Please join faculty and staff at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in congratulating the members of our MS in Palliative Care Class of 2020. These individuals are now equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to help improve quality of life for patients and their families impacted by serious illness.

PLEASE NOTE: The information provided below was self-submitted by members of the Class of 2020. The School of Pharmacy has made every effort to provide a complete and accurate listing of Class of 2020 spring graduates and their awards and honors. If we have made an error or omission, please accept our sincere apology and contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at so that we may correct this website.

Sabrina Abbott

MS in Palliative Care

“If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Chrystal Antoine-Frank

MS in Palliative Care

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain." - Unknown

Note of Thanks: Special thanks to Leilani Drayer, Lynn McPherson, and Almighty God.

Andy Arwari

MS in Palliative Care

Note of Thanks: I would like to thank Dr. Mary Lynn McPherson and all of the phenomenal program instructors who made this an amazing experience.

Dawn Baker

MS in Palliative Care

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future." - Proverbs 19:20

Note of Thanks: Thank you to my family for all of your love and support. A special thank you to my wonderful husband, Michael, for encouraging me, supporting me, and for always making me laugh. I love you more than you know.

Ryan Baldeo

MS in Palliative Care

Mary Bezak

MS in Palliative Care

Ryan Costantino

MS in Palliative Care

“Do. Or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

Favorite Memory: Many of the activities throughout the program have allowed me to reflect and remember all of the people who have invited me into their lives at very difficult times. I'm grateful to them and their families for all they have taught me about life and death.

Note of Thanks: I'd like to thank Dr. McPherson for creating this opportunity to learn, the faculty for imparting their knowledge, and my wife for her never ending support!

Kathryn DiFrancesco

MS in Palliative Care

Hollie Dunivan

MS in Palliative Care

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - The Dalai Lama

Favorite Memory: What a wonderful experience this entire program has been. From the first email exchange between myself and Ms. Pixley, all the way through to this, the end. I have met so many wonderful classmates and had the opportunity to learn from the best of the best in the field. It has been extraordinary.

Note of Thanks: Dr. Lynn McPherson, I would follow you anywhere! You have been the best part of this program, by far. I look forward to seeing what you do next! Thank you to my husband, for being so supportive and for giving up cuddle time and date nights so I could do my homework after the kids were in bed.

Azadeh Erfani

MS in Palliative Care

“Human beings are members of a whole, in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain. If you've no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you cannot retain!" - Sa'adi

Note of Thanks: I would like to thank all of my family members, professors, and mentors who helped me make it through this journey.

Cathy Gibson

MS in Palliative Care

Anne Goldsborough

MS in Palliative Care

“Peu à peu l'oiseau fait son nid."

Favorite Memory: My son, Adger, was born during my first course in this program (Spring 2018). He is now a busy two-year old boy. It is amazing to look back on all I have learned and how he has grown!

Note of Thanks: I would like to thank my husband, Les, who went above and beyond every day. He took on so much so that I was able to concentrate on academics. Les, I love you and I'm thankful for you and all you do for me and our kids every day. Thank you also to my children (Dylan, Ted, Ben, Eliza, and Adger). You should all get honorary degrees! And thank you to my mother, who believed I could do this and encouraged me to just give it a try.

Kathryn Gubin

MS in Palliative Care

“We cannot change the outcome, but we can affect the journey." - Ann Richardson


Favorite Memory: Losing an entire assignment that took me nine hours to complete.

Note of Thanks: It was a privilege to learn from so many knowledgeable and skilled instructors and classmates. Thank you to each of you for your support and wisdom. Thanks to my sons for their support and technology help. Thank you to my mom and sister for their support and encouragement.

Layne Heller

MS in Palliative Care

“For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away." - Song of Solomon 8:6-7


Note of Thanks: Jesus, my passion, my rock, and my strength. My husband, who cheered me on, more convinced I could do this than I was. My girls, Anaya, Jovie, Karasi, and Selah, who were gracious when mama needed to work. My family in the States, as I felt their constant support. My friends in Mozambique, who provided some fun along the way. My patients at Casa Ahavá, my inspiration! The non-profit Voices of the World, which I am a missionary in Mozambique with, for funding and emotional/spiritual support.

Melissa Holowaty

MS in Palliative Care

Angela House

MS in Palliative Care

James Joseph

MS in Palliative Care

“To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always."


Favorite Memory: At the 2019 CAPC conference, I met Lynn and several other instructors from this program. I think it was then that this whole online experience became real and prompted me to take a calculated risk and make a career change to full time palliative care.

Note of Thanks: Lynn McPherson, you are an inspiration; you bring out the best in people if they aspire to follow your lead because you are simply the best. Frank Bobek, my dear family medicine colleague and friend, who has endured many difficult transitions, including my decision to leave our practice. So many patients who have graced me with the incredible privilege of serving them and their families in times of need. My wife, Robin, and my children, Seth and Grace, who have encouraged me greatly and share the loving family nest to which we can fly for security and comfort. My heavenly Father, who has graced my life beyond my imagination and merit.

