Research Fellows


2016 Research Fellow – Katheleen Percora, MSN, RN, CPAN

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Kathleen Pecoraro MSN, RN, CPAN is honored to be chosen as the 2016 Research Fellow. She currently works as a staff nurse in a postanesthesia care unit (PACU) and is a Certified PeriAnesthesia Nurse (CPAN). Dr. Rona Levin formally introduced Kathleen to Evidence Based Practice (EBP) in 2005. Dr. Levin is an expert in EBP, particularly as applied to nursing practice.

Over the past 11 years Kathleen’s interest and work in EBP has exploded. She is an EBP/Nursing Research Council member at the magnet hospital in which she works, is a former EBP/Nursing Research Council Chair, and served on the hospital’s Institutional Review Board. Kathleen is a member of the New York State PeriAnesthesia Nurses Association (NYSPANA) and serves on the board of directors of NYSPANA as the EBP and Nursing Research Chairperson.

Kathleen enjoys teaching and earned her Master of Science in Nursing Education in May of 2015. Her graduate education has provided tools to disseminate EBP work and projects. Kathleen has worked on and presented EBP projects including Perioperative Normothermia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the Perioperative adult population. She enjoys presenting and disseminating her work to others.

Kathleen looks forward to beginning her Nursing Research journey with her mentor. She is thrilled and honored to be chosen for this wonderful opportunity.



2015 Research Fellow – Stephen Stewart, RN, MSEd, BCEN


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I obtained a BS in psychology (1989) and a MSEd in guidance and counseling (1994) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia after having moved there from my hometown of Cato, New York. I spent the following 17 years in the mental health field, focusing on crisis intervention, but also working in the inpatient, outpatient and substance abuse settings. Intrigued by the action and complexity of the ER setting, I became an EMT in 2003 and worked both in the field and in the ER as a tech until 2007 when I was accepted at Crouse Hospital College of Nursing. I became and RN in August of 2007.

 My nursing career has been diverse, with experience as house supervisor in the long term care setting, clinical educator, and staff nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital ER in Syracuse. I did travel nursing for 5 of my 8 years which provided me with a wide view of the world of ER nursing. I recently obtained my certification as an emergency nurse from the ENA, and am now about halfway through my MSN with a goal of research and education. I am constantly teaching and learning, and am an adjunct instructor in Cazenovia College’s healthcare management program.

 I am heavily influenced by the philosophies of Jean Watson, Martha Rogers, Florence Nightingale, and Patricia Benner. I have a passion for doing my part in growing and developing our new nurses and my research interests are focused in this area, with the use of complimentary and alternative methods to improve growth and development. My dissertation, when the time comes, will undoubtedly encompass these interest areas.

2014 Research Fellow – Jessica Jackson


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My name is Jessica Jackson and I am very excited to be chosen as the 2014 Research Fellow! I was born and raised in Central New York.  I currently work as a Registered Nurse (RN) Data/quality Coordinatory for the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at the Upstate Cancer Center/University Hospital in Syracuse, New York.  This is a new position for me and I’m enjoying every moment of it! Before I was a RN Data/quality Coordinator, I worked as a staff RN on a medical/surgical floor. The floor I worked on admitted a variety of people that came through with so many different diagnoses. I learned a great deal of information and gained tons of experience along the way.  This role was both challenging and rewarding.

I graduated from the SUNY Brockport Nursing Program with my Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree in May 2010.  While attending Brockport, I was a member of Sigma Theta Tau International and Alpha Chi Honor Societies. My passion for research began when I met my advisor Dr. Elizabeth Heavey.  Dr. Heavey addressed my millions of questions regarding research and then allowed me the privilege to be her Research Assistant.  Through our many discussions and the position, I became more fascinated by nursing research and all it entails.  Dr. Heavey also served as my advisor when I conducted my independent research project. 

Throughout these experiences I discovered an additional passion next to nursing, which is epidemiological research. I went on to study this field and earned my Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Epidemiology at the SUNY Albany School of Public Health. I was also the recipient of the Carson Carr Diversity Award while pursuing my studies there.   

I am involved with Upstate University Hospital’s Nursing Research Special Interest Group (NRSIG) headed by Dr. Priscilla Worral as well as serving as a member of the Bone Marrow Transplant Quality Program. I very much enjoy attending these meetings and interacting wiwth advance practice nurses and other nurses from different departments.

 I feel so blessed to have been chosen as the 2014 Research Fellow. I’d like to take the time to thank my family for all of their encouragement and support along the way.  Their consistent love and support has allowed me to succeed at fulfilling my dreams.  I am tremendously honored and look forward to this exciting experience.

2013 Research Fellow – Melinda Barry

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My name is Melinda Barry, and I am honored that I was chosen as one of the Research Fellows for 2012. I grew up and currently reside in Central New York. I am a graduate of the Dual Degree Partnership between St. Joseph’s College of Nursing and Le Moyne College, where I earned my Associate’s degree and Bachelor’s degree. My nursing career began on a Medical-Surgical Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where I have worked for over three years. The patient population I care for includes: general surgery, orthopedics, and bariatric weight loss.

            My passion for research in nursing began when I took a nursing research course with Dr. Gina Myers at Le Moyne College. One of the assignments for the class included me making an Evidence Based Practice (EBP) poster that was selected as an Eye on Innovations Poster for 2014 at St. Joseph’s Hospital. In Dr. Myers’ class, I learned that it is important for nurses to utilize EBP and research to enhance and improve nursing care. When I graduated from Le Moyne, I was looking for an opportunity to be a part of research in the nursing field. Dr. Myers introduced me to and helped me in my application process to become a Research Fellow.

            After being selected as a Research Fellow, I decided to base my project on hypoglycemia in post-operative bariatric patients who either had the Gastric Bypass or Gastric Sleeve procedure. The previous policy for treating hypoglycemia in bariatric post-operative patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital was causing patients to experience side effects of dumping syndrome, nausea, and vomiting. My project included being part of a committee that changed the policy for treating hypoglycemia in these patients, performing chart reviews, and interviewing staff to follow the results of the new policy. I am close to reaching my goal of including twenty incidences in the study, and am looking forward to making an EBP Poster with the results of the study.

            I would like to sincerely thank the Foundation of New York State Nurses and Dr. Gina Myers for the opportunity and all of the support I have received during my fellowship.  I also want to thank the family and friends who have supported me throughout my life.