University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Newsletter Archive

Interested in receiving the monthly Pre-Health newsletter? Sign up here


Welcome to University of Idaho’s Pre-Health Professions Program! It’s good to see so many students, faculty, and staff back on campus!

Last year, the Pre-Health Professions Program provided our students with a variety of resources and assistance to pre-health students seeking to enter professional healthcare programs. We are committed to providing the same quality resources and service...assisting students with career and degree exploration, prerequisite course sequencing, finding experiential learning opportunities, preparing for entrance exams, and navigating the application and interview process.

In addition to our advising, networking events, and pre-health courses, we will continue to keep you updated with events, activities, and opportunities through our Pre-Health website and monthly newsletter. Here you will find experiential learning opportunities, scholarships, upcoming professional development events, student, and faculty recognition, and much more! If you have not joined the Pre-Health Professions Program, please do so by clicking Join the Pre-Health Professions Program to begin your path to a successful career in healthcare.

Again, welcome back, and thank you for being a part of the Pre-Health Professions Program!

Natalie Burden
Pre-Health Professions Program Coordinator


Congratulations to our 2021/22 Pre-Health Professions scholarship recipients!


Volunteer Tutoring Opportunity

Virtual Pre-Health Shadowing has founded a Tutoring Program and is looking for tutors. Tutors will receive compensation through volunteer hours for their participation. This opportunity is very flexible as it can be done on your own time with a minimum of 3 hours per week. To become a tutor, you must have completed at least 5 of the following courses with good standing (evidence is required): General Biology I-II, General Chemistry I-II, Organic Chemistry I-II, Physics I-II, Anatomy and Physiology, Precalculus, Calculus I-II, Biochemistry, Microbiology, or Genetics.

If you are interested in becoming a Tutor, please fill out the application form.

WWAMI Mentor Program

Pre-Med Students: Apply now for the Idaho WWAMI Pre-Med Mentoring Program! The path to medical school is long and challenging. Medical students in the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program are eager to help support pre-med students in their journey to medical school, building supportive near-peer relationships that can relieve some of the confusion and stress of the process.


  • Junior* standing or higher
    *Second year community college students are also welcome to apply
  • Resident of Idaho
  • Priority will be given to students from historically underrepresented populations and/or disadvantaged backgrounds, including first-generation college students, students from rural and/or medically underserved communities, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Mentee Responsibilities

  • Attend program orientation in late October (exact date/time to be determined)
  • Collaborate with your mentor to develop a list of goals based upon your needs
  • Be on time for all scheduled meetings with your mentor
  • Notify your mentor as soon as possible if you are unable to attend for a reason such as illness, etc.
  • Respond to communications from your mentor in a timely manner (e.g., within 72 hours)

Application Priority Deadline: October 1, 2021

Note: Apply early! There are a limited number of mentors, so placement will be based upon the order in which applications are received and the eligibility criteria outlined below. If the enrollment maximum is reached, students may be placed on a wait list and will be contacted if a mentor pairing becomes available.


Upcoming Events

September's Pre-Health Graduate Speaker Series

Miranda Stein and Sierra Thomas - Sept. 1

Miranda Stein is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, UT. She graduated from the University of Idaho in May 2018 with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Spanish. Upon graduating this May, she will continue her training through a pediatrics residency program. She is also earning a Global Health Certificate at the University of Utah and plans to incorporate global health into her future career.

Sierra Thomas is a second-year medical student at the University of Utah. She grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. After high school she attended Utah Valley University where she received a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and played Division I volleyball for four years. Sierra is currently in the TRU (tribal, rural, and underserved) program at the U of U and has interests in practicing medicine in a rural or underserved area. She is interested in women’s health and pursuing a residency in OBGYN.

On Sept. 1 from 6-7 p.m. they will be discussing the medical school application process, how students can best prepare themselves to be strong candidates for admission, and personal experiences as medical students. This will be followed by an open format Q&A.


Zach Blume - Sept. 8

Zach Blume is a second-year Physician Assistant (PA) student at Idaho State University. He graduated in 2019 with a degree in Microbiology from the University of Idaho, where he had the opportunity to do research with the Mitchell Lab studying immunological development and dynamics in the zebrafish central nervous system and play rugby. While in Moscow, he discovered his passion for medicine as an EMT-Basic for the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department. He hopes to one day to practice medicine as a PA-C in rural Idaho, both to serve a community similar to the one he was a part of in Moscow, and to be close to his family.

On Sept. 8 from 6-7 p.m. he will be discussing his insights on how to approach the application and interview process and the experience of being in a healthcare-centered graduate program. Zack will help quell many fears and uncertainties around being a pre-health student. Students are encouraged to come prepared with questions and participate in the open Q&A.


Jenna Taylor and Edward Benitez - Sept. 15

Jenna Taylor is a second-year DPT student at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. She graduated in May 2020 from Colorado State University with a major in Exercise Science: Sports Medicine and a minor in Biomedical Sciences. Upon graduation next fall, she hopes to pursue a specialty in neurologic physical therapy and is interested in working in an intensive rehabilitation facility setting.

Edward Benitez is a second-year DPT student at the University of Colorado Denver-Anschutz Medical Campus. Edward graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Minor in Psychology in 2018. Upon graduation, Edward plans to specialize in either sports and orthopedics or neurologic physical therapy.

Edward and Jenna will be discussing the physical therapy school application process, how students can best prepare themselves to be strong candidates for admission, and personal experiences as doctor of physical therapy students. This will be followed by an open format Q&A.


