Laura Burgstahler '13


Name: Laura Burgstahler

Graduating Class: 2013

Major: Biology


Your Story:

My name is Laura Burgstahler and I am from Duluth, MN. I am a senior Biology major at Gustavus Adolphus College.

I chose Gustavus for the small classes, the location, the choir, and the academics. I applied to five other schools and Gustavus stood out above the rest.

My interest in pre-medicine started when I was a little girl. I broke five bones by the time I was in 12 and so I was very accustomed to the hospital setting. I originally thought I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. When I came to Gustavus, I became more and more interested in the Physician Assistant route. My mom has also worked in the health care field her entire life, so I had some exposure from home.

My most influential experience at Gustavus confirming the pre-medicine path was being selected to do the January Interim Pre-Health Care Exploration. I shadowed around 150 hours at River’s Edge Hospital and Clinic in St. Peter and it was a very enriching experience. I am also a part of the Emergency Room volunteer program at the Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato; that has also been a great experience!


My Class Schedule (click to view PDF)


Top Five Activities/Experiences:

1. Studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark spring 2012

2. January 2011 Pre-Health Career Exploration

3. Gustie Greeters

4. The Gustavus Choir

5. Sigma Sigma Sigma

***6. Habitat for Humanity Spring Break Work Trip to Taos, New Mexico



  • If you are thinking about becoming a PA, start getting direct patient care hours EARLY!!! Also, try and shadow PA’s so you have a clear understanding of their role in the health care team.

  • Try and have a study abroad experience at some time in your Gustavus career. You won’t regret it!

  • Always be looking at pre-requisites for schools you are interested in and plan out your schedule early. PA programs often have several pre-requisites so it is important you can fit them all in!


Future Plans:

I plan to have a GAP year and gain additional experience working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Duluth or I am investigating different service programs. I will be applying to PA school starting in April and I hope to have all of my applications submitted by the time I graduate in June!




Updated 11/30/12 JMV