Meet Kyla Sykes, Bound for Nursing at Luther College

Christy Sykes, mom of future pediatric nurse Kyla, encourages all families with first generation college students to assertively pursue the college search. “Most definitely seek out and find what is available,” she say. “You have nothing to lose! We were so surprised by what she actually could receive in the way of support and financial aid. It was so worth the search!”

Though a search for a first generation student brings about challenges, Kyla is thrilled with her result. “My advice to first generation kids? Don’t let anybody take your dream away from you.  Follow your instincts.  Believe in yourself.  There’s so much out there for you, if you’re willing to work and discover the resources that best fit you.”


Kyla Sykes is one of those students who seems destined for her chosen profession: nursing.

“I was first inspired to pursue nursing when I took a medical anatomy class in school,” Kyla remembers. “The topics were immediately interesting to me.  The human body fascinates me – things like the complexity and function of the human respiratory and circulatory systems.  I am so curious to learn more. Nothing about the human body embarrasses me, or grosses me out.  I’m simply interested.”

Adorable at five years old!

The impulse to help people seems almost genetic, as Kyla explained in one of her college essays.  “I love helping others.  My mom has been really influential in my life: she’s a daycare provider and has always shown me the importance of caretaking. She has also always shown me how far a kind heart can take you. I will always take that with me in life.”  Her parents, Barry and Christy Sykes, have always believed in her and supported her goals, she says.

Kyla (left) and her sister Keely

“I’m known for going out of my way for people and truthfully I think that growing up, my mom’s patience, attentiveness, and ability to teach as part of how she cares for children is reflected in who I am today.”

A soon-to-be graduate of Maranatha Christian Academy, Kyla will enter Luther College’s pre-Nursing course of study in the fall. Impressed with the program’s excellent passing rates for the nursing licensing exam (NCLEX-RN), everything about Luther seemed like a strong fit for Kyla.

After a first year of foundational work, Kyla will begin clinical nursing courses in year two.  Year three will bring a concentrated study of nursing concepts with clinical experiences possible at Rochester Methodist Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital, affiliates of the Mayo Clinic; the Federal Medical Center; and a variety of community-based health-care agencies in Rochester, Minnesota.  The senior year provides final preparation for entry into professional nursing practice.

“I loved the whole process of admissions with Luther.  My admission rep Emily Stumpf was so responsive to me and my family any time we had questions or needed more information, and gave us a beautiful tour experience when we visited. I couldn’t have hoped for a more rewarding admissions process than Luther offered my family.  We’re grateful to them.”

“Oh my goodness, we are over the moon over her choice with the nursing major and so very excited about her choice in Luther College! We believe it is the perfect fit for our beautiful daughter!,” continues Christy Sykes. “We are most proud of her kindness and compassion for others! Kyla truly has a heart for people and has made such an impact with her kindness.”

“She cares so much for the patients she has at her work in her group home. [Kyla works at Seek Home, Inc, in Osseo, Minnesota). She goes above and beyond to give them the care they deserve. She brings joy wherever she goes and genuinely lights up the room.  My husband Barry and I could not be prouder than we are of this child.”

Kyla with her grandparents, parents, and sister (and new CIT client!) Keely Sykes on a family vacation to Florida this spring

These days, Kyla also thinks of her grandparents. “I’d like to also thank my grandparents for helping me along in my journey and supporting me. I love you guys so much!”

We wondered how watching COVID unfold, including the challenges presented to front line health care workers, have impacted Kyla. Has COVID changed Kyla’s thoughts about entering the profession? “It makes me wish that I was older and was already a nurse so that I could help. To be honest I’m not afraid.  No matter what comes my way – whatever will be the public health challenges I’ll face as a nurse — I know that God will have my back.”

All of us at CIT have loved working with Kyla and the amazing Sykes family.  We wish you the very best, Kyla!