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DAISY Faculty Award Recipients

2023 Recipient: Sadeeka Al-Majid, PHD, RN


It is with great enthusiasm that I nominate Dr. Sadeeka Al-Majid for the Daisy Faculty Award for 2023. Dr. Al-Majid inspires and guides clinical nurses at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center to embrace a culture of curiosity that ultimately results in the delivery of exceptional and compassionate care. She is driven by her belief that those delivering care to patients are in the best position to evaluate and improve care. Her ongoing, encouraging mentorship of direct care nurses is the vehicle that lifts them to achieve outcomes they may not have envisioned for themselves. In this role, she is a true scholar who bridges the gaps between care delivery, evidence-based practice (EBP), and research. As the sole Nurse Research Scientist for a 222-bed acute care community hospital, she has successfully supported dozens of nurses in pursuing answers to their timely and relevant clinical questions. She patiently interviews and coaches each nurse to ensure clarity in what they seek, educates them on processes that will lead to successful outcomes, and then guides them through each step of research or EBP project development and implementation. In addition to improving patient outcomes, many of the nurses she works with go on to represent their work through poster or podium presentations at national conferences. Dr. Al-Majid’s keen ability to understand the skills and strengths of the nurses she mentors allows her insight into the roles most appropriate for each one. As a nurse educator at the facility, I have observed her caring and thoughtful interactions many times. Through this same effort, she recognized my skill for understanding concepts and then articulating relevant applications for clinical nurse practice. She encouraged me to participate in contributing to manuscripts worthy of publication. Acknowledging that I had no prior experience in this type of writing, she provided the mentoring I required through consistent encouragement and targeted instruction. Her skill in quickly assessing my learning needs was instrumental in her ability to guide me. Dr. Al-Majid inspired my success through this detailed and personalized level of mentorship. She continues to work with our front-line clinical nurses, so they are supported in accomplishing their goals of understanding and integrating nursing research and evidence-based practice. In addition to her ongoing mentorship, Dr. Al-Majid’s guidance has been valuable in the organizational achievement of Magnet designation and redesignation. Her contribution to research and evidence-based practice among clinical nurses supports this nursing workforce in continually achieving this gold standard of nursing. Dr. Al-Majid’s influence is truly extraordinary and deserving of the DAISY Foundation recognition.

2022 Recipient: Asma Taha, PHD, RN, CPNP-PC/AC, PCNS


Professor Taha is without a doubt one of the best professors in the Nursing program at Cal State Fullerton. She goes above and beyond to help her students learn all it takes to be excellent scholars in nursing research. Not only she is available for the students to address their questions or concerns, but she also shows dedication to students individually to make sure they succeed. She is not afraid to give her students a little push to advance further in nursing research as well as nursing advocacy. Her bold suggestions shattered the invisible limitation that nursing students often created for themselves. Learning from her suggestions, I started to believe in myself and in the nursing profession more. My view on nursing leadership and nursing research also got expanded greatly and the graduate work became more meaningful. It's not just a paper that has to be done for a good grade but a carefully written product that can change the legislation in the future. I feel very blessed to have had a teacher who has impacted me so much to strive to become the best scholar I can be.

2021 Recipient: Shauna Pearce, DNP, MAOM, RN, NE-BC

Pearce_ShaunaProfessor Pearce was hands down the best professor I have had in CSUF nursing program thus far. My first semester in the ABSN program was challenging and full of many ups and a whole lot of downs to say the least and I truly could not have done it without her support. She is the most available professor that I have ever had when it comes to getting support and asking questions. She has answered every single email that I have ever sent her and just genuinely wants to help out her students or prior students. I had her for the writing course that we had to take our first semester and not only did she help me become a more confident writer but she helped me become a better person and a better nursing student. She was always available for a phone call or zoom meeting and was very flexible with my busy schedule rather than tailoring our meeting to just her schedule. She is such a kind hearted and genuine person and truly is teaching for the right reasons. A teacher should want to go above and beyond to help their students be not only successful in her class but in general as a student and future nurse. Pearce did all of these things and she did it with respect, dignity and kindness. She came to class every day ready to teach us and was very enthusiastic. I never once feltlike I was bothering her when asking a question in class or via email because she totally us never to feel that way. She truly goes above and beyond for her students. I am so lucky to have the chance to work with her again this semester. Because I did not pass health assessment just barley I had to choose a faculty mentor for spring semester and without a doubt I chose her.

