Connell School of Nursing Dean to step down

Connell School Dean Susan Gennaro

Dean and Professor Susan Gennaro, an internationally recognized nurse scientist who has led the Boston College Connell School of Nursing (CSON) since 2008, announced in July she would step down as dean at the end of the 2020–21 academic year. She will remain a member of the Connell School faculty. 

Gennaro’s standout achievements are many, and include the advancement of academic excellence and curricular change at CSON, notably in the establishment of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program in fall 2019.

A vital part of a university grounded in Jesuit ideals, the Connell School under Dean Gennaro has focused on nurturing the whole person and using knowledge in service to others. Initiatives that promote social justice range from the KILN program, which supports students who are the first in their families to attend college or whose backgrounds are underrepresented in nursing; to educational partnerships with university affiliates in Europe, South America, and Australia; to international service trips to care for and provide health education to local and indigenous communities.

Gennaro is co-principal investigator of a major study, funded at the NIH’s National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, of a prenatal care intervention for pregnant minority women experiencing emotional distress. She also is editor of the highly ranked Journal of Nursing Scholarship.

After retiring from her deanship, Gennaro plans to focus on her research, the journal, and on other scholarly and teaching activities.

CSON in the age of COVID-19

On campus

Students returned to Boston College in late August to begin the fall semester, and found a campus and community immersed in protocols and practices aimed at protecting against the coronavirus.

All faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students were tested for COVID-19 before fall classes began, and random testing continued through the semester.

The pandemic brought signal changes to teaching and learning: Courses were taught in-person, online, or in a hybrid mode. Classrooms, limited to 50 percent capacity, were reorganized to ensure social distancing. Face masks were required in classrooms and common areas throughout the campus.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing clarified its requirements for licensure, extending the policy for undergraduates that simulation and virtual simulation can be used to meet objectives in lieu of direct patient care for the academic year.

In the media

Nadia Abuelezam

With anxiety rising and accurate information about COVID in high demand, epidemiologist and Assistant Professor Nadia Abuelezam was sought out for comment by more than a dozen major news outlets. She weighed in on:


The Connell School of Nursing master’s program rose to #27 in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 rankings of graduate schools of nursing. The Family Nurse Practitioner program is #9 in the clinical specialty rankings.

The American Academy of Nursing (AAN) inducted Assistant Professor Andrew Dwyer and alumni James Dionne-Odom, Ph.D. ’13; Patricia Reidy ’72, M.S. ’89; Ellen Robinson, M.S. ’83, Ph.D. ’97; and Lisa Wolf, Ph.D. ’11, as fellows at AAN’s virtual conference in October.

In a Boston College Beacon Leadership Conversation in June, Dean Susan Gennaro discussed how she and CSON faculty have been called upon to serve as advocates and experts during the pandemic. Aristotle Boslet ’18 and Adelene Egan ’18 shared their thoughts on how Boston College prepared them for nursing during a challenging time.



Camara Phyllis Jones

Forum on Racial Justice in America

Physician and epidemiologist Camara Phyllis Jones, who is a senior fellow at Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Cardiovascular Research Institute, spoke virtually at Boston College in October about structural racism, health care, and how students can act as anti-racism change agents. 

Patricia Davidson

Pinnacle Lecture Series

Patricia Davidson, dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, gave the first-ever virtual Pinnacle lecture in November on “COVID-19: Lessons Learned and a Call to Action.”

Faculty and staff

Nursing Research Librarian Wanda Anderson received the inaugural Appreciation Award from the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, a regional chapter of the Medical Library Association.

Mei Fu, who holds the Barry Family/Goldman Sachs Endowed Professorship in Nursing at Boston College, received the 2020 Connie Henke Yarbro Excellence in Cancer Nursing Mentorship Award from the Oncology Nursing Foundation.

Michele Hubley, the administrative assistant in the Office for Nursing Research, was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the national honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities.

Clinical Associate Professor Carol Anne Marchetti and Clinical Assistant Professor Victor Petreca received a Boston College Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring Expense Grant for an enhanced simulation experience for their psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner students.

Assistant Professor Britt Pados was elected a 2020 fellow of the American Heart Association.

Assistant Professor Jinhee Park was awarded a Boston College Ignite Grant for her study “Splanchnic and Cerebral Oxygenation During Oral Feeding near Discharge as an Early Biomarker of Problematic Feeding in High-risk Infants.” 

Student awards

Exceptional students are typically recognized at Commencement, but Boston College was forced to cancel its 2020 Commencement ceremony due to the pandemic. These are the names of outstanding undergraduates and graduate students and the honors they received for their academic, clinical, and scholarly achievements.


Taylor Elizabeth Sadowski
Alumni Award

Erinma Ifegwu Anya
Marie S. Andrews Clinical Performance Award

Daniela Catarina Went
Cathy Jean Malek Award

Sarah Ann Murphy
William F. Connell Award Undergraduate Nominee

Emily Sage Maulucci
Edward H. Finnegan, S.J., Award Nominee

Heena Nissaraly
Reverend Edward J. Gorman, S.J., Leadership Award

Kelly Ma
Susan E. Donelan Inclusive Community Award

Petrena Antoinette Sommerville

Jean A. O’Neil Achievement Award

Shannon Cathleen Conley

Maureen A. Eldredge Leadership and Volunteer Service Award


Brandon Wu
Patricia M. Ibert Scholars Award

Erin Flaherty, Ph.D., RN, APRN, FNP-BC
Ann W. Burgess Award
Dorothy A. Jones Award
Doctoral Dissertation Award

Anna Sobocinski

Magaw-Hodgins Nurse Anesthesia Award

Recognition for clinical excellence in specialty concentration
Cassandra Soffron
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Genevieve Ohemeng
Family Nurse Practitioner

William Harrington
Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA)

Julie A. Quistorff

Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Mikayla McAdams
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Maria Meyer
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner