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Nursing 9 Graduates


Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Graduates

Family Nurse Practitioner Spring 2023 Graduates

Nursing graduate, Melissa Mahan.Melissa Mahan

I am so blessed and thankful to be saying that I am finally graduating from EKU’s Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner Program! After having to take a two-year break from the program due to family circumstances, this has been a long time coming! I was born and raised in a little farm town in Verbank, NY, where I worked on a dairy farm growing up. I moved to Corbin, Kentucky in 2012 and have been here since, living with my husband, Joseph, and our 2-year-old son, Hudson. They are two of the biggest reasons I have pushed through to finally finish this degree. I plan to work and serve my community in the Tri-County area of Knox, Whitley, and Laurel counties as a family nurse practitioner.

I would like to go ahead and thank a few people who without them, I would not be where I am today. First, I would like to thank my husband, Joseph. He has supported me and encouraged me for the past eleven years of education (yes, eleven years of being in school, with a three-year break in total), through my BSN and now my MSN degree, he has been by my side. He has always encouraged me to do what I want to do and has had more faith in me than I have myself. If I thought I failed a test or didn’t say or do the right thing at clinic, he would always say I’m sure you did fine, you always do. Granted, I would always come back with, you don’t know that, but each time he was right. So, thank you Joseph for always encouraging me and being my rock through all this “schooling”.

Second, I would like to thank my son, Hudson, he doesn’t know it, but he has helped his mama have the drive to finish this degree. He has been the light at the end of this long road. So, thank you Hudson for just being my sweet baby boy and allowing me to practice looking in your ears. Next, I would like to thank my mom and dad, they may be miles away and I may be an adult with my own child, but they STILL make sure I do my homework and focus on school. If they knew I had an assignment due they would make sure I get it done. If I had a test to study for, they would make sure I was studying and then ask me how I did on it after. They have always been my biggest cheerleaders and have encouraged me to do what I want to do. So, thank you mom and dad for always being there for me and pushing me to focus on my education. I would also like to thank my mother-in-law, Barb, she has always done what she could do to help me while I have been in school, whether that be laundry, dishes, or whatever she could do around the house. So, thank you Barb for always doing what you can to help me. Lastly, I want to thank everyone else, friends, other family, instructors, facilitators and my preceptors for helping me through this. Without my preceptors, instructors and facilitators I could not have completed this program and I would not have become the nurse practitioner I am going to be without all of your advice and teachings. So, thank you for everyone who has played a part in helping me complete this degree.

EKU’s Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner Program is a difficult one but it is because they hold their students to a higher standard. The program is built to ensure that you are able to provide quality care to your patients. The instructors, facilitators, and advisors are very supportive and will do whatever they can to ensure your success. When I had to take a break from the program they were understanding and supportive, they did not judge or make me feel bad about it. When I came back, they were available for any help that I needed. For that I am thankful. So I highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to get their FNP degree!

Above all else, I thank God for all the people I listed above who helped me through this and I thank God for allowing me to be one of his healing helpers and showing me the way to better serve him.

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” – Esther 4:14 5/6/23


Nursing graduate, Nicole Nicole “Nicki” Brown

I live in Sullivan, IN with my husband Terry and our son Eli. I have been a nurse since 2004. I started this journey in 2018, first obtaining my BSN.

Becoming a FNP has always been a dream of mine, but just a dream. Self-doubt and insecurity held me back for many years. I would have never applied if it wasn’t for my husband. He has always been my biggest fan. I never could have imagined how challenging this program was going to be mentally, emotionally, and physically. Juggling family, school, and working full time was HARD. This has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done. I remember many times crying thinking I was never going to make it. “Why did I think I could do this?” Every time my husband was there to encourage me and reassure me that I was capable. I will forever me in debt to him for this.

To my husband and son, thank you for allowing me to be emotional, crazy, short tempered and all the things. I know I have not been easy to deal with the last three years, but I am forever grateful. Thanks for stepping up and doing the things I was unable to do. Thank you for understanding all the missed dinners, holidays, and times I just couldn’t go. I love you both very much.

