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Education: Dr. Bongiorno was a presidential scholar awardee at Norwich University, where she completed her BS in Nursing with a minor in Mass Communication. She was also a recipient of the National Gold Circle Award by the American Medical Association for excellence in medical reporting. Continuing her love of media and nursing, Dr. Bongiorno focused her graduate work on mass communication and tobacco prevention. She was the recipient of the Graduate Thesis award for her Master’s thesis at the University of Vermont.
Professional: Dr. Bongiorno has been a public health nurse for 10 years and prior to this was a critical care nurse. She was also very active in public policy as director of government affairs and a lobbyist for the American Lung Association of Vermont. Dr. Bongiorno is a long time member of the tobacco control movement. She has been involved in multiple state level policy initiatives. Her research interests include mass media and tobacco prevention, ethical decision making and public health nursing education. Other research and program areas include diversity and oppression, indigenous health and academic dishonesty. She has written several grants to examine issues with diverse populations. Her interest in culturally competent health practices has also led to recent research in ethical teaching and learning practices in nursing education.
Dr. Bongiorno has a deep passion for public health and health promotion and exploring cultural competency through work with vulnerable populations. She developed a study abroad program specifically designed for nursing and professions students in Mexico and escorts groups each year to work with the indigenous population. Charitable interests include supporting an orphanage for Kenyan children whose families have all perished from HIV/AIDs and raising funds to develop sustainable incomes for widowed women in third world countries.
Dr. Bongiorno embraces a philosophy that is built upon a foundation of constructivist learning, where students and faculty co-facilitate learning. Teaching and learning is a shared experience that should be engaging, fun, and interactive. The best learning occurs on a ‘leading edge’, where the student is a bit uncomfortable. This means the ‘wheels are turning’ and one is stretching to the edge of their capacity to analyze, grow and learn. Nursing students need to rely less on memory and more on knowing how to find the important information and how to engage right from the start in complexity learning. Only then can quality, safety, and ethical comportment become a part of the fabric of student lives.
Office: Hawkins Hall 221E