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Faculty


Dr. Marla Erbin-Roesemann, Director, Professor

Dr. Roesemann
Marla Erbin-Roesemann, PhD, RN

Dr. Marla Erbin-Roesemann earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1977), Master of Science in Nursing Health Services Administration (1982), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (1995) from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. With over 30 years of experience in administrative and teaching roles in service and academe, she was recruited by Texas State in 2008 to lead the effort to build a school of nursing and develop a range of nursing programs beginning with the BSN program. Prior to her appointment as Director of the School of Nursing and Associate Dean of the College of Health Professions at Texas State, Dr. Erbin-Roesemann was the Dean of Nursing and MSN Program Director with the rank of Professor at Clarkson College in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Erbin-Roesemann has taught Graduate and Undergraduate Nursing at Texas State University, Clarkson College, Marymount University, George Mason University, and the University of Michigan. Her published works appear in the Journal of Nursing Law and Nursing Economics. She is a reviewer for the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing and the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Ms. Gay Lynn Armstrong, Clinical Assistant Professor

Ms. Armstrong earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the University of Illinois, at Chicago, Illinois. She graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing Education (MSN) degree from University of Texas at Tyler Texas. She has over twenty years of nursing experience, which includes: critical care, intermediate care, and case management. She was inducted in 1990 as a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society.

Dr. Kim Belcik, Clinical Assistant Professor

Kim Belcik, PhD, RN-BC
Kim Belcik, PhD, RN-BC
Dr. Belcik earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. She graduated with a PhD in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing. Her research focuses on information literacy in registered nurses. She has 10 years of teaching and nursing experience with a focus on adult medical-surgical nursing. Dr. Belcik is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Texas Nurses Association and the American Nurses Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Nurses Association. Her area of teaching at Texas State University is undergraduate health assessment and nursing essentials.

Dr. Viola Benavente, Assistant Professor

Viola G. Benavente, PhD, RN, CNS
Viola G. Benavente, PhD, RN, CNS

Dr. Benavente is a native Texan, born in San Antonio, with more than 30 years of nursing experience.  Her career trajectory includes practicing in critical care environments, working in hospital administration, and teaching in academic institutions in both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, as well as other educational settings for staff development and patient education.  She earned a BSN from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, now known as the University of the Incarnate Word, an MSN from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with an expertise in critical care nursing and recognition as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.  She holds a PhD in nursing science from the University of Pennsylvania where she was awarded a Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research/National Institutes of Health to identify predictors of coronary heart disease in Mexican-American women.  Following doctoral study, Dr. Benavente was awarded a competitive two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she examined the cardiovascular risks of older Latinas who participated in the well-known Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Longitudinal Study.  Her program of research is focused on the cardiovascular health promotion of Latinas, in terms of disease prevention and risk reduction. Dr. Benavente is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, the International Association of Latino Nursing Faculty, Sigma Theta Tau, American Heart Association, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and the Southern Nursing Research Society, to name a few.  She has received the Archbishop Oscar Romero Special Recognition Award in 2016, a Faculty Mentor Award in 2013, and the Edgar C. Hayhow Award for Outstanding Article of the Year in 2007.  Dr. Benavente has published several manuscripts about Hispanic healthcare, specifically on cardiovascular health promotion behaviors, self-care and cardiac symptom management, and the cultural and linguistic competence of healthcare providers.

Ms. Shawn Boyd, Clinical Associate Professor

Boyd
Shawn Boyd, MSN, RN, CNE
Ms. Boyd's background includes 18 years of critical care experience.  She was a CCRN for 17 years and is currently a CCRN Alumnus.  She served as a charge nurse and preceptor for nurses with varied backgrounds and experience. As a preceptor, she discovered her love to teach nursing students.  This desire to teach eventually led her to the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio where she received her Master's of Science in Nursing, qualifying her to serve as a Clinical Instructor for the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.  There, she developed and taught a summer elective critical care course.  Ms. Boyd remained at the University of Texas for approximately 7 years wherein she became proficient as a clinical instructor in both the clinical setting and simulation lab across the curriculum. In addition to teaching at the University, she taught for an NCLEX® review company and contributed to their course content development. This experience enhanced her teaching by making her especially aware of core concepts tested on NCLEX® exams.  In her current position at Texas State University, Ms. Boyd works closely with students in the clinical setting where she strives to improve concept retention, organizational, prioritization, assessment and critical thinking skills. 

