PhD Student Spotlights

Within the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing PhD program, you'll have the opportunity to work with outstanding student nurse researchers with a diverse range of research interests and career experiences. 

Kim Hartley

Kimberly Hartley

As a nurse educator, a veteran at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar here at the University of Cincinnati, Kimberly Hartley truly represents the future of nursing.

Kimberley graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and has worked at Children’s Hospital ever since. In 2012, she obtained her master’s in nursing education from Northern Kentucky University, and with that, began teaching in Northern Kentucky and leading a clinical site at Children’s Hospital. 

After teaching, she felt drawn to research and met with Dr. Donna Shambley-Ebron, the director of UC’s PhD in nursing research program. She remembers her initial impressions of Dr. Shambley-Ebron as “warm and receptive.” She recalls, “I had looked into several programs and felt like this was the best fit. UC had an affiliation with my employer, and I felt like there was a good opportunity there for me.”

“Here at UC, support is the biggest thing,” Kimberly notes. “Everyone is supportive. I have mentorship through the [Robert Wood Johnson] foundation, and the library and research network is very important.” She also is excited that the program here at UC provides other opportunities: “I have access to networking that connects me to leaders in healthcare.”

When discussing her research, Kimberly reveals that her dissertation is on “how green space as a modifiable factor of urban environments can alter health disparity outcomes.” She says, “I hope to start working with population projects that already exist at Children’s, and would like to contribute my green space projects into those.”

Moving forward after she finishes her program, Kimberly sees herself definitely working in research, and hopes to get into policy as well. With leaders like Kimberly out there in the field, the future of nursing is in good hands!

Stephanie Ibemere

Stephanie Ibemere

Stephanie Ibemere is a big dreamer with roots in a small village in Nigeria, and she is building on her successes as a Yates Fellowship Scholar here at the University of Cincinnati.

Stephanie already had two undergraduate degrees in natural science and Spanish when completed the MIDAS program in 2015 at Xavier to become a nurse. From there she began working at the Mercy West Cardio ICU as First Resident. As a triage nurse, she volunteered on a medical service trip to Guatemala, where she was able to put her Spanish language skills to a good cause. “I felt the most at home on that trip,” she notes.

Stephanie had realized that her passion lay in Global Health, and a specific aspect called capacity building. “Capacity building refers to increasing a local region’s resource infrastructure and ability to serve its people,” she explains. She also believes that a critical area to address from a global health standpoint is chronic disease.

Although she had found her passion, Stephanie wasn’t sure how to move forward until her friend and mentor Sara Burke recommended the nursing PhD program here at UC. Here she found her way to developing her dissertation based on work she is doing with sickle cell anemia in Sierra Leone.

When asked about her experiences as a Yates Fellowship Scholar, she says that “without my scholarship I would not be able to be here. It has made this process possible.” The Yates scholarship pays her entire tuition. Her experiences at the college have similarly been positive she adds: “Dr. [Donna] Shambley-Ebron [the program director] is a force of nature. She has helped me feel validated and supported at every step. The environment at the college here really sets you up for success with all of the resources they make available.”

When asked where she is headed from here when she graduates, Stephanie laughs and says she has to “take it one day at a time.” She admits that she does love teaching though and wants to teach philosophy and global health. Her biggest dreams include creating a global health department and building schools and clinics in her village in Nigeria. With her experiences here at UC, she feels empowered to go after those dreams. 

Anisa Ogboenyiya

Anisa Ogboenyiya

Anisa Ogboenyiya, a Jonas Scholar nurse on a mission to make a difference, has found her opportunity here at the University of Cincinnati in the nursing PhD program.

Anisa is originally from Houston and did her undergrad at Oakwood University in Alabama, where she earned her BSN in 2014. Since then she has worked as a neonatal nurse in the NICU.

Anisa knew her passion in nursing was in neonatal outcomes and global health, and wanted to find a way to make an impact in these areas. She recalls that she was recruited to the PhD program at UC by Dr. Donna Shambley-Ebron: “I originally thought I might like to pursue a DNP, but when I was given the opportunity to join the PhD program, I felt I could have a greater impact at a wider level, and couldn’t pass it up.”

“I am currently working on a project on missed nursing care with Dr. Tubbs-Cooley. We are studying the impact of missed nursing care on patients,” Anisa says of her current research.

When asked about her experience so far at UC, Anisa says it has been positive. “My PhD program has funded education through the Jonas Scholarship, and along with my GIA, I have 100 percent funding.” She also admits that without the resources available at UC, it would be a lot harder for her to have this opportunity. “Without this funding, I wouldn’t have been able to come to UC, I would have needed to do an in-state program.”

Anisa doesn’t know where life will take her when she is finished here at UC, but she is certain that she will be equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to go after her goals in her career.

Write Your Story

Learn about our PhD in nursing research. Sign up for more information on the PhD program main page, or contact our Office of Student Recruitment at at 513-558-8400 or