Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Denay Hering: "I came back a different person"

This article appeared originally on and is reproduced for our Eagle fans here. Enjoy!

Denay Hering, a senior Education major from Lake Mills, Wis., had a winter break that was decidedly short on snow. She travelled with a group from UW-Madison to Kenya, to work with the Jirani Project, a nonprofit organization designed to support and provide education for vulnerable Kenyan children. 
“On this trip, something that truly amazed me was how at home I felt in a place that I had never been before,” she says.  “I have never felt happier and more invested in my days than I did while in Kenya. This trip has had such an effect on me that I intend to return in order to pursue my dream of teaching in a different country.”
The group’s work consisted of facilitating a camp for children – much like summer camps anywhere around the globe. “Our job was to create activities from morning until night for the group of nineteen children for about 5 days,” she says. “We provided an array of activities for everyone throughout the camp which included both educational activities and physical games. Everyone had a great time with each other and no one was afraid to act goofy which made it all the more fun.”
Even half a world away, the track and cross country student-athlete felt right at home. “One thing the kids LOVED to do was to play capture the flag. They could have played that all day long. You think us student-athletes are competitive? Play capture the flag with these kids and you’ve never seen people at each others’ throats over a simple game. I was in my element to say the least.”
Denay and kids at camp“At the camp, we all felt comfortable around each other very quickly. This allowed us to form deeper relationships with one another that I’m confident will remain strong for the rest of our lives,” she says. “The kids I met at this camp have left a permanent mark on me. I have never met such resilient and loving people in all of my life. All of the adults and children associated with the Jirani Project were such warm and kind-hearted people who helped to make it a life-changing experience for me.” 
“This experience has taught me so much about myself and has changed my perspective on life. I didn’t expect such drastic changes in the way I think, the way I reflect, and the way I view our society. To see people coming from virtually nothing, yet having such joy in their everyday lives puts the way we live here in perspective. It is astounding what the human spirit can do even in the most heart-wrenching of circumstances. It was truly inspiring for me to recognize that and it has caused me to sit down and think about the way I live my life here.  It is a lesson that everyone can and should learn from. Although I’ve been back for almost a week now, I’m confident that this trip will continue to have me reflecting on my life here and what I can do to make it more joyful like what I experienced in Kenya. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to have such an incredible experience in which I came back a different person that I am proud of.”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Aliou Traore: "I took it as a challenge"

This article appeared originally on and is reproduced for our Eagle fans here. Enjoy!
If you want to meet someone who takes full advantage of every opportunity, you should meet Edgewood College senior Aliou Traore.
Take a look at his Eagles’ soccer career, for example. After playing minimal time off the bench in two years at Edgewood College, Traore earned a start in the Eagles second to last regular season game of the year.
All Traore needed was an opportunity. He was able to not only score his first career goal, but the first three of his Eagles career. Traore tallied a hat trick in the first 25 minutes but credited teammates with the performance.
“It felt good as I took it as a challenge. Having the opportunity to start a game was a challenge to show that I can play the game. I love this game and I know I am capable of playing well despite my handicap. I want to say that my teammates also help me scoring those three goals.”
The “handicap” Traore speaks of is his main reason for being in Madison. A native of Gagnoa, Ivory Coast, Traore elaborated on his journey. “My move was due to the fact that my brother who has been in Madison over 15 years found a doctor that could help with my arm here in Madison. But as you can see he was not able to help because the nerves had suffered significant damages which led to the amputation. It was my decision to amputate.” Traore has just one arm after an incident left him paralyzed in his right arm, and he was the one to decide to amputate. A tough decision for any young adult to face, but Traore has not let that stop him from doing the things he loves.
“I am involved with the AAM, and I’ve been accepted to be a board member of the AAM – African Association of Madison." Prior to Edgewood College, Traore spent two years at Madison College. “At MATC I founded a club called the ASA – African Student Association - and was the president for two and a half years.”
Following his time at Madison College, Traore looked to Edgewood College to complete his undergraduate degree. “Edgewood College would accept most of my credit and offered scholarships (including the Transfer Partnership Award, designed especially for transfer students from Madison College and UW System 2-year colleges). If it was not for the scholarships, I don’t think I would have been here. I am also so grateful for the Predolin Scholarship.”
Even as graduation approaches, Traore has developed a strong affinity for his major, Business. “Some of my favorites would be Accounting classes such as Accounting I and II, my Business Capstone, and Fraud and Forensic Accounting.”
Both on the field and in the classroom, Traore has made the most of his opportunities. He’s had a positive impact on those around him here, and after graduation, he’s ready for more of the same. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jake Zadra: Your Education Is What You Make It

This article appeared originally on and is reproduced for our Eagle fans here. Enjoy!

Jake Zadra ‘13 has heard it a few times already. When he tells people that he actually majored in History at Edgewood College “I usually get some funny looks. On the surface, I might think that’s a weird combination.”
The ‘weird combination’ for Jake is a Bachelor of Science degree in History, with minors in Biology and Chemistry. By all accounts it has worked well. Mr. Zadra graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2013, and this fall learned he’ll begin his next chapter in August 2014 at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, where he’ll study to become a doctor.
“Studying History has taught me a lot, and it’s going to make me a better doctor. It really honed my critical thinking skills, for one. And when you study History, you study people. And in medicine, you work with people – so in that way, I’m going to be a better doctor for it.”
That’s a great challenge for anyone, but his record shows he’s ready: he’s a volunteer with the Ski Patrol at Devil’s Head Ski Resort; spent more than 300 hours performing research in the UW-Madison Orthopedic/Biomechanics lab as an intern; captained the Eagles baseball team; was named a Capital One Academic All-American student-athlete; and served as vice-president of the History Club.
Today, he works in the ER at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, and “runs” with the Blooming Grove (Wis.) Fire Department as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician).
Some of his professors said Jake “took a true multidisciplinary, liberal arts approach to his education.”  He puts it this way: “Coming to Edgewood College your options are endless. Your education is what you make it. You can choose to study something you love here, and you’re going to get a fantastic education that will benefit you no matter what field you choose to go into.”
Photo: Associate Professor Jim Goll, Jake Zadra ’13, and Assistant Professor Brenda del Moral, Dominican Honors Convocation, 2013