Jessica Carter and Megan Follett - Sept. 22

Born in Seattle and passionate about nature, Jessica Carter attended Eastern Washington University and earned a B.S. in Environmental Science. Following graduation, Jessica focused on her garden and learning more about health, wellness, food and nutrition, leading her to return to school at the University of Idaho to study nutrition. As a registered dietitian, Jessica intends to work with clients to incorporate lifestyle medicine into traditional dietetic practices.

Megan Follett is a first-year student in the University of Idaho M.S. Dietetics program. She graduated from the University of Idaho with an undergraduate degree in Food and Nutrition and Child and Youth Development. During undergrad, she participated in multiple research projects, leadership positions, and paid experiences that prepared her for the M.S. Dietetics program and feeling qualified.

Jessica and Megan will be discussing the professional opportunities related to dietetics and nutrition, as well as unique insights as to how interested students can pursue similar paths and gain successful admittance to master's programs.


Erin Lemonds and Camryn Perez - Sept. 29

Erin Lemonds is a second-year speech-language pathology graduate student in the MedSLP track at the University of Washington. She graduated from Towson University with a degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and a minor in Deaf Studies in 2020. Upon completion of her graduate program, she hopes to work in a skilled nursing facility or hospital to support the communication and swallowing needs of adults.

Camryn Perez is a second-year speech-language pathology graduate student at the University of Washington. She graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2020. Following completion of her graduate program she hopes to work in schools or early intervention services to support children’s communication and language development.

Erin and Camryn will be discussing the many professional opportunities related to speech-language pathology and audiology, how students can best prepare themselves to enter graduate programs in this field, and answer questions to help students better understand this unique and valued health profession.


See Pre-Health Professions Program’s full list of upcoming events, add events to your calendar, and schedule reminder notifications.

Pre-Health Raffle

Enter here for the chance to win a Pre-Health swag bag!

Student Spotlight

Ilse MorenosIlse Moreno is a senior from Twin Falls majoring in Nutrition/Dietetics. She has worked with Eat Smart Idaho, taught nutrition curriculum to both pre-K students as well as a small group of high school students, and hosted a Webinar to Eat Smart Idaho Nutrition Instructors regarding language used when delivering nutrition education.

This highlighted research on restrictive eating behaviors, restrictive language around food and its effect on children/adolescents’ relationships with food, intuitive eating, as well as privileges and biases that could be seen in nutrition education. Most recently she completed a Clinical Nutrition rotation with Gritman Medical Center.

Fun fact about you: I have the cutest red toy poodle named Penelope (Penny).

What motivated you to pursue a career in nutrition and dietetics?
What currently motivates me to finish the Coordinated Program in Dietetics is the vast job opportunities available to me once I become a Registered Dietitian. The field of dietetics is so wide-ranging, there are so many fields one can go into (i.e., clinical, community, education, research, etc.) once an RD. I am excited to start sharing my knowledge and passion with others and make differences in the community or in individuals’ lives.

How did you find and obtain your internship position at Gritman Medical Center? How did it prepare you for your career as a clinical dietitian?
The clinical nutrition rotation really prepared me for a career as a Clinical Dietitian. For the last four to five weeks of my eight-week rotation, I was interviewing patients, creating nutrition care plans (often involving nutrition support recommendations for tube feeds), and following-up on a day-to-day basis by myself. I had the opportunity to collaborate with different members of the clinical staff such as the nurses, doctors, speech language pathologists, and case managers.

What has been your favorite class at University of Idaho?
Medical Nutrition Therapy/Clinical Simulations! It was so interesting to learn about different disease states and how to treat them through nutrition therapy. This class involved a lot of critical thinking skills and was very challenging/stressful yet rewarding.

Any shoutouts to someone at University of Idaho who has been instrumental to your success?
Cassandra Partridge! She was an amazing MNT teacher and went above and beyond to help us learn the material as well as become proficient at conducting initial nutrition assessments in a clinical setting.

Any advice for students considering nutrition and dietetics at University of Idaho?
Challenge yourself. Take the failures and learn from them. I know firsthand how challenging a health care-focused program can be but work hard and take the rewarding moments as they come!

Staff Spotlight

Eric AndersonEric Anderson is the Associate Director of Career Development at University of Idaho. He is a certified career development facilitator and career services provider, with over 15 years of advising experience. He takes pride in assisting Vandals in all aspects of career development, helping people explore, navigate, and make critical decisions about their future.

Years at U of I: 8.5

Fun fact about you:
I grew up near LeClaire, Iowa, a small river town that is known as the birthplace of Buffalo Bill Cody and the original home of American Pickers.

What motivated you to pursue a career in education?
I learned in college that I wanted a career where I could help people in a very practical way and utilize my listening skills. My top Holland Code is Investigative, when means I love learning and am fascinated by being in environments where I could constantly learn. I also have so many diverse interests, and being in higher education I get to explore them every day. But the most important motivator is the chance to work with students every day. Nothing is more fulfilling to me.

What do you like most about working at the University of Idaho?
The Vandal Pride, Vandal Family. We are so student-centered and customer-focused. We have something special here, something you don’t get at other schools. I also like that, in a positive way, we act like we have a chip on our shoulder, something to prove to the world. I find this very motivating. Always I love hearing from all of our amazing employers that are passionate about wanting to recruit Vandals.

