Meet the amazing people behind Operation Happy Nurse!
We’re always looking for more people to lend a hand! If you would like to join the movement to improve mental health in nursing, send us a note at [email protected].
Shannon McPeek BSN, RN
Shannon graduated from Purdue University in 2016 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She started her career at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in the Neonatal ICU, but then sought out a career in travel nursing. Shannon experienced serious anxiety associated with the nursing profession, which inspired her to create Operation Happy Nurse. She's thankful for all the amazing people who've helped her create this stress-relief haven, as well as those who've supported her along the way.
Mallori Walker MSN, RN, CPNP
Mallori Walker is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at IU Health Arnett in Lafayette, IN. She is also an instructor in the Purdue University School of Nursing. She leads Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work at both IU Health Arnett and the Purdue University School of Nursing. Outside of work, Mallori coaches the Purdue University Dance Team and teaches group fitness classes.
Kiley McPeek graduated from Cornell University in 2018 with a degree in Applied Economics and Management before taking her professional skills into a career in finance. When she's not talking about the economy, she loves playing volleyball, traveling, and baking. She is so excited to be a part of the OHN family.
Mercedes Lewis BSN, RN
Mercedes Lewis, a dedicated healthcare professional with six years of diverse nursing experience, started her journey in the PICU, where she developed a passion for patient care. As a travel nurse, she gained expertise in various units, including CVICU and NICU. Mercedes now provides compassionate care in San Diego and serves as the Board Secretary of Operation Happy Nurse, advocating for mental health support in nursing. She embodies nursing's essence and strives to make a lasting, positive impact on the nursing community.
Dr. Pamela Karagory DNP, MBA, MSB, RN, CNE
Dr. Karagory is the interim Head of the Purdue School of Nursing. Her focus area is nursing leadership, innovations in quality improvement, patient safety and health care systems. She is committed to creating opportunities and experiences for student learning to occur in contextual clinical environments is key in developing knowledge and skills that are relevant to today's authentic health care environment. She received her DNP from Rush University, MBA from Husson University, MSN from Saint Joseph's College of Maine, MSB from Husson University, BSN from University of Maine at Fort Kent, and RN Diploma from Saint John School of Nursing.
Dr. Ann H. White, PhD, RN
Ann White has served as the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) since 2012. Prior to this position she has held multiple administrative positions within the USI nursing programs. She received her BSN from the University of Iowa, an MSN from the University of Cincinnati, an MBA from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and a PhD in nursing education from Georgia State University. Her background is in nursing leadership and management. She is certified by the American Nurse Credentialing Center in Nursing Administration. Her research interests include resiliency in practicing nurses and nursing students. She has received grant funding from HRSA, Indiana State Department of Health, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the American Nurses Foundation. Dr. White is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Julia has a diverse background in nonprofit leadership, strategy, fundraising, cause branding, cause marketing, shopper marketing, and consumer behavior and insights. Her career has been a 25+ year journey to develop mutually beneficial long-term partnerships with companies with a specific focus on retailers, consumer brands and nonprofit organizations. Her integrated approach synergizes multi-level business objectives to drive sustainable partnerships. The result is all stakeholders grow their business while making an impact on people's lives and communities. Julia has served on the Board of Directors of several nonprofits, including the Executive Board of America's Charities and the Harvard Women's Leadership Board.
As a senior executive at Procter & Gamble, Frito-Lay and Alberto Culver among others, Chris brought a drive for excellence to his work, earning recognition and industry awards including Salesperson of the Year and Supplier of the Year. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, as well as Touched By Suicide (TBS) board member, AFSP Project 2025 board member, and College of Wooster Ad Hoc Alumni Trustee. He and his wife Martha and son Solomon were recipients of the 2019 AFSP Lifesaver Award.
Chris is also the Co-Founder and CEO of The Defensive Line, a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to "end the epidemic of youth suicide, especially for young people of color, by transforming the way we communicate and connect about mental health".
A master innovator with 33+ years of experience in sales and marketing, Julie gets a thrill from crafting unique brand business models from nothing but a blank sheet of paper. She's a big-picture thinker who thrives in a challenge and excels at bringing companies together to make every opportunity win/win. Julie is a graduate of Cornell University, and owns her own marketing company Provisor Marketing.
