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SLU Faculty, Student Named St. Louis Magazine 2024 Excellence in Nursing Finalists

by Bridjes O'Neil
Media Inquiries

Bridjes O'Neil
Communications Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Magazine recently announced the 2024 Excellence in Nursing Awards finalists. Saint Louis University continues to dominate the educator category. This year, a Valentine School of Nursing faculty member and a fourth-year graduate student secured educator nods among four SLU finalists chosen by a prestigious selection committee.

For more than a decade, St. Louis Magazine has recognized over 500 nurses across a wide range of practice areas and levels of expertise, from emerging leaders to those with decades of experience. SLU nursing faculty are recognized for their teaching expertise, nursing leadership, scholarly research and student mentorship, including regular honors from the March of Dimes and Excellence in Nursing Awards.

A photo collage of four women.

St. Louis Magazine's 2024 Excellence in Nursing finalists. From top left: Elaine Young, DNP and Amy Kief. From bottom left: Samantha Marquard, DNP, and Eve Holzemer, DNP. Photos by Sarah Conroy.

In 2017, Interim Dean Kristine L'Ecuyer, Ph.D., was named a top nurse educator in the region. Then, L’Ecuyer told St. Louis Magazine she was proud to be honored for her work educating the next generation of nurses and the work those young nurses are doing. Now, L’Ecuyer succeeds Danny Willis, DNS, who is currently serving as dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island (URI). Willis began in his new role at URI on Jan. 2, 2024. L’Ecuyer’s appointment as interim dean was effective Jan 2, 2024, and continues through June 2025.

“I am grateful for an opportunity to support and cheer for the Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing faculty and students,” L’Ecuyer said. "We are extremely proud to see our students and faculty recognized for their contributions to the profession by teaching and preparing the next generation of Billiken nurses, their scholarship and research, and their community engagement and practice."

2024 Excellence in Nursing Finalists:

Educator Category

A photo of Elaine Young.

Elaine Young, DNP, has been named a 2024 St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing finalist. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

Elaine Young, DNP, assistant professor of nursing, was named a finalist in the Educator category. Young teaches Complex Care theory courses for seniors in the traditional BSN program. She designed and implemented a critical thinking sheet for students to describe the pathophysiology of complex disease concepts and identify assessment data supporting that diagnosis, the treatment plan, and nursing interventions.  

Young received the Daisy award in 2022 among other recognition. She volunteered with 21 SLU students on a medical mission trip in January 2023, giving medical and dental care to almost 100 citizens.

A photo of Amy Kief.

Amy Kief has been named a 2024 St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing finalist. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

Amy Kief, a fourth-year graduate nursing student, was also named a finalist in the Educator category. Kief says she’s gained invaluable knowledge and skills at SLU that have significantly enhanced her teaching ability as a Family Health and Community Health Nursing instructor. In addition to applying what she’s learned directly to her teaching practice, Kief says she’s been able to learn from distinguished faculty members and engage in meaningful research.

Through research and data analysis, Kief has better understood how to evaluate educational practices and critical interventions. This has allowed Kief to approach her teaching with a more informed and analytical perspective, which she says has ultimately led to improvements in student learning outcomes.

Community/Ambulatory Care Category

A photo of Samantha Marquard.

Samantha Marquard, DNP, has been named a 2024 St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing finalist. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

Two-time Excellence in Nursing finalist Samantha Marquard, DNP, associate professor of public health and coordinator of planetary health initiatives, is nominated in Community/Ambulatory Care after securing her first nomination in 2020 in the Advanced Practice category. As a family nurse practitioner, Marquard has worked at several clinics offering free health care to refugees and immigrants and developing two school-based clinics.

Marquard's research centers around prescribing play as an intervention for child and family well-being. She is also interested in child migrant experiences with trauma and how that impacts social-emotional development. In Nov. 2019, she was named the Pediatric Nurse of the Year by the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter. The award recognizes Missouri and southern Illinois nurses who exemplify extraordinary patient care, compassion, and service.

Women's Health Category

A photo of Eve Holzemer.

Eve Holzemer, DNP, has been named a 2024 St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing finalist. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

Eve Holzemer, DNP, adjunct professor of nursing in the DNP program, was named a finalist in the Women’s Health category. Holzemer is actively involved in developing processes for enhanced patient care and programs for Women Veterans, including the new Mammography Unit and Research.  She has spearheaded processes that have resulted in gender-specific screening rates exceeding National rates, along with the addition of Women's Health Nurse Practitioners and Gynecological care and surgery in hospitals and clinics for Women Veterans.

The winners will be revealed in the May issue of St. Louis Magazine and honored at an awards celebration this spring. For more information on the Excellence in Nursing Awards and to see all finalists, click here.