“Edgewood College has been the foundation for everything moving forward,” Jake Zadra ‘13, now Jacob Zadra, MD, said.
Zadra is in his first year of residency in UW Health’s Emergency Department at UW Hospital, the next leg of his educational journey. He calls himself a Madison “lifer,” having been raised on the east side, earned his undergraduate degree in History and then completing medical school at UW-Madison.
“Every time there has been an educational transition, the next best stop for me was still in Madison. I’ve never found a good reason to leave,” Zadra said.
When looking at where to start his college career, Zadra didn’t need to look far to find everything he wanted.
“Edgewood College is a small school atmosphere in a Big 10 college town. I got all the luxuries of small class sizes and play college baseball while also getting to experience the social aspect of a Big 10 university city,” Zadra said.
Zadra says the science professors who helped him achieve his minors in Biology and Chemistry like Jim Goll, Louise Stracener and Brenda Del Moral gave him the foundation to propel him into a successful medical school experience. In History, professors like Jay Hatheway and Andy Witt helped guide and provide him with the liberal arts education he’s proud to have.
“I never felt like I was behind anyone from these Ivy League schools,” Zadra said. “My experience in the Humanities really gave me a well-rounded education that a lot of my peers didn’t have. That helps me with the humanistic side of medicine and is helping me become a better doctor.”
Admittedly, History isn’t usually the path of choice for pre-med students.
“I liked History and I found that to be a good reason to major in something. I liked it and I would never have another chance to get to study it,” Zadra said. “Besides just being able to major in something like History, I also got to take Religious Studies courses and get exposure to an Art History class, all these other things where if I had gone to another place I might not have had the opportunity to branch out like that.”
Outside of academics, Al Brisack, Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach, made a lasting impact on Zadra. He credits his coach with his character development over his four years on the team as well as for the gritty work ethic that he’s found necessary in medical school.
“You need to be very comfortable being the first guy to show up and then staying late and being the last person to leave,” Zadra said. “Baseball also taught me how to fail. I’ve had practice moving onto the next chapter.”
Zadra says Coach Brisack perfectly exemplifies Edgewood College’s value of partnership. Even after his athletes move on, he continues to support their accomplishments. Five years after Zadra played his last game for Edgewood College, his coach was seated at his medical school graduation.
Between academics and extracurriculars, Zadra’s time as an undergraduate gave him the valuable skill of preparedness, which is especially important in the field of medicine.“You need to develop a relentless, gritty work ethic and be continuously unsatisfied. To keep pushing yourself every single day,” Zadra said about those thinking about going into the medical field. “This needs to be a passion for you because you want to care for people. You can’t have any other motive than that.”