Letter from the President

July 1, 2017

Dear Upsilon Family:

I have been so honored to serve as your president over the past year. We have truly accomplished a lot, which would not have been possible without all the engagement and dedication of the Upsilon officers, committee chairs, and committee members. Together, they have helped us achieve a lot of things for 2016-2017.

Our Membership Engagement  Committee has continued to expand Upsilon’s footprint among our members. Special thanks to Billy Caceres, the Chair for our first mentoring cohort that wrapped up this spring. He then passed the baton to Aileen Tanafranca (Chair) and Nina Hwang (Vice-Chair), who have continued Billy’s outstanding work with our second mentoring cohort, who are about 4 months in and just had a wonderful Paint Night event in June. Philanthropy, under Kimberly Ders as Chair, is continuing to build on our relationship with NY Common Pantry, not only raising money but developing a partnership for food collection and donation as well as hands-on volunteering, which will begin this fall. Finally, the committee, under the direction of Lilian Okungu and Jane Lu (Chairs), instituted our first New Member Orientations. In both the fall and spring, newly inducted members learn about Upsilon, network with members, and also get to relieve some stress (chair massages) during the busy weeks leading up to finals.

Our Events Committee, chaired by Regina Alexander) held Upsilon’s first Founders’ Day Event last fall, celebrating the founding of Sigma. It was a great event with over 60 in attendance. Upsilon will continue this new tradition this fall, October 5 (save the date)! In addition, the committee continues to plan and execute a tremendous Induction and Awards Ceremony each April, with this past one being no exception. Upsilon celebrated over 200 new inductees and announced our scholarship and research grant recipients.  We also heard from Dr. Mei Fu, an Upsilon member and new inductee into the Sigma Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.

The Education Committee, chaired by Karla Rodriguez continue to host a wonderful journal club series, with 5 journal club events in 2016-2017. They also hosted three educational events, examining World AIDS Day (December 2016), end of life care (February 2017), and the patient experience (July 2017).

The Scholarships, Grants, and Awards Committee, revamped the application and selection process, including a blind review of applicants. Under the direction of Chair Aileen Tanafranca, Upsilon received the largest number of applications in years and was able to award three undergraduate scholarships, three graduate scholarships, and one research grant.

This past year, Upsilon started a new committee under the direction of Upsilon’s Secretary, Vincenza Coughlin. The Communication Committee also includes a Publicity Chair (Jin Jun), an Archivist (Maryann Peterson), a Webmaster (Jennifer Reed), and our new newsletter editor (Erica Liebermann). With this tremendous group, Upsilon has grown its visibility among our membership, the NYU Meyers community, the New York nursing community, and with Sigma. The group applied for and is honored to be receiving one of Sigma’s international chapter awards, the Chapter Communications and Publicity Award, at the 44th Biennial Convention in Indianapolis this fall.

I would like to thank a few of our Board members and committee chairs that have finished up their service. Janet Standard served as a Faculty Counselor over the last two years. Bonnie Tong served as chair of the Leadership Succession Committee and Kimberly Zafra is also finished her term on the Leadership Succession Committee. Finally, Karen Roush finished her term on the Governance Committee.

We are looking forward to more great things in 2017-2018! We have an excellent Board and excellent committee chairs and members to continue with our outstanding accomplishments. We welcome a few new and returning officers, including those who were newly elected: President-Elect, Selena Gilles; Treasurer, Tiffany Folks, for another 2-year term; Faculty Counselor, Michele Crespo-Fierro. We also have James Weidel continuing as our Vice President, Vincenza Coughlin as our Secretary, and Karyn Boyar as our other Faculty Counselor. Our Governance Committee consists of Chair, Gloria Chan, and members Laraine Chui and Gina Chen. Our Leadership Succession Committee is led by Jackie Cassagnol as Chair, with members Lisa Konopko and Jennifer Reed.

For Committees, Karla Rodriguez is continuing as Education Chair, looking to bring great journal clubs and healthcare lecture series educational events for 2017-2018. Debra Drilling is joining us as our Events Chair and will be working with her committee to put on an exciting Founders’ Day Event in October of 2017 and our Annual Induction and Awards Ceremony in April of 2018. Aileen Tanafranca (Chair) and Nina Hwang (Vice Chair) will be continuing to lead our second cohort of the mentoring program. Kimberly Ders will continue as Philanthropy Chair, increasing our work with New York Common Pantry over the coming year. Maryann Peterson will be returning as our archivist and Sophia Pavlatos is joining us as our new Web Master.

This great group of Upsilon Leaders is excited to serve you over the coming year. Please review our calendar to start saving dates for our events and meetings! We hope to see all of you throughout 2017-2018. If you would like to get more involved with Upsilon and/or Sigma, please let us know!


Larry Z. Slater, PhD, RN-BC, CNE

Upsilon Chapter, The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International

Clinical Associate Professor
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing