Sisters Earn Westminsters First Doctorate Degree in Honor of their Father

Sisters earn Nursing doctorate degrees together

October 9, 2019

Sisters Siosi Fonua and Emanita Mounga are among Westminster's first doctorate graduates — each earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Pursuing the highest level of education in their field was fueled not only by their professional drive but also by a promise made to their father.

"I was 15 years old when I promised my dad I would pursue a doctorate degree to honor our family and the sacrifices he made to attain an education in America," said Siosi Fonua.

Tevita Siulua Tali passed away before he could see his daughters earn doctorates. Tali was born in Tonga, earned two bachelor's degrees in Utah then returned to Tonga to teach. He valued education and instilled a passion for learning in his children. Fonua and Mounga both dedicated their degrees to their father and will use their education to change the world through improved healthcare systems.

"A DNP is about leadership, and I want to advocate and help mold the next generation of leaders," said Emanita Mounga. "Nurses have so much potential and so much to give. I want to lead my own team and now I can with a doctorate."

Seven nurses earned their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees in the college's inaugural doctorate class. Westminster's school of Nursing and Health Sciences added a DNP offering to its renowned nursing programs in 2018. A DNP is the highest degree a nurse can earn and is now necessary for advanced nursing practice with new standards set by The American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

"Westminster's new doctorate nurses are empowered to be catalysts in the constant drive to improve standards in healthcare," said Sheryl Steadman, dean of Westminster's College of Nursing and Health Sciences. "Our doctorate-of-nursing graduates have the expertise and experience to improve outcomes at community, national and global levels."

"This doctorate will open up more doors for me in my career — and for other nurses too. Having a doctorate degree that backs up our clinical skills elevates the entire nursing profession and earns respect," said Fonua.

Westminster's DNP program is for professional nurse practitioners to advance their careers to the top level of nursing practice. The college offers nursing education through undergraduate, several masters and now the doctorate level. Learn more about Westminster's Doctorate of Nurse Practice program and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Westminster's first doctorate of nursing practice graduates

Back (from left) Krista Gray, MSN, APRN, FNP-C Marianne Bowling, MSN, APRN, FNP-C Cynthia Crow, MSN, APRN, FNP-C Chris German, MSN, APRN, FNP-C Front (from left) Siosi Fonua, MSN, APRN, FNP-C Emanita Mounga, MSN, APRN, FNP-C Jesse Twu, MSN, APRN, FNP-C