Farhana Kamal

MS in Palliative Care

Note of Thanks: Thanks to the faculty, the advisors, and my fellow students in the program for the excellent instruction and learning.

Kimberly Kirsch

MS in Palliative Care

“The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling." - Fabienne Fredrickson


Note of Thanks: Many years ago, when I started my higher education journey, a person I looked up to at the time discouraged me from entering nursing school. Perhaps she didn’t think I had the resources, the will, or the aptitude to achieve. Regardless of her advice, I trusted myself. I persisted and followed my passion from LPN to RN, to BS, and to completion of this master’s in palliative care program. Along the way, I have been encouraged and supported by so many wonderful educators. In this palliative program, I have been honored and humbled to learn from and alongside the most talented, knowledgeable, and passionate professionals and pioneers in the field. Many thanks to all who have been with me on my journey.

Christine Lacayo

MS in Palliative Care

Delissa Lum Burris

MS in Palliative Care

Heather Marsh

MS in Palliative Care

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win no matter what the outcome."

Jennifer Martin

MS in Palliative Care

Megan Mitchell

MS in Palliative Care

Patrice Moore

MS in Palliative Care

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." - Mother Teresa


Favorite Memory: During the two years while I was completing my master's, a great deal of changes took place. My husband lost his job, and while in the midst of studying, we sold our house and moved to Texas for his new job and mine. We also became grandparents again to a beautiful new granddaughter. These two years have been busy, but full of exciting changes.

Note of Thanks: Thank you so much to my husband, Gary, who checked every paper and supported me every step of the way. To all of my children and their spouses and soon-to-be spouses, for always giving me the time to study and letting me know how proud of me you are. Knowing you believed in me kept me going when I was exhausted and felt I was not going to get through the next class. I love you all and I thank you so much because I absolutely could not have achieved this goal without each and every one of you.

Kelsey Neely

MS in Palliative Care

Susan Nelson

MS in Palliative Care

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou


Note of Thanks: I want to thank my husband, Kenny, and my family, Cameron and Alyssa, for supporting me through this journey; many late nights doing assignments and pushed out dinner plans for another time. I couldn't have asked for a better team behind me. Love, Mom.

Kathleen O'Connor

MS in Palliative Care

Note of Thanks: I would like to personally thank all of the faculty at the University of Maryland for sharing their expertise and encouraging me throughout the program. I would especially like to thank Paula McAvoy, my mentor and friend, who encouraged me to return to school and who considers me for opportunities that I wouldn't have considered for myself. I have grown personally and professionally thanks to you. To my team, thanks for letting me share what I have learned. To my husband and children, for letting things slide at home and for being my biggest help when my computer wouldn't cooperate. Finally, to my mom, my staunchest supporter. I know you are with me and would be proud. You never let me quit. Thank you.

Jim Pheils

MS in Palliative Care

Brooke Pritchett

MS in Palliative Care

Dawn Quinn

MS in Palliative Care

“You must look into other people as well as at them." - Lord Chesterfield

"We never listen when we are eager to speak." - Louise von Francois

"Experience is a prerequisite for becoming an expert." - Patricia Benner

"All death is to teach us about life."


Note of Thanks: Thanks to everyone, especially Flavius Lilly from THAN 209, who was very engaged, thoroughly read entries, encouraged reflection, conveyed enthusiasm for learning, taught and modeled a global perspective, offered rich responses, and provided thought-provoking comments. Inspiring; a learner and teacher. Anita Tarzian from THAN 604, for wonderful attention to detail, so highly responsive with information-rich dialogue, provoked reflection, getting to the core issues and concerns with a 360-degree view. Jennifer Maxfield De-Carlo from THAN 606, who was most encouraging and positive. Debra Wiegland, posthumously; how lucky was I to have had the benefit of her experience, heart, wisdom, and intellect.

Laura Readling

MS in Palliative Care

Note of Thanks: I would like to thank each instructor and each classmate for their many and varied contributions to my education throughout this program. The community we formed has enriched and supported my journey for the past couple of years. Thank you all for what you have poured into my life; it has made all the difference in my knowledge and my confidence to share that knowledge. Thank you, Dr. McPherson for creating this amazing education opportunity and fostering the "roundtable" culture of palliative care with this program!

Kristienne Rooks

MS in Palliative Care

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, you will be successful." - Eric Thomas


Note of Thanks: I give all thanks to God, because without Him, I am nothing. "Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ," Phillipians 1:6. Thank you, Dr. McPherson, for making this program available to those who share your passion of palliative care. To Alyson Yost, my classmate, friend, and study partner. Thank you for the calls, texts, and encouragement during this journey. I am blessed to call you a friend.

Joseph Scalese

MS in Palliative Care

“It is in the darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." - Aristotle


Favorite Memory: As my time at the School of Pharmacy ended with my first degree in 1994, then started up again for this program with the Spring 2018 semester, I have seen many changes within the school. Some of the fondest memories recently have been when I came back to do the Academy of Preceptor programs and being able to once again walk through Pharmacy Hall and see the positive changes firsthand. It is amazing that the School has been able to keep both the students and the profession of pharmacy first.