I also have to acknowledge my work family. They have supported me through it all. The tears, struggles, and self-doubt. So many triumphs and tribulations. From the trenches of COVID and making it through the pandemic together. Your support does not go unnoticed. I am thankful for all of them! I am going to miss all of you!

I researched for hours when choosing a program. My non-negotiables were a program that was highly ranked, and prepared me for passing boards and entering practice. I chose EKU’s program because it checked all the boxes. One added bonus was that it is a rural health FNP program. Working in critical access the last 6 years, I realized just how big of an impact increasing access to healthcare could be. I can finally say that I am graduating with my MSN and will be able to make an impact in underserved communities.

I want to thank all of my preceptors, facilitators, and faculty. I had no idea just how big of an impact you would make. Throughout each semester each one of you continued to send encouraging words and praise. “Just focus on the next big thing” – that literally saved me from multiple breakdowns.

Congratulations class of 2023, We DID it!! 5/6/23


Nursing graduate, Felicia Richards.Felicia Richards

I am from Owingsville, KY, where I live with my husband Tyler and our two daughters, Emmalyn and Harper. I’m excited to embark on a new journey as a rural health family nurse practitioner in primary care. I hope to make a difference in the health and well-being of the individuals in my hometown. Reflecting over the last two years, there were days that completion of this rigorous program seemed impossible. I’m beyond thankful for this opportunity to further my education and set an example for my daughters to always pursue their dreams, even when they appear unattainable.

First and foremost, I thank God for giving me the courage and strength to complete this program. Secondly, to my husband, thank you for being my voice of reason, cooking, cleaning and all the other numerous tasks you’ve done over the last two years. Without your unwavering support, this would have never been possible. Emmalyn and Harper, thank you for being patient during this chapter in our lives. Missing ball games and bedtimes was never easy, but I hope you see the rewards that are in store for our family now. To my parents, thank you for being so supportive, helping cook meals, and taking care of the girls. Lastly, the support of my family and friends has made me persevere even when I couldn’t give them my 110%. For this I am so blessed!

Completing EKU’s FNP program has been one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. Entering my third semester of the program, my grandmother died from COVID-19. Throughout the remainder of the program, it was daunting to know she wouldn’t be here to see me through to the end. However, I knew giving up was not an option as she would have wanted me to carry on for her great-grand babies.

Even though life continued despite what seemed like endless hours of coursework and clinical, I feel EKU’s FNP program has prepared me well to enter practice as a nurse practitioner. Thank you to all the program instructors and facilitators for encouraging us all along the way and providing us with the necessary education to provide outstanding care to all patients! 5/6/23


Nursing graduate, Breanna Goble.Breanna Goble

I am from Paintsville, Kentucky. I graduated Eastern Kentucky University’s BSN program in 2018, and am excited to share that I’ll be graduating EKU’s Family Nurse Practitioner program this May 2023.

Enrolling in EKU’s FNP Program is the best educational decision I’ve ever made. I was nervously hesitant at first but thankful for the encouragement of friends and family to pursue my dream. I knew it would be challenging and sacrificial of much time, but it was so worth it! The professors and faculty are phenomenal and supportive. I appreciate that they want to see me succeed and were always quick to help me if I had any questions. The program takes a lot of hard work and demands much time to be successful, but it prepares students to be ready for practice. Thank you to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for awarding me the Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarship. I was in a group of the first recipients at EKU to receive the scholarship. This was tremendous in alleviating the financial burden of obtaining my goals.
I want to thank my daughter for her love and patience with me throughout the program. She has been ever so understanding and has always cheered me on. I hope to inspire her to chase her dreams and to make a positive difference in the world. I also want to thank my parents for supporting me these past two years and during the most difficult season as a single parent. I want to thank my sister for the times she’s been there for me in my stress and has gone above and beyond to give me pep talks to keep enduring. Thanks to my church, friends, and co-worker family for showing much love and lifting me up with words of praise and encouragement. I most of all am thankful to God and give Him all the glory and praise for making me able to complete this program successfully and for Sovereignly paving the way to get to serve others as a NP. Lastly, I want to shout out many thanks to all the nurse practitioners who graciously accepted me as their student, who are excellent role models, and who make a positive impact on their communities: Tabitha Humphrey, Stephanie Ferrell, Victoria Nash, Angela Sturgeon, Rebecca Brandenburg, Melissa Barnett, and Heather McClure.
Proud to be a forever Colonel! 5/4/23

