Edward Kobayashi MD '17

Edward Kobayashi

Edward Kobayashi understands the significance of being part of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine's inaugural class.

"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Kobayashi, who is one of 60 first-year medical students. "We are the first-ever class here. That, in itself, is really exciting and I'm humbled to be here."

While Kobayashi isn't one to beat his own drum, he does use a unique form of Japanese drumming to help relieve the stress that accompanies the rigors of medical school.

Kobayashi began playing the taiko drums with a club as an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles. He continues the eight-year hobby with a group he discovered in White Plains, N.Y.

"It's a traditional art form that is not just about sound, but also movement," he explained. "It's really fun and really relaxing for me. I try to play at least once a month."

Kobayashi, 25, grew up in Burlingame, Calif. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychobiology from UCLA. After taking some time off to decide on his future, Kobayashi enrolled in a post baccalaureate program at San Francisco State University, where he also served as a teaching assistant in the biology department.

"I was taking science courses to prepare for medical school and studying for the Medical College Admission Test," Kobayashi said.

The teaching post only enhanced his desire to go to medical school.

"Teaching has an important role in medicine, especially in primary care," Kobayashi said. "You can really get to know the patient beyond the symptoms and the illness and teach them to take care of themselves and have a healthier life."

Kobayashi said he first learned about Quinnipiac's new medical school when Michael Cole, director of admissions for operations, visited San Francisco State University as part of a speaker series Kobayashi helped organize.

"What I took away most from his talk was not just what the school was like, but the student-centered focus of the program as well as the primary care aspect of it," Kobayashi said.

Quinnipiac's was one of 30 medical schools to which he applied.

"I really wanted to take ownership of my education and have an active role in the school," Kobayashi said. "Quinnipiac seemed to provide that opportunity."

Kobayashi lives in Wallingford, Conn. with fellow medical school student Alberto Russell. It is, indeed, a small world: Kobayashi and Russell recognized each other during "Second Look Weekend" in April and realized that they had been classmates in the post baccalaureate program at San Francisco State.

Since then, Kobayashi, Russell and the Class of 2017 have been part of several firsts at Quinnipiac. Kobayashi's parents, Makoto and Yumie, made the trip from California to attend August's White Coat Ceremony, while his aunt Hiroe Yonawa and grandmother Emiko Kawai flew in from Japan.

"It was incredible," Kobayashi said. "The White Coat Ceremony is something they will always remember and they all said they plan to be here for graduation."

Kobayashi described medical school classes as "exciting, collaborative, humbling and very challenging."

"The faculty has been very supportive and approachable," Kobayashi said. "We're a class of 60, so we're relatively small, and we've jelled together. It's a new school so, together with the faculty, we're trying to build something new and something good."

Hear more from Edward as he reflects on his first year in medical school (video)

October 2013

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