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.*
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
Mary Eva Kamumbu
Practical Nursing One-Year Certificate
Surgical Technology One-Year Certificate
*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.