Any advice for students considering a pre-health career focus at the University of Idaho?
Start early in the exploration/planning process. Build your network and connect with Vandal alums that work in healthcare. Use the U of I Alumni Directory on LinkedIn and the Vandal Mentor Network. Connect with other pre-health students across the country on Handshake. Diversify your experiences. Also, don’t be afraid by setbacks or rejection, or if you plans change/evolve. Utilize Career Services and especially your awesome Pre-Health Advisors!


Centralized Application Service Timeline

If you are planning to apply to graduate programs in dentistry, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, or public health, please check the respective Centralized Application Service websites for important dates and detailed guidelines for submitting your applications. You will find links to these pages and other helpful resources on the corresponding pre-health professions webpages. Most CAS systems open between late May and early July, but many allow students to start uploading their applications prior to this. Submitting your application earlier does improve your chances of being accepted to certain programs, so do not wait.

Please schedule an appointment with your pre-health professions advisor for more focused support.

End of Year Survey

To help the Pre-Health Professions Program better serve students and alumni, please take a moment to complete this brief survey. Your insights are greatly appreciated.


End of the Year Note

Thank you everyone who has supported the Pre-Health Professions Program this year – especially amidst COVID. We greatly appreciate your participation and allowing us to help you with your individual goals.

To those who are graduating this academic year, please stay in contact with us. We enjoy hearing from our alums, and we can still provide you with advising services. To those returning in the fall, we are committed in continuing to provide you with support and resources to be successful with your graduate school applications.

Thank you for being a part of the Pre-Health Professions Program. Have a wonderful summer!


Natalie Burden, Pre-Health Professions Coordinator

Patrick Mazzocco, Pre-Health Professions Advisor

Student Spotlight

Tristin BowensTristin Bowens is a senior from Boise, double-majoring in Microbiology and Molecular Biology + Biotechnology. She has worked as an In-Home Caregiver for Family Resource Home Care (FRHC).

Fun fact about you:

I bake sweets to relieve stress! I will bake numerous cookies, cupcakes, and pies during study breaks. I then deliver them to my friends around Moscow!

What motivated you to pursue a career in medicine?

My father always told me as a child to “be the light in the darkness”. I remember when he first became very ill and we were told he wouldn’t survive to see my high school graduation, let alone my college graduation. We had seen specialist after specialist along with the good, bad, and the ugly of healthcare. It was the team of doctors that gave my dad more time on this Earth. I can’t wait to walk across that stage in May with my dad looking at me from the crowd. A moment I only dreamed of because it wasn’t supposed to exist. I understand the value of giving someone life, not just for them but for their family. I want to do what those doctors did for me; this is how I choose to be the light in the darkness.

How did you find and obtain your position at FRHC? How did it prepare you for your career in medicine?

I was specifically looking at in-home caregiving and found that FRHC was hiring. This position showed me how to create trust and exhibit compassion for clients of all ages. It also gave me an understanding of how to speak and console family members, especially those of hospice patients. Most importantly, it gave me the ability to see someone as more than a patient with a range of symptoms and diagnoses. I saw them as people with families, history, and the plethora of impacts they have made on others. I began to see people for their humanity.

What has been your favorite class at University of Idaho?

My favorite class has been Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics. This course gave me a greater understanding of genetic diseases at a molecular level.

Any shoutouts to someone at University of Idaho who has been instrumental to your success?

Dr. Fuerst has been nothing but supportive during this mental roller-coaster through my father’s illness. At times when I wanted to quit it was Dr. Fuerst who gave me the confidence and encouragement to move forward.

Any advice for students considering pre-medicine at University of Idaho?

Make sure the “why” behind your dreams is strong. College will inevitably get difficult, it is your “why” that gives you the strength to push forward. Do not let a failed test, a tired mind, or your own doubts keep you from your purpose.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Onesmo BalembaDr. Onesmo Balemba is an Associate Professor and Researcher in the department of Biological Science.

Years at U of I: 13

Courses taught at U of I:

BIOL 428 Microscopic Anatomy; 301 Undergraduate research; BIOL 401 Undergraduate research; BIOL 600 Doctoral Research and Dissertation; MEDS 550 Energetics and Homeostasis; MEDS 529 Circulatory Systems; MEDS 510 Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease.

Fun fact about you:

I find diagnosing pregnancy in cattle quite interesting and rewarding work. When research experiments don’t go well, I raise my head up and get motivated to continue working.

What motivated you to pursue a career in academia?

Exploring the unknowns, asking questions, and looking for novel answers in research was the major driving force. Since my childhood, I wanted to understand the causes of bowel pain so that I can help people living with such pain.

What are some of your current research and/or application projects?

My research program is divided into two projects:

  1. The pathophysiology of diabetic ENS neuropathy and dysmotility
  2. Identification of antidiarrheal, non-addictive pain medication from Garcinia buchananii stem bark.

The current thought is that toxic substances from the gut trigger the development of diabetes. Importantly, disrupted gut contractility and movement is linked to causing insulin resistance and type two diabetes. However, we know very little about these toxic substances that disrupt gut function and trigger diabetes. At the present, our main focus is investigating the role of toxins produced by diet-gut microorganisms-host interactions in causing damage to nerve cells residing in the gut wall (“the gut brain”) and disrupting gut movements. This project involves “transplanting” feces from human and mice with type two diabetes in mice. We use several techniques to assess nerve cell injuries and dysfunction as well as disruptions of gut movements and smooth muscle contractions. We are working with collaborators to identify the toxins.

What do you like most about working at the University of Idaho?

Good working environment. I can say that when I visited the university for the first time, I realized that faculty and staff were friendly, supportive, and collaborative.

Any advice for students considering a pre-health career focus at the University of Idaho?

