Zainab Jaji '13


Photo of Zainab Jaji

Name: Zainab Jaji

Graduating Class: 2013

Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Your Story:

I am first year medical student at Yale medical school. I just graduated from Gustavus in May 2013. I am from Nigeria. I decided to attend Gustavus Adolphus College for a number of reasons. The first and foremost reason was its strong background in liberal arts education that is rooted in providing both depth and breadth to students. I knew this would immerse me into various subjects of interests ranging from the sciences to philosophy. This exposure has developed me into a well-rounded individual.

My interest in pre-medicine started at a very young age as I observed my dad practice medicine in Nigeria. My interest was piqued by the humility and trust my dad’s patients had in him concerning their health. I am really grateful for the opportunity to study at Gustavus because it allowed me explore various dimensions of a medical career. At Gustavus Adolphus College, I was able to engage in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, clinical preceptorships and scientific research opportunities. These experiences and activities had a huge impact on me because I learnt a great deal about my personality, strengths and weaknesses. They were all formative experiences.

My most influential experience at Gustavus confirming pre-medicine path was an encounter I had with a patient during my shadowing experience at River’s Edge during the J-term of my junior year. I was moved by the compassion demonstrated by a primary care physician I shadowed. When I first met him, his question to me was “what is grace?” As the day unfolded, I really learnt the meaning of the concept. He was very concerned about the totality of his patient’s health including their emotional and spiritual sphere. I was struck by how his use simple gestures and open-ended questions like “how are you feeling” had profound impact on the patients. During this encounter, I had a deep satisfaction after interacting with a patient and offering assurance on the quality of care being administered. The empathy demonstrated and satisfaction derived from such relationship is one of the main reasons I am studying medicine.

My Class Schedule (Click to view PDF)

Top Activities/Experiences:

  • SURF at Mayo Clinic, Rochester
  • HHMI Summer Research at Gustavus Adolphus College
  • January Interim Pre-health Career Exploration at River’s Edge
  • Big Partner Little Partner
  • Leadership in PASO (Pan-Afrikan Student Organization)
  • Volunteer Health Program in Nigeria.


  • Utilize the support system you have around it will make the premedical journey so much easier.
  • Reflect on each experience or opportunity you get involved in. Through reflection, you will learn a lot about yourself and capabilities.
  • When you choose or embark on activities, do them because you are interested. During the process of engagement, strive for depth.

Future Plans:

Attending Yale Medical School, starting Fall 2014!



Updated 7/3/2014 HB