Sheryl Ramstad, Class of '75, Embarks on Career Change

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News Article

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Campus Unit

School of Law


For most, 63-years-old is not the age to start switching careers. But Sheryl Ramstad is not like most."I'm calling this an encore career," she chuckles.

For almost four decades, Ramstad has been fully entrenched in the law arena. She's been a federal prosecutor, a public defender, a judge, and even Minnesota's Commissioner of Corrections.

Now, it's time to turn her attention to nursing.

"I have a passion for burn victims, burn patients, and burn survivors," she says. "I'm very excited about a new career."

This new passion comes from her past.

In 1979, Sheryl was conducting one of her first solo flights as a student pilot when the engine sputtered and stalled over St. Paul.

"I remember everything," she says. "I remember falling out of the sky like a lead balloon."

Able to manage the small plane away from homes and busy freeways, she still crashed hard and the plane immediately caught fire.

"It was a human inferno and I couldn't get out. Witnesses said my skin was coming off me."

Ramstad still considers it "a miracle" that survived. She was burned over 37 percent of her body, needed multiple surgeries, and months of rehab.

"Now I want to give back in some way," says Ramstad. "I can provide a perspective to burn victims that there is life after burns."

She's proof of that. Ramstad went on to not only be successful in the legal field, but she ran marathons, and started a family.

In December, the 63-year old earned her Masters of Nursing degree from the University of Minnesota. She laughs when thinking about how classmates called her "the sorority mom," but she didn't mind being the eldest. To her, this was a new challenge and something she needed to do.

"We will see what's next. I'm thinking about how I can use this degree to help others."

Sheryl is a sister to longtime Congressman Jim Ramstad.