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Olivia Zurek ’05, M.D.

The Turnaround. A struggle, a pep talk, a blueprint for the future.

Is this where you thought you’d be a few years out of college?

“In a weird way, yes. I got hooked on neuroscience in an intro course at Bates. I did my senior thesis on the connection between schizophrenia and drug addiction. When I went to medical school, I realized that all the things I loved were the things I’d done at Bates.”

What do you carry with you from Bates?

“The friends. For some reason, Bates seems to attract smart, down-to-earth, kind and fun people. And the mentors. My thesis advisor, John Kelsey. Or my basketball coach, Jim Murphy. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Maybe say one good thing.

“OK. The team was struggling midway through this one season. We had talent, but things weren’t falling into place. At the end of an uninspired practice, he sat us down and gave us a talking-to. His message was: Nothing worth doing in life is going to be easy. That was the moment when the season turned around; we went on to be ranked nationally. That message, that moment, was the blue- print for my future. If I’m going through a rough patch, I know what I need to do. And I know that if I do it, good things will happen.”


Dr. OlivIa Zurek ’05 attended Brown University’s Psychiatry Residency Training Program. At Bates she majored in neuroscience and played varsity basketball and volleyball for four years.


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