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YPNCP - Meet the YPNCs

Leslie ArendsLeslie Arends is the new director of the Young Pediatric Nurse Clinician Program. She is an Iowa native and earned both her BSN and DNP from the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She is a certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with advanced practice experience supporting pediatric and perinatal palliative care patients and their families in central Iowa. As an Assistant Professor for the College of Nursing, she is primarily teaching pediatric-related course for the undergraduate nursing program. Leslie lives in North Liberty with her husband, two children, and their pet dog.

Jesse WeissJesse Weiss is currently a Junior at the University of Iowa. He is a direct admit to the nursing program and an honors program student as well as a nursing honors student. Jesse is from Glen Rock, New Jersey, a small suburb of New York City. In his first year at Iowa, he was involved in many different activities. He has participated in Dance Marathon for three years, and last year he was a member of the Operations Committee for the organization. As a freshman, Jesse started as a Research Assistant in the Santillan OB/GYN lab. He is a Nancy Creason Young Scientist, which is an award given to nursing students to provide funding to conduct and present research. His research focuses on creating electronic consents for clinical research studies, and he is currently working on getting his research published. Last spring he presented his research at  the Midwest Nursing Research Society’s annual conference in Cleveland. For spring break last year, Jesse had the privilege to travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, as a student in the Alternative Spring Break class. The trip centered around improving children’s health in the area. He also work as a Night Manager at the Ronald McDonald House, an organization that is very close to him and his family.

Monica SamplesMonica Samples is a second semester nursing student who will graduate in May 2020. She is from small town Mediapolis, IA, where she grew up surrounded by her loving family. Monica has enjoyed babysitting her cousins and other family friends over the past several years, and she has always had a big heart for kids. She hopes to work in the NICU or pediatric oncology after graduation, and eventually apply to graduate school to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. Monica has been involved in the Sigma Theta Tau Gamma Chapter, STTI Honor Society of Nursing, and Salt Company ministry at the University of Iowa, and she has also volunteered on the Mother Baby Care Unit at UIHC. In her free time, Monica enjoys hanging out with her husband Grant, listening to music, playing volleyball, and spending time with family and friends.

Caitlyn WhittCaitlyn Whitt is a first semester nursing student who will graduate May 2020. She grew up in small town Illinois and was excited to move to a larger city for college. Throughout her college years she has participated in Dance Marathon, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and was a volunteer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She recently joined the YPNCP and Sigma Theta Tau gamma chapter with the goal of becoming more involved with pediatrics and her community. She hopes to work as a pediatric critical care nurse and has goals to eventually become a pediatric flight nurse at a large hospital. She is inspired by other nurses in her family to peruse her career and become the best nurse she can possibly be.

Payton HancoxPayton Hancox is a second semester nursing student and will graduate in December 2020. She is from Solon, IA, and hopes to continue to live in this area after graduation. For the past five years, Payton has worked at her local daycare which inspired her to pursue a career in pediatrics. She also grew up as the second oldest of six children so kids have always been a big part of her life. Payton is currently a member of Sigma Theta Tau Gamma chapter and is involved in the honors program. She also spent multiple semesters volunteering at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She hopes to work on a pediatric unit after graduation. Eventually, she plans on applying to DNP programs and becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Kelsey CalominoKelsey Calomino is a second semester nursing student who will graduate in December 2020. She is from the Port Barrington, IL, and hopes to work at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago after graduation. Kelsey is inspired to be a pediatric nurse from her experience in the hospital when her little sister battled a rare form of cancer. During her time at Iowa, she has been a research assistant on multiple studies including an ethnographic study in the pediatric intensive care unit and the microbiome study, which looks at how chemotherapy affects a person’s normal gut bacteria. Kelsey has enjoyed volunteering in the NICU and pediatric inpatient unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics during her free time. She is currently a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Gamma Chapter and involved in the honors program. Kelsey plans to apply to DNP programs after working as RN for a few years and hopes to become a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner. Outside of nursing, Kelsey enjoys attending sporting events, spending time with her friends and family, running, and cooking new healthy recipes, and volunteering.