Two undergrad nursing students selected for STAR program

Stephanie Felonta and Paige Sheppard with Dean NeSmith at Dean's List Celebration in February

The Augusta University College of Nursing is proud to announce that two BSN students are participating in the Summer STAR Program. Rising seniors Stephanie Felonta and Paige Sheppard were selected as participants earlier this year and began the program this week on Monday, May 20th. Both students have a history of academic excellence and made the Fall 2023 Dean’s List.

STAR stands for Student Training and Research and is a program that is designed for undergraduate students who have their sights set on a future PhD in biostatistics, nursing, or biomedical science. Over the course of the summer, the participants will gain practical skills and knowledge that are needed to pursue a career in research.  The program culminates in a presentation event on July 19th where participants will showcase their research in a poster project.

This will be an intensive summer for the nursing students, and they will be working full time on their mini projects. Beyond their research projects, there will be opportunities for “networking, socializing, skill building, and professional development” (Augusta University). Participants will be attending various workshops to expose them to what’s available at AU and what to expect from a future PhD program.

Meet the 2024 STAR Nursing Participants


Headshot of Stephanie Felonta

Stephanie Felonta

Faculty Mentor: Dawn Langley-Brady, PhD, Assistant Professor, Nursing Science

Research: Exploring how inhaling certain essential oils can influence pain perception thresholds

Quote: “I was inspired to join this program to expand my understanding on how to conduct research and to broaden my knowledge in different research topics. I’m eager to discover new research methods, learn about the intricacies of nursing research, and connect with my fellow STAR peers.”




Headshot of Paige Sheppard

Paige Sheppard

Faculty Mentor: Lynn Glenn, PhD, Assistant Professor, Nursing Science

Research: Examine the prevalence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus in Hispanic agricultural workers and analyze the risks within this population

Quote: “I was inspired to apply for the STAR Program to combine my passion for nursing with my desire to learn and make an impact within our community. I am hoping that this experience will equip me with the necessary skills for my future nursing career and provide an excellent opportunity for professional development.”




Augusta University. (2024, March 15). Summer STAR Program. The Graduate School.


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Nina Siso
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