When Mara Olson ’15 embarked upon her search for the perfect college, she knew it would take a special school to support both her academic and athletic interests.
A self-proclaimed science nerd with a proclivity for the creative arts and the drive to run competitively, it became clear to Olson that Butler’s small class sizes and big-time Division I athletics would make for a seamless college fit.
“A lot of people look at my interests as maybe a little bit eclectic or even confused,” Olson said. “But I see it as a good way to get my tentacles out into the world and experience it all. College is what you make of it, and if you are willing to push for what you want, a school like Butler will give it to you.”
In her four years at Butler, Olson participated in four national championship races and competed in countless more national-level meets while at the same time nurturing her academic interests.
In addition, she took the required science classes for her major and plethora of minors, but she also found ways to grow in new areas through art and writing classes.
For Olson, a busy schedule was a small price to pay for well-rounded academic exposure and athletic success. After graduating with a major in biology and minors in Neuroscience, Spanish, and Chemistry, she moved to Boulder, Colorado, to compete as a professional runner for Adidas. Olson has continued her sponsored running in San Francisco, where she’s now in medical school at the University of California San Francisco.
When opportunity knocked at Butler, Olson said, she was able to make it happen.
“It’s not because I was an athlete,” she said. “It’s because I was a student. My professors had a genuine personal interest in every student. It’s a really incredible thing to experience in college.”