Leann Balcerzak, BS, RN, Presidential Scholar

Leann Balcerzak.

About Leann

  • Hometown: Medina, NY
  • Favorite Self-Care Activities: Meditation and naps with my cat 
  • Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University at Buffalo School of Nursing
  • Current Program: PhD


I chose UB for my graduate education because of the opportunities to work with diverse and multidisciplinary clinicians and scientists.

Areas of Interest

My interest is in mindfulness-based interventions for addiction and trauma. My experience as undergraduate research assistant at UB participating in a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention ignited my interest in pursuing a degree that would help me grow as nurse researcher. During this time, I discovered in interest in nursing research and learned mindfulness foundations that I have been able to apply in my own practice as a registered nurse. I gained experience in the research process, and I gained confidence as a nursing student. Working in the community and meeting the participants, the people behind the statistics, made me realize why research is so important in improving the care nurses provide.

Currently, I am a Research Assistant in the Center for Nursing Research in the School of Nursing, and am participating in a mindfulness project funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). I am helping to develop mindfulness interventions for different populations, with regard to the mental health effects of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professional Goals

My goals are to contribute to nursing science by conducting my own research and disseminating new knowledge. I hope to be an educator and mentor to nursing students to encouragement engagement in pursuing evidence-based practice. I hope to be involved in the community to reduce health care disparities, especially for those vulnerable to mental health and substance use comorbidity.

Health Care Impact

I hope to one day be a leader in a dynamic nursing education system, adapting to the growing professional roles of nurses. I want to be an advocate for nurses and nursing students.


The generous scholarship award will help me focus on improving as a nurse scientist. I am able to commit to research and teaching opportunities outside of the classroom to gain important experience.