Decker Nursing Alumni

Find out what Decker nursing alumni are up to and what they have to say about their education! Just click on the name to open the profile!

Featured in 2020

  • Ashley Haugstatter '14, '15  
    • Graduated in 2014 with a BA in psychology from Harpur College
    • Graduated in 2015 with a BS in nursing from the Baccalaureate Accelerated Track (BAT) program
    • Manager, Nursing Relations and Retention, Crouse Health

    Image: Ashley Haugstatter
    Ashley Haugstatter
    Career trajectory

    Following graduation, I became a staff nurse in the Pediatric ICU at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. After eight months, I took on a charge nurse role where I had the opportunity to lead my team. I also volunteered to chair the Unit Shared Governance and Pediatric Specialty committees, which gave me the chance to be involved with policy review and reform as well as special projects at the unit and hospital level. After two years, I began precepting new nurses and found that I loved to teach and mentor others. This led me to seek a position as a pediatric clinical instructor for Utica College’s ABSN program. During this time I also achieved my certification in both pediatrics and critical care, and took classes including the Trauma Nursing Core Course, Advanced Burn Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

    Yearning to hone my leadership skills brought me to my current position as manager of Nursing Relations and Retention. This role has brought me a new skillset and an interesting perspective on healthcare. I interface with nursing leadership, human resources, communications, nursing staff and nursing students. I am also involved in recruitment, retention and recognition initiatives. I manage approximately 85 student nurse assistants, direct our DAISY/ BEE award programs, recruit at career/college events and support our nurse residency program.

    I am also in the Master of Science degree program at Stony Brook University to become a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner. I will graduate in May of 2021.

    Advice to current students

    Get involved! Treat nursing like the profession it is and not just a job! We are so lucky to have so many opportunities available to us — from writing to teaching to volunteering at events or on committees — there are so many amazing things you can do. Like so much else in life, you will get out of nursing what you put into it, and I encourage you to  immerse yourself in all there is to offer!

    Figure out how to take care of yourself. Nursing is a challenging job, especially bedside nursing, and you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care is truly something that can’t be overlooked as a nurse. Find a passion outside of nursing and prioritize your wellbeing so you can take the best care of others! 

    Favorite memory

    One memory that stands out is the scavenger hunt Homecoming Event, the Simulation Elimination! My team called ourselves “BAT-tastic” and we fully committed to the role, complete with Batman t-shirts, face paint and bandanas. Much to our disappointment, we came in second place, but it was a really fun time. After the scavenger hunt, we all went down to the Events Center for more Homecoming merriment including getting a caricature drawing. It was a great day!

  • Christian McCarville '19
    • Graduated in 2019 with a BS in nursing
    • RN resident, UHS Wilson Medical Center, Cardiac Stepdown Telemetry Unit
    • Current student in Decker's Family Nurse Practitioner program

    Image: Christian McCarville
    Christian McCarville

    Career trajectory

    I grew up in Binghamton most of my life, so when I graduated I wanted to stay in the area to be with people in this community. At UHS Wilson Medical Center, I work on  ST3 and NT3, which are the Cardiac Stepdown Telemetry Unit. I am also doing a residency for my first year of employment that allows me to stay up to date on hospital policy, practice nursing skills and have a better relationship with my managers and supervisors in the UHS system.

    Advice to current students

    Try your best and work hard. Don’t worry about having a perfect GPA or getting the highest scores on an exam, because all that will do is cause excess stress, which you don’t need. I have never been asked what my GPA was when applying for jobs!

    Learn from your mistakes because you’re going to make many throughout your nursing career. That’s okay!

    And finally, no matter what, don't stop grinding and learning, especially when it’s hard because you’ll never regret the things you took a chance in, but you’ll regret the things you didn’t.

