Rowan/UMDNJ Partnership Produces First Graduate

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Sheryl Timpanelli (nee Renwick), a 32-year-old mother of two, is the first student to graduate from Rowan University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey?s (UMDNJ) RN-to-BSN prog

Sheryl Timpanelli (nee Renwick), a 32-year-old mother of two, is the first student to graduate from Rowan University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey?s (UMDNJ) RN-to-BSN program. The program, introduced two years ago, enables registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing while at Rowan?s campus while taking courses taught by both Rowan and UMDNJ faculty.

Originally from Maple Shade but now residing in Cherry Hill, Timpanelli entered the program with an associate?s degree from Our Lady Of Lourdes School of Nursing. She entered UMDNJ while the school was still a partner with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

"I was at UMDNJ before the Rowan partnership was announced," says Timpanelli. "I was the one of only two students from the UMDNJ/NJIT program to be grandfathered into the new Rowan program, but I knew I would receive a wonderful education at Rowan since my sister graduated from there."

Approximately 86 percent of employed South Jersey nurses held an associate?s degree or lower at the time the RN-to-BSN program was started, according to Dr. Jay Harper, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Because of this many BSN health-care positions are left vacant. The Rowan/UMDNJ program was created to alleviate the shortage of BSN nurses and to fill those vacant job positions.

The program is part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Rowan and primarily draws on the resources of the Department of Biological Sciences. The two-year program follows the specialized Bachelor of Science format with 31 credits of specialized required nursing courses. Students must be registered nurses to enter the program.

Timpanelli had a 3-year-old son, Joey, and was nine months pregnant with her son Christopher when she finished the program with a perfect 4.0 GPA in January. She was having contractions while taking one of her final exams and aced it.

"It was very hard to juggle my schoolwork with my family,? she said. ?I could not have done it without my husband, Nicholas. He and the rest of my family were very supportive of me."

?Sheryl is such an inspiration to her classmates,? said her professor, Barbara Benjamin, Ed.D., RN. ?Her steadfastness, intelligence and diligence in pursuing her goal of receiving a bachelor?s degree in nursing while raising a family set a tremendous example for everyone.?

Timpanelli?s perfect GPA earned her ?The Rowan University Medallion Award.? She also will be honored as ?Outstanding Undergraduate? at UMDNJ?s Baccalaureate.

Timpanelli is currently working at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and is enrolled in the Master?s Program for Advanced Nurse Practitioner at UMDNJ.

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