2020 Recipient: Angela Sojobi, DNP, RN, CNM

Sojobi_AngelaDr. Sojobi is an inspiration to me and the rest of our cohort. She is incredibly busy, and still manages to make us feel like she has all the time in the world to support us. I know she does this for her patients as well. Dr. Sojobi is full of real-life pearls of wisdom and had been preparing us with all the things that we really will need to be successful after graduation. She is always advocating for us, students, and thinking of ways to be the most helpful in our learning. She is flexible in the use of our class time when she can see that a different activity or topic will be more helpful to us. Dr. Sojobi understands that stress gets in the way of learning and never stresses us out with unnecessary activities. I appreciate that she teaches us with the end in mind. She is not simply marking the check-boxes. In addition to teaching us what we need to be excellent nurse midwives, Dr. Sojobi also teaches us professional interpersonal skills like how to interact and collaborate with medical doctors and others on the care team. I am so privileged to have learned from her during my time in the CSUF midwifery program. Dr. Sojobi is most deserving of the DAISY Faculty Award.

2019 Recipient: S. Kate Bayhan, MSN, RN, PHN, CCRN

Bayhan_KateIt is without hesitation that I nominate Kate Bayhan for the faculty Daisy Award. Ms. Bayhan has been one of the best teachers I’ve had during my whole education. I have had the pleasure of being in her class for two semesters; at the beginning for health assessment and at the end for capstone. She is a passionate individual and it shows that she loves what she does. I have seen her interact with other colleagues and I see the admiration and respect they have for her. Ms. Bayhan challenges individuals to critically think and she utilizes various forms of teaching to make sure her students understand the concept. She is approachable and easy to reach out to. She is an incredibly smart nurse and a fountain of information. She is not afraid to say she does not know something and she will even have you research it so both parties can understand. Her calm demeanor allows students to feel at ease during clinical and she is not afraid to work with the student where there is need for improvement. She has taken time out of her schedule to facilitate different lectures including one for critical care and the resume building for capstone lecture. She has been able to work part-time at her hospital job, teach at CSUF, take care of home duties and her children, all while finishing her doctorate. I aspire to have her dedication one day. I am fortunate enough to have her for capstone because she has been an invaluable part of my career and I will forever be thankful. She is a great asset for the CSUF School of Nursing and I hope she is considered for this recognition. Thank you.

2018 Recipient: Penny Weismuller, DRPH, RN

Weismuller_PennyI am an Assistant Professor working with students in my chosen specialty area and at the degree levels that fit my experience and fulfill me greatly all because of Penny Weismuller. I first met Penny in Fall of 2008 when she was my project advisor in the final year of my MSN program. From this first interaction, I was deeply impressed by Penny's commitment to student success…to my success. We had an instant rapport and I knew that this relationship was something special that I needed to take seriously. Rather than steer me to an easier path, Penny encouraged and helped me to dig deep and successfully conduct a small qualitative study. I was amazed that I did it, I felt triumphant and to this day I wish I would have listened to her and tried to publish that work.

As a DNP student I had the great fortune of working with Penny once again as she guided, nudged (and sometimes shoved) me toward the successful completion of my project and movement into my new career as faculty. With her help I was able to publish as a first-time author and win a prestigious writing award. I doubt I would have experienced many of the successes I have had so quickly or seamlessly had I not had the advantage of watching my great mentor demonstrate the behaviors and actions required to be productive and successful. My new saying is that I am channeling my inner Penny. I am watching her closely so that someday I can mentor students as successfully as she has. Like all good mentors, Penny does not take her responsibility as a mentor lightly. She feels invested in the success of her students and mentees. Penny empowered me to develop my strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes. Her greatest skill is helping students, and colleagues, figure out what they need to make decisions and complete projects. I have witnessed her comfort a distraught student and counsel an under-performing student, with compassion, gentility and firmness, displayed almost simultaneously. Students seem to leave with a feeling of being supported, while understanding the consequences. Most recently I have observed Penny expertly fulfill her role as DNP Consortium Coordinator, in the face of scrutiny, upheaval and change with composure and kindness. Penny has demonstrated a tireless dedication to the program and the students. She comes in on the weekends and talks to students late into the night. She is a mentor who always makes herself available. I know that a good mentor is hard to find and I count myself as very lucky to have met Penny. She has profoundly influenced my future and practice. I only hope that one day, students will see me as I see her. Penny is a mentor and a guide who has had a great an impact on the future of the nurses with whom she has come in contact and the profession of nursing as a whole.

