Zervas FamilyNurturing Lifelong BB&N Relationships and Planning Her Family’s Future

To get something done, it is sometimes said, ask a busy person. Natalie Zervas, Ph.D. is busy: psychological counselor/wellness educator at Phillips Academy, mother of a four-year-old and member of her 20th BB&N reunion committee. Last fall, she found time to create a will when BB&N offered alumni/ae a free, quick and easy online tool.

Natalie’s BB&N journey began in the seventh grade, and her many BB&N highlights include doing a Bivouac Solo, traveling with the Chorale to Spain, and captaining the girls’ varsity crew and basketball teams. After BB&N, Natalie rowed on Duke University’s varsity crew team and majored in psychology. At St. John’s University, she earned a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology.

At BB&N, Natalie grew in a supportive community where all the teachers knew her. English teacher Carol Strasburger supported the seventh grader’s confidence as a writer and encouraged her creativity. Then Natalie did not know how important writing would be in a future career. Now she finds Ms. Strasburger and other English teachers helped to prepare her for a lifetime by teaching her how to develop and share another person’s narrative. “That is much of what I help people do as a psychologist—learn how to take the facts of their life and retell their narrative so it is helpful for them,” she observes. 

Natalie talks about “flash bulb” memories from BB&N. In noting faculty who shaped her and close ongoing friendships with classmates, Natalie believes her adolescent memories inform her empathy for today’s teens. “Even though their lives are different,” Natalie reflects, “that sense of being a teenager lives in me pretty strongly.”

Managing the pandemic’s new normal, Natalie decided to use BB&N’s free online tool to create a will. “Since having our son, my husband and I had talked a lot about how we needed a will, but it was one of those things that we kept putting off,” she comments. “When I learned about BB&N’s partnership with FreeWill I said, ‘I trust BB&N. This is important. I don't think it's going to take a lot of time. And this is something that we can absolutely do.’ And the cost obviously was a factor as well—that there wasn't one.” 

Natalie also used the free tool to leave BB&N in her will. “I would not be the person I am today, or have pursued the paths I've had, or even had access to pursue those paths, without BB&N,” Natalie notes. “I feel a sense of obligation but mostly just gratitude toward the school. I want to make it possible for other people to benefit from [BB&N] in the future and want to help make sure that it will be there.”