Nursing graduate, Shantelle Stokely.Shantelle Stokely

I was born and raised in Greeneville, TN. I moved to Richmond, KY about 5 years ago and I plan on staying here to practice locally to serve the people of rural Kentucky. During the FNP program I faced a lot of life changes, so I’m extremely grateful to be graduating this May!

For those thinking about applying to the FNP program at EKU…do it! If I can work full-time and go through this program, you can do it too! They will encourage you, work with you, and prepare you so well for your future! Thank you, EKU, for instructors that never gave up on me and continued to encourage me each semester!

Thank you to my preceptors Tony, Stephanie, and Oneida who are amazing nurse practitioners, educators, and mentors. I will be forever grateful for the time and knowledge you gave me! Thank you to my parents, Shalamar and Willie, and Marcus and Jessica, for always being my #1 weekly supporters and pushing me to be my best. I’m so grateful for you all!

Thank you to everyone, family & friends, who have been a part of this journey with me during such a busy season of life! On to the next chapter! 5/2/23


Nursing graduate, Belinda VanDitto.Belinda VanDitto

I currently live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, though I was born and raised in Phyllis, Kentucky. When I first considered going back to school, I knew that I wanted to attend a program that was accredited, well-structured, academically sound, and a big perk would be if it tied me to my roots of Eastern Kentucky. When I stumbled upon EKU’s Rural Health FNP program I knew that this was it. Since I was 15 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner, though never felt that the possibility of achieving such was possible. I am the first in my family to attend college. I felt blessed to have completed my BSN let alone believe that I could actually succeed in obtaining my Master’s Degree.

After being accepted into the program, two weeks before classes began, my dad had a stroke. I continued with the program while working full-time and flying to Kentucky when possible (and during the COVID pandemic). When he passed away prior to starting my second semester, I truly thought that I couldn’t continue but it was the thought of him and helping people in the rural communities that pushed me to carry on. It was my passion for how I was raised that pushed me to carry on, even when I thought it wasn’t possible.

I know that my success in this program would not have been possible without my husband, Eli. He has seen me when I have struggled, unable to leave my desk for hours, made countless meals, and supported me though it all. My mom, Nancy, has always been there to remind me of what hard work and determination looks like. My brother, Shawn and his family have always been there to listen regardless of my outlook and encouraged me along the way. My dad, Larry, knowing that no matter how discouraged I felt, would have told me that I should stop worrying because he knew I could do anything. Lastly, I have been surrounded by so many wonderful friends and co-workers who have been there to provide encouragement, reassurance, and support throughout these past 2.5 years – thank you!!

After graduation I would like to practice in North Idaho, primarily in cardiology, where I can help bridge the gap for those living the smaller, rural areas of our region. I have lived in Idaho for the past 18 years and would love to continue my career serving this area.

I can do all things through Christ which Strengthen Me – Philippians 4:13 5/1/23


Nursing graduate, Jenna Nephew.Jenna Nephew

I am originally from a small town in southeast Missouri but currently reside in Hopkinsville, KY with my husband, Blake, and red heeler, Remington. When I’m not doing homework/studying for boards, I love traveling, being on the lake, and watching chick flicks! I plan to work in Family Health in Hopkinsville after graduation and completion of my board exam.