Note of Thanks: I would like to thank Dr. Lynn McPherson for all of her encouragement with this program and her dedication to palliative and hospice care. She is very dedicated to patient care as well as to the practice of pharmacy, in both the traditional and non-traditional setting.

Cindy Scott

MS in Palliative Care

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice." - Bob Marley

I think this resonates with our patients, families, and everyone in this class who has managed to complete this program while maintaining our own work, families, and lives!


Favorite Memory: How is it possible to pick just one? How about the time I was due for a faculty Zoom meeting set for non-military Eastern standard time, but my nurse brain was on military time on the west coast and couldn't figure why no one joined me! Yikes! Thankfully, I had some forgiving instructors.


Note of Thanks: I have had some common threads throughout the program, Alyson Yost and Anne Supplee come to mind as two classmates I could reach out to with questions and for validation of my thoughts. This program is full of instructors who genuinely have a passion for this work, who care, and want to see us succeed. They are all remarkable!

Alexandra Simms

MS in Palliative Care

Elisabeth Smith

MS in Palliative Care

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." - James 1:2 NLT


Favorite Memory: This has been such an adventure! The MS in Palliative Care program has changed my hospice work for the better. Every class gave me new insights.


Note of Thanks: To Lynn McPherson, thank you for your encouragement to apply to this program. Thank you for your engagement and the enticing way you draw us in and expand our minds beyond what we think we know. Thank you for being there in such a supportive way when I experienced a big loss in my family. And most of all, thank you for all the laughs along the way! To the many amazing instructors, thank you for investing your time and experience into this learning journey with us. We have grown and gained so much. Cant thank you enough!

Kirstin Springmeyer

MS in Palliative Care

“I've learned that I still have a lot to learn." - Maya Angelou


Favorite Memory: PALC 601: We were discussing palliative care treatments. I remember writing that radiation was a palliative care treatment. A (team body) classmate wrote back how painful that would be, and why would anyone want to choose that? My (team soul) simple answer was quoting the paper from which I retrieved the information. Lynn made a comment about how I stuck to my guns and defended radiation.


Note of Thanks: Kris, for empowering me to go back to school after 25 years. The entire pediatric palliative care department at Texas Children's Hospital, for the days I'd sit in our meetings bleary eyed from late nights and early morning studying; you understood. My mom, despite her cognitive decline, she was always interested in the classes and said the same thing, "Boy, that's a lot of work! Good for you!" Rosie the cat, always near me purring as I read and wrote.

Anne Supplee

MS in Palliative Care

Note of Thanks: Thanks to Lynn McPherson, for her vision is making this program a reality. All of the instructors were extraordinary.

Elodie Tendoh


MS in Palliative Care

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." - Paulo Coelho


Note of Thanks: I want to thank the almighty God for the strength and resilience He gave me to complete this degree alongside my PharmD. Many thanks to Dr. McPherson, who through her passion, created this wonderful opportunity to enable us to acquire the skills needed to take care of patients with serious illness. To my lovely husband Atim, words cannot express how much I appreciate the support you have given me throughout this process; I am very grateful, thank you. To my daughters Kayla and Kerone, thank you for all of the sacrifices you have made throughout this academic journey. Many thanks to my mothers Comfort and Martha, for helping me raise my girls. To my many friends, family, and mentors, thank you very much for all of your support and encouragement; I am very grateful. Thank you all.

Brooke Thomas

MS in Palliative Care

“A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everyone else." - Anonymous


Note of Thanks: Thanks to my best friend, favorite editor and writer, father of spirited children, my husband, Matt Thomas.

Marissa Todd

MS in Palliative Care


Favorite Memory: In recalling my first week of the MS program, I was excited and nervous, uncertain what to expect of myself as an adult learner working full-time and what the program expected of me. I soon found, through discussion posts and weekly instructor videos, that I was surrounded by "my peeps" and any uncertainty and intimidation I held just ebbed away!


Note of Thanks: Many thanks to Lynn McPherson for encouraging me to enroll in this program and for the unconditional support of my husband John, son Chase, and daughter Kaitlyn along the way. Shout out to friend and colleague Terri Maxwell, as an incredible mentor and personal cheerleader.

Natisha Waites

MS in Palliative Care

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome." - Isaac Asimov


Favorite Memory: I remember how nervous I was to be in a classroom with such already accomplished classmates, but one person stated, "We are all learning together," and I instantly felt that I was in the right place. Thank you, Class of 2020.


Note of Thanks: Thanks to all of our instructors and classmates, because everyone has played a part in creating a unique and welcoming learning environment.

Alyson Yost

MS in Palliative Care

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight." - Benjamin Franklin


Favorite Memory: I feel honored to have had the privilege to participate in this amazing program. I learned from some of the best in the field. I have met some wonderful friends from the program, as well. A fond memory is laughing so loud when watching Dr. McPherson's weekly videos that I made a whole room go quiet.


Note of Thanks: Thank you to my family and friends who have helped support, encourage, and watch my children so I could complete my schoolwork. Without you, I would have never been able to do this. Thank you to my friends in the field who pushed me to take this program. Thank you to my professors who continued to encourage my learning and push me when I wanted to stop.

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