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Nursing student Diana Brosten chosen as President's Medalist


For immediate release
Date:    May 28, 2010

UWeek Article: 

SEATTLE – Two UW students have been chosen President's Medalists for the Class of 2010. Diana Brosten and Jennifer Vahora were selected for this honor based on their overall academic record and not merely grade point average.

Brosten, who was on Medicaid for most of her childhood and was raised in Kalispell, Mont. by parents that do not have health insurance, can now pursue her dream of providing care for uninsured and underserved populations. She will graduate with a degree in nursing.

She is a 2006 graduate of Flathead High School in Kalispell. "As a teenager, I dreamed of going to the University of Washington because it is ranked the best nursing school in the country," she said. "I visited the UW when I was in tenth grade and knew immediately that this was where I wanted to go to college."

Diana graduated June 11, 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Summa Cum Laude with College Honors from the University College Honors Program and with distinction by completing the School of Nursing honors program. Diana joins Dr. Pamela Mitchell as only one of two nursing students to win the President's medal.

Brosten said her decision was based not just on the quality of the academic experience available at the UW, but because of the institution's focus on social justice issues. "I wanted to attend a university that cared about improving the health and well being of the community."

However, because she grew up in a low-income family in rural Montana, she knew her prospects for attending the UW as an out-of-state student were slim. But she received what she termed "a miracle," a scholarship from the Thomas A. and Mildred E. Horsman Foundation, which would pay her tuition for four years at any school in the country.

Brosten has taken advantage of the opportunities presented to her. She has been in the University Honors Program and the School of Nursing Honors Program. In her nursing senior practicum, she completed an additional 240 clinical hours in her nursing specialty, labor and delivery -- more hours than are offered by any other nursing school in the country. She also completed undergraduate research projects in both nursing and chemistry.

Brosten has been a volunteer in the Harborview burn unit and pediatric intensive care unit, as well as a certified nurse aide at the Touch of Grace Free Clinic. She has tutored low-income African American children in reading and math through the Urban League, and she also works with low-income Vietnamese and Chinese preschool children at the Denise Louie Educational Center's Head-Start program. "These children have so much potential, and I really believe that they can go so far in their lives if simply given the right resources," she said.

Brosten plans to work as an obstetric nurse in the Seattle area and is particularly interested in working with low-income families and teenage mothers. She also plans to continue her volunteer activities. Eventually, she would like to return to the UW to pursue a doctoral degree in nursing and conduct research in birth outcomes and socioeconomic health disparities. Longer-term, she envisions herself teaching nursing at a university.


The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently the nation’s No. 1-ranked nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 3 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service.