I would like to thank many people in my life for helping me achieve this awesome goal. First, I would like to thank God. None of this would be possible without Him. I would also like to thank my family, friends, preceptors, peers, employers, and co-workers for supporting and encouraging me during graduate school. So many people in my life were just a phone call/FaceTime/dinner date away when life/school/work got to be too much! Finally, I would like to thank my husband. He has been more than just my support system. He’s been my shoulder to cry on, the person I vent to, and the best friend I needed during a stressful time. I could never thank him enough for the past two and a half years. Love you, Blake!

Thank you to EKU FNP program for giving me the opportunity to further my education. This program has been challenging but has prepared me to be a nurse practitioner. Eastern Kentucky University will always hold a special place in my heart.

Congratulations Class of 2023. We did it! 4/30/23


Nursing graduate, Sara Ballard.Sara Ballard

I am so thankful to finally be able to say I will be graduating from the EKU Rural health Family Nurse Practitioner program in just a few short weeks! I am from Richmond, KY, where I live with my husband Jon Tracy and 9-month-old baby girl Chandlyr. They are two of the biggest reasons I persevered through the last 2.5 crazy years. I am so excited and grateful to soon embark on my journey as a Nurse Practitioner. I plan to work in and serve the people of rural Kentucky.

The EKU Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner program is intense and rigorous. Students in this program are held to an extremely high standard both academically and professionally. I truly feel that this program has given me the opportunity to be adequately prepared to provide high quality, compassionate care to my future patients. All of the stress, tears, and time spent studying or in clinicals has been so worth it though. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!

There is no way I would have ever made it through this program without the love and support of some very special people in my life. I want to first thank my wonderful husband for standing beside me every step of the way. My journey in school began before we were married, and continued through our wedding, him graduating grad school as well, and now our first baby. To say we have had a lot on our plates would be an understatement, but his love and support never faltered.

Secondly, I want to thank my mom, who is a nurse herself. Undoubtedly, she is the one person that got me where I am today. She could understand the stress, reasons for tears, but also could relate in my triumphs during school. She always lifted me up, encouraged me, and kept pushing me to succeed. Not to mention helped me with a newborn while I was still doing class work and in clinicals. There is no way I will ever be able to thank her enough.

Lastly, I would like to thank my Dad, sister, mother-in-law, and all my family and friends that helped me out along the way. There is no way I could have made it without all of you.

And to all of my wonderful preceptors: Donna Isfort, APRN, Dr. Patel, MD, Bobbie Jean Allen, APRN, Rachel DeCoster, DNP and Jessica McMaine, APRN: I hope to take the wealth of knowledge each of you instilled in me and become a confident and competent Nurse Practitioner. I can’t wait to start this new, exciting chapter!! I highly recommend this program to anybody interested in advancing your nursing education and career!

Family Nurse Practitioner Spring 2022 Graduates

Nursing graduate, Rachael Young.Rachael Young

5/7/22 Congratulations, Rachael Young, FNP May 2022 graduate!

My name is Rachael Young, mom of three awesome kids ages 15, 12 and 10. Lover of nature, most things outdoors, sports, animals, gardening, traveling, and life! Middle school math and science teacher of five years, and nurse for 15. Eleven of those were in the trauma ICU at UK. My nurse side is definitely an adrenaline junky, but the non-nurse side has mellowed over the years. After the ICU, I worked in the bone marrow transplant unit, and currently work as a nurse coordinator in the central monitoring station at UK.

As a young person, my parents always said I was empathetic. I’ve always enjoyed taking care of people in some form or fashion. Strangers always come up and talk to me. A lot of times it’s to use my height to get something off the top shelf at the grocery. Other times it’s just that they need someone to listen to a story that’s important to them. My favorite example was when I was grocery shopping with my mom and sister. A man with a cart full of soda pop cases started a conversation, albeit a one-way conversation, about how much weight he’d lost on his diet Dr. Pepper diet. I was left listening to him as my mom and sister quickly shuffled away!