2017 Recipient: Jo-Anne Andre, MSN, RN

Andre_JoAnneJo-Anne Andre is a dynamic and supportive leader in her roles as Coordinator of both the Distance Nursing Program and the Peer Mentoring Program. Ms. Andre’s care and commitment to the School of Nursing is unmatched; she continually strives to find ways to meet students’ needs both inside and outside the classroom. Going above and beyond, Ms. Andre is able to help the students connect to the course content through use of personal stories which makes the content relevant and impactful. Several times she has held office hours at coffee shops near her online students’ residences so they wouldn’t have to drive all the way to campus to meet with her. Ms. Andre is a true advocate for students and devotes herself to ensuring her students’ success no matter what barriers they may face academically and personally. If she knows a student is struggling financially, she helps the student research scholarships, loans and other funding. If she knows a student could benefit from counseling, she helps online students connect to resources in their own community to get support where they live. She embodies all the qualities of a true mentor and role model. She empowers everyone around her with her dedication, trust, and genuine care for their well-being and development. She enthusiastically partners with faculty, staff, and students in a variety of ways. Ms. Andre is a true blessing to everyone in the School of Nursing - faculty, staff and students alike; she is a tireless champion of student success, the School of Nursing and the Peer Mentoring program.

2016 Recipient: Judy Hervey, MSN, RN

Hervey_JudithMs. Judy Hervey is knowledgeable, compassionate, and enthusiastic; she embodies all the great qualities of a practitioner of the science and art of nursing. Ms. Hervey is unanimously cited by students as being an inspiration, in and out of the classroom, as well as an exceptional faculty member whose energy is infectious. As a mentor and role model to her students Ms. Hervey always has her door open, going above and beyond to help and guide students, while maintaining a positive approach to life which she passes on to all around her.

Through Ms. Hervey’s anecdotes and stories, students sense how proud she is to be a nurse, how much she cares about her patients, how knowledgeable she is about the information, and how dedicated she is to teaching. Helping to foster a sense of accomplishment among all of her students, Ms. Hervey is promotes collaboration and makes it her mission to ensure that each and every student is provided with the support and tools to be better nurses. Her patience, dedication, compassion, and unfaltering cheery demeanor as well as the incredible commitment she has to the growth and development of her students are just some of the reasons her students find her to be amazing. A familiar sentiment expressed by the students, “she has been the most singularly influential professor of my nursing career and I will forever take her teaching with me wherever I go. I hope to one day be the nurse and teacher that she is.”

2015 Recipient: Sandra James, MSN, RN

James_SandraMs. Sandra James is the definition of a good instructor - both in lecture and in clinical.  She displays so much enthusiasm for teaching the class, brings activities to enhance student learning and inspires her students everyday to be a better nurse.

Her students indicate that Ms. James has the ability to teach in a way that makes the information stick in your mind, utilizing multiple teaching styles to accommodate every person in her classroom. Ms. James was a tough grader but fair.  Her happy presence, colorful personality, and candid nature make communicating with her easy and instructive. What I appreciate the most about her was her ability to advocate for vulnerable populations, people with disabilities, mental health, and health/wellness runs raising funds for various organizations.  She is extremely patient, understanding and a type of nurse you want to get to know. Ms. James expected perfection and it made her students step up to meet that expectation. We will all be better nurses because of her.

2014 Recipient: Maryann Garon, DNSc, RN

Garon_MaryanneDr. Maryanne Garon exemplifies the label, creative teacher. She uses the “flipped classroom” model and has a student-centered teaching style. She has incorporated many innovative teaching strategies into her classroom that have been well received by both her on-campus and on-line students. Examples are readiness assessment tests to assess student understanding of content at the beginning of class, and collaborative strategies such as literature circles and magnetic art. These strategies encourage students to look at nursing through a different lens and make deeper connections with content. Students are engaged and reflective in their class experiences with Dr. Garon as evidenced by this sample comment from a student: I really enjoyed the in-class discussions, Dr. Garon had a natural ability to lead students in critical thinking and discussions about health care topics and concepts related to leadership.

As a qualitative researcher, she has examined various phenomena that affect nurses in the workplace such as the ability to speak up for themselves and their clients. Dr. Garon has also been the concentration lead for the Nurse Leadership concentration for many years, providing guidance to MSN Leadership students and faculty.

For her efforts in the classroom, Dr. Garon receives consistently high evaluations of her teaching from students. These demonstrate the students’ appreciation of her classroom delivery methods and for the support she provides in assisting them in meeting their course and program objectives. Dr. Garon truly exemplifies the art and science of nursing.

