DNP Students Honored as Jonas-Flynn Scholars

DNP Students Honored as Jonas-Flynn Scholars

(l-r) Emily Kopas ’16 and Julie Earls ’15

Emily Kopas ’16, BSN, RN, OCN and Julie Earls ’15, BSN, RN both currently enrolled in Fairfield Egan's DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program, have been named Jonas-Flynn Scholars.

Emily Kopas ’16, BSN, RN, OCN and Julie Earls ’15, BSN, RN are the first two Fairfield University students to receive prestigious Jonas-Flynn scholarships, which will provide $30,000 toward tuition over the next two years.

The Jonas-Flynn scholarship is made possible by a partnership between Jonas Philanthropies and the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program. The goal of Jonas Philanthropies is to improve healthcare by financing areas where it is most needed. An important component of that mission is the promotion of nursing leadership through investment in doctoral nursing students who will go on to positions as professors, clinical leaders, and researchers.

In 2014, Fred Flynn began the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program in memory of his wife, who had succumbed to ovarian cancer the previous year. The highly competitive program allows senior nursing students nationwide the opportunity to do internships where they can experience best practices in oncology nursing care. While undergraduate nursing students at Fairfield University, both Kopas and Earls were awarded Susan D. Flynn internships; Kopas completed her internship at Greenwich Hospital, while Earls was at Stamford Hospital.

Kopas, a native of Norwalk, Conn., says that she became interested in oncology nursing while watching her grandmother and aunt undergo treatments for lung cancer. She continued working at Greenwich Hospital after her internship was over, and today serves as an oncology and palliative care nurse. She is currently a graduate assistant at Fairfield University, a nurse preceptor for new graduate nurses, and a mentor to future Flynn Fellows. She is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, and her research has focused on assessing the spiritual well-being of oncology patients.

For the past three years, Earls has been working at Yale New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, most recently in the hematology-oncology unit, where she cares for patients undergoing bone marrow transplants and CAR T-cell immunotherapies.

Earls’ goal is to become an oncology APRN, working with other healthcare professionals to develop individualized treatment plans for patients with cancer. As an undergraduate student, Earls was honored with Sigma Theta Tau’s Mu Chi Student Performance Award for overall excellence. She plans to continue her research into streamlining the education surrounding the precautions that neutropenic (low immune system) patients and their families must take upon hospital discharge, in order to prevent infections.

The Jonas-Flynn Scholarship not only provides monetary assistance toward the recipients’ degrees, it allows for opportunities that will broaden their professional and leadership skills. An October conference in Washington, D.C., for example, will cover topics such as intra-professional collaboration, negotiating, and using social media to promote nurse-led research. “Plus, it’s an incredible opportunity to network with leaders in the nursing field from all over the country,” said Kopas.

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