The University of Idaho is the right place for you. We have the experience with teaching and mentoring pre-health to successful career paths. The Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program enriches the U of I environment in preparing pre-med students to excel. For example, faculty and medical students provide additional mentorship on how to get into medical school programs! Just reach out to pre-medical student advisors, faculty, and students for guidance. Everyone is friendly and happy to help.

Do you have internship, research, or other experiential opportunities for which students can apply?

I am taking undergraduate research students who are interested in my research projects, especially those interested with understanding type two diabetes. We have room for three to four students preferably sophomores. Contact me if interested.


New Class: INTR 496 Pre-Health Peer Mentors

All seats in for this course have been filled for the fall semester. The application portal for Spring 2022 will open in September 2021.

BIOL 151 Intro to Health Professions

This is a 1-credit graded 8-week course offered Fall 2021 and is centered on a series of presentations by guests from a variety of health professions. Students will learn about the presenters’ educational process and personal journey to become a professional in their chosen field, as well as the responsibilities, professional interactions, joys, and challenges of working in that field.

New Pre-Health Recognition Program

The U of I Pre-Health Professions Program is excited to announce its new Preparedness Initiative for students interested in seeking higher achievement opportunities. Participating students will be provided with additional skills and experiences that will enhance their preparedness for health professions graduate programs and receive recognition for their accomplishments upon graduating from University of Idaho. All students are eligible to participate; however, students must be members of the Pre-Health Professions Program and complete the following steps to receive their certificates of achievement:

  • Take BIOL 151 Intro to Pre-Health Professions (1 cr.) before graduating
  • Take INTR 496 Pre-Health Peer Mentors (1 cr.) before graduating
  • Meet with a Pre-Health Professions Advisor once each semester
  • Attend a minimum of three Pre-Health Program events each semester
  • Complete a minimum of 25 hours of volunteer service during your undergraduate career

Please contact if you are interested in joining this recognition program.

Note: Meeting and attendance requirements are effective starting Fall 2021; upper-class students are still encouraged to participate.

Upcoming Events

Graduate Student Speaker Series

Pre-Health Grad Student Speaker Dallin Page, April 7, 5-6 p.m. PDT

Episode 10 in our series features Dallin Page, a first-year student at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. Originally from Colorado, he received a B.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Health from BYU-Idaho.

Dallin will be discussing the optometry school application process, how students can best prepare themselves to be strong candidates for admission, and personal experiences as an optometry school student during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it has been challenging to start graduate school during a pandemic, the circumstances have provided him with unique opportunities to develop skills in preparing to be a quality leader in the field of optometry. This will be followed by an open format Q&A.


Pre Health Grad Student Speaker Carly Campbell April 12, 5-6 p.m. PDT

Episode 11 in our series features Carly Campbell, a second-year student in the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at South Dakota State University. Carly will share her unique journey from pre-pharmacy to pharmacy, life as a pharmacy student, and information about SDSU’s pharmacy program. There will also be an opportunity to ask Carly questions about how to find valuable work and internship experiences and strengthen your applications to pharmacy schools.


Application Workshop

In collaboration with Career Services and the Writing Center, Pre-Health Professions will be conducting a three-part Application Workshop. Between April 20-22, pre-health students can receive focused guidance on topics such as personal statements/writing experiences, gap year opportunities, and secondary applications for medical school.


See Pre-Health Professions Program’s full list of upcoming events, add events to your calendar, and schedule reminder notifications.

Student Spotlight

Brandon WebsterBrandon Webster is a senior from Tucson, AZ, majoring in Exercise Science and Health with a pre-health focus in Physical Therapy. He currently works as a Physical Therapy Technician with Axis Spine Center and serves as the President for the University of Idaho Pre-Physical/Occupational Therapy and Athletic Training Club. He is also an active member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Fun fact about you:

I used to live in Argentina!

What motivated you to pursue a career in physical therapy?

I’ve always had a keen interest in medical sciences from a young age, but after having a surgery in high school followed by an incredible exercise journey in the following years, I truly solidified my passion for the pursuit of becoming a physical therapist. Seeing the impact of changing one’s physicality made me realize how much of an influence it has on one’s mentality. I aim to optimize functionality as a therapist to get patients back to doing the things they love and help guide them in achieving an overall higher state of well-being.

What has been your favorite class at University of Idaho?

It has to be Exercise Physiology with Dr. Ann Brown. By far the most engaging and intriguing classes I have ever taken. Being able to comprehensively combine and apply all the relevant knowledge I’ve accumulated up to that point felt amazing. It really made me look back and realize I have truly learned so much in my time here at the University of Idaho.

Any shoutouts to someone at University of Idaho who has been instrumental to your success?

Paul Alderete my advisor and PT/OT/AT club advisor. He gave me invaluable advice, pushed me to get involved in leadership opportunities, to motivated me in my pursuit of success. Dr. Grindley for being one of the most positive influences in my time as a student. The investment she has with her students is incredibly commendable. Kyle O’Keefe, my career advisor, has helped me create the perfect resume and professional profile, critiqued my graduate school applications and essays, run through mock interview practice for my graduate program interviews, which ended up having a massive influence on getting accepting into my current DPT program starting this fall.

Any advice for students considering your Pre-Health career focus at University of Idaho?

Always search for opportunities, don’t wait for them to come to you. The more you diversify yourself and the more experience and opportunities you gain, the better prepared you are for your professional career as a well-rounded candidate. Following this, also know your limits. Speaking from first-hand experience, it’s very easy to overfill your plate when you have a heavy course load, multiple leadership positions, combined with other commitments and responsibilities. It’s all about finding balance and moderation, which comes with time and experience. Having a routine and schedule plan was by far the most helpful thing to overcome that issue for me personally.