One of the most defining times of my life was when I was diagnosed with cancer in college. I have no doubt it’s why I have a deeper appreciation of life and a passion to care for others. I spent a year and half in and out of the hospital getting chemotherapy. The care and attention I received from the doctors, and most especially the nurses, showed me the influence those in healthcare can have in someone’s life. I have proudly worked alongside some of the same nurses and doctors who helped care for me so long ago, and it’s their influence that swayed me to purse a nurse practitioner degree. I truly love the art of nursing and caring for the entire human, both body and spirit.

EKU’s Rural FNP program has been nothing short of amazing. I can honestly say that the faculty and staff truly care about their students. They see us not just as paying students, but as individuals with lives outside of school: as people who have kids, family, and other time-requiring commitments. There were several times throughout the program that I had challenging life events arise, and my professors always listened to and worked with me. They helped me work though these moments with grace and understanding. They embodied the compassion we should emulate.

In reflecting on the last three years, it’s hard to believe all that has happened. Through illnesses, a pandemic with three kids home learning virtually along-side me, surgery, physical therapy….more physical therapy, working full-time as a single mom, and taking the kids to all their activities, it has definitely taken a village to help me get through this program! I am so blessed to have an amazing family and wonderful neighbors and friends. Without them I could not have succeeded. Every student has a similar story. This program is full of extremely motivated and talented individuals from many different backgrounds. EKU’s program has not only given us the knowledge we need to practice successfully, it has taught us what we need to go out and transform the health of others. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all my advisors, professors and facilitators. Your kindness will never be forgotten, and your legacy will live on in the work we will do and the lives we will change.

Peace, good health, and best wishes always.


Nursing graduate, Ashley Bowles.Ashley Bowles

4/11/22 Congratulations, Ashley Bowles, FNP May 2022 graduate!

My name is Ashley Bowles. I currently reside in Glasgow, KY. I have been a registered nurse for 25 years, working in various healthcare settings and nursing roles. During the FNP program I worked as a travel nurse in labor and delivery. Along with graduating, this year brings even more excitement as I will be marrying my fiancé Kirk later this year. There aren’t enough words to adequately describe how grateful I am for his support and encouragement throughout this journey. He pushes me to be the best version of myself and has selflessly sacrificed his time to help me succeed. A special thank you to my sons and bonus daughters for their support and encouragement, and to my parents, Larry and Paula, for encouraging me and instilling in me a work ethic that got me where I am today. To my friends, Lynde Landis, Ivy McHam, Phoebe Philpot, and Shaye Duvall, thank you for all the study/vent sessions! Thank you to all my professors and facilitators. And finally, to my preceptors, Dr. Jerry Bean, Molly Bradshaw, and Britney Jackson, thank you for the wonderful clinical experiences. My experience at EKU has been extremely informative, challenging, and enlightening. I look forward to utilizing the skills and knowledge I have obtained throughout the FNP program at EKU. I feel well prepared to embark on my career as a family nurse practitioner.


Nursing graduate, Jessica McMaine.Jessica McMaine

4/7/22 Congratulations Jessica McMaine, Phi Kappa Phi (highest academic honors) FNP May 2022 graduate!

I am from and currently live, in Richmond, KY. After being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes as a young adolescent I knew I wanted to become a nurse and positively impact others’ lives. I have been a registered nurse for 13 years and have mainly worked in the medical/surgical field. I’ve always had a passion for teaching others about diabetes; therefore, I pursued and received a certification in diabetes education. I am currently in Richmond, Ky, as a bedside nurse. Working in my hometown has been extremely rewarding and I hope to work close to Richmond when I graduate as a family nurse practitioner. My areas of professional interest are family practice, diabetes, preventive/holistic medicine and mental illnesses.

