Alumni in the News: Carnegie project honors GSE doctoral alumna
Author: PSU Alumni Association
Posted: October 9, 2013

GSE doctoral graduate Mary Cato, ’13, is one of three individuals nationwide recognized by the 2013 Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Dissertation in Practice Awards. Her dissertation, entitled Nursing student anxiety in simulation settings: A mixed methods study, received honorable mention at the CPED annual awards event. The study looked at how baccalaureate nursing students’ learning is impacted by anxiety in clinical simulations, an academic practice that is gaining popularity in nursing schools.

Dr. Cato is a graduate of the GSE’s Postsecondary, Adult, and Continuing Education (PACE) doctoral program and an assistant professor in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing where she has taught since 2004.

The Carnegie Project’s Dissertation in Practice Award highlights work that connects scholarly research with current issues in education. “This is a significant honor, because CPED's Dissertation in Practice Award goes through a rigorous blind review selection process,” says GSE Associate Dean, Dr. Micki Caskey.

In her research, Dr. Cato wanted to learn more about the impact of anxiety on learning. “For students that become anxious, their ability to learn from the simulation case, or even remember what happened, is seriously affected,” she said. “The students in my study were very willing to share their ideas of how anxiety affected them, and what faculty could do to help them keep their anxiety at a manageable level.”

“Dr. Cato's work is a prime example of a dissertation that addresses a problem in practice,” said her advisor, Dr. Candyce Reynolds. “The results of her study had immediate impact on the students she works with in the nursing program at OHSU. Dr. Cato is a critical and creative thinker, and the field of adult education will continue to benefit from her thoughtful analysis and problem solving in the future.”