Tompkins Cortland Community College

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Donna Ryan

From Tompkins Cortland to Duke UniversityDonna Ryan

Tompkins Cortland Community College proudly welcomed back alumnus Donna Ryan, '74 and '75, to deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2009. Donna actually graduated from the College twice, in 1974 with a degree in practical nursing and again in 1975 with a degree in nursing.

Donna, who is now the clinical research coordinator and pediatric instructor at the Duke University School of Nursing, received her bachelor of science in nursing from the University of North Carolina, and her master of science in nursing from the Duke University School of Nursing.

As part of her work at Duke University, Donna participated in "travel nursing," during which she worked at Neonatal Intensive Care Units throughout the country in a series of 13-week assignments. The work led to improvements in Duke University's NICU clinical practice.

Beginning in 2007, Donna began work on two multi-site studies, one called SMART, Stories and Music for Adolescent/Young Adult Resilience During Transplant, and the other called MAIN, Mother Administered Interventions for Very Low Birth-Weight Babies.

Donna was the featured speaker at the 2009 Tompkins Cortland Community College Commencement, and touched upon her experience as a Tompkins Cortland grad and successful student, teacher, and researcher to give advice to the Class of 2009. "I hope you realize, as I do, that what you have done at this college will prepare you for the future," she said. "People are born so they can learn to live a good life," adding the advice to "Learn from your life and live your life."