Evie is an upcoming senior at Purdue University in the School of Nursing. Currently, she is a CNA on an oncology unit, but her dream job is working in the NICU at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Her hobbies include reading, going on walks, and hanging out with friends and family. She is thrilled to be a part of the Operation Happy Nurse Book Club!42
Brenna McPeek, MFA
Copywriter, Book Club Moderator
Brenna is a writer, editor, and content creator based in New York City. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University and a BA in English and Film from Cornell University. She has a particular passion for literature and culture—evident by the fact that she spends most of her free time and money at the bookstore. Brenna is the co-founder and editor of the literary magazine Fatal Flaw
and is currently completing her first novel.
Shannon Elward, MFA
Shannon Elward is a writer and teacher based in California. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University and a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a bookworm and an obsessive learner. She spends too much of her time reading aloud to her cat, who shares her fondness for literature. She is currently the fiction and nonfiction editor of Fatal Flaw Literary Magazine and writes prose in her spare time.
Lu resides in sunny San Diego, where she splits her time between studying, cycling, surfing, and getting lost in a good book. She is deeply passionate about raising awareness for mental health and getting involved in her community.
Elizabeth Mitchell BS, BSN, RN
Liz attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2014, intending to pursue a PhD in Microbiology. She spent the summer applying for jobs and fell in love with the field of nursing after starting as a nursing assistant, where she worked in geriatrics, medical-surgical, and medical oncology. Liz graduated from Duquesne University in 2017 from the Accelerated BSN program with honors. She began her career as a nurse in the Neonatal ICU, before transferring to the Pediatric ICU after one year in NICU. Liz began travel nursing at the end of 2020 and took contracts in North Carolina, California, and Washington before settling down in the pediatric PACU in San Diego, where she is now a staff nurse. Working in so many different settings, Liz has seen how nurses in multiple fields all struggle with their mental health. Nurses focus so much on taking care of other people that they forget to take care of themselves. When Liz heard about Operation Healthy Nurse and the resources that we provide, she knew it would be a perfect way for her to give back to the field that she loves so much.
Carley Baker BSN, RN
Carley graduated from Purdue University in 2015 with a Bachelors in Kinesiology. After being a personal trainer for a year, she decided to attend nursing school at Marian University, and graduated in 2017 with her BSN. After passing the NCLEX, Carley moved to Southern California to further her career and obtained her first nursing job working for Mission Hospital in their Medical-Surgical, Trauma, and Ortho unit. Currently, she also works for University of California-Irvine in their Trauma/Neuro unit.
Dr. Lauren Ashenbrener PT, DPT
Lauren is a Purdue University graduate, where she received her B.S. in Movement & Sports Sciences. In 2017, she graduated from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Since graduation, she has practiced Physical Therapy in multiple clinical settings and gained valuable clinical experience and insight into the healthcare industry at large. In early 2020, she started a business to put her knowledge of the healthcare industry and her creative passions to use. Lauren is the founder of Optimize Digital Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency aimed at enhancing small-businesses' online presence through their specializations in digital marketing and web design services for healthcare related businesses.
Joe is a digital media professional based in Brooklyn, NY. He is a 2017 graduate of Haverford College, leaving with a B.A. in English. Since graduating, Joe has worked primarily in the social media world as a community manager, copyeditor, and content creator. In college, he was a cast member of a sketch comedy group, and he continues to write and perform comedy in NY. Joe is also a trivia ace, so if you need to know a funky physics fact or the name of an obscure 80’s band, Joe is your guy. An obsessive podcast listener, he loves the medium because of the real, intimate, and just plain fun conversations that happen while on the mic, especially on Happy Hour!
Allison Walls BSN, RN
Allison graduated from Purdue University in 2023 with her BSN. She recently earned her RN license and is currently working in the Pediatric ICU at Lurie Childrens Hospital in Chicago! Outside of work, Alli loves listening to country music, spending time outdoors, and walking her dog. She has loved being a part of the podcast team and supporting the mission of bettering mental health in the nursing profession.