    Favorite memory

    I’ve had several amazing memories at Decker School of Nursing whether it was in the classrooms or clinical facilities. But if I had to choose my favorite memories, I would have to go with the sim lab as those experiences brought everyone in Decker together and had us learn and practice our skills in an environment similar to real-life experiences. Though the times we were there were mainly learning and practical, I’ve had so many laughs and bits of knowledge that really opened my eyes to my future as a nurse.

  • Shantay Carter '00
    • Gradauted in 2000 with a BS in nursing
    • RN, orthopedic and trauma units, Northwell Health Systems
    • Best-selling author of Destined For Greatness
    • Founder of Women Of Integrity Inc.
    • Co-founder of Nurses Of Integrity
    • Mentor
    • Public speaker

    Image: Shantay Carter
    Shantay Carter
    Career trajectory

    My trajectory in the next five years would be to obtain my master's degree in nursing education, publish multiple best-selling books and continue to be of service to my community via nursing and my nonprofit work.

    Advice to current students

    Ask questions, put in the work and find a mentor. Having a Mentor is so important. Nursing school is not easy, but it's worth it in the end.

    Favorite memory

    One of my favorite memories at Decker is all the lifetime friends that I made. I also loved the amazing support system that was offered to students of color via groups like the Mary E. Mahoney Nursing Support Group.  

  • Mikayla DeGraw '19
    • Graduated in 2019 with a BS in nursing from the Baccalaureate Accelerated Track (BAT) program and a minor in forensic health
    • RN, Neurosurgical Stepdown Unit, UHS Wilson Medical Center and Behavioral Health Unit, UHS Binghamton General Hospital

    Image: Mikayla DeGraw
    Mikayla DeGraw
    Career trajectory

    My long-term goal is to pursue a career as a legal nursing consultant.  My short-term goal is neuro psych and obtaining as much experience as possible.

    Advice to current students

    Apply for positions early: do not wait until the end of spring semester, especially if you are looking at a specialty (ICU, ED, NICU, etc).

    Go to all the meet and greets offered, even if you are not going to stay in the area. It is an excellent way to network and practice your interviewing skills.

    Take every opportunity, even if you think it's going to be awful. It may be awful, but I guarantee it will help you grow and help you gain new skills.

    Be a shark in clinical. Go after experience, ask a million questions and ask to be a part of care even if it is not your patient. Be hungry for knowledge.

    Favorite memory

    The president’s champagne sendoff they host on campus in the spring is my favorite memory. They take professional pics for free. It's a blast and a nice way to end a grueling program.

  • Julien Deshler '15, '18
    • Graduate in 2015 with a BS in integrative neuroscience from Harpur College
    • Graduated in 2018 with a BS in nursing from the Baccalaureate Accelerated Track program
    • RN, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

    Image: Julien Deshler
    Julien Deshler
    Career trajectory

    My career path is up in the air. I hope to work as a flight nurse and work with international aid missions. I’m interested in becoming a CRNA, but feel as though I may end up a family NP in a small town somewhere. I’m still trying to find my sub-vocation. 

    Advice to current students

    Find a strong preceptor during clinical that you connect with, and make sure to work hard to get the nursing “flow” down. That includes all care and documentation. I&Os are super important and often overlooked, don’t be that nurse! Do a full head to toe assessment on everyone (even ambulatory patients that are AOx3) otherwise you will miss things that can really make a difference.

    Don’t forget to take care of yourself, emotionally and physically. Don’t forget the other (more) important people in your life who should get your love first. Don’t neglect the relationships that matter most. You will get emotionally exhausted, it’s part of the job. There’s only so much you can care. But with time you’ll learn how to balance it all (don’t rush to work overtime unless you need to). You’re right where you’re meant to be.

    Favorite memory

    My favorite memory in Decker was a thank you I received from a patient’s family member after they decided to pursue hospice. To see a family come together to make such a difficult decision, all while supporting each other, was a beautiful thing. Nursing, for me, is so much about the people I have the privilege to meet. This was a situation where I was lucky enough to help a family stay healthy in the setting of a sick loved one. Opportunities to help others, personal and professional, are endless and every interaction is an act of service.