I am married to my husband Dylan McMaine, and we have two children Abigail and Luke. I have been able to pursue my dream as a nurse practitioner due to the support and encouragement of my loving husband and parents. This program has been extremely rigorous and I could not have succeeded if I had not had the backing and constant devotion from them. Being in school, while raising two young children, and working full time has been difficult and exhausting at times. I also want to express gratitude to my sister and close friends for all their love, support and prayers. I want to say thank you to Shaye, my classmate and new lifelong friend, as we supported each other emotionally. Thank you to my co-workers and my manager, Elizabeth Rowland for their support and willingness to work with my school schedule/demands. Most importantly, I am so thankful for God’s grace and allowing me to overcome every obstacle to make it to the finish line.

I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing several years ago and knew I wanted to attend EKU for my Master’s degree. I knew this was a quality program, but EKU Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner Program has exceeded all my expectations. All the professors and facilitators were very professional and go above and beyond to ensure a positive learning environment. Thus, I would like to express my gratitude to each of the dedicated professors, Dr. Zoellers, Dr. Caudill, Dr. Wood, and Dr. Connell, for investing in my future along with my classmates. In addition, a big thanks to all my wonderful facilitators: Dr. Killian, Lauren Mullins, and Vera King. Each of you have provided guidance and knowledge to allow for a successful career. Likewise, a big thank you to all four of my wonderful preceptors, Dr. Killian, Becky, Annette and Rachel! They were truly the best and I’m so grateful for their time and expertise. I am thrilled to graduate on May 13th and I can’t wait to live out my dream!


Nursing graduate, Ivy McHam.Ivy McHam

3/25/22 Congratulations Ivy McHam, FNP May 2022 graduate!

Hi, I’m from Frankfort, KY. I grew up in the Philippines and moved here to the States 8 yrs ago. I have been a nurse for 12 yrs. now, and I currently work at dialysis and skilled nursing facilities. I am hoping and looking forward to practicing at family practice clinics and to do travel NP.  First, I’d like to thank our Almighty God for giving me the strength and guidance that I needed. Second, to my wonderful husband who has been supportive, so helpful throughout my busy schedule, studies flashcards with me, stays up late helping me with Typhon entries, and always cheers me up. Thank you and I love you!  I want to acknowledge our two beautiful girls, Isabelle and Ayana, who are my greatest inspiration in pursuing this career. They have been my rock and they keep me busy and motivated!  Also, to my wonderful babysitter, my support system, I wouldn’t be able to do this without your help! It sure is hard being in school full time, work, and take care of 2 little ones! Lastly, I would like to thank my family and good friends near and far. Especially my friend and classmate Ashley who experienced this journey with me.

I am beyond thankful and blessed for my experience at EKU. This program helped me grow as a person and prepared me to be a great nurse practitioner. Thank you to all of my professors for your hard work and encouragement and to my preceptors Dr. Soda, Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Doehnert, Dr. Kinlaw, Ms. Lisa Primm, and especially Dr. Beth Killian for sharing your knowledge and skills with me. These past 2 yrs. of my life have been so challenging, so many ups and downs but this year is the most exciting, and looking forward to our graduation!


Nursing graduate, Hunter Nord.Hunter Nord

3/23/22 Congratulations Hunter Nord, FNP May 2022 graduate!

I am from, and currently live, in Owensboro, KY. I work for a large healthcare system in Evansville, IN, and hope to continue my career there as a Family Nurse Practitioner. This year comes with lots of exciting changes and life events as I will also be getting married on New Year’s Eve this year! I would like to give the biggest thanks to my fiancé, Brendan Brown, for always being my “patient,” especially when it came to perfecting the ear exam, and for having a tremendous amount of patience with me through all the stress and anxiety. Another huge thank you to my parents, Scott and Trish, for always supporting me, pushing me to my highest potential, and for never letting me give up when I so desperately wanted to.

