Student Spotlight: Kayla Kaufer

Wisconsin native aiming for career as DNP

Kayla Kaufer, 19, is a lifelong resident of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, a village with just under 3,300 residents in Pierce County on the Minnesota border. The village was named for Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth, the first Union casualty of the Civil War.
Kayla’s father, Steven, a master falconer, is a self-employed grower raising sunflowers and prairie flowers for Bachman’s on a 100-acre farm. Kayla’s mother, Cheryl, is a nurse practitioner (NP), an advanced registered nurse with the training and education to promote and maintain health by diagnosing and treating acute illnesses and chronic conditions.
Following in her mom’s footsteps, Kayla, a 2016 graduate of Ellsworth High School, started at Inver Hills Community College in fall semester 2016. She is seeking admission to the Nursing program on a dual admission track with Metropolitan State University through the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE). Kayla is looking forward to first earning her Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing to become a registered nurse (RN). From there, she’ll go on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.). MANE allows her to complete eight semesters of nursing training right on the Inver Hills campus.

Three words that describe you as a person:

“After I earn my B.S.N., I’m planning on going to the University of Minnesota to become a nurse practitioner,” Kayla said. “After that, I’m going to get my Doctor of Nursing Practice and become a DNP. My focus will be neonatal care.”

Kayla chose nursing as her career path because she was inspired by her mom, but also because her older sister, Shelby, had a heart transplant at the age of two months. “My parents always talked about how wonderful her neonatal nurses were,” she said. “I’ve wanted to be a nurse ever since.”

Scholarship Girl

Kayla has been exceptionally proactive in her quest to finance her college education, earning 10 different scholarships, including a $1,000 Priority Registration Scholarship from Inver Hills.

  • Kayla KauferAmerican Red Cross Young Minds Change Lives Educational Scholarship ($500)
  • Ellsworth Chapter #116 Order of the Eastern Star Scholarship ($600)
  • The Pierce County 4-H Awards Scholarship ($400)
  • Ellsworth Lions Club Scholarship ($1,000)
  • Auxiliary at Mayo Clinic Health System Red Wing Scholarship ($1,500)
  • Margaret M. Gruber Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)
  • St. Francis Scholarship ($1,000)
  • Pierce County VFW Post 9060 Scholarship ($250)
  • Pierce County 4-H Dog Committee Scholarship ($150)
  • Inver Hills Priority Registration Scholarship ($1,000)

More about Kayla…

Kayla participated in 4-H most of her life growing up. She works while attending Inver Hills. She’s the head lifeguard, water aerobics instructor and swim lesson instructor at the Ellsworth Community Pool. On campus, she’s involved in Student Senate and VALOR, the latter a student veterans club. Kayla’s boyfriend, Mathew Normand, serves as a private 2nd class (PV2) in the Wisconsin National Guard. Kayla and Mathew have been best friends since 9th grade.
Kayla considers her parents the most influential people in her life. She considers the uncertainty of life one of her toughest challenges.
“I try to be okay with not knowing,” she said. “I have always had a plan, but I don’t know God’s plan—and that’s okay. It’s always been hard for me to accept, though.”
When she’s not studying or working, Kayla enjoys spending time with her family and her boyfriend, Mathew. She has three sisters, one older, Shelby, 21, and two younger, Rachel, 15, and Bethany, 8. She also has a dog she loves, a border collie named Harvey.
Kayla’s hobbies include playing acoustic guitar and singing. She enjoys Christian music and is very active in her family’s Catholic Church.

Kayla Kaufer gallery

Registered Nurses

Provide and coordinate patient care, and educate and support patients and families.

Well above the statewide median of $18.88/hour
Median: $34.96/hour
High: $42.70/hour
Seven-county Twin Cities metro
Median: $37.69/hour
High: $44.53/hour


This career is currently in very high demand and is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 11.8 percent, or well above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 20,110 new Registered Nurses to meet market demand between 2014–2024. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.
— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Kayla Kaufer | 21 Answers

Kayla Kaufer
Kayla Kaufer
  1. Northern goshawkFavorite season: Summer
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Atlantic Ocean
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Basketball; I played varsity basketball in high school as a 5’9 post
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Northern goshawk
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Rome
  6. Favorite holiday: Christmas
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Border collie
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Mark Walberg
  9. Chris TomlinFavorite band or performing artist: Chris Tomlin
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Don’t give someone else the responsibility for your joy.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Humans
  12. Scariest thing in the world: The unknown/dark
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Baby Daddy
  14. Favorite all-time movie: The Help
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Bring someone to know God’s love.
  16. Most precious material possession: My iPhone
  17. Learjet 75First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: My own Learjet
  18. Dream occupation: Neonatal nurse practitioner
  19. Person you would most like to meet: Mother Teresa
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Driving a stick shift
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: Tolerance; accepting everyone

More about MANE…

MANE is an innovative education alliance between Metro State, a four-year state university, and seven Minnesota State community colleges. The MANE curriculum represents a transformative approach to nursing education that encourages a deep understanding of key nursing concepts while addressing the changing health care environment.
“MANE was created to make baccalaureate nursing education available to students across the state,” said Sue Frosch, director of nursing at Inver Hills. “Developed jointly with practice partners and the Minnesota Board of Nursing, the MANE collaborative curriculum prepares nurses of the future to care for Minnesota’s diverse and aging population.”
Sue added that MANE uses a dual admission process, meaning applicants admitted to a MANE college will be dually admitted to a MANE university in a program culminating in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.). The 120-credit MANE baccalaureate curriculum has been endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC).
“As a nursing graduate at Inver Hills [and other MANE community colleges], you will receive an Associate of Science in Nursing at the completion of the semester five benchmark,” Sue said. “You will be eligible for licensure as a registered nurse after completion of the fifth semester and receiving your A.S.. At that time, you have the option of preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam and attaining licensure to practice as a registered nurse. This is a choice, but not a requirement to continue in the program.”

Nursing Information Sessions

Inver Hills MANE admits students twice yearly, once in February and in June. To learn more about the Nursing program, you can attend a Nursing Information Session. Current students can contact an academic counselor or advisor to determine the best plan for applying to the program.
Nursing Info Session
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 4 – 5 p.m.
Nursing Info Session
Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 4 – 5 p.m.

To learn more about the Nursing program and MANE at Inver Hills, contact:

Sue Frosch
Director of Nursing

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