Faculty Spotlight

Helen BrownHelen Brown is a Clinical Associate Professor for Public Health and Nutrition, Exercise, Sport, and Health Sciences in the Department of Movement Sciences. She is in her 15th year at University of Idaho, where she has most recently taught HS 450 Critical Health Issues; HS 490 Health Promotion; HS 328 Community Health, Theory, Systems and Practice; MVSC 486/586 Healthy Active Lifestyle Assessment and Intervention; and HS 404 Comparative Health Systems (Education Away Course/Field Experience).

Fun fact about you:

My family and I run Hands and Hearts Farm. We raise produce, eggs, and meat that we sell locally. I sailed around the world at age 19 and that fueled my interest in public health.

What motivated you to pursue a career in academia?

I’m truly more of a practitioner. I worked professionally in public health nutrition and public health in general for 25 years before coming to the University of Idaho in 2006.

What are some of your current research and/or application projects?

I work primarily in public health program assessment and evaluation with the ultimate goal of improving public health interventions. For example, I’m working with IMCI (Integrated Management of Childhood Illness) modelers to develop county-level data for obesity and diabetes to better target health interventions. I’m also on a team of IMCI COVID-19 modelers working to understand perceptions of risk and adoption of protective behaviors, and I’m about to begin a project to assess the effectiveness of cancer screening approaches in Idaho.

What do you like most about working at the University of Idaho?

I enjoy engaging students in the work I do with Idaho communities and organizations and I appreciate the multidisciplinary work that is happening across campus. University of Idaho’s commitment and mission to serve all the citizens of Idaho is important to me and matches my commitment to health equity for all.

Any advice for students considering a pre-health career focus at the University of Idaho?

Explore the myriad of possibilities in the health field. Although U of I doesn’t have a public health program, students can take courses here to prepare them for entry level public health positions and graduate school. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness about the value of public health and the great health inequities that remain.

Do you have internship, research, or other experiential opportunities for which students can apply?

I always have projects I’m working on and students work with me in 40-hour practicums, internships and directed studies. Sometimes I have paid research assistant positions and I’m always on the lookout for bright, capable and students who are passionate about healthy people and a healthy planet. When it’s safe to travel again, I’ll resume Study Away courses to Nicaragua and the United Kingdom.


New Pre-Health Cohort

The Pre-Health Professions Program is excited to introduce its new Pre-Applied Psychology cohort. Please visit our website to learn more.


Pre-Health Professions Lending Library

Pre-Health Professions has a free lending library for our pre-health students with a collection of books and resources, including test prep study materials. To check out these materials, please contact

Tutoring and College Success

University of Idaho Tutoring and College Success ( supports students in their educational endeavors by providing academic success strategies through Academic Coaching, SI-PASS, and Tutoring. Those interested in personalized academic support should visit their website to schedule an appointment with an Academic Coach. Additionally, the program is still looking for Tutors and SI-PASS Leaders. Applications for student employment will remain open until all positions are filled.


Upcoming Events

Pre-Health Speaker Series

Lt. Tate Pearson - March 1, 4-5 p.m.

Lieutenant Tate Pearson is a first-year student at the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health and active duty officer in the United States Army. Lt. Pearson grew up in a small town in Montana, working on his family farm before earning his bachelor’s degree in Public Health at BYU-Idaho. He is now in the process of obtaining his Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) while receiving a full scholarship through the U.S. Army.

Lt. Pearson will be discussing his experiences preparing for dental school, the application process, and how his military service has allowed him many opportunities to get unique practical experiences and made dental school more affordable.


Kiefer Starks - March 24, 6-7 p.m.

Kiefer Starks, an alum of the University of Idaho and third-year student at Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, will be discussing his experiences at the new and only medical school in his home state of Idaho. Osteopathic medicine is a growing field specifically devoted to effectively address patient's chronic and acute needs in any specialty of medicine using manual techniques. Kiefer will also share his insights regarding the application process and how to effectively utilize your time and resources to become successful applicants.

Drawing from his unique academic and professional background, he has started the Wilderness Medicine Club at ICOM, where students can get together and learn life-saving maneuvers to address medical needs that may come up during outdoor recreation. He imagines no better place to practice medicine than in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where he intends to practice trauma surgery and surgical critical care. Kiefer also enjoys interacting with students that will come after him and advocating for the field of osteopathic medicine.


See Pre-Health Professions Program’s full list of upcoming events, add events to your calendar, and schedule reminder notifications.

Virtual Application Workshop for 2021-2022 Cycle

Pre-Health Professions, in collaboration with Career Services, is developing a workshop series for pre-health students and alumni planning to apply to graduate school in summer 2021. Your input is important. If you have not completed the application workshop survey, please follow the link below (approximate completion time: 2 minutes).


Student Spotlight

Audrey DingelAudrey Dingel is a senior from Boise majoring in Medical Sciences with a Minor in Pre-Health Studies. She has volunteered for Enabling Explorers with DisABILITY, a program through Gritman Hospital. She also serves as a Wellbeing Ambassador through the University, which organizes different initiatives to increase the health and wellbeing of the U of I student population. In addition to those unique volunteer experiences, Audrey has also worked as a CNA for Avamere Rehabilitation in Boise.