  • Jackie O'Donohue '05
    • Graduated in 2005 with a BS in nursing
    • Coordinator of ambulatory quality, Northwell Health Physician Partners

    Image: Jackie O'Donohue
    Jackie O'Donohue
    Career trajectory

    I graduated from Decker in 2005 and started working at Long Island Jewish Medical Center on a medicine unit.  While on that unit, I had the opportunity to come back to Decker for recruiting, where I learned about a position on a renal transplant unit at Northshore University Hospital. I was on that unit for three years before an opportunity to work in the ED at Northshore presented itself. I started in the ED in the holding unit and eventually transitioned to the main ED.  To date, it was the best nursing experience of my career.  After a few years in the ED, I transitioned to ambulatory services as a quality coordinator, where I have been for the past six years and love it. 

    Advice to current students

    Consider every opportunity that comes your way. It might not come around again and it can take you to places you don’t realize are possible. 

    Favorite memory

    I still remember many of my clinical experiences and continue to reference them from time to time. I remember driving to Syracuse to do our pediatric rotation and briefing in an eight-person van. Last but not least, I can’t hear the song “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman without thinking of Judy Quaranta and her wonderful lecture about history repeating itself and breaking the cycle.

  • Marie Touzin, certificate '20
    • Graduated in 2020 with a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate
    • Director of nursing, Access: Support for Living
    • Director of nursing, In Flight Inc.
    • RN case manager, Crystal Run Village Inc.

    Image: Marie Touzin
    Marie Touzin
    Career trajectory

    I have been a registered nurse for eight years. I am from Orange County, N.Y. It has been an exciting journey working with the intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) population for the past 20 years; 12 years as a direct support professional (DSP) and eight years as a registered nurse.

    I graduated with my associate degree in nursing at SUNY Orange in 2012. I started as a registered nurse case manager; i got promoted to director of nursing six years ago at a nonprofit organization to continue to support the people with IDD. I continued my education and graduated from Chamberlain College of nursing in 2014 with my BSN and 2016 with my master’s degree in nurse executive. I furthered my education journey in a post-master’s degree as a FPMHNP at Binghamton University in order to support the IDD population in a wider range.

    I had the greatest experience at Decker School of Nursing because of the support I had from the instructors (Drs. Williams, Martoccia, Schoenbach and Lee) and the FPMHNP team leaders (Drs. Muscari and Rouhana and Mmes. Orton and Williams). Although it was a tough program, the team made it easy because they were always available to support me.

    Advice to current students

    My advice is to be extremely organized, work hard and focus on your study with small breaks in between. Ensure your support system is in line with your goal. Understand this is a sacrifice, and it will go by fast. Most social events will need to be placed on hold throughout the semester. Perseverance is the key to success; no matter what gets in your way. You don't want to know how many times it seems like it would be best if I put my psychiatric NP program on hold. I can give you one example. We have been trying to get pregnant for 10 years, and when we finally stopped trying we became pregnant the same month I got accepted to the program. I went through my psychiatric NP program while managing a high-risk pregnancy, and today I can gratefully say I am a mother of a healthy 18-month-old boy along with being a board certified PMHNP-BC. My baby went through it with me. When I gave birth, I had the nurses take my baby to the nursery at night, so I could complete my assignments in the hospital because I knew when I got home it was not going to get easier. 

    Use your resources, save your paid time off (PTO) for your finals and big projects and do not procrastinate! I sometimes submit my assignments six weeks prior to the due date, which is a very nice feature Decker School of Nursing has. Not all schools let you submit your assignments before the due date. Put all your efforts forward and remember, the team at your program is always there for you. 

