Wider Horizons

It’s a long way from the Motor City to Lethbridge, but for Bill Nykiel’s family, it’s the end of a winding road. Born in Lethbridge, but raised in Detroit, Bill moved back to southern Alberta in 1976 with his wife Toni and two daughters. Having both worked in health care in Detroit, Bill and Toni’s desire was to continue working in the health-care industry. In the spring of 1984, Bill graduated with his nursing diploma from Lethbridge College and was followed by Toni in 1988. In 1986, Bill began what would turn out to be a 34-year career at the college, first as a nursing instructor and later as the placement coordinator for the Centre for Health and Wellness, where he manages student work-integrated learning experience opportunities, a role he still holds today.

That gives Bill a front-row seat as a new generation of his family pursues post-secondary education at the college. Grandson Justin Sturm (Exercise Science 2016) is both a grad and current Business Administration student. After finishing his first diploma, Justin worked as a personal trainer and currently helps manage a local pizza restaurant, a job which sparked a love of business. “He has a vision of opening his own gym and decided that he wanted to know more about the business side, so he came back to the college for that,” says Bill.

Another one of Bill’s grandkids, granddaughter Jaylin Ouellet, is following in both her grandparents’ footsteps into healthcare as a student of the Practical Nursing program. “She is interested in nursing because she’s a real people person and always considered healthcare as a profession,” says Bill. “She was originally undecided regarding program choice, but with Toni and I being nurses, we were able to talk to her about the scope of RNs and PNs and how they have changed over the years. We talked to her about what her career goals were and, ultimately, she decided on the PN program.”

“Since I graduated in 1984, times have changed dramatically for students, and both grandkids’ sharing their college experiences gives me great perspective on the life of a student in 2020. As well, having both of them on campus occasionally dropping in to visit with ‘grandpa’ is way cool. That’s been a gift for me.”


Bill Nykiel - Nursing 1984

Bill has spent 34 years working at Lethbridge College as a nursing instructor and now as the placement coordinator for the Center for Health and Wellness.

Toni Nykiel - Nursing 1988

Toni is retired from nursing, but still picks up the occasional shift at the Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge to keep her skills sharp.

Justin Sturm – Exercise Science 2016, Business Administration student

Justin came back to Lethbridge College to get his business diploma and hopes to one day open his own gym.

Jaylin Ouellet - Practical Nursing student

Jaylin is following in her grandparents’’ footsteps into the health-care field.


Are you a multi-generational Lethbridge College family? If at least three members across one or more generations attended Lethbridge College, let us know by emailing [email protected]. We’d love to profile you.

Wider Horizons
Story by Jeremy Franchuk/Stories submitted
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