Fun fact about you:

I have played more than ten different sports, my favorite of which is soccer and flag football. I work for the Intramurals Department of the U of I Recreation and Wellbeing which has only increased my love for sports and recreation. I also juggle and play the piano.

What motivated you to pursue a career in medicine?

Originally, I wanted to be a teacher because I loved tutoring my peers and teaching my younger siblings. Seeing how my time and help impacted their lives was the best feeling ever. Once I reached high school and took various science classes, I realized that I loved learning about science and the human body. The medical field is a perfect mix of these two things because I get to help people realize their potential and assist them through the healing process while also learning about science!

How did you find and obtain your CNA position at Avamere Rehabilitation in Boise? How did it prepare you for your career as a physician?

Becoming a CNA was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. I decided to take a class through the College of Western Idaho in the summer after my freshman year and then started working the summer after my sophomore year. It is the purest patient experience you can receive as a health care provider and seeing the medical system from that view was enlightening. It is hard work, both physically and emotionally, but I loved it. Knowing that I enjoy doing the grunt work of the medical field confirmed that this is the path for me, because even if it takes eight years to become a full doctor, I know I will enjoy the journey because I get to do the thing that I love.

What has been your favorite class at University of Idaho?

My favorite pre-med course was definitely Pathogenic Microbiology with Tanya Muira. This class was amazing because I learned about how bacteria and viruses interact with our body to create sicknesses.  After taking classes that were purely focused with how each of those systems work independently, it was incredibly interesting to see how they work in a real-world situation. I also remember so much of what I learned and find myself consistently thinking about it when I start having symptoms of illness because I actually know what is happening inside of my body.

Any shoutouts to someone at University of Idaho who has been instrumental to your success?

Dan Stelck for sure. He is my College of Science Ambassador and Chemistry Teaching Assistant boss and was my Organic Chemistry I and II professor. His humor, support, and compassion has become a highlight of my college experience.

Any advice for students considering pre-medicine at University of Idaho?

I cannot stress how important it is to work in the health profession as early in your college days as possible. It is so hard to know if the pre-health track is correct for you unless you have experienced it through direct patient care. Take that CNA, EMT, volunteer, or other opportunity when it becomes available because you will not regret it!

Faculty Spotlight

Joshua Bailey

Josh Bailey is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Movement Sciences in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. He is also the Coordinator for the Integrated Sports Medicine Movement Analysis Laboratory (ISMMAL).

Courses taught at U of I:

PEP 300: Applied Human Anatomy & Biomechanics; PEP 360: Motor Behavior; PEP 407/507: Sports Biomechanics; PEP 409: Concepts of Strength & Conditioning

Years at U of I:

3.5 years (7 semesters)

Fun fact about you:

In addition to being a personal trainer prior to academia, I spent 15 years in the hospitality world. As part of that time, I spent 3 months living in Australia with some of that time spent bartending. I dropped out of university after 2 years, only to finally complete my bachelor’s degree at the age of 31.

What motivated you to pursue a career in academia?

I always wanted to assist others with their journeys in school and fitness. I found that through my involvement with research and training others that would be involved in health and fitness fields, I would have the greatest impact.

What are some of your current research and/or application projects?

Understanding how the perception of fatigue affects the mechanics of movement during sport provide information regarding potential performance-injury preventative approaches to training. I currently focus on endurance athletes to identify movement patterns and changes in run mechanics as a result of fatigue inducing runs.

What do you like most about working at the University of Idaho?

Being a smaller school, I have the ability to interact with students earlier in their academic careers to introduce them to the world of research. Many of these students have attend regional conferences to present the work they have done in my research lab as a member of my team. Also, as a father and partner, the balance of family and work are hugely important to me.

Any advice for students considering a pre-health career focus at the University of Idaho?

Get involved early with a variety of experience that will show you the variety of opportunities in the field. Connect with faculty, staff, and advisors early in your education process. You will need letter of recommendation from many of these individuals and the more interactions they have with you and the better the relationships you forge, the more impactful the letter of support/recommendation will be. As someone who often writes and reads these types of letters, it is easy to see the level of the relationship in the letter.

Do you have any internship, research, or other experiential opportunities for which students can apply?

I encourage anyone that is interested in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training, Orthopedics, and many other pre-health fields to reach out to me for either practicums, internships, of simply research experience. Every semester I take numerous students on to become part of my research team. The earlier students become involved, the more opportunities (conferences, publications, grants) they are afforded.

Employment, Research and Scholarship Opportunities

Integrated Sports Medicine Movement Analysis Laboratory

The Integrated Sports Medicine Movement Analysis Laboratory (ISMMAL) is the applied research facility for the Department of Movement Sciences, WWAMI medical education and the Athletic Training Programs. The research conducted focuses on identifying mechanisms of injuries, potential risk factors, preventative strategies and treatment for musculoskeletal injury. The work performed in this space is often collaborative research projects involving faculty members and students from athletic training, biomechanics, exercise, sport, and health sciences, neuroscience and WWAMI medical education programs


Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory

The Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory is the applied Exercise, Sport, and Health Sciences research facility for the Department of Movement Sciences. The research focus of this laboratory is to understand the effects of physical activity and sedentary behavior on different parameters of health and performance across the lifespan, including but not limited to cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, vascular function, cardiac function, inflammation and cardiometabolic disease risk factors.


Psychology & Communication Studies

The Department of Psychology & Communications Studies has several undergraduate research opportunities available with different faculty in the department. Students typically receive 1-3 credits per semester as a research assistant. Research credit usually counts as experience credit (PSYC 494, COMM 494) or directed study (PSYC 499, COMM 499). You must receive permission from the faculty member before signing up for research credit. After permission is granted, the main office can place permission on your account for registration.


