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 Sarah Gutknecht's 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 helping student attend the annual NAPNAP Conference.


The scholarship Winner for for the 2018 Conference has been selected!  

Congratulations to Katie Holt, MN, RN


The application for the 2019 scholarship will be posted sometime in the late fall or early winter of 2018.  Thank you to all who applied for the 2018 scholarship.