Alumni Awards 

For many years Frontier Nursing University has honored graduates for their outstanding service to the University and to their communities. Each award is given to a Nurse-Midwife and to a Nurse Practitioner. The awards are presented at the annual Alumni and Courier Homecoming

Distinguished Service to Society Award 
This recognizes a graduate who gives above and beyond to provide exceptional service in his or her community.

Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award
This honors a graduate who has provided support to Frontier through volunteer efforts and/or philanthropy.

Alumni Awards Nomination Form
Please consider nominating someone whose work in the community or whose support of Frontier is exemplary. We welcome everyone’s nomination, including self-nominations. All nominations are reviewed by the Alumni Advisory Committee and they select the award recipients. 

2020 Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Service to Alma Mater: Rebeca Barroso, DNP, MSN, RN, CNM, FACNM
Rebeca Barroso lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she was in full-scope nurse-midwifery clinical practice for more than 20 years after 22 years in direct-entry midwifery practice. Dr. Barroso, who earned both her nurse-midwifery certificate and DNP from FNU, served as an Assistant Professor at Frontier from 2011 to 2016. Currently, she is an associate professor at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota where she teaches graduate-level maternal-infant content as well as pathophysiology for the nurse practitioner students.
Dr. Barroso has an extensive background in clinical midwifery, working with vulnerable women experiencing health disparities from multiple cultural backgrounds. In 2008, Dr. Barroso was the recipient of the Community Service Award granted by Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis for her work with patients from these underserved populations.
Dr. Barroso is a co‐editor of Best Practices in Midwifery: Using the Evidence to Implement Change, Second Edition (2016), and DNP Capstone Projects: Exemplars of Excellence in Practice (2015). She is a fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. In 2011, Dr. Barroso won ACNM’s W. Newton Long Award for the Advancement of Midwifery.
Throughout her career, Dr. Barroso has been a dedicated supporter of FNU. She has precepted more than a dozen Frontier students and has been a generous donor for more than 20 years. We thank Dr. Barroso for her remarkable commitment to her profession, her community, and FNU. We are proud to present her with the 2020 Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award. 

Distinguished Service to Society: Melva Craft-Blacksheare, DNP, MS, RN, CNM
Dr. Melva Craft-Blacksheare is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Michigan-Flint School of Nursing. She has been a registered nurse (RN) for over 40 years and a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) for 26. Dr. Craft-Blacksheare, who earned her CNM from FNU, practices as a centering pregnancy facilitator with the St. John Providence Health System in the Metro Detroit area.
Dr. Craft-Blacksheare is the lead faculty at the University of Michigan-Flint for Maternity Nursing as well as Issues in Women’s Health courses. She also co-chairs DNP student research projects and serves on the Curriculum Committee, Student Concerns Committee, and is a former Advisory member of the Women’s Educational Center. She is a Co-chair for the A.C.T.S (A Chance to Succeed) Mentoring Program. She is on the Steering Committee of Genesys Hospital Centering Pregnancy.  
Dr. Craft-Blacksheare is a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the Greater Flint Black Nurses Association. Dr. Craft-Blacksheare has been the Project Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant “New Careers in Nursing” which aims to increase nursing workforce diversity. She is a chartered member of the Chi Eta Phi, Sorority Inc. Iota Chi Chi Chapter which is an international professional nursing sorority, whose mission is “Service for Humanity.”
As a leader in her field and at her university, Dr. Craft-Blacksheare embodies the spirit of Frontier. A preceptor to FNU students, she continues to give back not only to FNU, but also to the profession of midwifery as an educator, researcher, and practitioner. For her decades of service and commitment to FNU, Dr. Melva Craft-Blacksheare is the very deserving winner of this year’s Distinguished Service to Society Award. 

Distinguished Service to Alma Mater: Rebecca Feldman, CNM, PMHNP
Rebecca Feldman is a nurse-midwife, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, and psychotherapist in the field of maternal mental health. She sees clients in private practice in the offices of Boro Park Ob/Gyn and Midwives, and at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens, N.Y., as part of the perinatal psychiatry team.
She earned her MSN from FNU and a Post-Master’s in Psychiatric Nursing from NYU. Feldman, who has delivered more than 70 babies, has a broad range of nursing experience, as well as 10 years of experience as a midwife. Her vast experience helped her identify an area of need in women’s health care -- perinatal mental health. She applied for grants to start mothers’ groups in English and Spanish. She made these evidence-based support groups available to mothers at no cost and continues to provide mental health services to clients with underlying mental health diagnoses or perinatal mood disorders.
She provides mental health care during all aspects of family building, including preconception planning, families struggling with infertility, postpartum parents, as well as those surviving pregnancy, infant, or child loss. She facilitates a weekly group for pregnant or postpartum clients struggling with depression and/or anxiety, and payment is only by donation.
In addition to her service to her patients, she is also a leader and advocate. She is a frequent guest speaker on the subject of maternal mental health and is an advocate for making maternal mental health care accessible to all families in need. Feldman has seemingly always been willing to give her time and expertise to assist others. Even as a student at FNU, she hosted case days in her home. As a graduate, she has precepted FNU students every year since becoming eligible to do so in 2016. Feldman is a true credit to her FNU training and a most worthy recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award. 

Distinguished Service to Society: Rachel Lien, FNP

Rachel Lien, who earned her MSN and FNP from Frontier, was quick to apply what she had learned. She worked at a pediatric inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Massachusetts where patients from all over the world came for specialized treatment.
Based on Lien’s work with patients from Arabic-speaking countries and her community service in interfaith dialogue groups and a Moroccan American community group, she was awarded the Kathryn Davis Peace Fellowship. This fellowship allowed her to study Arabic for a full summer. An additional scholarship from One Nurse At A Time led her to travel to Pakistan where she volunteered at a hospital and clinic. Lien worked in the newborn inpatient unit and taught classes to promote health and wellness among the staff and students.
Next, Lien traveled to Greece to work at a clinic in a refugee camp. Working abroad taught her that one person traveling to volunteer was not enough and how politics, culture, and organizational structure contribute to the vast disparities in health around the world.
With these experiences and new insights, Lien returned to Massachusetts to continue learning and preparing herself to be a greater change agent. She is now pursuing her DNP at Frontier and working at Franklin Family Practice. Her tireless efforts to learn how to best serve her community and her commitment to improving health outcomes worldwide are inspiring. Rachel Lien is an outstanding example of providing service to others and, for that reason, we are proud to honor her as the winner of the 2020 Distinguished Service to Society Award. 

Previous Award Winners 


Service to Society

Service to Alma Mater


Nadene Brunk

Catherine Miller-Shields


Holly Powell Kennedy

Tracy Ryan


Kerri Schulling

Joan Slager


Jan Stalker

Pat Caudle


Jill Alliman

Patty Kandiko


Francie Likis
Elena Pendergrast

Susan Clapp
Estella Wetzel


Jessica Smith
Mary Kay Miller

Danny Webb
Stephanie Vanderhorst


Melva Craft-Blacksheare
Rachel Lien

Rebeca Barros
Rebecca Feldman

For more information about the Alumni Awards or assistance in making your nomination, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at