Dr. Francine B. Baffa LICSW, BCBA-D
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Francine enjoys working with adults over a broad range of diagnoses - A specialty interest includes individuals and couples where neurodiversity is part of the relationship cycle. She teaches courses in both ABA and social work, and works in educational and medical settings.
Samantha Wall, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Samantha graduated from the University of Denver in 2018 with her Masters in Social Work. Sam has a passion for working with people who experience symptoms related to PTSD, anxiety and depression. She loves being able to support the community's mental health through therapeutic services, education and resources. She is excited to help support the nurses and provide information for their mental health journeys!
Sam Calvin LPC, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Before starting his career as a therapist, Sam worked as a first responder in the Denver Metro Area. He worked collaboratively with some of Colorado’s bravest individuals, and saw the importance of putting mental health on the frontlines. Sam takes great pride in his work with first responders and other members of the medical field. When trying to be open and honest, it can be helpful when you don’t have to explain to your therapist what a yankauer tip is. Sam is honored to help support the nurses in this program and provide information for their journey to increased health, happiness, and fulfillment!
Michelle Wilkes MBA, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Michelle started her career as a CPA and went on to get her MBA in Entrepreneurship before starting a family. Her own lived experiences with depression and anxiety and those of family members led her to pursue a master’s in clinical Mental Health Counseling to help others work towards emotional wellbeing and weather life’s inevitable storms. Michelle is also “mom” to a nurse early in her career and has a special place in her heart for walking alongside caregivers, normalizing experiences of stress and teaching coping skills.
Claire Lang BSN, RN
Claire graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in English, with a focus in Creative Writing, Language, Linguistics, and Literature. After living a snowboarders dream the mountains of Steamboat Springs, C.O., she returned to school a few years later to receive her BSN-RN. She is currently an RN at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in the Neonatal ICU. She received her RYT-200 from LifePower and completed her Meditation Teacher Training with Tracee Stanley in February, 2021. She continues to implement yoga and meditation to her daily life as stress management and mindfulness tools in the midst of a (sometimes) chaotic profession. When she’s not working, she loves to spend time with her husband and pup, travel, read, cook, and practice yoga. She is so excited to be a part of the OHN team!
Emily Cutler MS, RDN, LDN
Emily is a Chicago-based Registered Dietitian and Health Writer, with 15 years of experience working in outpatient kidney disease clinics, long term acute care hospitals, as well as in fitness facilities. In her clinical experiences, she often worked closely with RNs in providing patient care, and so she understands what their days can be like and the tremendous amount of time and effort that they put into caring for each and every patient during their shifts. As a Registered Dietitian, Emily truly loves helping people and celebrating positive, small changes that can have a big impact on our health. She believes that every person is an individual; there is no one size fits all approach with her! Find out more about Emily at www.emilycutlernutrition.com
JJ Beasley MS, RD, LD
JJ grew up in Denver, Colorado in an environment where he was always doing something active whether it was hiking, skiing, or playing a number of competitive sports. Currently, JJ is a sports dietitian at the University of Georgia in their Olympic Sports department and he also has his master’s in Nutrition from Boston University. He’s always had a love for science and food and as a result grew this passion for nutrition. When he’s not working with his collegiate athletes, he is also working with his own personal clients helping them achieve a sustainable, healthy & balanced lifestyle while still allowing them to enjoy themselves. On top of that, he is also a big advocate for mental health and how that can correlate with food and nutrition. You can find out more about JJ on his website at www.craftdnutrition.com.
Meg Allen RD, LDN
Meg is a Registered Dietitian, practicing in the Midwest for the last 15 years. She received her degree and internship training through Michigan State University. While much of her experience has been in the renal field, Meg has also held leadership roles on a national level through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as locally. She is committed to helping people bridge the gap between translating science into food. Meg is passionate about how food contributes to and changes health outcomes!
Chef Jennifer (Jen) first started her culinary journey in her grandmother's kitchen. She attended the cooking and hospitality institute of Chicago. After many different gigs, Chef Jen found herself at Oprah's studios working for Work of Art Corp. In addition, Jennifer has been an Executive Chef at a hotel, RidgePointe Country Club, and Embassy Suites and Red Wolf Convention Center on Arkansas State University's Campus. In support of her husband, her family recently made another multiple state move to South Carolina. After nearly 20 years in the culinary industry Jenni is now returning to college to obtain a bachelor's degree to be able to teach her craft in the future.
