For Lakeville, Minn., native Nicole Doyle, Winona State University felt like home soon after she set foot on campus. From the beautiful fall colors to hiking and rollerblading along the lakes, there’s no place quite like Winona, says Doyle. But in the end, it was the inclusive atmosphere that drew her in.

“I really have appreciated all of the people I’ve met,” she says. “As a transfer student, I came to WSU and did not know anyone. WSU and the surrounding community have truly supported me and helped me to grow.”

Doyle has enjoyed many exciting opportunities during her Winona State career, including a travel study in Italy, being selected by her peers as the WSU Minnesota Student Nurse Association Class President, and obtaining an internship at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. However, her journey to success has not been without its challenges.

Nicole Doyle in the Science Laboratory Center.

Diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) as a child, Doyle has faced many challenges throughout her life, but she remains optimistic. She is thankful for family and friends who have supported her on the path to a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, and for professors like Megan Anibas, who inspired her to pursue pediatrics, and Catherine Nosek, who pushed her to improve her critical thinking skills.

“Every one of my professors has been fully understanding and supportive of me,” she says. “I can truly tell that they are here to help me succeed.”

Instead of allowing JIA to inhibit her path to success, Doyle has turned her diagnosis into a positive, as she is dedicated to helping others. Her extensive list of volunteer experiences includes serving as an ambassador, speaker, and 10-year volunteer with the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, speaking at the Minnesota Special Olympics, and volunteering at Camp Cambria, a camp for children affected by Juvenile Arthritis.

“This diagnosis has fueled my desire to help others as a nurse,” she explains. “My diagnosis of JIA was a life changer for the better! I was altered from a shy young girl to a brave leader, inspired to make a difference in peoples’ everyday lives.”

After graduation, Doyle hopes to work as a Pediatric RN at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City or at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She also hopes one day to attend graduate school to obtain her degree as a Nurse Practitioner.

Ultimately, Doyle lives by her mother’s motto: “Challenge your brain and do your best.” She says, “Never set limits to your abilities and never stop making the choice to be authentic.”

Doyle is scheduled to speak as part of WSU’s Fall 2018 Commencement exercises. She was selected as a representative of the Class of 2018 through a competitive process supervised by a committee of the Winona State Student Senate. Her comments will be featured as part of the 2 p.m. ceremony on Dec. 14, featuring graduates from the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Nursing & Health Sciences.

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About Winona State University
Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive, regional public university with approximately 8,000 students on campuses in Winona and Rochester. The oldest member of the Minnesota State system, WSU offers more than 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate and doctorate programs in five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing & Health Sciences, and Science & Engineering. Winona State is ranked as the second public institution in Minnesota by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” has been named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for 15 years in a row, and has been featured as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for quality and value for 23 consecutive years. The University generates $447.9 Million in economic impact for the region per year. The University’s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities we serve: a community of learners improving our world. For more information, visit