At Brandeis, Judges swimmer Edan Zitelny ’17 discovered family, athletic triumph and new perspectives

edan zitelnyPhoto/Mike Lovett

Edan Zitelny '17

Edan Zitelny ’17 arrived at Brandeis by way of Syosset, New York and immediately felt at home. As a co-captain of the Brandeis Judges swimming and diving team, Zitelny held a personal record in the 50m backstroke and helped break the school records in the 200m and 400m medleys.

Zitelny, a Biology major, has developed close friendships with his teammates, but has also forged meaningful relationships throughout the campus with other students and even his professors. He plans on pursuing medicine in the future, and has already been accepted to multiple medical schools.

BrandeisNOW caught up with Zitelny to get to know his Brandeis life—both in and out of the pool.

BrandeisNOW: Why does Brandeis fit you?

Zitelny: I first came to Brandeis on a recruiting trip and the moment I stepped on campus, I knew this place was for me. It’s so welcoming. It feels like a warm campus—even on a cold October day. It just feels like a family, not a school. We have a very special student body that wants everyone to succeed.

BNOW: What has been your favorite class?

Zitelny: Medicine, Body, and Culture with Professor Anita Hannig. It’s probably the most exciting class I’ve taken here, because it’s at the nexus of science and contesting everything you learn in science. We learned about the values that some cultures have versus the norms of biomedicine. It’s contested everything I’ve learned. But that’s what makes Brandeis exciting: it opens your mind and challenges you. Across the years, you hear so many opinions. You have to be open, because there’s validity in so much.

BNOW: What’s been your most rewarding moment outside the classroom?

Zitelny: At Brandeis we have a tradition called “take your professor to coffee,” but I had never taken advantage of it until this past year. I took Professor Hannig out for coffee. It was great to get to know her outside the classroom. It was legitimately one of my best moments. I found out about her personal academic interests and learned so much from her.

BNOW: What do your nerd out about?

Zitelny: I started watching “Game of Thrones” but I’m already on season four. So yeah, I’m really nerding out about that. I’m trying to supplement what I know with the show’s Wiki page.

BNOW: How do you describe Brandeis to your friends and family back home?

Zitelny: Brandeis is unique. People here are very passionate—they’re very committed and invested in their passions. It’s a special place where people really care about what they care about. I know that sounds redundant, but it’s true. Sometimes someone might have a passion, but cast it off to the side. Not here. At Brandeis, if you commit to something, you fully invest. If you commit, you’re in 100 percent.

Categories: Athletics, General, Research, Science and Technology, Student Life

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