Maj. Katie Lunning ’12 Named CAS Alumni of the Year

Maj. Katie Lunning ’12 has led an inspiring career in nursing and service. From serving in the National Guard to saving lives as a flight nurse in Afghanistan, Lunning has shown true dedication to serving others.

By Macey Heath, social media content strategist

September 26, 2023 | 8 a.m.

Maj. Katie (Malszycki) Lunning ‘12 has carved out a remarkable career—she has served both in the National Guard and on the front lines of medical care in Afghanistan. Her dedication has earned her the prestigious Flying Cross Award, where she is the second nurse and the first Air National Guard to receive the honor.

Lunning currently works as the intensive care nurse manager at the Des Moines VA Medical Center and as the chief critical care nurse at the Minnesota Air National Guard’s 133rd Medical Group. Her journey in service began straight out of high school when she joined the National Guard, serving full-time for six years. She then came to Bethel to study nursing, attracted to the program's Christ-centered approaches to caring for patients. During her senior year, Lunning had the opportunity to study abroad in the U.A.E, an eye-opening experience that would later shape her actions in Afghanistan. She eventually earned a B.S. in Nursing and was commissioned as an officer soon after.  

In 2021, Lunning embarked on a life-changing mission to Afghanistan as a critical air transport nurse. She participated in one of the biggest evacuations, helping transport troops and injured civilians out of the area. Having studied in a similar region before, the mission became much more personal to her. Overseas, Lunning found her passion for service—providing exceptional care to patients despite cultural differences and a dangerous environment. “They're people born on another side of the world, with different values and religions, but it didn’t matter,” she says. “We were there to provide the best care for them, and we were going to do right by them.”

Lunning hopes to shed light on the critical role nurses play in the world and bring awareness to her field. “I want people to see what nursing can do and what it is a part of. Nurses are the eyes and ears, and they're the ones that affect patients the most,” she says.

Bethel honors three outstanding alumni each year. If you know an incredible alum who deserves to be recognized, let us know! Nominations are accepted year-round.

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