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Dr. Catherine Loper McDonald receives College's Emerging Scholar Award

Dr. Catherine Loper McDonald (right) with Dean Fitzpatrick.


The achievements of Catherine Loper McDonald ’00 BSN, PhD, were recognized with the College of Nursing’s Emerging Scholar Award on April 2 during the College’s 27th Annual Mass and Alumni Awards Ceremony held in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. An assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, Dr. McDonald researches adolescent injury prevention and health promotion.

After receiving her award from M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor, Dr. McDonald reflected on the research mentorship during her undergraduate days that she received from Professor Elizabeth Dowdell, PhD, RN, FAAN. She says she now “pays it forward” in her work with undergraduate students today. “I am so proud to represent Villanova Nursing,” she noted.

Dr. McDonald's citation follows:

Catherine Loper McDonald, a former Villanova presidential scholar, earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2000.  While gaining clinical experience as a registered nurse she continued her education and, in 2006, she received a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Monmouth University, with a concentration in school nursing.  She continued her academic pursuits and in 2010 completed her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  Her doctoral research, “Community Violence Exposure and Positive Youth Development in Urban Youth,” reflects her primary focus on the health of young people.  

Kate’s practice experience in pediatric centers influenced her scholarly work which targets the complex interplay of factors that contribute to adolescent morbidity and mortality associated with a variety of injuries, many of which are associated with violence.

Kate, an Assistant Professor on the faculty of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania has a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Nursing in the Department of Pediatrics in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine where she mentors undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. She is also the Principal Investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Kate’s current research is focused on teen driving behaviors and interventions that prevent risky driving.  She has teamed up with other teen driver safety researchers to create the Simulated Driving Assessment, a tool that can evaluate a teenager’s driving performance and assess teenagers’ readiness and skill level for operating vehicles.

Kate combines her passion for research and her desire to decrease morbidity and mortality in the adolescent population in a way that is truly inspirational and practical. She is the 2105 recipient of the Eastern Nursing Research Society’s  “Rising Star Research Award,” has authored over 20 peer reviewed publications, and has presented papers and posters nationally and internationally  to disseminate the science behind teen health promotion. The College of Nursing is proud of Kate’s numerous scholarly accomplishments and her continued effort to represent and to share Villanova’s Augustinian values through her research. It is with great pleasure that we present Catherine Loper McDonald with the 2016 Emerging Scholar Award.