    Favorite memory

    The most exciting and favorite moment at Decker School of Nursing was my first FPMHNP course with Mary Muscari. It was a sense of accomplishment finishing my three Ps and starting FPMHNP Role I: Assessment and Diagnosis. I felt I was on my way to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I could not wait to start clinical. Today, I can happily say I am a FPMHNP-BC thanks to the Decker School of Nursing family!

Featured in 2019

  • Courtney Abbatiello '19
    • Graduated in May 2019 with a BS in nursing and a minor in University Scholars
    • Employed as an RN in the Emergency Department at North Shore University Hospital, part of Northwell Health

    Image: Courtney Abbatiello
    Courtney Abbatiello
    Advice for current students

    My advice to current Decker students would be to have FUN!!! Nursing school is so tough and time flies by -- before you know it, all the stress will be over and you'll be an RN, so enjoy the time in college while you can. Spend your free time with friends and doing things you enjoy! It will help you get through the stress and will create memories you'll reflect upon forever. Your hard work will pay off!

    Do not be afraid to ask questions and take every opportunity in clinical to get your hands on something new. Lastly, take studying for the NCLEX seriously. I always just wanted to be on the other side already with my license and couldn't imagine what it was like, but now I am here and you will be soon too!

    Favorite memory

    I can't really pick out one specific favorite memory, but probably growing so close to the people in my program and having friends who truly understand what you're going through. Nursing friends are the best!

  • Edwin Torres '10, MS '14
    • Graduated in 2010 with a BS in nursing, 2014 with an MS in nursing, and am a current PhD student in nursing
    • Employed as a community health NP at Montefiore Medical Center

    Image: Edwin Torres
    Edwin Torres
    Advice for current students

    The advice I would give a current student is to "keep it pushing." They are on track to an incredible career that is rewarding at many levels. Sometimes when you are focused on a particular task (for example, all the schoolwork), it might seem impossible to get to the finish line, but it can be done and you will get there. Think of your education as a pizza pie that you cannot eat as a whole pie in one sitting, but if you take it by slices, before you know it, it is over.

    Make sure you take advantage of the faculty at Decker; they are very passionate about teaching, and this is something I used when I was trying to find my career path. I remember working as an undergrad with Yvonne Johnston on a project related to diabetes, and that sparked my interest in this area of work. As a master's student, I learned from Gale Spencer and Sharon Bryant how to look at the patient from a public health view. We have talented faculty, and students shouldn't be shy to get out there and see who can help you with your interest.

    Career trajectory

    As many of the students who are aspiring to be a nurse, I was an intra-university transfer (IUT) student to Decker from Harpur. I was denied at the beginning, but that did not deter me from continuing to applying to Decker and ultimately becoming a nurse.

    After graduating, I worked at Upstate Medical Center in the telemetry unit, then I left to NYC and worked at Lenox Hill. There I worked initially medical surgery and then rotated to medicine, ED, orthopedic and urology floors. I enjoyed working, and the interaction with patients, but my calling was to help patients diagnosed with diabetes.

    I started the community health program in 2014, and while working the master's program I was able to take some of the PhD courses. Currently, I am working at Montefiore Medical Center in the endocrine division, helping patients manage their diabetes diagnosis.

    I have been fortunate to find people who love the same work I do, and they truly make this journey more enjoyable. The next step is to finish the PhD and become a faculty, practitioner and researcher in the area of diabetes related to social determinants of health, "the trifecta."

  • Edwin-Nikko R. Kabigting '13, MS/certificate '16, PhD '19
    • Graduated in 2013 with a BS in nursing, a BA in philosophy and a certificate in forensic health; 2016 with a MS in nursing and a certificate in nursing education; and 2019 with a PhD in nursing
    • Employed as an assistant professor at Adelphi University's College of Nursing and Public Health

    Image: Edwin-Nikko Kabigting
    Edwin-Nikko Kabigting
    Advice for current students

    My first piece of advice is to not be afraid to go to your professors' office hours. It helps you in terms of learning the material and you get to know your professors! Knowing your professors is advisable since down the line you might need them for a recommendation for an internship, capstone clinical or a future position. If they know you, it will be easier for them to write about you!

