The awards and winners included:

  • Chancellor’s Leadership Award – Jessica Durst

This student displayed integrity and maturity as they represented and influenced the class in a positive way.  She demonstrated leadership qualities and made the classroom and clinical environment a better place for everyone.

  • Excellence in Clinical Practice – Alexis Johnson

This student demonstrated caring and compassion for patients, in addition to precision and attention to detail.  This student practiced high ethical standards and displayed all the attributes that are valued in nursing.

  • Most Inspiring Student Award – Felicia Shaner

Throughout the course of the program, many students grow, flourish and inspire the people around them.  They face tough challenges and excel despite incredible odds.  They inspire us.  This award was given to a student who set wonderful examples of perseverance and determination.

  • Most Compassionate Award – Elesandra Zayas

This award was given to someone who was compassionate, who showed empathy, respect and dignity along with intelligent kindness as they cared for their patients.  Although all nurses show compassion, this student was known for it.  She set the perfect example of this as she went above and beyond.

Penn State Lehigh Valley is now accepting applications for its August 2020 practical nursing program. An information session for the practical nursing program will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27. It will be held at the Penn State Center @ Overlook Park, located at 445 Hanover Ave. in Allentown.

For more information, contact Heather Clark, director of the practical nursing program at or 610-841-0359. For more information on the program, TEAS testing dates and how to apply, visit the practical nursing program website.


About Penn State Lehigh Valley

Penn State Lehigh Valley provides a Penn State University education in a small campus setting that integrates individualized teaching, research, and dynamic community outreach. With its convenient location in Center Valley, traditional students and adult learners can choose from many options including 9 bachelor’s programs, which can be completed at the campus, as well as access to 275 majors offered by other Penn State campuses. In addition, students and community members who have a scalable business idea are invited to participate in professional development offered by Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a business accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs. The campus’ diverse Continuing Education and Outreach programs offer opportunities for professional development, business training, and youth programming. For more information, visit


Information provided to TVL by:
Dennille Schuler
PR Specialist
Penn State Lehigh Valley
2809 Saucon Valley Road
Center Valley, PA 18034