Eddie Pantzlaff ’12
Resident, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eddie Pantzlaff

Specialized surgeon

Initially recruited to play baseball, Eddie chose Northwestern because of its excellent science program and the way it prepares students for careers in healthcare. After graduating from NWC with degrees in chemistry and biology-health professions, Eddie completed dental school at the University of Iowa. He’s now studying to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the University of Michigan, where he’s finished an accelerated medical school curriculum and is completing residency. Eddie also plans to pursue a fellowship in pediatric craniofacial surgery. Active in research, Eddie has presented at medical conferences and had work published in medical journals.

Was it hard to get into graduate school?

I was accepted in the first round of admissions to the University of Iowa's dental school during my senior year at Northwestern. I actually didn't bother applying anywhere else; I knew the university's dental school was a top-tier program, and I was confident I had an excellent application and recommendations. The University of Michigan was my top-choice for oral and maxillofacial surgical programs. 

How well did Northwestern prepare you to reach your career goals?

There’s a reason Northwestern’s professors are ranked so high: the preparation I received for my dental school courses was superb. I actually tested out of the pre-doctoral biochemistry course thanks to the excellent preparation I received in the courses taught by Dr. Karissa Carlson [chemistry] and Dr. Elizabeth Heeg [biology].

What do you appreciate most about Northwestern’s chemistry department?

The interaction with the professors. They were great people to get to know, and being able to interact with them one-on-one or in a small class setting really allowed for a better learning environment. They embrace their mentoring role and take an active interest in students.

Is there a highlight to your years at NWC?

Yes—when Dr. David Arnett approached me with an opportunity to do research with him. I blame him for my interest in research. I worked with the dean of research at the University of Iowa’s College of Dentistry, and I am conducting research with several doctors at the University of Michigan. This is in large part because of what was instilled in me from my experiences with Dr. Arnett.

When it comes to the rest of my NWC experience, what I gained most was discipline. A large part of why I came to Northwestern was to play baseball, which I did for all four years. I strongly believe that discipline from sports spills into every other area of your life. From my time-management skills to my work ethic, I owe a lot to Coach Wede.  

In what ways did your chemistry studies challenge and strengthen your faith?

My professors took care to incorporate faith into each class. Whether it was questions about the origins of the universe or just a topic that came up in everyday conversation, the professors facilitated some great discussions and created a comfortable environment for us to challenge one another.

Do you have some favorite memories from your time at Northwestern?

Favorite memories include competing at nationals down in Oklahoma with my baseball teammates; preparing to travel to Ghana as a member of the Summer of Service team with a great group of people; Perkins runs in the middle of the night with amazing friends; and all of the deep, late-night conversations about God.