Tom Ross: Hunter Gansmann is destined to become an autopsy nurse |

Tom Ross: Hunter Gansmann is destined to become an autopsy nurse

Hunter Gansmann
Tom Ross

— Hunter Gansmann, 18, and a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, has it all figured out.

She heads to Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction later in the summer to begin her pursuit of a two-year degree that will allow her to become a licensed practical nurse. And when she arrives, she’ll already be a certified nursing assistant thanks to five college credits earned at Colorado Mountain College while she still was in high school.

Talk about a goal-oriented young adult!

“Cindy Meade at CMC really influenced me a lot,” Gansmann said. “She was such a cool lady.”

But there’s more. Before matriculating at Mesa, she’s planned a two-week trip to Antigua, Guatemala, where she will volunteer in medical clinics. Her educational background and fluency in Spanish should allow her to get right down to business.

“I know they are having a lot of problems with malaria down there, so we’ll be giving a lot of injections,” Gansmann said. “Helping people makes me feel really good — going home knowing you’re making somebody feel better.”

With her command of Spanish — her family went on extended working trips to South America when her father was a fishing guide there — she should be able to put her patients in Guatemala at ease.

But Gansmann’s plans go beyond becoming a licensed practical nurse. After taking off to enjoy health care-based travel upon graduation, she intends to pursue a degree as a registered nurse, study forensics in Chicago and some day become an autopsy nurse.

Watching her father, Scott, field dress big game introduced Hunter to mammalian anatomy, and as a 4-H member, a visit to veterinarian Lee Meyring to watch him perform procedures and do dissections made a big impression on her.

She also had the opportunity to do a high school internship in the office of Dr. John Lupori at Alpine Oral and Facial Surgery, where she observed numerous procedures.

“When I was little, I wanted to be a mortician, and people said, ‘You’re an odd little girl.’ Most little girls want to be a princess or something like that,” she recalled.

Not Hunter Gansmann.

“I used to be obsessed with ‘CSI,'” she said. “After I get my LPN, I’ll take some time off and do some traveling nursing. Then I’ll come back and pursue an RN, study forensics in Chicago and then autopsy.”

Hunter’s mother, Michelle Gansmann Raz, has set up a Web page where you can learn more about her upcoming trip to Guatemala, International Volunteer HQ and help to send medical support to Antigua.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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