    My second piece of advice is to have fun. Treasure the friendships and memories that you will create during your time at Decker, whether it be with your peers or professors.

    Career trajectory

    Edwin-Nikko R. Kabigting, PhD, RN-BC is an assistant professor in the Foundations in Adult Nursing Practice Department at Adelphi University’s College of Nursing and Public Health (CNPH).

    Kabigting earned his bachelor of science in nursing, bachelor of arts in philosophy, certificate in forensic health of adults, master of science in community health nursing, graduate certificate of advanced study in nursing education, and doctor of philosophy in nursing from Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing.  

    At Binghamton, he studied with world-renowned nurse theorist, Rosemarie Rizzo Parse. Kabigting is a Parse Scholar and uses the humanbecoming paradigm (Parse, 2014) in his scholarship and educational work. He is a respected scholar in national and international arenas where he focuses on the investigation of universal living experiences and unique nursing knowledge guided by Parse’s humanbecoming paradigm. His most recent work has focused on the universal humanuniverse living experience of feeling overwhelmed in a population of individuals who were receiving or providing services to HIV/AIDS patients. He serves as the copyeditor for references in the international peer-reviewed journal, Nursing Science Quarterly.

    Before coming to Adelphi, Kabigting taught at Binghamton University at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level in the areas of theoretical foundations, conceptual analysis, nursing research, qualitative research, fundamentals of nursing, nursing assessment, professional development, leadership, simulation and community/public health nursing. Kabigting is a board certified (RN-BC) Nursing Professional Development Specialist through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 

    Clinically, he previously worked as a registered nurse in the observation unit of the emergency department, telemetry/stroke unit, geriatrics and in post-acute care. Kabigting has served in several leadership roles as a nurse, including as unit practice council chair and as a member of a hospital-wide patient excellence team on issues related to the delivery of person-centered care. 

  • Jenny Kornblatt Kirschenbaum '13

    Image: Jenny Kirschenbaum
    Jenny Kirschenbaum
    Advice for current students

    Network! Making connections and exploring any avenue available is the best way to open doors. My career has taken so many twists and turns and I'm thankful to every opportunity and person I met that led me to where I am.

    Go to network events, conferences, continuing education, anything available to you. Keep in touch with the people you meet and learn all you can -- nursing is a field of endless opportunities and you never know what can spark your interest. 

    Career trajectory

    As a new grad I started as a cardiothoracic ICU nurse in Northwell Health System and stayed doing that for about four years. While working full time I also kept a per-diem gig in the cath lab at NYP Columbia. I transitioned to care management about two years ago as a management opportunity and a chance to be involved in another aspect of patient care.

    In six short years as a nurse I've explored care of cardiac surgery patients, interventional cardiology, diabetes education, advanced care planning, discharge planning and utilization management.  Where is my career going? I have NO idea, and that's the best part of nursing! There are lots of different avenues I'm exploring right now, all thanks to connections and networks I've built. Be excited, you are entering a career path of endless opportunities.

    Favorite memory 

    My favorite memory by far was when I had the opportunity to observe a transplant procurement with Michael Garlough, who had done a lecture for us on organ transplant. I was really inspired after the lecture to learn more about his role as a transplant coordinator. We ended up sharing contact information and then he asked me if I wanted to come observe! I stayed up all night observing the entire process from start to finish and to this day it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It sparked my initial interest in critical care and my passion for transplant advocacy! Just another example of the beauty of networking.

