Scholars

Each of these nurses is poised to become an exemplary nurse leader who will transform health care in communities and nationwide, help build a Culture of Health, and inspire the next generation of nurses.

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Rachel Arendacs
2018 cohort, Pennsylvania State University

Rachel Arendacs, RN, BSN, is interested in fall prevention in older adults with dementia. Specifically, she is interested in exploring the relationships between gait and balance disturbances and increased activity as a predictive factor in inpatient falls.

She earned her BSN from Pennsylvania State University and is in the process of completing her MSN from Pennsylvania State University as well.

Rachel has completed the graduate nurse residency program at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, located in Hershey, Pa. She has since worked in their level 1 trauma Surgical Anesthesia Intensive Care Unit as well as their level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She also has clinical experience as the RN supervisor of the Odd Fellows Home in Middletown, Pa.

Rachel Arendacs currently lives in Hershey, Pa

Neethu Arikupurathu
2017 cohort, University of Missouri - Columbia

Neethu Arikupurathu, MS, RN-BC, NPP, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, at Northwell Health. She is interested in researching the effectiveness of school-based mental health training programs on improving the mental health literacy of school personnel, allowing them to identify early signs of mental illness in their students.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from New York Institute of Technology, a Master’s in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing from The State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Post-Master’s in Nursing Informatics from Chamberlain University. She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing.

She currently works as a Nurse Manager at Zucker Hillside hospital (ZHH), a 222-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital, part of Northwell Health. She began her career as a new graduate nurse at ZHH in 2011. She has worked on an Early Episode/First Break unit as well as on a Geriatric Psychiatry unit where, in 2014, she was promoted to the title of Assistant Nurse Manager. In 2016 she was promoted to Nurse Manager and was instrumental in the opening of a new adult psychiatric inpatient unit at ZHH.

Arikupurathu lives in Bergenfield, New Jersey.

Stephanie Armstrong
2015 cohort, Medical University of South Carolina

Stephanie Armstrong, MSN, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is interested in research involving vulnerable populations, intercultural competence, and human trafficking. Armstrong is especially concerned about victims of sexual trafficking, the majority of whom are women and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. She will focus her PhD work on victim recognition by individuals and agencies that are most likely to interact with such persons. Through her work in this area, Armstrong seeks to improve awareness, recognition, interventions, and services available for the victims of this growing, worldwide epidemic.

Armstrong earned both her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from George Mason University.

Armstrong’s work experience includes clinical practice at Inova Fairfax Hospital Women’s Center, one of the nation’s largest birthing facilities. She has also practiced at several community-based hospitals in the Washington D.C. area, as well as Charleston, S.C. For many years, Armstrong has been involved in community-based education, teaching courses on topics such as newborn care, postpartum care, and breastfeeding. In 2004, she was the project lead for the development of a book entitled, “Do You Know A Nurse?” The book created to promote nursing as a career choice to school-aged children.

Armstrong has served as nursing faculty at George Mason University, South Carolina State University, and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She currently coordinates the Women’s Health portion of MUSC’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, providing didactic, simulation, and clinical instruction.

Armstrong lives in Charleston, SC.

Olivia Arnold
2018 cohort, University of Pennsylvania

Olivia Arnold, MSN, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar, is interested in understanding the longitudinal relationships between childhood environmental exposures and adolescent outcomes. She is especially interested in understanding the relationship between childhood lead exposure and neurocognitive outcomes. Her interests additionally include studying how social factors influence this relationship and examining mechanisms of action.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saginaw Valley State University where she was the Young Alumni Award recipient for 2018. She has additionally earned her Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Child Health and Well Being from the University of Dublin, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Arnold previously worked as a Neonatal ICU, Pediatric ICU, and Pediatric Float Nurse at Hurley Medical Center in her hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Arnold lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.