Ehrhart ‘23 Blazes Path to Success
Madison, Wis. (June 15, 2023) - Looking for a college that nurtured her academic needs and fueled her desire to compete, Rachel Ehrhart ’23 was drawn to Edgewood College. A high-achieving student and a cross country standout, she carved her own lane as a high school student-athlete. She qualified to run at the state championship during her high school career. This hard work opened many doors of future opportunity.
Exploring A New Trail
Born and raised in Illinois, Ehrhart graduated from Peoria Notre Dame High School. Laying the foundation for her success, it was here she discovered her interest in the broad field of natural sciences. Setting her sights on the pursuit of a college education, Rachel desired a college with a respected Biology program.
She visited a dozen campuses across the Midwest in search of a college home. Looking for the right fit, Rachel’s top three priorities were a school that offered smaller class sizes, personal connection with professors and peers, and location. She wanted to be a shorter distance from her home in central Illinois. Having garnered the attention of many colleges with recruitment in cross country, Rachel was invited to Edgewood College.
The College That Picked Rachel
She visited other schools that were like Edgewood College. Separating Edgewood College was the visit coordinated by Women’s Cross Country Coach, Bethany Brewster. While carefully considering every quality she looked for in a college, Rachel was sold on the opportunity to join a family in the cross country program. She was also drawn to the beautiful campus. Looking for an environment to train in throughout the upcoming years, she fell in love with the nature along the waterfront of Lake Wingra and the convenient location to biking and running paths that intertwine through the city of Madison.
Endurance Through the Challenges
With four successful years of college life now in her rearview mirror and a college diploma in hand, Rachel admits to experiencing bends in the road. Adjusting to college classes, athletics, and campus life, she struggled with time management. She was living away from her family for the first time and missed her support system. To ease her transition, Rachel leaned into her new cross-country family for an avenue of encouragement and support. Remembering these tough times with a smile on her face, she explained how important it was to be a part of a community of friendship. Not only at practices or competitions, their support and camaraderie reached beyond and even off campus, giving Rachel the confidence to push through her homesickness. Choosing to get involved also helped Edgewood College feel more like home. Rachel was also part of the track team, worked as a Science Course Coach, Admissions Ambassador, and volunteered as a Science Ambassador.
She soared as an Edgewood College Eagle, putting together an impressive resume. She contributed to her team’s success, securing a first-place finish in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) twice. Individually, Rachel was awarded All-NACC honors in every season of competition.
Going the academic distance, Rachel serves as a bright example of a highly motivated student putting in the hard work each day. Building strong student-professor relationships and finding support throughout the Division of Biological Sciences, Rachel’s academic achievements include graduating magna cum laude while maintaining honors recognition throughout her four years. In addition, she was a recipient of the Henry J. Predolin Scholarship awarded to high-achieving undergraduates studying Business, Nursing, or Science.
Acknowledging instrumental one-on-one support, Rachel credits Dr. Jacob Griffin, Associate Professor and Division of Biological Sciences Head, for helping her to adjust, thrive, and continue climbing the hills to achieve her academic goals. First introduced as a professor during freshman year.
“Not only did Dr. Griffin teach me how to manage my coursework, but he also inspired me to stretch my goals and dive further into my love of science,” Ehrhart recalls. Also serving as her academic advisor, Dr. Griffin worked with her to organize her class schedule and maximize every opportunity. Beginning as a Biology major, this extraordinary academic support allowed Ehrhart to choose a double major in Environmental Studies and, eventually, a triple major in Broad Field Natural Studies.
Where the Trail Leads Next
Once overwhelmed as a student-athlete adjusting to college and now a distinguished alumna with a triple major, Ehrhart aspires to become a middle school teacher. She hopes to inspire curiosity in young students as they discover and explore that learning science is fun.
Ehrhart will attend the University of Notre Dame to pursue a Master of Education degree in the Alliance for Catholic Schools program. An exciting next step, she plans on completing her coursework online while she moves to Miami, Florida, to begin teaching middle school as part of her program’s residency. Though this adventure will take her a thousand miles from home, her college experience has prepared and equipped her with the knowledge, experience, and confidence to blaze a new trail while holding close to heart those familiar trails that lead back home.
Offering multiple avenues of specialization, the Division of Biological Sciences at Edgewood College is ready to inspire student success. With engaging professors and academic advisors that work toward maximizing the academic experience, Edgewood College is dedicated to the growth of all students.