Mackenzie Lynn Williams

DNP Program

Who at WesternU has made you feel supported and how?

The Graduate School of Nursing thrives on ensuring that their students are not only comfortable in the clinical setting but also fully prepared for success when it comes to holistic treatment. The entire faculty is supportive and influential when it comes to their students. From my perspective, it is their goal to build strong advanced practice nurses through excellent communication with their students, thorough lecturing and other enhanced learning opportunities. This is largely why there is a 100% National Certification Exam pass rate.

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU?

This program is ideal for distance students looking for an excellent graduate level education as I myself travel across the country to attend this outstanding institution. I strongly recommend this program to all individuals as it is delightfully challenging, well balanced and under the direction of some of the most brilliant and inspiring minds in advanced nursing practice today.

Elizabeth A. Cano

DNP Program

Why did you choose your WesternU program?

I attended WesternU previously for my MSN, FNP-C. The faculty is amazing and the program is geared for those of us who work. The faculty at WesternU are clinicians and are current on healthcare policy and guidelines. The faculty is supportive and works hard to ensure success.

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU?

WesternU provides a superior education. There is interaction between faculty and staff that heightens the experience. The program is well rounded and there is support at all levels from the University.

Jennifer Cardenas-Arias

MSN Entry Program

Describe your best clinical experience and why it was memorable.

My most memorable clinical experience was my second clinical on the Pediatric floor when I was able to participate in a PICC procedure. My patient was extremely anxious and scared about what he was about to be going through, especially once his mother had to step out of the room. He began to get agitated and cry as he feared what he was going to undergo. The care team was trying to use ways to console and comfort the patient, however, nothing seemed to help as he continued to cry. As I began to believe that there would be no way to comfort him, I recalled hearing my patient speak Spanish with his mother earlier. Thinking it was a long shot, I held his hand and spoke to him in Spanish, letting him know that he was in good hands and that I would be next to him the whole time. I was glad to see my patient look at me in a different way. He slowed down his breathing and grabbed my hand as he was relieved to hear what I had told him. At that point, I knew he trusted me and was a little less scared of the procedure. That moment still continues to bring about warm feelings because I had never felt that much trust with a patient, especially a young child. It was a clear example of how human touch and comfort is crucial for delivering care, concepts that I had learned from theory.

Esteban Julian Gomez

MSN Entry Program

How has your involvement in co-curricular activities (e.g. clubs or student government association) impacted you and/or the community you serve?

I am currently the president of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing for the WesternU chapter. Along with promoting men's health, this year we have partnered up with the SGA and NSNA to create an event focusing on educating the community about healthy eating and healthy activities. This event was called Kid's Wellness Day. For this event, we focused on providing a healthy breakfast, educating children on picking healthy snacks and gardening at the venue site. We met people who actual live in the Pomona community and obtained a better understanding of the community’s needs. In the future, we will be planning other events that involve health screenings for the kids.

Danielle Blackwell

DNP Program

How did you first find out about WesternU?

I researched the various Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs until I found the program offered by Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California that offered an extended curriculum that would fit my busy life. I called the Director of the program and was so surprised when she actually answered the phone. She sounded so enthusiastic about the program and when she explained to me the mission of the university, I knew that Western University was where I wanted to go for my doctoral studies.

Why the DNP program?

My primary purpose for applying to graduate nursing school was to obtain a title and be recognized as an expert in my profession. This program has exceeded my expectations and provided me with new knowledge that will help me build on my strength and improve on my weaknesses. The DNP program is preparing me for leadership roles in health care by teaching me how to apply research into practice, evaluate the evidence, use evidence based decision-making in my practice, and implement clinical innovations to improve the work I do.

What would you recommend to our prospective students?

I strongly recommend Western University to all students who are interested in learning more about integrated health care and who need to balance school, work and family obligations.

Michael J. Baello

MSN Entry Program

How has your involvement in co-curricular activities (e.g. clubs or student government association) impacted you and/or the community you serve?

