Jonas V Legacy Scholar

Stefanie Zavodny, MS RN

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
PhD Student

Stefanie is a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Her interest in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has driven her to participate in research led by her advisor Dr. Margaret Souders with the goal of helping families of children with ASD. She served as the study coordinator in a pilot randomized controlled trial of a home-based tailored behavioral intervention for insomnia in children with ASD. She presented preliminary findings at an international autism conference in Salt Lake City in 2015. Working with these families helped her narrow her own research topic to focus on depression in mothers of children with ASD. As part of the Hillman program, she had the opportunity to participate in a six-month Clinical Fellowship. She worked full time as a nurse on a liver and kidney transplant unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to honing her clinical skills, she gained a better understanding of nursing as a field, which she feels will help make her future contributions as a researcher more meaningful to nurses and families alike. In the 2016-2017 year, she is also participating in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This interdisciplinary fellowship provides the opportunity to participate in research and community projects and to build the leadership skills necessary to improve policy and practice for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.