A Conversation with Kyle Klahs, DO, ’14: Medical School Mentor

One of seven siblings, Kyle Klahs, DO, ’14 ΔΤΔ  always wanted to help people. Choosing Westminster College for his undergraduate degree was the natural first step in the process of becoming a physician.

“I was always the one applying Band-Aids,” Klahs says of his early life. “I also loved biology, and for me becoming a physician was the perfect combination of saving lives and biology.”

Klahs chose Westminster for its strong pre-medicine program that offers cadaveric dissection. “That was a huge draw,” he explains. He went on to major in biology and minor in psychology. In 2018, Klahs earned a doctorate in osteopathic medicine from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, MO.

Today the captain in the U.S. Army is an orthopedic surgical resident at William Beaumont Army Medical Center/Texas Tech University Health Science Center in El Paso, TX.

The native of Bloomsdale, MO, also volunteers as a mentor for Westminster students who are considering going to medical school.  Read further to see what he has to say about finding your purpose at the Blue Jay Nation.

What advice would you give to Westminster students who are interested in pursuing a degree in medicine? Do well in school and find a mentor. The path to becoming a doctor is convoluted at best. I was fortunate enough to have some really great mentors who showed me the process, and I would encourage everyone interested in medicine to not only find a mentor, but also help those coming up when you have made it.

Do you enjoy what you do? I get to reduce pediatric fractures, operate to save life and limb, and restore the fighting force of our soldiers, among many other awesome things. I have one of the most rewarding and enjoyable jobs there are.

How did your Westminster education help you find your purpose? The academics were on point in preparing me for not only getting into medical school but also excelling during medical school. I had faculty inspire me and who were very much on my team, from being a brand-new freshman, getting accepted to medical school, in accepting the HPSP military scholarship, all the way up to graduation.

What is your favorite Westminster memory? I really enjoyed the Symposiums. Being able to talk face-to-face with some incredible people made my dreams and aspiration seem attainable.

Which of your achievements are you most proud of? I feel like since high school I continue to have new greatest achievements. The most recent was getting into a highly competitive Army orthopedic surgery residency. But in all honesty, becoming a father in 2017 will always rank up there.

Would you recommend Westminster to prospective college students? I would absolutely recommend Westminster to anyone interested in a small, liberal arts college experience with an exceptional pre-healthcare curriculum.

Spouse? Rachel (Olten) Klahs, editor.

Children? Anton Klahs, 2 years old, and Jonas Klahs, 1 month old.

Favorite Westminster faculty member(s)? This is a hard one. Literally, there were so many. But, Dr. Gabe McNett was my advisor all four years, and I could not ask for someone who was more invested in my education and success than him.

Favorite spot on campus? The trail behind the Historic Gym.

A book you would recommend to others? Miller’s Review of Orthopedics. Just kidding! I would recommend When Breath Becomes Air for anyone considering medicine.

Favorite movie? The Fountain.

What do you do in your free time? Enjoy the outdoors with my family.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.