During my time at WesternU I was the Student Government Association Class Vice President, National Student Nurse Association Vice President, and a Leader in the UrbanMission/OpenTable program. Although the MSN-E program is very busy, there is more than enough time to be involved in co-curricular activities. Participation in various activities not only provided opportunities for me to get to know classmates, other students, and faculty members, but it was also a great way to network and get to know the community and their needs. The best thing I have done was help create and participate in various health fairs for the community. I found these opportunities eye opening and a great way to give back to others. It also provided me with more time to practice skills and, therefore, instilled confidence in my work and taught me how to be a leader and team player.

Marcia Luxenburg-Horowitz, DNP, RN, CNL

Assistant Professor, Assistant Director of MSN/Health Systems Leadership Program

WesternU distinctive: We have a master’s entry into nursing at WesternU, meaning the students who enter this program have a bachelor's degree in another field and have decided to come into nursing upon completing their bachelor's or as a second career. These are an exciting group of students to work with because they chose professional nursing for all the right reasons. They know that to be a professional nurse, they have to be well-rounded, smart, creative, caring, assertive, tough, etc. Our students emerge from the program as strong professional nurses. They have a solid foundation of scientific knowledge and professional skills undergirded by an ethic of caring. These students are highly valued by their employers. It is a privilege to work with them.

Why WesternU: It was important to me that I teach at a university whose philosophy and values where in alignment with my own. I wanted to work in an environment where excellence and caring were valued.

Best thing about WesternU: We value each other and our relationships with one another. True learning occurs in an environment of care, support, and teamwork.

Interprofessional collaboration: Meeting client and family health needs in today's complex healthcare system requires healthcare professionals who can function within an interprofessional healthcare team. Interprofessional education will enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of other healthcare professions while enhancing their abilities to work together to improve patient outcomes. This will be second nature to our students when they enter professional practice.

Best advice: Buildings do not make a university, people make the university. They are the heart and soul of the institution. As a university, we continually maintain an environment of excellence and care, which fosters the growth and development of caring, knowledgeable healthcare professionals.

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Khoa (Joey) Dang, MSN, BSN, ADN

Assistant Professor / Simulation Coordinator

Which student clubs are you involved with (as an advisor or otherwise) and what impact have your experiences had on you and/or the community served? I currently serve as the faculty advisor for the American Association for Men in Nursing, WesternU chapter. Our mission to shape the practice, education, research, and leadership for men in nursing and advance men's health. As an active chapter on campus, we have numerous opportunities to facilitate engagement between our nursing students and community partners. The most popular, well attended event is our annual Sweethearts Dance that we host every February for the residents of the Pomona Adult Day Health Center. This meaningful event allows us to care for our seniors and strengthen our relationship with our community.

Why did you choose to work at WesternU? As a former student of WesternU, I had first-hand experience with the exceptional faculty and staff. Each faculty member was committed to student success and dedicated to deliver quality education. My admiration for the excellent faculty led me to apply and accept a position at WesternU.

Lynette Svingen

DNP Program

How have you seen the University's humanistic philosophy lived out by members of the WesternU family?

I have had interactions with many of the staff and faculty of WesternU. Toni Litke in Financial Aid goes above and beyond to ensure each student has the resources they need to succeed. Allison Phuong Tieu in the Bookstore assists with locating books, supplies, and equipment. If what you need isn't immediately available, she takes the time to search and order what you are looking for. Also, she follows-up until you confirm you have what you ordered. Dr. Emanuele has spent countless hours coaching and mentoring me through challenges met in completing my scholarly project. Dr. Magladry spent time working out logistical challenges and created a supportive environment throughout my time in the FNP program. There are so many WesternU faculty and employees who offered assistance to me along the way. The time they spent with me, has had a positive impact on my educational outcomes at WesternU. There are many small and big examples of how the WesternU family exhibit actions that emulate the humanistic philosophy. I have attended other universities, WesternU is unique, the faculty and staff genuinely care about the well being and success of students. I believe their passion for helping others fosters the student centered culture and philosophy of the university.