Dr. Barbara Covington, Associate Professor

Dr. Covington, Nursing Faculty
Barbara Covington, PhD, RN

Dr. Covington has more than 35 years experience in civilian and military health care systems and higher education, distance education and health care informatics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Florida, a Master of Science in Nursing from University of Pennsylvania, and a Doctorate from Texas A&M University. She is a retired colonel in the Army Nurse Corps. During the past 15 years her consulting, teaching, publishing and research has focused on infrastructure development, evaluation of and sustainment for education in the academic, clinical and consumer settings including the development of Web sites, course management systems and reusable learning object repositories for online learning for clinicians and consumers, clinical simulation and nursing education and health care systems low to high fidelity technology implementation across the U.S and overseas. Her academic positions included director and associate dean for information and learning resource centers and information and learning technologies at universities in Texas and Maryland.

Ms. Mary-Margaret Finney, Clinical Associate Professor

Ms. Finney comes to Texas State University from Roswell, Georgia. A certified pediatric nurse (CPN) and nurse educator (CNE), she enjoys combining her love of teaching with her desire to ensure that children received the specialized care they deserve. Ms. Finney received her BSN from the Georgia Health Sciences University, MSN from University of South Alabama and is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Georgia State University. Areas of research interest include matching students and new nurses to the best work and learning environments.  She has worked with the March of Dimes (Georgia Chapter) on the grant review committee and values the work of this organization.  Ms. Finney has 10 years of teaching experience, and currently teaches courses across the curriculum for Texas State's Nursing Program.

Dr. Cari Furst, Assistant Professor

Furst
Cari Furst, PhD, RN, CNE

Dr. Furst is a native Texan and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. She graduated with a PhD in nursing from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Furst’s clinical experience is in adult critical-care nursing, staff education, and simulation. Additionally, she has 12 years of teaching experience at the ADN, BSN, MSN, and DNP levels. Dr. Furst is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Texas Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, and the National League for Nurses. She currently serves as treasurer for Texas Nurses Association District 7. Her research focuses on lateral and horizontal violence in nursing and its effects on students and staff nurses’ career satisfaction.

Ms. Sarah Guy, Clinical Assistant Professor

Ms. Guy earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked as a certified nurse-midwife and nurse educator for over 10 years with a focus on maternal-child health. She is currently a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, and her research focus is on mental health literacy in women with postpartum depression.

Ms. Andrea Halbach, Clinical Assistant Professor

Halbach
Andrea Halbach, MSN, RNC-OB

Recently relocating to Texas, Ms. Halbach originates from Utica, Michigan prior to a 25-year career in the U.S. Navy. During her naval career, she completed a Bachelor of Science (2006) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2007) from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; and a Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Education (2017) from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Now retired from the Navy Nurse Corps, she comes to Texas State after briefly working at Texas A&M. She continues to work PRN Float Pool as a Labor & Delivery nurse at surrounding Baylor Scott & White Medical Centers and is a Certified Inpatient Obstetric nurse. Her desire to become a Nurse Educator originates to her nursing student days and the impact her Professors made on her, exhibiting the opportunities and passion this career has to offer too new students. Her 10 year nursing experience includes: High-risk OB/L&D, Outpatient Primary Care, Nursing Leadership and Nurse Educator. Ms. Halbach is an active member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