Additional research opportunities can be found at the University of Idaho Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) website.

Pre-Health Student Clubs

There are several student organizations that pre-health students should consider joining, including Pre-Med/PA Club, Pre-Physical/Occupational Therapy/Athletic Training Organization (POTATO), Food and Nutrition Club, and Public Health Club.

Learn more about these student clubs and sign up.

Upcoming Events

Center for Volunteerism Information Session

Feb. 4, 4-5 p.m.

The Center for Volunteerism & Social Action works to connect students with local, regional, national, and international communities through services and programs. The CVSA fosters lifelong commitments to service and civic action by engaging students and communities in transformational experiences that educate and develop leaders capable of challenging injustices and creating positive and equitable change. This information session will provide valuable insights regarding programs on campus for students to volunteer and the application process.


Graduate Student Speaker Series

Shilpi Ganguly is a second-year student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL. She will be discussing the medical school application process, how students can best prepare themselves to be strong candidates for admission, and personal experiences as a medical student including life as a medical student during COVID. This will be followed by an open format Q&A.


Jeff Ruser is a third-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Indiana University, specializing in Sport and Performance Psychology. He currently serves as a sport and performance psychology consultant with Indiana University Athletics, working with student-athletes and teams to help them enhance their performance and achieve their goals.

Jeff will discuss various careers and educational paths within the field of sport and performance psychology, how to pursue your interests in sport psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and how to connect with professional organizations that represent sport and performance psychology. At the end, attendees will be able to participate in a Q&A session with Jeff.


Abraham Joseph is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who is finishing his Master's in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology-Human Performance at the University of Florida. After graduating with a master's in engineering from India, he decided to move to America to pursue his dream of being a Strength Coach for professional and collegiate athletic teams. Abraham has worked with the Florida Gators Football and Women's Basketball teams as a Strength and Conditioning Intern. He is currently a Research Scientist in the Sports Science program at Mississippi State University.

Abraham will discuss how he prepared for a career in human performance, what the application process to graduate programs was like, and how he has attained highly competitive internship positions. This will be followed by an open format Q&A.


Monica Merante graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. Her undergraduate academic interests lie in Anthropology, Classics, and Museum Studies. She is pursuing her Master’s in Public Health from Pitt, (Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences) focusing on disaster evaluation methods for her thesis.

Monica will be discussing the unique specialties of public health workers, how to research graduate programs when applying, and how to find valuable experiential opportunities. An informal Q&A will follow the presentation.


See Pre-Health Professions Program’s full list of upcoming events, add events to your calendar, and schedule reminder notifications.

Thank you for being a part of the Pre-Health Professions Program! In our monthly newsletters, you can look forward to resources that will help you find experiential learning opportunities, scholarships, upcoming professional development events, student and faculty recognition, and more.

Student Spotlight

Abby Boesiger

Abby Boesiger is a senior from Boise, ID, majoring in both Psychology and Spanish while pursuing a career in occupational therapy. She has worked or volunteered in many unique settings, including a clinical OT shadowing experience at Gritman Medical Center, Special Olympics, Enabling Explorers with disABILITY, and studying abroad in Spain.

Fun fact about you: I have been to 11 different countries.

What motivated you to pursue a career in occupational therapy?

I was motivated to pursue a career in occupational therapy because I was in a serious accident when I was young and was seen by many types of therapists. The therapy that helped me the most was occupational. My therapist came to each session with a new perspective that was well-rounded and insightful. My occupational therapist helped me to stay positive and validated my struggles. Following treatment from my occupational therapist, I knew I wanted to help others the way my therapist helped me.

How did you find and obtain your internship at Gritman Medical Center? How did it prepare you for your career as an occupational therapist?

I was able to find and obtain my shadowing position at Gritman by emailing volunteer services staff. This experience prepared me for my future career because I was able to see many different aspects of what occupational therapists can do, such as working in outpatient clinics, visiting hospital patients, or attending schools. This experience deepened my desire for the field because it gave me so much joy seeing these children improve in certain skills and how happy they were to be in a comfortable space.

What has been your favorite class at University of Idaho?

I have loved so many of my classes, but I think my favorite class I have taken to prepare me for occupational therapy was developmental psychology (PSYC 305). This class helped me be better equipped to work with people of all ages and to consider external factors for development.

Any shoutouts to someone at University of Idaho who has been instrumental to your success?

Throughout my four years at the University of Idaho, Ashley Kerr has been instrumental to my success by always encouraging me to push myself, believe in myself and prepare me for my future career. Another person who has been instrumental in my success is Patrick Mazzocco. Over the past few months, he has spent hours and hours helping me apply to graduate school, editing essays and preparing me for interviews. I am so grateful to both advisors.

Any advice for students considering occupational therapy at University of Idaho?

Get as much experience as you can to volunteer or shadow in the field to make sure you love it, take classes you enjoy along with prerequisite classes, and don’t be afraid to ask for help because we have an amazing staff that wants you to succeed.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Ann Brown with some of her students

Dr. Ann Brown, seen here (center) with some of her students, is an Assistant Professor in Movement Sciences and an affiliate faculty member in Family and Consumer Sciences. She is also the Director of the Human Performance Laboratory. She has earned a PhD in exercise physiology from Florida State University and a bachelor’s in biology from Seattle University.