These past 2.5 years in the FNP program have been some of the busiest, most challenging, and informative years of my life. It’s amazing to look back at where we started, feeling like we knew nothing, and to see how our confidence and abilities have grown. Every professor and facilitator were there rooting us on and making sure we never failed. They have gone out of their way to accommodate my crazy schedule when they didn’t have to. After speaking with several friends and co-workers who described their programs as chaotic and unorganized and one that they wouldn’t recommend, I can honestly say that the EKU FNP program was impressively structured, organized, and that I feel very well prepared to enter the workforce as an FNP.

Last, I want to personally thank each one of my preceptors, Kelsey Pedley, Krystal Wright, Diane Goetz, and Tasia Thompson. Thank you all so much for taking me on as a student and for being such excellent mentors. You all have taught me SO much and have played a huge role in where I am today. There’s not one of you that I can’t pick up the phone and text with a question that you wouldn’t gladly answer. You four are truly some of the best providers that Owensboro has to offer.

Our time here is coming to an end, and I can’t wait to see the direction of my fellow classmates head and how they blossom. Next stop, GRADUATION!!


Nursing graduate, Candace Dennison.Candace Dennison

3/17/22 Congratulations Candace Dennison, FNP May 2022 graduate!

Hello, my name is Candace Dennison. I am from Horse Cave, Kentucky, a small rural area between Elizabethtown and Bowling Green. I started this program wide open and have been running the whole way. I was accepted into the program March of 2019, found out I was pregnant in April (on my birthday), then in May found out it was TWINS! My wonderful husband has been my rock, my patient, my therapist, and my best friend through all of this. While in the program, we have raised a very intelligent and active 4-year-old little girl (Tymber, soon to be 5), and our twin girls who arrived 6 weeks early by emergency cesarean section (soon to be 3-year-olds, Ashtyn and Oaklyn). So, to say it has been a hard and long time coming is an understatement. I currently work in urgent Care (5 years in November) and worked in the emergency department prior to that. Primary care and working in my rural community is where I see myself at this point in life. In addition to graduate school full time, working full time, and being a mom, my husband and his family own their own business on the farm, Dennison’s Roadside Market/Farms. My husband has worked long, hard hours and came home to be Mr. Mom so that I can finish up this chapter in life. I can’t praise him enough for all his hard work through this program. I have had plenty of help from others as well including my parents, in-laws, friends, and babysitters that do not understand what a blessing they have been to me during this time of my life.

EKU has been an outstanding school, and I would highly recommend it to others. The online program was the only way I could have completed this journey due to my busy lifestyle and home life. I am very fortunate and I am grateful to EKU and all the faculty and staff for the help, knowledge, concern, availability, and drive that they have for all their students. Without this wonderful faculty and staff, this program would not be the same. They truly care for their students and want us to succeed. I have never known teachers with such ambition for their student than I have experienced at EKU (I attended two other colleges for my Associate and Bachelor degrees and never received the compassion that I have through EKU. Have to say very proud to be a Colonel.


Nursing graduate, Phebia Philpot.Phebia Philpot

3/14/22 Congratulations to our outstanding May 2022 graduate, Phebia Philpot.

Hi, my name is Phebia Philpot. I am from and reside in London, KY, where we recently built our forever home. During this degree, while building our house, we have lived with family and even lived in a camper during a pandemic! I have 4-year old twins, Samuel and Bailey. Most of my nursing career has been in Hematology/Oncology and I plan to continue this specialty area after graduation. There is a bond you develop with cancer patients that is unlike any other.

I have completed all of my nursing degrees through EKU, and I have always felt well prepared due to their programs. I could not have completed this degree without the support of my family and friends. I would not have even applied for the program had my coworker Dr. Bidros not pushed me to further my education. My family, especially my husband, has been my backbone and picked up the slack when I just felt I couldn’t continue. Shout-out to my friends Brie and Maddy – without you all I probably wouldn’t have made it this far. This program has been extremely rigorous but I am grateful for it. EKU has prepared me and my fellow classmates to be the best FNPs that we can be. Our professors and facilitators only desire the best for us and I believe this shines through in this program. Always proud to be an Eastern Colonel.