Dr. Melinda Hester, Lecturer

Melinda Hester, DNP, RN

Dr. Hester earned her BSN from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, her MS in Nursing from The University of Oklahoma and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She has over 37 years of nursing practice and education experience, most recently as a Nurse Consultant for the Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office in Denver, CO and from the Texas Board of Nursing as the Lead Practice Consultant. She has been certified in Public/Community Health by the American Nurses Credentialing Center since 1985. Dr. Hester is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, American Nurses Association, Texas Nurses Association, National Association of School Nurses, Texas School Nurses Organization, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association and the Nurses Christian Fellowship. She has received the Oklahoma Nurse of the Year award in 1984, the Baylor Nursing Excellence Award in 1994, and the Texas School Nurses Organization President’s Award in 2009. Her published works appear in the Journal of Nursing Regulation, the Texas School Health Bulletin, and the Missouri and Texas Board of Nursing Newsletters.

Ms. Janene Jeffery, Clinical Associate Professor

Janene Jeffery
Janene Jeffery, MSN, RN, CT

Ms. Jeffery is a native Texan, and received her BSN from Texas Christian University and an MSN from UT-Austin. She has taught in baccalaureate, vocational, and associate degree nursing programs at several sites over the last 40 years, including the University of Nebraska at Omaha (Go Big Red). Additionally, Ms. Jeffery served as Director of Education for the Texas Board of Vocational Nurse Examiners before the two nursing boards merged. Her area of specialization is End of Life (Death and Dying), and the CT at the end of her name stands for Certified Thanatologist.

Ms. Regina Jillapalli, Clinical Associate Professor

Regina Jillapalli
Regina Jillapalli, MSN, RN, FNP

Ms. Jillapalli earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the College of Nursing, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. She graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Nursing, Lubbock, Texas. Her post-master’s degree is in Family Nurse Practitioner from West Texas A & M University, Canyon, Texas. She has 11 years of teaching and nursing experience, which includes: adult medical-surgical, critical care, and pediatric nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Ms. Jillapalli's area of teaching at Texas State University is Medical-Surgical nursing and Critical Care nursing.

Ms. Alisha Harvey Johnson, Clinical Assistant Professor

Johnson
Alisha Harvey Johnson, MSN, RN, PCCN
Ms. Johnson currently teaches all levels of undergraduate nursing at St. David’s School of Nursing at Texas State University.  She was awarded Outstanding Clinical Instructor of the Year for 2012. Ms. Johnson attended the School of Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a Masters of Science in Nursing with a focus in Nursing Administration. She currently practices as a Critical Care Nurse in the Intermediate Care Unit at University Medical Center Brackenridge, a Level 1 Trauma Hospital. Ms Johnson maintains a certification in Progressive Care Nursing (PCCN) and her interests include serving as a preceptor, orientation of new staff, Performance Improvement initiatives and hospital audits. 

Ms. Marylyn Kajs-Wyllie, Clinical Associate Professor

Ms. Marylyn Kajs-Wyllie, SON Faculty
Marylyn Kajs-Wyllie, MSN, RN, APRN, CCRN, CNRN
Ms. Kajs-Wyllie earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Texas Woman’s University and her Master of Science in Nursing from The University of Arizona. She has been a registered nurse for 32 years, 26 years as an Advanced Practice Nurse. Her clinical experience ranges from critical care to the rehabilitation setting. She is certified as a Critical Care (CCRN) and Neuroscience nurse (CNRN). She comes to Texas State from St. David’s Medical Center, Austin, Texas where she was Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neurosciences, and continues to be active in the Stroke Program. Besides bedside rounding and teaching the nursing staff and consulting for other disciplines, she has taught various classes at St. David’s Institute for Learning for Preceptors and new graduates, as well as neurological and endocrine classes for the critical care course.  Her academic  teaching experience includes both graduate and undergraduate levels at the University of Nevada-Reno, the University of Arizona, Michigan State University, Austin Community College and the University of Texas. She has published various neurological topics in refereed journals and is active both at the State and community level on stroke care. She maintains membership in several nursing organizations.

