Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Pre-Health Club: These students collaborate to host medically-relevant events and volunteer services.
  • Research Assistantships: Many professors conduct externally-funded research and are always looking for student help.
  • Shadowing: Opportunities to shadow practicing clinicians exist both locally and throughout the United States.
  • Thornton Biology Research Program: Students can receive funding and work with faculty on original research.

Faculty & Staff


Kevin Alexander, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology; Chair, Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Phone: 970.943.3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
Peter H. Gauss headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.2094
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238B
Shan Hays, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.2552
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238C
Chris Lee, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Phone: 970.943.2256
Office Location: Hurst Hall 218
Emily McMahill, Pharm.D. headshot
Ferchau Lecturer in Biology
Phone: 970.943.2311
Office Location: Hurst Hall 225
Cassandra Osborne, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.3181
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238A


Many students interested in becoming a healthcare professional will wonder which major to choose. For many career fields, there's no one right answer. Given the liberal arts offerings at Western, students can gain the foundational science courses they need to apply to various professional programs while also exploring other areas of interest.


Professor Shan Hays with 2 students during lab. Click image to see Pre-Medicine videosProfessor Shan Hays with 2 students during lab. Click image to see Pre-Medicine videos


The Program

Over the last 10 years, 89 percent of Western students who have applied for a healthcare-related professional program have been accepted. These high acceptance rates can be credited to the hard work of our students, the support provided by our dedicated faculty and our university’s commitment to success. Western is focused on helping students reach their full potential. With that said, admission into a healthcare-related professional program is very competitive. We help students maintain a competitive edge by offering early exposure to healthcare fields, an abundance of research opportunities and a variety of high-quality courses. 

Students also have access to the expertise and mentorship of our Healthcare Advisory Board. Board members advise students, guest lecture and connect undergraduates with opportunities in and outside the Gunnison Valley. 

Careers & Opportunities

A wide variety of career options awaits any student interested in becoming a healthcare professional. Each profession serves a unique purpose in improving the well-being of others. Course offerings at Western help students learn about these various fields. Ultimately, we encourage students to gain experience in their field of interest before committing to a specific career path.

  • Dentist
  • Mental Health Clinician
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Paramedic
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physician
  • Physician Assistant
  • Podiatrist
  • Registered Dietician
  • Registered Nurse
  • Veterinarian

Learn More

Reach out to Emily McMahill, Pharm.D. for more information.