Nursing graduate, Brietta Estep.Brietta Estep

3/11/22 Congratulations to our outstanding May 2022 graduate, Brietta Estep!

Hi! My name is Brie Estep and I am from Pikeville, KY. I currently reside in Bristol, TN with my husband and goldendoodle, where I plan to begin practicing soon after graduation. I have wanted to become a nurse practitioner since the beginning of my nursing career and in a couple of months I get to make that dream into a reality.

This journey has not been an easy one, but I could not have achieved this goal without the support of my family. I would like to personally acknowledge my husband, Austin, who has always been willing to help in any way possible. Whether that be spending many hours going through countless flash cards, or just making sure I ate a good meal during a busy day. I would also like to thank all of my preceptors for being so generous and volunteering their time to ensure I have received a good education. Lastly, I would like to thank my good friends who have experienced this journey alongside me, Phebia and Maddy, who have always been willing to listen and provide support during the tough times.

I am beyond thankful for my experience at EKU. I have not only broadened my education, but this program has truly helped me grow as a person. I cannot thank the instructors of this program enough for always being so readily available to answer any and all of my questions. I can truly say I feel like I have received the best education possible. Thank you to all of my professors for all of their hard work and encouragement throughout the entire program.


Nursing graduate, Alexis McWhorter.Alexis McWhorter

3/8/22 Congratulations to outstanding student and May 2022 FNP graduate, Alexis McWhorter!

My name is Alexis McWhorter and I am a current resident of London, Kentucky, where I returned after a brief period living in Tampa, FL. My areas of particular professional interest are family practice, with recent nursing experience at the bedside in the emergency department, neurology with specialty in stroke care, and post-operative orthopedic care. I have been married to my wonderful husband Chase since 2019, and we have one cat named Arnold Palmer (also known as Arnie-Parnie for short!)

I especially want to thank my husband who has supported me amidst his own professional educational experience throughout law school, my mom who is always my biggest cheerleader, and my sister who has always pushed me to take the next step to achieve my personal goals. I could not have done it without each of you, and love you very much.

My experience as Eastern has been excellent. I graduated from EKU the first time with my Bachelor’s in nursing in 2016, and returned shortly thereafter to complete my Masters to advance my education and career. I enjoy that this degree is unique to rural areas like our own, and really signifies the importance and addresses the disparities areas like eastern Kentucky face. My instructors are always involved and hold you accountable in a degree that is highly self-driven. It has been an honor to achieve higher education through my alma mater. I am excited to provide a higher level of care for my patients, but even more excited to give back to the community that helped make me who I am today.


Nursing graduate, Madison Smith.Madison Smith

3/7/22 Please join us in congratulating our May 2022 FNP graduate, Madison Smith! 

I am from Jackson, Kentucky, which is where I plan to practice after graduation. I love primary care and hope to work in a family practice or primary care setting. I have been married for 6 years and have 2 wonderful kids: a 5-year-old daughter and 1 year old son. I would like to first acknowledge my husband and kids for helping me achieve this goal! There were many nights spent quizzing me with flash cards and letting me practice physical exam techniques. You all have sacrificed so much the last 2.5 years and I couldn’t have done it without you. I would also like to thank my parents for being a constant stream of encouragement & pushing me forward when I felt the situation was impossible. Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge my 4 wonderful preceptors (Scotty, Alissa, Beverly, and Tyson). I am so grateful to you all for teaching me so much!

My time in EKU’s FNP program has been the busiest of my life! From work, clinical, studying & family, to having a baby in finals week my first year, my world has been interesting for the last 2.5 years! I have grown and flourished during my time at EKU & that is all thanks to my wonderful professors. This program was intense, but I truly feel well prepared, ready for boards and to begin practicing. I am thankful that I have been given this opportunity and even more thankful that I chose EKU! Go Colonels!

School of Nursing

 521 Lancaster Ave
Rowlett 223
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone: (859) 622-1827
Fax: (859) 622-1972