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York College of PA alums, school to receive Spirit of YoCo Awards in December

November 02, 2022
School of nursing and health professions

Two alumnae and an academic school at York College will be presented with Spirit of YoCo Awards from the York County Economic Alliance in December. These awards honor community volunteers, elected and appointed officials, and community organizations and individuals for their service to York County.

The Dr. Donald E. and Lois J. Myers School of Nursing and Health Professions will receive the Education/Workforce Development Advocate of the Year award. Initiatives undertaken by the Myers School that have contributed to the healthcare workforce in the region include:

  • Graduated the first cohort of students in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program in May 2022.
  • Transitioned all Nurse Practitioner programs to a fully online platform in Spring 2022.
  • Received approval for an application to start a Family Nurse Practitioner program from the State Board of Nursing in July 2022. The program is launching in January 2023.
  • Launched in January 2020 a fully online RN to BSN program, which continues to grow in enrollment.
  • Increased enrollment in the BS to DNP Nurse Anesthesia program by 18 students per cohort.
  • Developed a new curriculum for the BSN program and implemented the changes with students entering Nursing courses in Fall 2021. 
  • Developed a proposal to start an Accelerated BSN program and assisted with securing funding to start the program in Summer 2023. This is a 17-month program for individuals who have a degree in another field and would like to prepare for a career as a registered nurse.
  • Established a partnership with universities in Poland to provide students with global learning and study abroad opportunities.
  • Added majors in Exercise Science, Healthcare Administration, and Health Sciences to provide additional opportunities for students wanting to enter a career in healthcare.

Margaret Eckles-Ray ’13 will receive the Volunteer of the Year award. A Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor at White Deer Run Treatment Network, she serves as the Program Director of the York Assessment Center, providing access to treatment for individuals struggling with substance use and mental health disorders.

As a strong community advocate, Eckles-Ray serves on numerous boards and collaborates with several local organizations to give voice to the voiceless. In October of 2021, she followed her heart and started her own business, focusing on women’s empowerment, mentorship, and life coaching. She has been an active member of the YCEA’s Women’s Business Center Organization Council and catalyst for growth of the program.  

Eckles-Ray transferred to York College and earned a degree in Political Science in 2013.

The Honorable Maria Musti Cook, a 1981 graduate and board of trustee member, will receive the Elected Official of the Year award.

Musti Cook currently serves as President Judge, the first woman to serve in this role in York County’s history.  She also serves as supervising judge of the criminal section of the court and is a member of the York County Prison Board and Criminal Justice Advisory Board.
Judge Musti Cook serves as co-chair, with President Commissioner Julie Wheeler, for the Stepping Up Initiative in York County, which was created to reduce/divert from the York County Prison and state prison system the number of individuals who suffer from serious mental illness and whose involvement with the criminal justice system is largely driven by their untreated illness. She is an advocate for treatment courts in York County and has presided over the adult Mental Health Wellness Court and JUMP Court, which addresses juvenile offenders with mental health issues. Judge Musti Cook initiated a truancy court in York County in 2012. She also served as supervising judge of the family court from 2010-2013.