Inspired by war to help others heal

Jasmin Zvornicanin 16 a

“Coming to America from a past filled with war, I wanted to help people, and practicing medicine may just be the best way to do that,” he explains. “Helping to fix lives and ease suffering has proven satisfying for me, even if, for now, it’s just the little things.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Utica College in 2016, Jasmin Zvornicanin set his sights on medical school, currently studying at the University of Buffalo. While he describes it as taking up a majority of his life, it’s something he doesn’t mind, as it will allow him to continue doing what he’s wanted most in the world - to heal others.

It’s a long way from the four-year-old who came to America and the city of Utica from Berlin, Germany.

“My parents went to Berlin during the Bosnian genocide and were allowed to immigrate to America as refugees afterward. The events that occurred during the war have, with broad strokes, painted and affected a large part of my life and have given me an outlook that’s hard to describe.”

But the draw of the medical field, and his desire to heal others, is intrinsically tied to his past.

“Coming to America from a past filled with war, I wanted to help people, and practicing medicine may just be the best way to do that,” he explains. “Helping to fix lives and ease suffering has proven satisfying for me, even if, for now, it’s just the little things.”

It’s that desire to improve the lives of others that has always driven him and continues today.

“I have been beyond lucky to have people in my life, both at home and throughout my education, who believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself and help pushed me forward. The professors at UC have always been there to give me that nudge, and I still think back to kind words said by my professors.”

Looking back, he says it’s impossible to not acknowledge the massive role that Utica College played in his evolution.

“The time I spent with my professors made me mature as a student and more importantly, as a person, in ways which are hard to measure. Classes I took at UC helped to set foundations for important topics I learned about in my first two years of medical school, which eased my struggle a bit.”

As an adult, Jasmin had the privilege of being able to fly back to Bosnia, gaining a unique perspective on the life he might have lived had things played out differently, and the after effects of war.

“A certain kind of weight is placed on your shoulders to try to make such loss mean something. So many Bosnian people have tried hard to make a home here in Utica when we were denied a home in our original country. That same weight affects me as well and I suppose my answer to such unfathomable madness was to try to be a healer. I always saw it as the antithesis to such violence and hoped that the little bit of good that I can do on Earth will leave the place better than the way I found it.”

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