Ann is a certified Personal Chef through the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) and certified ServSafe Food Protection Manager through the National Restaurant Association. Ann's passion for cooking blossomed with television cooking shows like "Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals”, “The Chew”, and “Chopped”. One of Ann's own recipes was featured on an episode of “The Chew”. She was also a finalist in the Daily Herald’s 2019 cooking competition “Cook of the Week”.
When you love to cook, and cook with love, it satisfies the palate, savors the heart, and nourishes the soul!
Sarah Grose BSN, RN
Sarah graduated from The George Washington University in 2013 with a BA in Environmental studies. Having been Pre-medicine during that time, she decided to go back to school in 2016 and pursue a degree in nursing. After graduating from nursing school in 2018, Sarah has worked in outpatient dialysis, telemetry, medical surgical, and the step-down setting. She has been a travel nurse for the last 2 years in the greater southern california area and is now working at UCSD and Scripps in San Diego, CA. On her off days, Sarah can be found surfing, skiing, camping, and traveling. She is thrilled to be able to give back to other nurses with OHN.
Harlie Monroe, MSN
Harlie is a graduate of Columbia University School of Nursing where she received her Masters in Nursing. She will be working as a registered nurse on a Cardiac Care Unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Harlie is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of The Jared Monroe Foundation which she founded after the loss of her older brother to suicide in 2017. Since then she has dedicated the last 6 years to bringing awareness to suicide prevention and mental health. She is dedicated to providing mental health advocacy for college students through her foundation and also for nurses nationwide through her active volunteer efforts with Operation Happy Nurse as part of our Event Management Team.
Emma Doherty BSN, RN
Nurse Insights Blog Manager
Emma is a BSN graduate of Chamberlain University who currently works in the Emergency Department in metro Atlanta, GA. After several years as an LPN working in various specialties including rehabilitation, acute care, and med-surg she returned to finish her RN-BSN. She has always had a passion for mental health and working in the Emergency Department highlights how critical the integration of mental and physical health are. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression, she hopes to highlight, and provide inclusivity and outlets for others within healthcare and nursing who are also struggling. Her favorite stress-relief activities include hiking, road trips and gardening. She hopes to bring Operation Happy Nurse’s message to the forefront of discussions regarding mental health within healthcare and healthcare workers.
Lucy is a rising senior at Boston University studying Behavior and Health. After she graduates she plans to attend nursing school in hopes of eventually becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. Lucy is also incredibly passionate about mental health and is excited to take part in efforts to increase mental health support in the field of nursing!
Riley is a nursing student at Purdue University working on her BSN with a minor in Human Development and Psychology. She is a practicing CNA in her hometown in Northern Illinois. Riley is excited to be a part of the OHN team and to be able to make a positive impact of mental health in the nursing profession.
Leah is a junior studying nursing at Purdue University! She interned this past summer at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital on a surgical unit, and hopes to work in an ER once she graduates. Leah has wanted to be a nurse ever since she was a little kid because of how much they have made an impact on her family and herself. She is so excited to start at Operation Happy Nurse! Mental health is so important to her and she hopes to be able to help nurses work towards their goals to improve health and wellbeing within the profession.
Tori is a third-year nursing student at Purdue University. She loves to read books, watch tv, knit, and hang out with family and friends. She decided to go into nursing because she always knew she wanted to help people, especially in the healthcare setting. Nursing just clicked for her. Some day she hopes to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Tori joined Operation Happy Nurse because she felt the need to help her fellow nurses as well as prepare herself for when she graduates.
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Hanna is a senior at Purdue University studying nursing. She recently finished an internship at the Cleveland Clinic in the MICU and absolutely loved it! Her future plans are to hopefully move to California and become a nurse in the ICU or PICU. She is so excited to help Operation Happy Nurse in any way that she can.
Tara Wilkes BSN, RN
Tara is a medical ICU nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She went into nursing with the hopes of becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner to help more people like her brother who struggle with mental illness. She enjoys exploring Chicago, traveling, playing with her puppy, and working out in her free time. She is so excited to help make an impact with Operation Happy Nurse!