Nurturing the Next Generation Scholarship

In honor of Sarah Gutknecht, DNP


Sarah Gutknecht, DNP, was a pillar of excellence in the pediatric community for several decades. She was one of the first students to earn her doctorate in Nursing at the University of Minnesota, faithfully using her skills and her knowledge to serve pediatric patients and their families at Shriner’s Hospital and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. She was known for her enthusiasm, generosity, love of life and learning, and her ability to inspire. Very few people she encountered walked away without being motivated to do or be better. Her smile was infectious, her energy boundless, and her heart full of compassion. She was often found sitting on the floor in her patient’s rooms, playing, winning them over with her kindness during their visit.

She was an active member on the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), the Institute for Pediatric Nursing, the Minnesota International Health Volunteers, and Ready Set Smile. She went on nearly 30 volunteer stints around the world with Operation Smile and Healing Hands for Haiti, helping provide resources and corrective surgery for patients with disabilities. She won the Distinguished Nurse of the Year Award through the Minnesota March of Dimes, the President’s Award through Minnesota NAPNAP, the Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, and the Donna Poe Davis Award for Excellence in Nursing from Operation Smile. She never failed to seize an opportunity to teach or to learn. She was humble, brilliant, and approachable. She stayed at the forefront of pediatric development by participating in research, maintaining involvement in local and national organizations, and serving on the board at the University of Minnesota Nursing Department.

Her life ended all too quickly on August 24, 2017, following a brave and arduous fight with pancreatic cancer. Her legacy lives on through the lives she touched and the people she inspired. She was passionate about students advancing their education in nursing to promote better outcomes for the pediatric community. She mentored countless students over the years; always instilling confidence, never leaving them with feelings of inferiority or inadequacy. The “Nurturing the Next Generation Scholarship” was founded in her honor to give students pursuing advanced pediatric nursing degrees the opportunity to augment their education and to connect to the greater pediatric nurse practitioner community by attending the annual NAPNAP Conference. Sarah valued this conference so much that she generously gave of her own time and money to ensure students could afford to attend and to embrace this opportunity. We would like to pay it forward by presenting a student with a $500 scholarship to attend the National Conference. This year the National Conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, from March 7-10, 2019.

Details for the scholarship are as follows.

The “Nurturing the Next Generation Scholarship is open to all current Minnesota, North and South Dakota residents enrolled in advanced practice graduate nursing programs with a pediatric focus (PNPs, FNPs, CNS, DNPs) with anticipated graduation dates during the 2018-2019 academic year. Applicants must be or become members of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and associate themselves with the local MN chapter. A selection committee will review the applications and choose the recipient based on qualifications, response to the following questions, and financial need.

Applicants must verify their student status by one of two methods 1) submit a valid student picture ID with valid dates or 2) submit a letter from the program director on official institution letterhead that validates status as a student in a qualifying program. Recipients must provide proof of NAPNAP membership, conference registration, and attendance at The National Conference before funding will be dispersed. The scholarship can be used to apply for student membership, conference registration, transportation, and/or lodging arrangements. Recipients will be expected to provide their own funding for all other expenses incurred. Open to applications received between December 5, 2018, and Jan 7, 2018. The recipient will be notified by January 21, 2019. Funds will be dispersed by April 15, 2019, pending validation of attendance. 

Email all applications to

Nurturing the Next Generation

Scholarship In honor of Sarah Gutknecht, DNP




Phone Number:

Graduate School and intended graduation date:

Program Director, email and phone number:

Please answer the following questions:

1. Who/what inspired you to become an advanced prac"ce pediatric provider?

2. How do you see yourself contribu"ng to the pediatric community in 5-10 years?

3. Explain why this scholarship would be helpful to you and what you hope to gain by attending the National Conference.