First-Gen Graduate Spotlight: Nathaniel Dahl

Nursing major accepts position at Mayo Clinic

Nathaniel Dahl, 24, graduated with his Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing from Inver Hills Community College in December 2022. Nate attended the Nursing Pinning Ceremony Wednesday, December 7, in the Fine Arts Theatre on the college’s campus in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

Held separately from a college or university’s commencement, the pinning ceremony signifies that a nursing student has completed the level of education needed to receive official initiation into the nursing profession. The pinning ceremony is a celebrated milestone on a student’s journey to become a nurse.

“The pinning ceremony was an amazing opportunity to share in the joy of finishing the Nursing program,” Nate related. “At the end of reciting the nursing oath with my cohort, I had tears in my eyes. It was a moment that I had just spent a year and a half working towards. A truly beautiful moment, and I’m so grateful that I was able to share it with my fellow classmates and those whom I love dearly.”

Nate Dahl Nursing Pinning Ceremony Fall 2022 gallery

View more event photos by visiting the Inver Hills Flickr album:

Nursing Pinning Ceremony Fall 2022

Journey to Inver Hills…

When he was 19, Nate earned a silver medal in the First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) competition at the 2018 Skills USA Nationals. He had just graduated with honors from Hennepin Technical College with an EMS Specialist Certificate, Emergency Room Technician Certificate, and EMT National Certification with the NREMT.

Nate worked for the city of Osseo, Minnesota, as a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT for several months that same year. While a member of the department, he responded to 911 calls and participated in additional fire and medical training.

He next worked for Allina Health in the United Hospital Peter J. King Emergency Department, serving as an emergency department (ED) technician until fall 2020.

“My duties in this role were a huge part of my journey to becoming a nurse,” he reported. “I learned a lot from the amazing family of nurses, many of whom are still dear friends to this day.”

While employed by United Hospital, Nate also worked with Allina Health Emergency Medical Services as an advanced life support EMT responding to 911 calls and covering interfacility transfers.

“I then switched specialties and began work in primary care in the Lakeville Family Practice Clinic as a patient advocate and liaison,” he said. “There I managed a list of roughly four hundred patients for seven providers, ensuring they were getting the care they crucially needed.”

Nate assisted with patients with socioeconomic difficulties, mental health difficulties, and drug/alcohol addictions.

“I truly loved the difference that I made in this line of work,” he said, “and again, there were so many amazing, inspirational friends here. However, the Monday-through-Friday, nine-to-five schedule wasn’t feasible with nursing school, and I went back to working in acute care.”

In his current role with M Health Fairview in the Emergency Department at Ridges Hospital Burnsville, Nate serves as an ED technician on the department’s Unit Council, working as a preceptor for new employees and also helping with annual skills training.

Nate Dahl in the news…

(back row left) Nate Dahl • SOURCE: Champlin-Dayton Press
Learn more by reading “Champlin teen places 2nd at national first aid and CPR skills competition” by Sophia Khori in the Champlin-Dayton Press.

First-generation success story…

Nate is a first-generation college graduate. He participated in TRIO Student Support Services at Inver Hills. TRIO SSS  selects 140 students a year to take part in the program. You must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, enrolled in a degree program, and taking a minimum of six credits. You must also meet at least one of the following federal eligibility criteria:

  • First-generation college student (parent or guardian did not hold a bachelor’s degree while the student was in high school)
  • Meet federal income guidelines
  • Be eligible to receive accommodations for a documented disability through Accessibility Resources at Inver Hills

When asked what advice he would give to first-generation college students, Nate had this to say:

“It isn’t easy, and there maybe times where giving up may seem like the only option, and that’s okay. That’s normal. Don’t give up.

“Getting through college has been the biggest challenge of my life. Get connected and form a support system. Having a TRIO advisor was a huge help for me mentally and emotionally. You have to first take care of yourself before you can take care of others.” ❤️

Alicia Atwater served as Nate’s TRIO SSS advisor. Alicia reported that Nate demonstrated how a student can achieve great success while balancing school, work, and personal responsibilities.

“Nate is an exceptionally dedicated student as well as partner and employee,” Alicia said. “He juggled a near full-time work schedule and full-time nursing while maintaining high grades. He’s been a joy to work with because of his passion for the nursing profession as well as his willingness to do what it takes to get his work done. Without a doubt, Nate will be a powerhouse as a nurse, filled with knowledge and compassion for his patients.”

Nate’s plans as an Inver Hills nursing graduate…

Nate recently accepted a position in the Post-Surgical Cardiac PCU/Cardiovascular ICU Hybrid New Grad Nurse Residency Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His long-range career goals include the likelihood of becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or a nurse practitioner (NP).

“I’m also looking at going to Minnesota State Mankato to finish up my bachelor’s degree in two to three years,” Nate said.

More about Nate…

Nate and Gaby

Nate and his wife, Gaby, have been married for just over three years. They met four days after Nate started working as an ED tech at United Hospital in June 2018. They were engaged eight months later and got married eight months after that.

“She’s the most wonderful partner-in-crime a man could ask for,” Nate said, “and I love her very much.”

Gaby currently works as a vascular technician at M Health Fairview East Bank Medical Center. In that role, she performs IVs, ultrasound guided IVs, and peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line dressing changes.