Dr. Son Chae Kim, Professor

Dr. Son Kim
Son Chae Kim, PhD, RN

Dr. Kim earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Washington, Master of Science in Nursing and PhD from the University of San Diego. Her nursing background is in Medical-Surgical and Critical Care nursing. As a nurse educator, Dr. Kim has taught Nursing Research, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, Critical Care Nursing, and Thesis seminars at Point Loma Nazarene University and Southern Connecticut State University. Dr. Kim was involved in training hospital staff nurses to implement evidence-based practice change projects through the Consortium for Nursing Excellence San Diego. She is active in nursing research and has developed Kim Alliance Scale (KAS) and Aggressive Behavior Risk Assessment Tool (ABRAT). Her peer-reviewed publications are related to psychometric instrument development, nursing education, and evidence-based practice.

Dr. Shirley Levenson, Clinical Assistant Professor and Nurse Practitioner Program Director

S. Levenson
Shirley Levenson, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC

Dr. Levenson earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor her Master of Science in Nursing from Houston Baptist University and her PhD from Texas Woman’s University. She has been a registered nurse for 28 years, 10 years as an Advanced Practice Nurse (FNP). Her clinical experience ranges from critical care to the home health. She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and is certified in critical care as a nurse practitioner. She comes to Texas State from the University of Texas, Tyler where she was Graduate Faculty in the FNP program. In addition to teaching at the University of Texas, Tyler. Dr. Levenson has spent several years teaching at Prairie View A&M University in Houston. Dr. Levenson opened one of the first Nurse Practitioner owned and run clinics in the United States (2003). She has maintained membership in several nurse practitioner groups including, American Academy of Nurse Practitioner, Hispanic Nurses Association, Texas Nurse Practitioners, Houston Area Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau International, Southern Nursing Research Society. 

Dr. Christopher McClanahan, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director, Simulation and Interprofessional Education

Dr. McClanahan
Christopher McClanahan, DNP, RN

Dr. McClanahan earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2010), Master of Science in Nursing Executive Leadership (2011) from Lubbock Christian University and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (2014) from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.  His capstone focus was the operational and management practices of health science center based interprofessional clinical simulation centers.  Dr. McClanahan comes to Texas State as an experienced interprofessional clinical simulation coordinator and undergraduate BSN and ADN program faculty instructor.  Chris is a member of the International Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning, Texas Nurses Association and the Texas Organization of Nurse Executives.

Dr. Star A. Mitchell, Undergraduate Program Director and Assistant Professor

Recently relocating to Texas, Dr. Mitchell brings over 30 years of experience in nursing education, critical care nursing, and educational leadership. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida; a Master of Science in Nursing from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina; and a PhD in nursing science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During her doctoral studies she received the Jane Winningham Smith Endowed Doctoral Scholarship in Cardiovascular Nursing and completed a National Institute of Health T32 Pre-doctoral fellowship on Interventions to Prevent/Manage Chronic Illness. Her research interests focus on relationships between socially contextual meanings and health behaviors, social determinants of health in underserved populations, and end of life decision making in critical care patients with poor prognoses. Dr. Mitchell’s use of photovoice and other qualitative methods of inquiry give voice to her research participants and provide unique pictures of the many disproportioned challenges affecting health behaviors in underserved populations. As department chair of nursing within a community college, she brings experience in nursing education administration, curriculum design, and a deep commitment to nursing education that utilizes creative venues. She has current clinical experience in a Level I Trauma center and maintains current national certification in critical care nursing (CCRN).  Her professional memberships include the American Public Health Association, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, National League for Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, and Southern Nursing Research Society.

