Kentucky State University Awards its First Doctoral Degrees

Kentucky State University, the historically Black educational institution in Frankfort, recently conferred its first doctoral degrees in the 131-year history of the educational institution. Six students were awarded the doctor of nursing practice degree at the university’s fall commencement.

Yolanda M. Powell-Young, professor and chair of the School of Nursing at Kentucky State University, stated that “to strengthen its place in history, Kentucky State University has the distinct honor of being the first HBCU to offer the DNP. DNP programs prepare nurses who are qualified to practice within distinct roles or specialties that require expertise, advanced knowledge and mastery in one area of nursing practice.” The Kentucky State program concentrates on gerontology primary care.

The first six doctoral holders from Kentucky State are: Tamara L. Crawford-Fields, LaFran Courtney Hawkins, Gwendolyn D. Steward Jeffery, Jennifer Michelle Walker, Michelle M. Wilcox, and LaWanda Maritza Wood. There are 16 other doctoral students currently in the program.

LaWanda Maritza Wood, one of the six new doctoral degree recipients, stated that “the last three years have been an amazing journey. Reflecting on the past, I have gained a greater understanding of nursing and endless possibilities. I have been exposed to new opportunities and built new relationships I hope will continue to grow.”


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