Skip to main content

Convocation celebrated student’s outstanding advocacy and donor’s generosity

At the end of each semester, the School of Nursing celebrates its graduating seniors on the day before the University’s commencement ceremony. This Convocation event gives each cohort intimate time to celebrate with their peers and faculty, as well as express words of gratitude to their family and friends as they ceremoniously receive their regalia.

This December, the school celebrated a total of 179 graduates from across the on-campus bachelor’s program, the online RN-BS program and the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) program.

Every Convocation includes common elements, like speeches from student speakers, presenting regalia to the graduates, and reading of the nursing oath. In more recent years, the school also started awarding the semester’s Daisy Awards for extraordinary faculty and nursing students.

Daisy Awards recognize extraordinary nurses

Edy Zepeda receives faculty award

The Daisy Award for Extraordinary Faculty honors professors making an impact on the future of nursing. It celebrates their distinguished commitment to care and inspirational influence on both students and colleagues.

Edy Zepeda is congratulated on stage in his regalia by two other nursing professors.
On behalf of the school’s Daisy Committee, associate professor Renee Walters presented the Award for Extraordinary Faculty to Zepeda.

This year’s recipient is clinical assistant professor Edy Zepeda, a 2014 Bronco Nurse alum.

Students who nominated Zepeda said he is patient, knowledgeable and fully invested in his students, an “outstanding instructor whose skill in developing students through the clinical space is second to none.”

Another student noted that Zepeda goes out of his way to explain difficult concepts and connect holistically with students, continuing the support even after they were no longer in his courses.

This student nominated Zepeda because he helped them feel “worthy of being [in nursing school] even when my self-doubt would creep in,” they said. “I appreciate everything he has done for me and that he helped me to feel confident in my future as a nurse.”

Zepeda’s career in nursing began at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center telemetry unit. Since then, he has held positions in multiple units ranging from trauma one centers to crisis/rapid response teams and medical, surgical and trauma ICUs. He holds his Master’s of Science in Nursing from Pennsylvania State University.

Esteban Palencia receives student award

This year’s recipient of the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nursing Student is senior Esteban Palencia.

Those who nominated Palencia described him as a dedicated student who is inquisitive, patient, and kind-hearted, saying he will make an excellent addition to the nursing practice as he excels in making connections and advocating for patients.

Esteban Palencia shakes a professor's hand as he walks on stage to accept his award.
Professor Kelley Connor congratulated senior Esteban Palencia as he arrived on stage to accept the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Student.

Palencia was nominated for one instance of advocacy in particular. During his preceptorship with a school nurse, he cared for a student who had received a head injury during recess. Over the course of 45 minutes, Palencia recognized the student’s condition rapidly worsening and recommended his preceptor call 911.

Palencia not only gave the paramedics a detailed report of the situation, but he advocated for the patient in a way no one else could.

The patient and their guardian primarily spoke Spanish, which neither the preceptor nor paramedics knew. Palencia reassured the student’s guardian – who was reluctant to send their child with the paramedics – and recommended that the patient be seen in an advanced care facility.

Thanks to Palencia’s advocacy, the student’s guardian agreed and the student ended up receiving life-saving treatment. Palencia received a thunderous applause and a standing ovation from his cohort as he accepted the Daisy Award.

Student speakers reminisce and encourage

Convocation also features keynote speeches from both an undergraduate and graduate candidate. AGNP graduate Sarah Kershner spoke about her experience in the program and that crucial moment she discovered: she wasn’t alone in her educational journey.

“I refused to ask anyone for help or clarification because I expected as a grad student, I should already have the answers,” she reminisced. But attending the in-person summer intensive proved to be the turning point.

“I remember looking around and feeling foolish for spending that first semester isolating myself from all of you kind and welcoming people,” she said. “That day proved pivotal to altering the mindset from “I should know this” to “We will figure this out together.”

Jan Bobadilla stands on stage at the podium in his blue and orange regalia.
Now an alum of the online RN-BS program, Jan Bobadilla represented the bachelor’s degree candidates as he addressed his fellow graduates.

RN-BS graduate Jan Bobadilla encouraged his peers to truly act, lead and care like nurses should, “being the beacon of light that serves to guide others in their journey to reach their full potential,” he said.

Bobadilla challenged his fellow graduates to serve as an example for others by retaining their empathy and compassion during difficult times and “maintaining adaptability and resilience as master problem-solvers, astute critical thinkers, and expert time managers.”

Grateful for the Pedigo’s support

Two nursing professors present a blue scrub in a frame to a donor couple.
Rick and Terri Pedigo (right) accepted a plaque and a framed Boise State nursing scrub shirt in recognition of their generous support.

Each Convocation also includes a time of gratitude in recognition of a special donor who has significantly impacted nursing students. This year, Rick and Terri Pedigo of Pedigo Products, Inc. received a token of appreciation for their generosity.

The Pedigos have generously supported the skills and simulation labs in this school – as well as several other departments within the College of Health Sciences and the athletics training department – with donations of new equipment and technology. Pedigo Products, Inc., is a third-generation, family-owned business that manufactures medical devices in Vancouver, Washington. From stools to IV stands, patient stretchers to blanket warmers, and surgical case carts to Mayo stands – their in-kind gifts help Broncos learn, compete and stay healthy.

Rick and Terri became “true blue” by way of their kids. Two of their three children graduated from Boise State – Lauren in Kinesiology and Chad in Health Sciences. As Bronco parents and loyal fans, and with Rick’s service on the Boise State Foundation Board, their commitment to student success and enthusiasm for the university truly runs deep. Rick even appeared at the Pedigo headquarters one Halloween dressed as Buster Bronco, forever earning him the nickname of “Bronco Ricky”!

In 2022, Divisional Dean Shelle Poole met with the University Foundation Board about the ongoing need for equipment to teach students clinical skills before they train in the community with our healthcare partners. She explained that the School of Nursing needed to dramatically and immediately increase the capacity of its skills labs and simulation labs to both support the new undergraduate curriculum and further enhance students’ workplace readiness.

After the meeting, Rick reached out to offer help. He toured the School of Nursing to better understand our challenges, our innovative approaches to nursing education, and what it will take to sustain our quality of experiential learning. A few weeks later, a semi truck pulled up to the Norco building and unloaded 42 pieces of new Pedigo equipment. There was also equipment for athletic training, respiratory care, radiologic sciences and University Health Services.

Join the Pedigos in support of Bronco Nurses