“Gaby also works in the Ridges Hospital Emergency Department as an ED tech,” Nate added. “She is in her seventh year of military service, currently serving as a medic with the Minnesota Air National Guard. She spent six years with the Army National Guard as a combat medic before switching to the Air. She’s an inspiration to me and proves that anything can be accomplished with enough hard work and dedication.”

Nate related that the last three years of their marriage have been truly memorable.

“One month after we said our vows, the global COVID-19 pandemic began, and we were on the front lines,” he said. “Shortly after that, Gaby was activated with the Army National Guard and sent downtown Minneapolis for riot control, and then again to Brooklyn Center shortly after that. Once those were settled, she was sent off on Task Force COVID to help staff the long-term care facilities around the state.”

During that period, Nate and Gaby gave a new home an Aussiedoodle/German pointer mix puppy named Lola, who is now 2 year old.

“Lola is a fabulous addition to the family, and our first pup, Kono, is happy to have a fellow snuggle buddy,” Nate said. “We rescued Kono from the Humane Society the year prior. He is an attention-loving, loyal, 4-year-old Australian shepherd. Taking care of the two of them has taught us many life lessons and, hopefully, will make us more patient parents to little humans one day!”

Nate is looking forward to seeing more of Gaby now that he has graduated from Inver Hills.

“Needless to say, we didn’t have much time to enjoy our honeymoon phase prior to the world falling apart for a few years ?,” he said. “More than anything, now that I’ve completed the Nursing program, I can’t wait to be able to spend time and reconnect with her.”

Nate and his family like to explore state and national parks. He also enjoys yoga meditation as well as visiting craft breweries in and around Minnesota. His hobbies include automotive work, watching anime, and reading manga.

“I also really love my friends,” he said. “Listening to and playing music and shopping for vinyl records at local stores is something we really enjoy.”

Nate and Gaby, along with Kono and Lola, reside in Lakeville, but will be moving to Byron, Minnesota, in January 2023.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Nate Dahl Q & A

Nate Dahl
What inspired you to enroll in college and pursue a degree?

The hope for a better future: Growing up, my parents always worked as hard as they could to provide for my brothers and me. Now that I’m starting a life with my beautiful wife, Gabriella, I want to be able to adequately provide for her and our future children without the struggle my parents endured.

Why did you choose nursing as your college major?

I’ve always had a passion for caring for the well-being of others. Growing up, I imagined that I would one day be a cardiologist or anesthesiologist.

However, after becoming an EMT through Hennepin Technical College and spending five years working in acute care, I realized that nursing is truly my passion.

I truly feel happiness in the cave of my soul when I hear that I’ve made a difference in a patient’s experience during their stay. I want to do more for the people that I care for and, nursing was the next step in that journey for me.

What field of nursing interests you the most and why?

Although I find cardiac nursing extremely interesting psychiatric nursing is probably the field that interests me the most. There are huge advancements being made, and becoming a nurse practitioner in that field may be what I do later on.

Three words that describe you as a first-generation college student:

What do you like best about attending Inver Hills?

I really like the excellent instructors I had throughout my time at Inver Hills. I honestly never had a bad experience, and I feel really grateful for that.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

I would say my mom. She taught me what it means to take care of somebody when they’re sick and at their worst. She has worked at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, for 25 years and still does the best she can to provide the best possible care to each and every patient. 

Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?

In 20 years, I hope to find myself sipping a beer while sitting in a chair on a tropical beach. All jokes aside, I’d like to be settled with my wife in a house we’ve built on a few acres of land. Maybe we’ll be in Hawaii or still in Minnesota, I’m unsure. Regardless, to be with my family is all that matters.

Nate Dahl 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Activity: yoga • sport: soccer
  2. Place you would most like to visit: I would really like to visit Japan some day; I have a friend from high school who’s a Marine stationed in Okinawa, and I’d really like to see him and explore!
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Road trip to the Southwestern U.S. with my buddy in a 1991 Chevy Silverado I bought on Craig’s List; We slept, cooked, and hiked out of the bed of the truck; I’m amazed we made the 26-hour drive there and back, and only blew a tire coming back out of the mountains just outside Denver, Colorado
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Help find home for shelter dogs around the country  2) Donate funds to help assess and treat socioeconomic difficulties preventing a large number of people from getting the mental health help they need 3) I’d like to have an investment fund set up with a portion of the money for retirement; However, I’d like to be able to continuously work to support charities that aid veterans and their families
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: Best book: The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Gabor Maté, MD
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: I’d like to explore the future and see what interplanetary life looks like
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: I want to be a healthy, regulated, and disciplined man; I want to be the healthiest version of myself possible
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Kiwi
  9. Dream occupation: Psychiatric nurse practitioner trained in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Dalai Lama
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Sharpshooting—I don’t have a ton of experience, but I’d like to learn
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: There are countless, however, the one that I’ll mention is the increasing sense of division among individuals in society; in a world where humanity has never before been so interconnected, it appears as though it continues to drive people apart; now, more than ever, it is essential for people to come together as one and work to solve the major issues that are facing the world
Learn more about Nursing at Inver Hills by contacting:

Inver Hills Community College
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TRIO Student Support Services
College Center Room 255
Inver Hills Community College

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