Faculty and Staff

Melissa Fitch

Dr. Melissa Fitch, DNP, CRNA

Founding Administrator of the University of Evansville Nurse Anesthesia Program

Room 203, Graves Hall

Melissa Fitch, DNP, CRNA obtained her associate degree in nursing from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1997. While working full-time as an RN, she pursued her BSN and graduated from Murray State University in 1999. She knew from a young age that practicing Nurse Anesthesia was her goal, and in 2002, she graduated from the Trover Foundation/Murray State University Program of Nurse Anesthesia. For the next 17 years, she practiced as a CRNA for Excel Anesthesia, PSC, the largest all-CRNA group in Western Kentucky, staffing rural facilities and surgery centers across the area. In 2017, she made the decision to pursue her doctoral degree in nursing with the goal of eventually teaching in an anesthesia program. While working toward her DNP, she was made aware that the University of Evansville was starting a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Program, and in 2019, she was offered the position as the Founding Administrator for the program. Dr. Fitch worked alongside University Administration to complete the program's self-study and obtain programmatic accreditation in 2021. The program has experienced tremendous growth under her leadership, and Dr. Fitch has surrounded herself with an amazing team of faculty and staff who work tirelessly toward the success of the program and its students.

Dr. Fitch enjoys professional advocacy, and she will begin her term as the President of the Indiana Association of Nurse Anesthetists in January 2024. She also serves on the State Organizational Development Committee of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, helping states to reach professional and legislative goals in the field of Nurse Anesthesia. Dr. Fitch enjoys travel, spending time on the beach, and anything that involves time with her kids. Her daughter Sydney, 21, is a law student at St. Louis University, and her son Lucas, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Evansville studying Criminal Justice. Their accomplishments bring her the greatest pride!
Matthew Harmon

Dr. Matthew Harmon, DNP, CRNA

Assistant Program Director/Assistant Professor of Nurse Anesthesia

Room 205, Graves Hall

Dr. Matthew Harmon is an Assistant Professor in the Nurse Anesthesia Program and has been practicing as a CRNA since 2017. He is originally from London, Kentucky and completed his Baccalaureate Nursing Degree at the University of Kentucky in 2013. In 2014 he began a BSN - DNP program in Nurse Anesthesia through Murray State University—graduating in 2017. He lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he practices at The Medical Center in Bowling Green. He lives with his wife Kara (who is a Critical Care Nurse) and their three dogs: Duchess, Archer, & Lana. Dr. Harmon’s passions include Neuro Anesthesia, Clinical Education, and Ultrasound Guided Procedures. He has continued his education and graduated with his MBA in Healthcare Administration in the Spring of 2023. With the goal of growing the Nurse Anesthesia Program, Dr. Harmon is excited to join the current faculty and enjoys teaching and working with the students at the University of Evansville.
Wesley Oliver

Mr. Wesley Oliver, MSN, CRNA

Clinical Director/Assistant Professor of Nurse Anesthesia

Room 207, Graves Hall

Wes Oliver MSN, APRN, CRNA serves as the Director of Clinical Education for the University of Evansville’s Nurse Anesthesia Program. Professor Oliver first started his career in nursing as an LPN in 2010. He later went on to graduate with his Associate of Science in Nursing from Excelsior College in 2012 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Arkansas in 2018. He has worked in various nursing disciplines such as Emergency Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatrics, and Flight Nursing. He finally received his Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2021. Wes has been married for 12 years with 2 children. He lives in Bowling Green, KY, and works for The Medical Center. Professor Oliver enjoys supporting the program and its students in progressing the profession of nurse anesthesia.
Darlena Jones

Dr. Darlena Jones, DNP, CRNA

Assistant Professor of Nurse Anesthesia

Room 208, Graves Hall

Darlena Jones, DNP, APRN, CRNA serves as one of the newest Assistant Professors for the University of Evansville's Nurse Anesthesia Program. Dr. Jones completed her Associate Degree at the Henderson Community College in Henderson, KY, and then achieved a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, Masters of Science in Nursing (Nurse Anesthesia Specialty) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Murray State University. Since 2009, she served as a CRNA Clinical Staff Provider at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville, and transitioned to Associate Director for the Trover Health System/Murray State University Program of Anesthesia, providing instruction and administrative responsibilities for over 11 years. She became the Administrator of the Baptist Health/Murray State University Program of Anesthesia in 2016, and recently joined the team at UE.

Dr. Jones enjoys hobbies such as novelty and wedding cake creations, home renovations, and fostering/rehabilitating cats from abusive or disadvantaged situations. Her husband of 40+ years laughingly says that after she married him, she "reset the standard for keeping up with the Joneses, to include being innovative, courageous, generous, and absolutely adventurous."
Aleksander Nagornay

Dr. Aleksander Nagornay, DNP, CRNA

Assistant Professor of Nurse Anesthesia

Room 213, Graves Hall

Aleksander Nagornay, DNP, CRNA began his career in 2007 with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Western Kentucky University. While working nine years in the intensive care at Med Center Health in Bowling Green, KY, he pursued his goal in becoming an anesthesia provider by completing his BSN degree in 2015 from WKU followed by his DNP in Nurse Anesthesia from Murray State University in 2019. After practicing as a clinician for four years at teaching hospitals, Med Center Health Bowling Green and Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville, Dr. Nagornay was pleased to learn about the momentum of the anesthesia program at the University of Evansville as well as the team he would get the privilege of serving with. Dr. Nagornay couldn't be more excited to take this journey in pursuing educational excellence which will fulfill his passion of making a difference for the future generation.

He has been married for 13 years to his wife, Amber. They have 4 wild but incredibly bright young children who all love to play outside and get dirty.
Missy Holzmeyer

Mrs. Missy Holzmeyer

Operations Administrator for Nurse Anesthesia Program

Room 206, Graves Hall

Trenda Ridge

Mrs. Trenda Ridge

Administrative Assistant for Nurse Anesthesia Program

Graves Hall