Jada Thompson x’20 grew up in a family committed to public service, and she has dedicated herself to serving the communities around her. Originally from Milwaukee, Thompson is the daughter of a firefighter and a schoolteacher who paved the way for her to pursue a life of purpose and service. The neurobiology and French-language double-major came to UW–Madison as a Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO) scholar. Having watched her parents serve others, Thompson has continued to strive toward her goal of becoming a doctor so she can lead a life of service.
“I learned the importance of giving back to my community in any way possible,” she says. Thompson is an avid volunteer, having participated in two service projects, one in Jamaica and the other in Virginia. In the future, she hopes to mentor younger students interested in pursuing a career in medicine and health services. Thompson sees her choice to become a doctor as furthering her family’s tradition of public service. “I do know that I have a passion and a gift for service and giving back,” she says.
In addition to her class work at the UW, Thompson has also completed a number of programs at Milwaukee’s Medical College of Wisconsin, including an apprenticeship in which she got to shadow a physician mentor in radiation oncology, and an enrichment program for which she coauthored a case report on gallstones in a pediatric patient.
The busy scholar says the CeO program is responsible for keeping her “grounded” for the past three years of her undergraduate experience. “Being a CeO scholar has helped me stay grounded [because] it gave me a network of people to come home to,” she says. Coming from a small high school — Milwaukee School of Languages — Thompson found UW–Madison to be much larger than any of her past learning environments. “You can feel like you lost your place,” she says. “CeO provides that home base for students of color.”