Alexandra (Gadiano) Haraczy (’12) keeps the lessons she learned at Oakcrest close by every day. “Even though I graduated almost seven years ago, I still constantly turn to my Oakcrest education to help me to find the courage I need to continue seeking a fuller understanding of what exactly the gifts are that I have been given, and then through conscientious action and humble prayer strive to faithfully share them with those around me,” she says.
Alex attended Oakcrest for seven years. While at there, she involved herself in many different areas of school life, including Varsity Softball, Swimming, Student Council, Theatre, Virginia Math League, and serving as a Student Ambassador. When asked about her favorite Oakcrest memory, she says one highlight was the annual class cheer competition at the end of Fall Spirit Week. “Our hard work paid off because we got first place three years in a row from sophomore to senior year!”
After graduating in 2012, Alex attended Colgate University, where she pursued a B.A. in biochemistry and played softball at the collegiate level. Immediately following her undergraduate education, she took a two-year post-baccalaureate fellowship at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), where she worked to aid the development of compounds with therapeutic efficacy for substance abuse disorders. Her supervisor also had a collaborative venture with Johns Hopkins, so Alex got the chance to work for both labs. Throughout those two years, she felt even more drawn to the field of medicine, thanks in large part to the deepened understanding it gave her of subject material that has valuable applications to the human body, disease states, and potential therapeutic approaches.
Alex applied for and was accepted into medical school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she’s slated to receive her MD in 2022. Although she is undecided about what specialty she’ll choose, she does say that she’s interested in an area that that mixes both procedural/surgical-based care with clinical care in a longitudinal way. She hopes to work in a specialty that lets her build meaningful relationships with patients.
Through it all, Alex notes how the foundation that Oakcrest gave her has served her well in many aspects of her life. On the practical side of things, she points to the valuable time management, organizational, and leadership skills she built there. Oakcrest also gave her valuable lessons in how to have confidence in herself, step out of her comfort zone and take risks, and articulately express and defend her beliefs.
“My seven years at Oakcrest armed me with love and shielded me with confidence that has, and will continue to, empower me to not shy away from situations that challenged the fundamental values and beliefs I acquired while being a student there,” Alex explains. “The liberal arts education at Oakcrest gave me the perspective I needed to be able to approach my life as someone who could lead through my words and, perhaps more importantly, through my actions.”