Ms. Sarah Neller, Clinical Assistant Professor

Neller SON Faculty
Sarah Neller, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, CCRN

Mrs. Neller comes to us from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Harding University and Master of Science in Nursing degree from Vanderbilt University. Her background as a bedside nurse is in critical care, where she worked 5 years in the Coronary ICU at Baylor University Medical Center and in the Medical ICU at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is also a board-certified Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and has practiced for the last 3 years in a rural health clinic in Baxter, TN. Mrs. Neller teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in the School of Nursing.

Ms. Andrea Paladino, Clinical Assistant Professor

Paladino
Andrea Paladino, MSN, RN

Mrs. Paladino comes to Texas State from Chicago, Illinois where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2010) and Master of Science in Nursing (2016) from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. Her background at the bedside includes 4 years at the University of Chicago Medical Center working with adult telemetry and the Cardiac Cath Lab. Here in Austin, she has continued her work at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and the St. David’s North Austin Surgery Center. Mrs. Paladino currently works as clinical faculty across the curriculum for Texas State’s Undergraduate Nursing Program. 

Dr. Marcia Poole, Clinical Associate Professor

Dr. Poole
Marcia Poole, MSN, EdD, APRN, FNP-BC

Dr. Poole received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. She taught at the University focusing her first few years on Maternal Child Health in the Undergraduate Program. She then taught advanced classes in the Master’s program. During this time she also worked in a level three perinatal unit, and had three children. While at Wayne State she held the tenured rank of Assistant Professor. She moved to Texas in 1977 to become the Department Director of Nursing at Lamar University where she held the tenured rank of Associate Professor. The scope included the LVN, ADN, and BSN levels. In 1989 she received her Ed D from The University of Houston in Allied Health Education and Administration. From 1977 to now she has taught at Prairie View A&M and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). She received her FNP education at UTMB and has practiced in many clinical sites as an FNP, during which time she served as a preceptor for students from UTMB, UT Houston, Texas Women’s University, and LSU in Louisiana. Her clinical experience both as a staff nurse, director of clinical special projects, and as an FNP is long and varied. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, The NLN, Texas Nurse Practitioners, and certified by ANCC as an APRN. DR. Poole has done presentations at several national conferences. She has had over 40 years of education, administration, and clinical experience as a nurse.

Dr. Kathy Smith, Assistant Professor

Dr. Kathy Smith earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico and her Master of Science in Nursing and a Post Master’s Certificate from Texas Tech University Health Science Center. She earned a Doctor of Education in Leadership Administration in Higher Education from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas. Dr. Smith is ANCC board certified as both an Acute Care and Family Nurse Practitioner. Dr. Smith brings over 10 years’ experience in nursing education in roles as a faculty member and academic administrator at various institutions in Texas. Dr. Smith’s nursing experience includes rural health, medical-surgical, ICU, and home-health/hospice nursing. As an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) she has practiced in integrated medicine, primary care, internal medicine, occupational medicine, and university school based settings. Her current professional memberships include the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Texas Nurse Practitioners, American Nurses Association, Texas Nurses Association, and Kappa Delta Pi. Her most recent research explored relationships between academic nursing deans’ and directors’ perceptions of organizational support. Her other research interests and activities include nursing faculty workloads, role stressors for nursing directors, spirituality support in healthcare in the LGBTQI community, and cardio-metabolic syndrome in women.

Dr. Pamela Willson, Clinical Professor

Willson
Pamela Willson, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP

Dr. Willson has directed education for the Veteran’s Health Administrations Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center and was the Associate Chief of Nursing Research at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX. She received her PhD from Texas Woman’s University; her master’s as a Family Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) from University of Texas at Arlington.  She has taught APRNs for 25 years, directed FNP programs, and incorporated interprofessional telemedicine into the curriculum. Her clinical practice and research focuses on motor disorders, telehealth, and chronic disease self-management. Current scholarship includes book chapters, presentations, journal articles; she is Co-PI for a Texas Lone Star Stroke funding award for telehealth stroke self-management education program for rural Texans. Dr. Willson is a certified Nurse Educator (CNE) and Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP).

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