2013 Recipient: Marsha Orr, MS, RN

Orr_MarshaMarsha has many roles in the School of Nursing and she does each one well. First and foremost, she is a wonderful teacher. We continually hear from students that Marsha is a great instructor. She demonstrates caring and compassion for students and really goes above and beyond to help students learn the material and master the objectives for the courses she teaches. Marsha is always exploring ways to enhance students’ learning experiences and new and better ways to create educationally effective online learning environments such as using webinar software to interact with students in real time in online courses.

Marsha also has a significant administrative role within the School of Nursing. She is the faculty liaison for all technology matters. She works to help the tech team understand the needs and requests of the faculty, staff and students. She spends time researching technology solutions for the SON and applies for grants and pilots to be able to bring new forms of technology to the school.

Marsha is also an active advisor for the CSUF chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and serves on several committees in the school and at the university level. Marsha is also a liaison with many of our partner distance facilities. She often volunteers to represent the School of Nursing at community and recruiting events.

Marsha works well with everyone both inside and outside the School of Nursing. She is supportive and encouraging of her faculty peers and works very well with the staff. No matter how stressful the time, Marsha always has a smile and a kind word for everyone she encounters. Faculty specifically request to work with Marsha on projects and students get excited to learn that she will be their instructor for a course.

Marsha is truly an example of what a nurse educator should be. She is a fair and compassionate role model who effectively collaborates with her students and colleagues and continually goes above and beyond in her faculty and administrative roles to ensure that the School of Nursing’s students receive the best education possible.

2012 RECIPIENT: Stephanie Vaughn, PhD, RN, CRRN

Vaughn_StephanieDr. Stephanie Vaughn has been recognized as being an outstanding faculty member by both her colleagues and students. Her peers say: Not only is Dr. Stephanie Vaughn an excellent instructor, she is an excellent role model and mentor. Students comment that she is knowledgeable, approachable, straightforward, and dedicated to her students. Her dynamic teaching methods not only motivate her students but make them want to learn more. She shows that she truly cares for her students and is fair and unbiased with every student.

A faculty member’s perspective: As my mentor, I have learned a great deal from Dr. Vaughn. She was instrumental in helping me become the instructor I am today. Her advice and support was greatly appreciated when I encountered a problem or needed advice on how to proceed with a situation. When I began my teaching career, there were times when I thought I could not continue. I thought maybe teaching was not for me. However, Dr. Vaughn had encouraging words for me. I valued her advice and support.

A student’s perspective: This professor has been an amazing part of the nursing faculty, and continues to be a supportive and essential part of the nursing program. She is a very active member of the faculty and still finds the time to assist students in independent study projects every semester! Despite having a full schedule, she never makes any student feel rushed during appointments, and adapts her teaching to extract the most benefit. She encourages critical thinking, autonomy, and going the extra step in fulfilling my potential as a professional nurse. She has been an extremely supportive leader, and is a great example of what a nurse educator is.

2011 Recipient: Elaine Rutkowski, PhD, RN, CNS

Rutkowski_ElaineDr. Rutkowski is one of those faculty who changes students’ lives. She is also a role model for teaching excellence. She incorporates real life examples that help students master and remember content. Incorporating health-promotion, a key concept in the School of Nursing philosophy, into classes she challenges students to personally adopt healthier lifestyles. Some students have lost (and kept off) fifty pounds, others have stopped smoking. This activity provides a lesson in the difficulties in changing habits and “walking in the patient’s shoes” and the lesson significantly strengthens the student’s ability when facilitating patient’s coping with disease. Knowing first-hand the difficulties in modifying lifestyle habits creates empathy and more effective teaching and intervention as a nurse. Students note how Dr. Rutkowski engages them in the material frequently citing her as “the best instructor I ever had”, “I enjoyed the class, not so much the material but the way she presented it”. Her students uniformly give her high ratings and praise her teaching, citing her passion for the topic, her wide range of teaching methods, and her ability to engage all students respectfully.

Some students refer to her courses as life changing events. One faculty stated, “I have taught students several semesters after they had Dr. Rutkowski as their faculty. In spontaneous comments in class discussions, these students have named her as influential in their lives to help them commit to excellence in their nursing careers.”

She links growth as a professional nurse to issues that surround students every day, from their work environments to home to the political and policy aspects of health that occur regularly in the news. Not only does she encourage students “to think like a nurse” but she encourages them to serve as healthy role models and advocates for their families, their patients and their communities. She serves as that type of role model herself—so not only does she teach principles by the evidence available, she also exemplifies professional nursing through her personal actions and commitment.

More details on Dr. Rutkowski's award can be found in this Daily Titan article.