Distinguished Graduates


The 2020 Distinguished Graduate award winners are: 

Distinguished Graduate – Recent Alumni Category

Amadae Arevalo, MSN, RN, CCRN (BSN ’10)

Amadae Arevalo is a Clinical Nurse Educator at the University of Washington Medical Center – Northwest in Seattle, WA. Upon graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2010, she started her nursing career in Critical Care at Jacksonville, FL. Inspired by the Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health Amadae obtained a Masters of Science in Nursing degree with the focus on Leadership in Healthcare Systems at Jacksonville University in 2014. Striving to ensure our ever-changing healthcare system addresses the quality of life of people across the country, Amadae had the opportunity to move to the Pacific Northwest to begin work as a Quality Improvement Clinician.  She collaborated with a multidisciplinary healthcare team to provide the best Evidence Based Practice to patients with Sepsis and had the opportunity to present at the Pacific Northwest Sepsis Conference in 2017 & 2018. After three years, Amadae had a desire to work more closely with nursing staff to develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes at the bedside. She transitioned to the role as Clinical Nurse Educator where she facilitates several programs which includes the Transition to Practice Program dedicated to onboarding new graduates and experienced nurses new to the Acute Care setting. Amadae has found so much joy and love in the multi-faceted profession of nursing while coming home to her six-year old Chihuahua Winston Cole (named after the Heisman Trophy Winner of 2013, FSU’s own Jameis Winston) and looking forward to her wedding on July 4th to Christopher Breaux. 


Distinguished Graduate - Educator Category

Tonya Andrade Schneidereith, Ph.D., PPCNP-BC, CPNP-AC, CNE (BSN ’88) 

Dr. Tonya Schneidereith is a nurse educator, leader, and entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in health care and academic settings. Her career began as a Pediatric Nurse and as one of the country’s first Pediatric Critical Care Nurse Practitioners. Dr. Schneidereith has led didactic courses in Nursing Research and Pediatric Nursing. Her ongoing program of research has been recognized with an “Innovative Teaching with Technology Award” for her trailblazing use of Google glass to investigate safe medication administration behaviors in prelicensure nursing students. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and a full-time simulation educator in the prestigious Spunt Clinical Simulation Labs. She is co-owner and Chief Executive Officer of the simulation consulting company, SIMPL Simulation, LLC, whose mission is to educate faculty and administration to improve the quality of experiential education. She is recognized throughout the nursing education community, including the National League for Nursing, the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL), the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, for spearheading initiatives that advance simulation-based learning. She develops and mentors academic and hospital nursing educators, highlights pediatric health disparities, and advocates for integration of Social Determinants of Health in nursing curricula. Dr. Schneidereith received her BSN from Florida State University, her MSN from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD from Johns Hopkins University. She holds certifications as a Pediatric Primary Care (PPCNP-BC) and Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC), Nurse Educator (CNE), and as one of a select number internationally-designated as an Advanced Simulation Healthcare Educator (CHSE-A). 




Distinguished Graduate Award Winners Archive



Distinguished Graduate Awards Program


Purpose:  To recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of College of Nursing alumni for their outstanding contributions to the healthcare of patients, through nursing care, research and their demonstration of the ethics and values of the nursing profession.


Award Categories and Criteria:

  • Educator (University, Community College, and Practice Setting)
    • Should currently hold or has held a teaching or leadership position with a local, state or national professional educational organization; a post-secondary educational institution; or educational policy-making/review board.
    • Must have published articles, chapters, a book and/or a technical report that reflects scholarship, research or advancement of profession.
    • Must serve or have served as a representative/spokesperson of the profession in policy making with professional or political association at the state or national level.
    • Demonstrate a strong commitment to students and life-long learning, and enhancing his/her professional growth and that of others.


  • Government and Community Service
    • Should be actively involved in government and/or community service
    • Demonstrated exemplary contribution toward improving the quality of healthcare within their community through enhancing the capacity of the healthcare system.
      • Examples of activities may include: 
        • Exemplary military service; government service at local, state and/or national levels (i.e. county commission, legislative staff); support for broad-based educational or school improvement plans; or community-school partnership activities.


  • Practitioner
    • Honors outstanding achievements in any area or level of nursing.
    • Demonstrate a strong commitment to the nursing profession and the continued enhancement of his/her professional growth.
    • Have the respect of peers and significant service contributions to the field of nursing at any level in either a practicing, educational or administrative capacity and to the betterment of his/her community.


  • Recent Alumni – Two awards will be presented in the following categories to recognize excellence and innovation in the delivery of healthcare services 
    • Novice Nurse
      • Currently working, or for the past three years has worked full-time or part-time as a nurse providing quality, compassionate care. 
      • Community involvement and/or recognition 


    • Young Alumni
      • Graduated in the last 4 -10 years
      • Exceptional career foundation or post-graduate academic accomplishments
      • Community involvement and recognition
      • Service to their Community, College of Nursing, and/or Florida State University


Nomination Process:

  • All nominees MUST be graduates of the Florida State University College of Nursing.
  • Nominees cannot be self-nominated.
  • Nominators can complete their nomination by mail, e-mail or fax to the Alumni Outreach Coordinator.
  • Nominators should be prepared to submit the following information:
    • Names and contact information of both nominating and nominated persons
    • Statement of nomination in 150 words or less, explaining why the nominator feels the person is qualified 
    • Current curriculum vita or resume of nominee
    • Three references and their contact information and at least one letter of reference.
    • Any documentation further supporting the nominee’s accomplishments and qualifications for the award (other letters of support, announcement of other recognitions, news articles, etc.)
  • Nominations will be accepted beginning October 2, 2020 and must be submitted by no later than January 15, 2021*.


*Please note: Nominations are kept active for three years.  If your nominee is not selected in the original year nominated, you may update any piece of their file to strengthen the nomination. Three years from the original nomination date, you must update the Letter of Nomination in order to re-activate your distinguished graduate award nomination.  Members of the Alumni Council are not eligible to be nominated for or receive the Distinguished Graduate Award.


Distinguished Graduate Awards Selection Process:

Winners will be selected by the College of Nursing’s Alumni Council.



  • When the selection process is complete, nominees and nominators are notified of the results. Once all winners are contacted, results will be posted online. 
  • Results can be accessed online or you may send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: 
    • Distinguished Graduate Awards, Florida State University, College of Nursing, 98 Varsity Way, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-4310.


  • Distinguished Graduates Award recipients will be contacted with details regarding the ceremony. For further information, contact Justin Ferretti at 850-645-6966 or jferretti@fsu.edu.


Submit completed nomination by January 15, 2021 to:

FSU College of Nursing
Attn: Justin Ferretti
98 Varsity Way
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4310
Fax: 850-644-7660
E-mail: jferretti@fsu.edu

Distinguished Graduate Award Winners Archive

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