Student Spotlight: Kyla Turner - Adding artwork to campus while pursuing a nursing degree

by Jordana Newman  |   

Kyla Turner standing next to painted door
Kyla Turner showcases art she painted on the RRANN office door in the Health Sciences Building. (Photo by Jordana Newman / University of Alaska Anchorage)

While working towards a nursing degree, Kyla Turner has created beautiful art pieces throughout the campus, with her most recent work displayed on the Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) office door. She shares why the UAA School of Nursing is the right choice for her and how she stays connected to her culture.

Name: Kyla Turner

Major: Nursing

Anticipated graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

What brought you to the UAA College of Health?

UAA is my hometown university. I have heard many great things about the UAA School of Nursing. Now that I am a part of the program, I am thankful for the teachers' passion for the students and for the knowledge they are passing on. I would recommend UAA College of Health to anyone interested in pursuing a medical career. 

Why did you choose to pursue a nursing degree?

I have wanted to become a nurse since I was a young child. My babushka (Grandmother) was terminally ill for many years. I spent a lot of time in the hospital with her when she was at her worst. The nurses gave extra attention and care to not only their patients but my entire family. They answered questions and stood up as advocates for her health. I was in awe of how much the nurses did and wanted to be able to help people like they did one day. 

Are you involved in any clubs on campus?

I am currently not involved in any clubs on campus. I have participated in a few cultural events hosted by Native Student Services and RRANN. I have enjoyed the time spent at these events which helped me feel connected to my culture. This includes indigenous dancing, beading, and art. 

Kyla Turner standing next to art
Kyla Turner stands next to art she painted in traditional Tlingit & Haida style about the story of how the raven stole the sun. The artwork is displayed in the Dean of Students office at UAA. (Photo by Kyla Turner)

Have you been involved with any internships during your time with the School of Nursing?

I have recently been accepted into an internship called ANION, which stands for Alaska Native Internship in Oncology. I have been interested in oncology care for many years now. This internship will allow me an inside look at oncology and I'm excited for the opportunity to learn and experience many things. 

What words of wisdom do you have for youth who are still considering their options after high school?

I would tell them to go to UAA. Going to a bigger university out of state is going to cost a fortune. Getting the undergraduate prerequisites here and then transferring if they still want to go out of state is a smarter option. There are tons of scholarship opportunities at UAA and I am thankful for UAA for the financial support for me to be able to get a college education. 

What was your favorite class while here at UAA?

My favorite class while at UAA would be Microbiology. I enjoyed being in the lab and getting to observe microorganisms in real-time. It gave a deeper understanding in regards to how the body responds to illness. 

What is a cause you care about?

I deeply care about many topics. I'm passionate about environmental groups and topics about climate change. I wish to give respect to the land and its people. I'm also passionate about the oceans and protecting marine life. I care about ensuring a safe and reliable future for many generations to come. 

What is your favorite spot on campus?

The UAA library. I am the most focused when I'm in a location structured around studying. The large windows allow light to come in and it's relaxing to have a beautiful area that gives me a place to focus. 

What is your favorite memory from your time here at UAA?

The friends I have made while in nursing school. We bond over many of the same interests and passions, and we connect well on multiple levels. We have worked hard together in study groups and have made each other proud of the work we have done. 

What is your plan after graduation?

To work at a hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. I'm leaning into the field of Pediatric Oncology. 

Kyla Turner painting door
Kyla Turner painting the RRANN office door in the Health Sciences Building. (Photo by Jordana Newman / University of Alaska Anchorage)

What is your favorite quote? 

"Dreams don't work unless you do." It motivates me to put in the extra time and effort when I get tired of studying or reading material for school. My dream is to be a successful nurse, and I need to understand and master the material. 

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

Painting, teaching art classes, gardening, and getting outside on hiking adventures with my dog. 

What is your secret to college success?

Keeping a planner to ensure all assignments are turned in. Making friends in all classes to create study groups of people you can rely on and enjoy talking with. 

What has been your proudest moment?

Getting accepted into the nursing program. 

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