Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Adult Health, School of Nursing
Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University
Memorable faculty: Professors Pierre Woog, Gail Mallory, Carol Mottola, Dorothea Hayes, Mary Zimits, and Sal Primeggia (who was an outside reader for my dissertation). You felt like you had an inexplicable connection with the faculty.
Advice to those considering pursuing a Ph.D.: Just do it. It’s the greatest experience you’ll ever have. It truly permits intellectual growth, you won’t regret it. It opens up opportunities. Earning my doctorate was a collective effort from the entire University. You’re not limited to just your discipline of study.
The year 1990 was a hectic one for Dr. Barbara Messina, who was juggling a demanding course load while preparing to start a family. “During my first year in Adelphi’s doctoral program, my husband and I got pregnant,” she says.
“Adelphi professors Gail Mallory, Carol Mottola, Dorothea Hayes, and Mary Zimits made sure I could stay on schedule with the Ph.D. program. These professors ensured my success. They rallied and provided me with the security and opportunity to finish the degree,” she says.
Dr. Messina has never forgotten what her professors did for her; in fact, the experience she had at Adelphi actually guides her own principles as a professor today.
“I’m paying it forward,” says Dr. Messina, who is a clinical associate professor at Stony Brook University School of Nursing, Department of Adult Health, and adjunct clinical associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine.
“Novice nurses enter the work force and can become overwhelmed by real world work. I try to provide a smooth transition for them,” she says. Dr. Messina, who is currently associated with the North Shore University Hospital – Health Care Alliance, has over 30 years of nursing experience to share with her students.
Prior to coming to Adelphi, she worked as a nurse practitioner at University Hospital at Stony Brook. It was there that several of her colleagues urged her to pursue the next degree; among them were Patricia Long M.S. ’79, Mary Anne Dumas Ph.D. ’90, and Stony Brook University School of Nursing Dean Lenora McClean.
While these professionals motivated her to get her Ph.D., Dr. Messina chose the Adelphi School of Nursing’s program based on the experience her husband, Dr. Glenn Messina ’80, had at the University. “His Adelphi education shaped him and prepared him well for his career,” she says. “He was impressed by the dedication and commitment of the faculty.”
Like her husband, Dr. Messina found herself at home among her professors, particularly her dissertation advisor, Pierre Woog. “He respected the doctorate degree, and taught others to respect it as well,” she says.
“Every Friday from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., I would go to his house to work on my dissertation, which was about the experience of women who have had a child because of reproductive assistance,” she says. “I saw my dissertation evolve before my very eyes…from theory into practice,” she says.
“Professor Woog had the intuitive ability to give me a kick when I needed it, and knew enough to loosen the ropes,” she says. “He made me an active participant in my learning.”
Today she does the same for her students, bringing her own experiences from the clinical area to the curriculum and classroom clinical experience. “I enjoy working with student nurses and fostering their growth,” she says.
Dr. Messina and her husband have a daughter, and live in Setauket, New York.