Years at University of Idaho: 2016 - Present

Courses taught: Physiology of Exercise; Physical Activity Wellness & Behavior Change; Design and Analysis of Research in Movement Sciences; Metabolism in Exercise and Sport

Fun fact about You: My family has vacationed to Priest Lake for the same two weeks of the summer for the past 32 years.

What motivated you to pursue a career in exercise physiology and sports nutrition?

I grew up dancing and was intrigued by what the human body was capable of with regards to athletic ability. Instead of pursuing a career in dance I wanted to pursue a career where I could remain a part of the dance world but in a health and performance capacity. I combined my love for dance and interest in nutrition and physiology into the job I have now as a dance science researcher.

What are your current research projects?

  • Supplemental protein and high intensity interval training in collegiate dancers
  • 12-weeks of supplemental plant-based or whey protein in male collegiate athletes

What do you like most about working at the University of Idaho?

Including both undergraduate and graduates in the research experience. I love to bring personal experiences from research to the classroom to help facilitate learning. Research teaches so much more than just research methods and being able to expose all students to this environment. It is incredible to watch students to learn, grow and develop confidence throughout their college years.

Any advice for students considering a pre-health career focus at the University of Idaho?

Get involved in undergraduate research and become a part of a laboratory cohort. You will learn the research process but more importantly you’ll learn how to work as a team, develop confidence in accomplishing tasks independently, and feel proud of the challenging work you accomplish.

Employment, Research and Scholarship Opportunities

Student-Athlete Academic Tutor

The University of Idaho Department of Athletics is seeking high academically achieving students to join their Support Services team as Academic Tutors. Academic Tutors assist student-athletes with course material for specific courses by clarifying course concepts to supplement the students’ class lectures and attendance while also helping assigned students build the study skills needed for success in the identified course.


The Catalyst $100K Award

The Catalyst $100K Award for future healthcare professionals is a merit-based scholarship awarded to exceptional candidates who will make meaningful contributions to their respective fields. According to data from the US Government, there will be a shortage of more than 200,000 healthcare professionals in the U.S. by 2030. Catalyst Scholars wants to train the next generation of doctors, nurses, dentists, physician assistants, pharmacists, and veterinarians and take concrete steps towards building healthier and happier communities.

Applications are currently open to candidates applying for graduate programs in Fall 2021 with intent to start their programs in Fall 2022. 

Other News

New Pre-Health Cohorts

The Pre-Health Professions Program is excited to introduce two new cohorts: Pre-Dietetics and Pre-Public Health. Please visit our website to learn more about these professional paths.


Pre-Public Health

New Resources

Virtual Pre-Health Shadowing ( was created in response to the ongoing pandemic. Due to COVID-19, many in-person shadowing and clinical opportunities have been annulled. This has disrupted the paths of thousands of pre-health students as these hours are crucial for the academic and professional development needed for successful health program applicants.

Students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare are encouraged to join the program. Membership is free and all students are welcome to attend any event(s) without any additional charge. There are also opportunities to become an ambassador and assist with the development of the Virtual Pre-Health Shadowing Program.

Virtual Pre-Health Shadowing provides students with the option to attend live Zoom sessions or review the videos later. Students can receive certificates verifying their participation upon completing a short assessment following each session.

Check out the Virtual Pre-Health Shadowing schedule to register for upcoming events.


Upcoming Events

Graduate Student Speaker Series: Ilse Moreno

Ilse Moreno, a senior in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Idaho, will discuss how dietitians and nutritionists play critical roles in healthcare and the many career possibilities associated with nutrition science. Students will also be able to participate in a Q&A session to learn more about how they can best prepare during their undergraduate years to become successful applicants to relevant postgraduate degree programs.

Graduate Student Speaker Series: Shilpi Ganguly

Shilpi Ganguly is a second-year student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL. She will be discussing the medical school application process, how students can best prepare themselves to be strong candidates for admission, personal experiences as a medical student including life as a medical student during COVID, as well as a few fun cases featuring the diverse fields of wilderness medicine to get you excited about what medicine is and can be. This will be followed by an open format Q&A.

See Pre-Health Professions Program’s full list of upcoming events ( , add events to your calendar, and schedule reminder notifications.

Meet the Pre-Health Advising Team

Natalie Burden

As someone working in higher education for over 14 years, I am dedicated to student success in helping and supporting students prepare for a meaningful healthcare career and reaching their fullest potential. If you are interested in a career in medicine (i.e., doctor, lab scientist, etc.), I can help you. I can assist you with prerequisite course sequencing; provide advice for building necessary clinical and shadowing experiences; prepare you to take your professional school entrance exams; provide guidance with the application/interview process; and provide other support/resources in reaching your goals. To schedule an appointment with me, please use VandalStar.

Patrick Mazzocco

As the Pre-Health Professions Advisor, my goal is to support students who are interested in attending postgraduate programs in the following subjects: Athletic Training, Chiropractic, Dentistry, Dietetics, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant and Public Health. If you would like to discuss academic programs and courses available at U of I, review your applications and related documents, prepare for interviews, or find practical learning opportunities, please schedule a meeting with me using VandalStar.

About me: I have worked as a photographer, horse wrangler, viticulturist, elite running coach, international tour guide, corporate program coordinator, and educator among other professions. Collectively, my diverse professional background allows me to apply the information and skills I have acquired towards helping students prepare for the rigors of their postgraduate endeavors and succeed in their professional pursuits.

Pre-Health Professions Program

Physical Address:

Vandal Success Center
Idaho Student Union Building, 3rd floor

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 2436
Moscow, ID 83844-2436

Phone: 208-885-5809