Nursing alumna wins prestigious scholarship to study elder abuse
Carolyn Ziminski

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3:43 p.m., July 12, 2010----Carolyn Ziminski, a 2009 graduate of the School of Nursing at the University of Delaware, is one of just 11 graduate students nationwide to receive a $100,000 scholarship from the John A. Hartford Foundation through its Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Program. The program is coordinated by the American Academy of Nursing.

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Now a doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Ziminski is conducting research on the influence of family structure on the social construction of elder mistreatment. She is the only Hartford Scholar holding just a bachelor's degree.

“This is a testament to her excellent education and preparation in research during her baccalaureate program at Delaware,” says Veronica Rempusheski, Jeanne K. Buxbaum Chair of Nursing Science at UD.

Rempusheski's research in aging focuses on ethnicity, interfamilial relationships, and roles that promote health and support family caregivers during illness and crisis states. Ziminski credits her with providing “superb mentorship.”

“She went way beyond her role as a scholarship adviser to teach me about research, writing, and academia so that I would be more than prepared for graduate school and even my future career as a nurse scientist,” Ziminski says.

“UD nursing school provided me with some great opportunities. I was able to participate in a summer research internship and even present my own research at conferences. I was also able to take an elective in forensic nursing, and now forensic nursing has been integrated into my dissertation project at UCLA.”

As a sophomore at UD, Ziminski was awarded the first Jeanne K. Buxbaum Scholarship in gerontological nursing. In announcing the award in 2006, Rempusheski said, “The thing that really comes through when working with Carolyn is her passion for the elderly. The more I've worked with her, the more I've been able to see that she truly has this passion.”

Through an independent study at UD, Ziminski completed a pilot project looking at how elder abuse is depicted in the media. During a summer research internship, supported by the National Institutes of Health-funded Delaware INBRE program, and further independent studies, she carried out a project examining community-dwelling elders' perceptions of elder mistreatment.

At UCLA, Ziminski is a member in the first cohort of BSN-entry accelerated-Ph.D. students. She is advised by internationally renowned elder mistreatment nurse researcher Linda Phillips, who holds the Audrienne H. Moseley Endowed Chair in Nursing.

After she completes her doctorate, Ziminski plans to seek a postdoctoral position in forensic nursing, followed by a career in nursing research and academics.

Article by Diane Kukich

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