Elizabeth Djikunu

Elizabeth Djikunu was the recipient of the Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence at Central Ohio Technical College.

NEWARK — Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) held pinning ceremonies to honor the following 2019 summer semester graduates of its healthcare technology programs.

The Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence was presented to Elizabeth Djikunu of Columbus. Growing up in Ghana, Djikunu dreamed of one day becoming a nurse, but the road to get there was fraught with obstacles: immigrating to a new country, homelessness and an ailing mother. Read her story here.

“I really do appreciate it. This will definitely help me pay for the things I need to become the best nurse that I can,” she said. “I thank COTC, the entire staff and faculty, so much for making this dream come true.”

Other nursing technology awards presented to graduates include:

Simpson-Wellington Award for Clinical Excellence: Samantha Gastaldo, of Pickerington, Alexandria Pollard, of Delaware, and Kellie Sabo, of Columbus.

Outstanding Graduate: Heidi Johnson, of Columbus Gabriella Walls of Lancaster.

LPN Clinical Award: Kerri Tolliver, of Mansfield.

LPN Outstanding Graduate: Zoe Cassidy, of Johnstown.

Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Technology.

Bellville: Kirsten Cockrell.

Blacklick: Natalia Besedina.

Canal Winchester: Mary Eva Kamumbu.

Carroll: Roberta Woolridge.

Columbus: Jamie Breckler, Joshua Colvin, Elizabeth Djikunu, Julia Hoehn, Emma Hooper, Heidi Johnson, Hope Marrah, Amina Musah, Volha Niakhaichyk, Kirsten Niyonkuru, Courtney Pearce, Kellie Sabo, Jessica Slater and Cori Woodland.

Coshocton: Ashley West.

Delaware: Alexandria Pollard.

Dublin: Mark Munsey.

Gahanna: Devra Mast and Corey Stewart.

Galena: Madison Bayer.

Glouster: Moerike Martin.

Granville: Michael Sheets.

Groveport: Cassandra Snyder.

Heath: Frances Harmon, Anaveli Morales, Jordan Poulton, Brooke Smith.

Howard: Gabrielle Walls.

Lancaster: Samuel Dyer and LeAndra Mercier.

London: Cecilia Hatem.

Mansfield: Morgan Peer.

Mount Vernon: Michael Lepley, Heather Watts and Ruth White.

Nashville: Kristi Carathers.

New Albany: Courtnay Banks.

Newark: Kyle Gattrell, Jessica Gleckler, Valerie Nunamaker and Teal Richards.

Orient: Kathryn Webb.

Pickerington: Samantha Gastaldo.

Powell: Krystal Sunnucks.

Reynoldsburg: Eyong Agbor, Golda Kudalor, Steven Leighner, Megan McGrothers, Ashley Morgan and Jacqueline Thorpe.

South Zanesville: Jacqueline Wagner.

Thornville: Sydni Saveski.

Upper Arlington: Kristin Brown.

Utica: Holly Bangert and Nichole Vine.

Westerville: Juliter Chirchir, Marla Hoffman and Brittany Muncy.

Whitehall: Shine Adrie.

Zanesville: Alyssa Hoopes and Ashley Scott.

Practical Nursing One-Year Certificate

Butler: Brooke O'Connor.

Columbus: Saynab Abdinur, Navaria Boswell, Charon Brown, Kayla Cain, Kaela Clark, Salma Halane, Markia Hendricks Selena Kelsor and Sabra Polk.

Corning: Dezarae Rodgers.

Dublin: Nicole Slosser.

Etna: Ashleigh Cook and Nicole Greenberg.

Fredericktown: Sarah Demarco and Kylie Elliott.

Heath: Brianna Lowery and Makayla Wiley.

Johnstown: Zoe Cassidy.

Logan: Tess Daniel.

Mansfield: Kerri Tolliver.

Mount Vernon: Michaela Cline.

Newark: Amber Lacy.

Newcomerstown: Brent Wright.

Pataskala: Jessica Holsinger, Shauna Housley and Achanyi Nkengbeza.

Westerville: Megan Ramos.

Zanesville: Kadance Hutchins.

Surgical Technology One-Year Certificate.

Amanda: Rachel Klinger.

Columbus: Na'Tasha Sams and Meagen Thomas.

Hilliard: Anzhelika Lyubezhanin.

Lancaster: Ashley Barringer.

Mount Vernon: Emily Haslehurst and Kevin Henthorn.

Nashport: Taylor Hittle.

New Marshfield: David Osborne.

Sunbury: Maria Shay.

Thornville: Carla Cooke.

Utica: Marissa Feyh.

*Only graduates who have granted COTC permission to release their names to the public are listed.

The pinning ceremony is a long-held tradition marking the passage of student to the ranks of professional nursing. The ceremony originated in the 1860s at London’s Nightingale School of Nursing. Florence Nightingale, who had recently been awarded the Red Cross of St. George for her selfless service to the injured and dying in the Crimean War, chose to extend this honor to outstanding nursing graduates by presenting each of them with a medal for excellence.

Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence

Elizabeth Djikunu was the recipient of the Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence at Central Ohio Technical College.

The Barnhart Award honors a graduating student who exemplifies the highest ideals of the nursing profession: intelligence, commitment, sacrifice, integrity and a compassionate connection to others. Recipients receive a certificate and a $300 cash stipend to help defray the cost of equipment and career-related fees, including testing and licensure. The inaugural award was presented in May 2018.

Barnhart, a young registered nurse who loved her profession and was passionate about helping others, was only just beginning a promising career as an emergency room nurse at Newark’s Licking Memorial Hospital when she was killed on Feb. 2, 2017. A 2015 COTC graduate, Barnhart was an outstanding student and well-known to use the phrase "nurse so hard," which she used to describe the deep level of compassion and commitment needed by nurses to provide exceptional patient care.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.

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