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Notable Alumni

We commend our UNC School of Nursing graduates for the extraordinary work they do each and every day — not only delivering quality health care, but transforming it. Take a look at some of the big things our graduates are doing!

Kupiri Ackerman-Barger,

Class of 2012, PhD 

Kupiri "Piri" Ackerman-Barger will be induced as a FAAN for the Nursing Academy in October 2019. Piri serves as an Associate Clinical Professor, Co-Director for the Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce, Co-Director for the Interprofessional Teaching Scholars Program at University of California Davis, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. Piri also is a Diversity Consultant for the Center to Champion Nursing in America, a join effort of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Stephanie Witwer, PhD, RN, NEA-BC

Class of 2013, Ph.D.

Stephanie Witwer, has been chosen by the American Academy of Nursing (Academy) to the 2019 class of Academy fellows, one of the most prestigious honors in nursing. Dr. Witwer will be among 231 highly distinguished nurse leaders in the 2019 class who will be celebrated at an induction ceremony in October.

Becky Hamner,

Class of 2014, BSN

Becky Hamner, was selected to be an ambassador for the University of Southern California's nursing program. As an ambassador, she gets to speak with students who have questions or are struggling, attend orientation sessions for new students to answer questions or concerns, and be an overall resource.

Amanda Hill,

Class of 2016, DNP

Maj. Amanda Hill, planned the "Health Cortland Innovative Readiness Training program" in Cortland, NY. More than 400 military medical providers provided free health and dental care to 3600 patients and their pets, the second largest such program in America this year, behind efforts in Puerto Rico.

Karlie Ruiter, 

Class of 2015, BSN

Karlie Ruiter and her husband Jeff, founded the non-profit organization, Ordinary Nurses to bring health and hope to the starving babies of rural Guatemala. Within the villages of Guatemala, over 80% of children under five are malnourished. Ordinary Nurses are on a mission to change that through: disease prevention, community health education, high-quality medical care, and nutritional services.

Karen Gorton, PhD, RN, FNP, MS

Class of 2010, PhD

Karen Gorton has been elected Vice President of Sigma Theta Tau International (Sigma), one of the most influential nursing organizations across the world. In the role of Vice President, Gorton will support President Riccardi in his vision to uphold Sigma's mission to develop nurse leaders anywhere to improve health care everywhere.

“It is an incredible honor and opportunity to serve membership in this capacity and work with our incredibly talented member colleagues globally,” says Gorton. “Sigma focuses on developing global leaders where they are so they can improve health everywhere.”

Within Sigma, Gorton has presented as international and regional conferences, at Chapter meetings, served on the International Board of Directors of Sigma as the Regional Chapters Coordinating Committee Chair. Prior to her time in that role, Gorton served for four years as a Regional Coordinator.

Dr. Gorton has served several chapters in a variety roles, from elected officer to supportive member. She is excited to continue her service to Sigma. She is a Sigma Fellow and a Virginal Henderson Fellow.

Dr. Gorton is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. Her main responsibilities are on Nursing Education within the Doctoral program. Additionally, she teaches in the MSN and DNP programs.

Kathleen Dunemn, PhD, APRN, CNM-BC

Dr. Kathleen Dunemn, BSN class of 1971 and UNC School of Nursing Professor, was recognized at the 2019 Honored Alumni Award Ceremony.

Kelley Kovar,

Class of 1998, BSN

Kelley Kovar is the Associate CNO at Littleton Adventist Hospital in Littleton, CO.