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For the past six years, the UNC School of Nursing and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have offered a fellowship to UNC nursing students interested in receiving advanced training in oncology nursing. This year, the UNC Lineberger-Sylvia Lauterborn and Warren Trent Piver Oncology Nursing Fellowship expanded to include three nursing students from North Carolina Central University, in addition to five nursing students from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Headshot of Ashley Leak Bryant
UNC Lineberger’s Ashley Leak Bryant, PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN.

“The oncology nursing fellowship program offers a meaningful and impactful opportunity for nursing students to learn, grow and advance as clinicians and leaders in oncology nursing. With an increasing number of cancer survivors in North Carolina, nationally, and globally, it is imperative that our care teams mirror the racial, ethnic and gender composition in our communities. Only then will we truly address the totality of cancer survivors’ needs,” said Ashley Leak Bryant, PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN, associate professor of nursing, director of the oncology nursing fellowship program and assistant director of cancer research training education coordination at UNC Lineberger.

By partnering with historically black colleges and universities and native-serving institutions in North Carolina, Leak Bryant said the fellowship program can contribute to improving cancer and cancer survivorship care in urban and rural communities, areas that largely have been underserved.

This year’s fellows are Sivi Detwiler, BSN ’22, NCCU; Teagan Guerra, BSN ’23, UNC; Peyton Elizabeth Gully, BSN ’23, UNC; Ann-Louise Hopkins, BSN ’23, NCCU; Emily Iffland, BSN ’22, UNC; Bianca Rodriguez, BSN ’22, UNC; Claire Traylor, BSN ’23, UNC; and Amia Torrence, BSN ’23, NCCU.

Eight nursing oncology fellows standing outside. They are a racially and culturally diverse group.
Nursing oncology fellows, from left: Emily Iffland, Teagen Guerra, Peyton Elizabeth Gully, Bianca Rodriguez, Claire Traylor, Amia Torrence, Sivi Detwiler, Ann-Louise Hopkins.


The fellows were recognized July 21 at a luncheon at the Carolina Inn. Each fellow also presented their observations on the fellowship and how it shaped their perspectives on oncology nursing.

“Bringing together the nursing programs at UNC and NCCU to grow the professional pathway to oncology nursing is critical to ensuring we can provide outstanding cancer care in the future,” said Yolanda M. Vanriel, PhD, RN, MEDSURG-BC,OCN, CNE, ANEF, chair of the NCCU department of nursing. “As a UNC alumna who has a passion for oncology nursing, I was grateful for Dr. Ashley Leak Bryant reaching out and inviting NCCU to be part of the fellowship. This collaboration is good for our students collectively, and it stands to benefit everyone who lives in North Carolina.”

“The geographic proximity of UNC-Chapel Hill and NCCU invites a closer collaboration between our schools of nursing, and this year we saw the benefits and strength that come from diversifying the oncology nursing fellowship,” said Lorinda Coombs, PhD, FNP-BC, AOCNP, assistant professor of nursing and assistant director of the oncology nursing fellowship program. “As a result of our success this year, we anticipate increasing the number of incoming fellows next year from NCCU and continuing to engage with other HBCUs and native serving tribal and non-tribal institutions.”

About the oncology nursing fellowship program

The fellowship program was launched in 2016 to provide intensive inpatient, outpatient and palliative care training at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital. The fellows work directly with oncology nurses to advance their understanding of the nurses’ role with symptom management, clinical trials and best practices in providing supportive care services.

The fellowship is funded in part by Robert “Bob” Lauterborn, a supporter of UNC Lineberger and the N.C. Cancer Hospital, where his late wife, Sylvia, received excellent cancer nursing care, and by Laura Carlo Piver, in memory of her husband, Warren Trent Piver, PhD, in the belief that nurses bring unique knowledge, skills, perspective and caring to cancer care.

Sylvia Lauterborn was born in Crumlin, Wales. She was a student nurse at Charing Cross Hospital in London and held other roles before becoming a flight attendant for Pan American Airways. While in training for Pan Am in Queens, New York, she met Bob, who was on a training program for GE. They were married Sept. 28, 1963. The couple moved to Chapel Hill in 1986 when Bob joined the faculty at UNC. Sylvia’s love of travel took her to 83 countries during a 50-year period, first as a flight attendant, then with her husband as he taught all over the world. She died of pancreatic cancer in 2013.

Warren Piver was a chemical engineer who possessed a deep-seated scientific curiosity about a broad range of environmental issues. He was internationally recognized for his work on groundwater contamination and climate change. When he was 44, he underwent aggressive chemotherapy at UNC for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He received an autologous bone marrow transplant at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as UNC’s bone marrow transplant program had not yet started. During the ensuing 13 years in which he was cancer-free, Warren saw sons married, a daughter in college, volunteered with his church and in the community, and excelled professionally. Fifteen years after his original diagnosis, Warren succumbed to acute myelogenous leukemia. Excellent medical care, and especially knowledgeable, compassionate nursing care, were vital pillars in his life story.