  •  Julius Johnson '05, MS '09
    • Graduated in 2005 with a BS in nursing and 2009 with as MS in nursing in the FNP program
    • Employed as an assistant professor and director of the FNP program at Long Island University Brooklyn 
    • CEO of Premium Health Depot, Family Health NP, LLP
    • Co-Founder and president, Dr Nurses (

    Image: Julius Johnson
    Julius Johnson
    Advice for current students

    Nursing doesn’t begin or end at the bedside. We are involved in every facet of healthcare, from the community, to the schools, to policy, to the bedside, we are there. Never let anyone stop you from dreaming and chasing after your goals. Grow with nursing. 

    Career trajectory

    I started off in housecalls as an advanced practice nurse. That led to me specializing in home based primary care as well as transitional care interventions to reduce to high risk patients from readmissions. I currently own my own practice, Premium Health Depot, and I plan on growing it and expanding it while sustaining Premium Health initiatives for every member of every community. My goal of creating health equity in the communities with the highest disparities drives me. I’m also working with a team on creating the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at LIU Brooklyn to help continue to grow our degree and be a trail blazer in the role of the DNP in the world. 

    Favorite moment

    I have two. One is the last night my group studied together our senior year. We laughed and cried about the adversities we had been through together in Decker and at Binghamton. While the program was tough on us (nothing great comes easy), it prepared us to face anything in the nursing world. We shared so many dreams about what we would do after graduation. The kind of nurses we would be. The lives we would help to save. That night can carry me through the darkest times. 

    The second favorite memory was when I received an award at graduation for my community service work and contribution to the community with an organization called JUMP Nation. The professors could not understand why I wasn’t attached to the nursing building like so many other nursing students. But a month before graduation the local news had did a special on Jump Nation and highlighted the work we did. The professors were astonished that I had found time to balance both nursing and the tireless work of Jump Nation. 

  • Lauren Weiss-Siegel '84
    • Graduated in 1984 with a BS in nursing
    • President and owner of LJS Health Management, Inc. since 1995

    Image: Lauren Siegel
    Lauren Siegel
    Advice for current students

    Embrace opportunities for personal and professional growth. Be sure to evolve and adapt to changes in the healthcare industry.

    Fun fact

    Her husband and son both graduated from Binghamton University!

  • Meghan Brill '15 
    • Graduated in 2015 with a BS in nursing
    • Employed as a charge RN in the Emergency Department at Cone Health in Greensboro, NC

    Image: Meghan Brill
    Meghan Brill
    Advice for current students

    Have fun in school! Trust me, as long as you pass your classes and the NCLEX, everything will fall into place. Never once have I been asked what my GPA is when applying for jobs! Also, remember that life doesn't go in the perfectly straight line you imagined it would. Don't be too hard on yourself. Finally, don't be afraid to spread your wings, try a new specialty, or a new state.

    Career trajectory

    While at Binghamton, I had decided to move south, aiming for either North Carolina, South Carolina or Tennessee. I flew down to Winston Salem, NC, the March before I graduated and nailed an interview in the NICU on nights. I moved Memorial Day weekend 2015. I passed my NCLEX on a Tuesday in mid-June 2015 in NC, and was supposed to start working a few days later, on Monday. The hospital I was hired for went into a hiring freeze the Friday before I was due to start. They pushed my start date back two weeks, which turned into two months. Luckily, once the freeze was up, my job was still available.

    I worked full time in the NICU for 1.5 years, then transitioned to the ED, where I started doing charge. I stayed in the ED for another 1.5 years. I then decided to travel nurse with Medical Solutions, but only did two contracts. I absolutely loved travel nursing and wish I could have done it longer! My boyfriend at the time asked me to come back to NC and move in with him. I began in my current role in March 2019, in the ED with Cone Health. My boyfriend then became my fiance, so Greensboro, NC, is officially my home now! I am planning to sit for the CEN exam in early October and I am planning to do a MSN/MHA program next fall (2020). 

    Favorite memory

    It was an ongoing joke in the BAT program: I always finished every test first we took. On the last exam we took in the program, everyone started clapping when I turned in my test. It was a great feeling!