Catherine D’Ambrosio has a habit of getting involved in her community.
Married to a now-retired Navy submarine commander, the new member of the Shoreline Community College Board of Trustees has had plenty of opportunities to ingrain that habit. “I’ve always gotten involved wherever we were. We live in Shoreline and the community is really important to me … we’ve landed, we dropped anchor, we are here.”
It would be wrong, however, to think that D’Ambrosio is following in anyone’s wake.
After high school in St. Louis, D’Ambrosio received her BSN in Nursing from the University of Missouri. Then, it was on to the University of Pennsylvania for a master’s in Nursing, focusing on Gero-Psychiatric Nursing, clinical nurse specialist in care of elders suffering from delirium, dementia and depression.
Then, at the University of Washington, D’Ambrosio received her Ph.D. in Nursing with a dissertation entitled: Computational Representation of Bedside Nursing Decision-Making Processes.” D’Ambrosio followed that with post-doctoral work at Oregon Health and Science University, where she wrote a decision-making process regarding chronic, non-healing wounds.
And, in the mid-1990s, she found time start a home health care agency, providing medically intensive care to children. D’Ambrosio and her husband, Karl, recently revived that business as well as advancing another project eight years in the making: a robotic aide to help incontinent patients get to and use the bathroom, making it more likely they can continue to live at home. That last effort is helped by Karl’s degree in mechanical engineering and his experience now working for aerospace supplier Exotic Metals Forming Co.
But her day job, make that jobs, are teaching as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing and working at Virginia Mason Medical Center as a nursing analyst.
Trustees at community and technical colleges in Washington are appointed by the Governor, which requires an application asking for the position.
“Much of the work done by our Washington State Community Colleges seriously and positively affects the health and functional outcomes of our entire community,” D’Ambrosio wrote in her application. In an interview after her appointment, she added, “I’m particularly interested in ensuring the health-sciences offerings remain rigorous.”
Shoreline’s two-year RN program is recognized as one of the best in the state and while she hasn’t visited the program, D’Ambrosio said she is familiar with its work: “I have interviewed and hired Shoreline graduates. And then there’s the UW and a lot of clinical-placement sites overlap.”
Again in her application, D’Ambrosio indicated she is acting locally, but thinking globally: “I would like to support our community by working through our local community college and expanding its reach and its effect on our community, our society and our world.”
D’Ambrosio was appointed to serve the remaining three years of the Pos. 1 term held by Roger Olstad who resigned when he moved outside the college district. She is eligible to then serve two full five year terms. D’Ambrosio’s first Board of Trustees meeting will be on Dec. 4, 2013.