Fredo Jean Clermont

ADN to MSN Program
Master's focus: Family Nurse Practitioner

Describe an engaging aspect of your program and why you like it?

I don’t just like the seminar weekends, I am highly appreciative of them. As a distance student, it’s easy to feel out of touch with the academic community. Attending the seminars helped me put a face to the names of my professors and fellow students. I really got to know my peers and in fact we speak and text weekly if not daily. Moreover, I can’t express how engaging these weekends were in regards to having live demonstrations and simulations incorporated into each seminar.

Describe your best clinical experience and why it was memorable.

WesternU has high standards for patient care and I received extensive education regarding history taking and physical assessment. I started my adult clinical rotation and my preceptor was amazed that I could handle patient visits so early with little guidance. He was thrilled that I knew so much. It was a proud moment for me; one that I will never forget.

How have you seen the university’s humanistic philosophy lived out by members of the WesternU family?

I absolutely see WesternU’s humanistic philosophy lived out by its members. Take Dr. Lithgow for instance. Despite the fact that she has a thriving career at WesternU, she continues to provide healthcare to underprivileged populations.

Why did you choose your WesternU program?

I am a working professional and I needed a program that could work with my schedule but also provide me with some hands on instruction. Along with the online Lectures, the seminar weekends met my criteria for a hybrid program. I was able to continue working and living my life while completing my coursework.

Johnis Saczynski

ADN-MSN, Class of 2012
Master’s focus: Administrative Nurse Leader

What one or two elements of your education proved to be the most valuable to you in your career? I honestly don't know that I could single out one or two elements. The program as a whole has affected the way I view issues in the workplace, my ability to research issues and analyze data, and the ability to adapt to changes in healthcare legislation. Further, it has helped me see a broader perspective in dealing with other departments in a multi-disciplinary environment.

Rebecca Harris

MSN-E, Class of 2010
Master’s focus: Ambulatory Care

Why did you choose WesternU? I chose to get my Masters of Science in Nursing at WesternU in the late fall when I attended the information session with other prospective students. As the CGN faculty and staff presented the MSN-E program to us, I was so impressed with the enthusiasm and passion they expressed. You could tell that the instructors love what they do, and I wanted to be one of their students. I left there so excited to begin my journey towards becoming a nurse. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.


Heather Homampour

MSN-E, Class of 2011
Master’s focus: Leadership and Management

Why did you choose WesternU? I have wanted to go to WesternU ever since elementary school. Since it specializes in health sciences, WesternU has had all of the careers I’ve ever investigated. Initially, I wanted to be a veterinarian, then decided I wanted to be an osteopathic doctor. Ultimately, I felt that a career in nursing would be my ideal and I am thankful that WesternU has an awesome College of Graduate Nursing.

Lazar Michaels

MSN-E, Class of 2010
Master’s focus: Clinical Nurse Leader

Why did you choose WesternU?

I suppose I didn't choose WesternU but rather they chose me. I did not know much about it before I had applied but when I began the program and met the professors I knew I had made the right decision in attending WesternU. I could have gone to Duke University but instead I chose WesternU due to the intimacy. As an undergraduate, I felt like a small fish in a big pond. Here at WesternU the pond is much smaller.

Donna De Silva, MSN, FNP

FNP, Class of 2014

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? Go for it! It is daunting when you think about the time involved and the cost, but if you let that frighten you, you'll never do it! Just jump in!

Why did you choose your WesternU program?

I love the hybrid program that allowed me to study at home and online and go to seminar weekends 2 times a semester. I had tried other online programs and didn't have the rapport with my colleagues or professors that I do at WesternU. I have made many life long friends and part of that is due to the interaction we shared while at seminar weekends.

Eric Eschweiler, BSN

DNP, Class of 2014

Describe an engaging aspect of your program and why you like it.

Western University of Health Sciences College of Graduate Nursing is an example of how educational institutions focus on the needs of the community and develop interventions to improve overall health. As a dual FNP and DNP student, the curriculum encouraged me to engage in population-based health research and interventions while incorporating the skills essential as a successful Family Nurse Practitioner.