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COTC Recognizes Healthcare Technology Graduates

NEWARK, Ohio, August 27, 2019 — Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) held pinning ceremonies to honor the following 2019 summer semester graduates of its healthcare technology programs.*  

Elizabeth Djikunu 2.jpg

The Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence was presented to Elizabeth Djikunu of Columbus. Growing up in Ghana, Djikunu dreamed of one day becoming a nurse, but the road to get there was fraught with obstacles: immigrating to a new country, homelessness and an ailing mother. Read her story here. "I really do appreciate it. This will definitely help me pay for the things I need to become the best nurse that I can," she said. "I thank COTC, the entire staff and faculty, so much for making this dream come true." 

Other nursing technology awards presented to graduates include:

  • Simpson-Wellington Award for Clinical Excellence: Samantha Gastaldo of Pickerington, Alexandria Pollard of Delaware and Kellie Sabo of Columbus
  • Outstanding Graduate: Heidi Johnson of Columbus Gabriella Walls of Lancaster
  • LPN Clinical Award: Kerri Tolliver of Mansfield
  • LPN Outstanding Graduate: Zoe Cassidy of Johnstown

Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Technology

Shine Adrie 
Eyong Agbor 
Holly Bangert 
Courtnay Banks 
Madison Bayer 
Natalia Besedina
Jamie Breckler
Kristin Brown 
Kristi Carathers 
Juliter Chirchir 
Kirsten Cockrell 
Joshua Colvin 
Elizabeth Djikunu
Samuel Dyer 
Samantha Gastaldo 
Kyle Gattrell
Jessica Gleckler
Frances Harmon 
Cecilia Hatem 
Julia Hoehn
Marla Hoffman
Emma Hooper
Alyssa Hoopes 
Heidi Johnson 
Mary Eva Kamumbu 
Golda Kudalor
Steven Leighner
Michael Lepley
Hope Marrah 
Moerike Martin 
Devra Mast 
Megan McGrothers
LeAndra Mercier 
Anaveli Morales
Ashley Morgan 
Brittany Muncy
Mark Munsey 
Amina Musah
Volha Niakhaichyk
Kirsten Niyonkuru
Valerie Nunamaker
Courtney Pearce
Morgan Peer 
Alexandria Pollard 
Jordan Poulton
Teal Richards 
Kellie Sabo
Sydni Saveski 
Ashley Scott 
Michael Sheets 
Jessica Slater
Brooke Smith 
Cassandra Snyder 
Corey Stewart 
Krystal Sunnucks 
Jacqueline Thorpe 
Jacqueline Wagner 
Gabrielle Walls
Heather Watts
Kathryn Webb 
Ashley West 
Ruth White
Cori Woodland
Roberta Woolridge
Nichole Vine

Practical Nursing One-Year Certificate

Saynab Abdinur 
Navaria Boswell 
Charon Brown 
Kayla Cain 
Zoe Cassidy 
Kaela Clark 
Michaela Cline 
Ashleigh Cook 
Tess Daniel 
Sarah Demarco 
Kylie Elliott
Nicole Greenberg 
Salma Halane, 
Markia Hendricks 
Jessica Holsinger
Shauna Housley 
Kadance Hutchins 
Selena Kelsor 
Amber Lacy 
Brianna Lowery
Achanyi Nkengbeza 
Brooke O'Connor 
Sabra Polk
Megan Ramos 
Dezarae Rodgers
Nicole Slosser
Kerri Tolliver
Makayla Wiley
Brent Wright

Surgical Technology One-Year Certificate

Ashley Barringer 
Carla Cooke 
Marissa Feyh 
Emily Haslehurst  
Kevin Henthorn 
Taylor Hittle 
Rachel Klinger
Anzhelika Lyubezhanin 
David Osborne 
Na'Tasha Sams
Maria Shay 
Meagen Thomas


*Only graduates who have granted COTC permission to release their names to the public are listed.

The pinning ceremony is a long-held tradition marking the passage of student to the ranks of professional nursing. The ceremony originated in the 1860s at London's Nightingale School of Nursing. Florence Nightingale, who had recently been awarded the Red Cross of St. George for her selfless service to the injured and dying in the Crimean War, chose to extend this honor to outstanding nursing graduates by presenting each of them with a medal for excellence.

Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence
The Barnhart Award honors a graduating student who exemplifies the highest ideals of the nursing profession: intelligence, commitment, sacrifice, integrity and a compassionate connection to others. Recipients receive a certificate and a $300 cash stipend to help defray the cost of equipment and career-related fees, including testing and licensure. The inaugural award was presented in May 2018.

Barnhart, a young registered nurse who loved her profession and was passionate about helping others, was only just beginning a promising career as an emergency room nurse at Newark's Licking Memorial Hospital when she was killed on Feb. 2, 2017. A 2015 COTC graduate, Barnhart was an outstanding student and well-known to use the phrase "nurse so hard," which she used to describe the deep level of compassion and commitment needed by nurses to provide exceptional patient care.

Pictured: Elizabeth Djikunu, recipient of the Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.