Quite an adventure

“It has been quite an adventure these last three days but I am 100% sure that I made the correct choice by choosing to becoming an Olson Scholar and deciding to attend NAU. I absolutely love it here and already feel at home and like I belong...

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I have to say that the Grand Canyon trip the day after moving in was probably the best thing that could have happened for me. I was scared of being homesick and missing my family and the trip provided a great distraction that allowed for friendships to be formed and memories to be made and allowed my transition to be a lot smoother than I thought it would be. I think that being put in a classroom, while being beneficial and educational, would have made me miss home a lot more and not allow me to fully jump in and enjoy the experience.

I love that we have peer mentors who are AWESOME and I totally look up to and know that I can ask anything.

I look forward to what the rest of the institution holds! I especially found it helpful that we would be interviewing for jobs because I would like to begin working first semester.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

I am a leader

“A few nights ago we pretty much had an affirmation hour where we just gushed about how much we appreciate everyone in the Institute. I was surprised about some of the things people said about me...

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I was especially impacted by Weston saying that I was such a natural leader and that after Demetri and Bianca, I was probably the strongest student leader. To me, that means so much. I cannot explain just how much. I've been in positions of leadership since I can remember, but I never thought I was viewed as one. That's the single greatest compliment I've ever been given.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

Power and privilege

“Yesterday was probably my favorite lecture of the entire program. We got to challenge each other on power and privilege...

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I never thought about how privileged I am to be something as simple as able-bodied. I really liked doing the skits that she had us plan out.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

Impressed and proud

“The talent show was amazing tonight; I feel like the Improv Group stole the show. The fact that it was all on the spur of the moment and half of the skits of the night weren’t even planned. It truly is impressive that people can do such things and it is a great talent...

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Also the LGBTQIAPA hit really deep and I am happy to support this throughout campus I will proudly place the safe zone sticker on my door.” A 2013-2014 Olson Schola

Opened my eyes

“My favorite part of the Olson Institute so far was actually today. The Grand Canyon was amazing, but today I got connected with all of the scholars and it really opened my eyes to what we'd be doing through this group...

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Hearing today's speaker talk about Joel so personally and all of his deep passions for social justice reinvigorated my passion for education and allowed me to see just how many social justice issues there are in the world.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

A life of passion and dedication

“Today was an incredibly eye opening day. My excitement for the fall has grown ten folds over, simply because of today's speaker and tours...

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David truly expanded on who Joel Olson was and what he stood for; he managed to be an inspiration and role model in every aspect of his life. The idea that there was a parade for his memorial baffles me. I now have a much deeper interest and desire to lead a life of passion and dedication such as the one Joel Olson led.”

Struck a chord

"Meeting David today was definitely an eye-opener. It was great getting to hear from a student and person who was influenced by Joel Olson about him and his passion...

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Just listening to him talk today made me wish I was just a little older so I could have had Joel as a professor. There are a lot of things that David talked about that struck a chord with me. There are many things I took away from today that I'm just going to list because I thought they were either profound or just made me think:

— Attack the problem/argument, not the speaker.

— The morally right thing may not always be what is right legally.

— Remember history.

— We can't judge each other by our own standards because everyone has their own priorities.

— Comprehension comes before critique.

— Work with people based on principles, not labels.

— Know where to refuse compromise, but also know when to compromise.

— What's more important: career or the work you do?” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar 

My life mission statement

"In the past I had aided in the making of mission statements for other groups and clubs but it had never occurred to me to make a life mission statement...

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At first the idea struck me as kind of odd, but after learning more about it I realized that I liked the idea of having something to live and hold myself up to. I feel that the mission statement is your "core" that all of your goals come from and it helps you achieve all that you hope to reach. I am finding that it will help me stay balanced and centered in times of craziness when I need to remind myself of what I truly stand for and believe in. I am learning more and more about the different aspects and positive results of having a mission statement and am glad to have the opportunity to make one. I believe that it helps you better understand yourself and keeps you responsible and reliable to yourself to take part in things that only have your best interest in mind.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

Make a difference

“These people are walking through a desert of unbelievable temperatures and if they are caught, the first thought is not medical attention, but a trial...

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That angers me because I am all about giving the children in Africa not only an education about AIDS, but access to malaria pills and clean water. I could also make a difference right here by applying those same ideas to the immigrants coming across the border. I still do not have a complete opinion about my stance of immigration, but I know that something is making me angry and I want to find out what that is.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

Eye opening 

“Today I really liked the session we had with Ryan Kashanipour on immigration and the border. It really made me think of the issue in terms of actual lives being affected by this rather than just the politics of it all...

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It made me sick to my stomach that the border patrol objectify every single undocumented worker. It reminds me of slavery when they separate parents from their children with no questions asked. It was eye-opening to see that the children of undocumented workers are in constant fear of the police and they cannot simply enjoy their childhood because of it. It was also disturbing to know how brainwashed the border patrol agents are so they don't question their authorities or their morals or intentions. I couldn't believe they would deprive human beings from water when they're crossing the scorching hot desert for days. It was really interesting that they brought up sides of immigration that I had never noticed before. Like how NAFTA actually caused content Mexican farmers and their families to become impoverished and to seek out a better life in America. Also, I had never even thought about the environmental side of the border and how it's affecting fragile ecosystems, nature reserves, and thirty-three endangered species. This session really made me look forward to the class next semester. I am looking forward to learning new information that I can use to form an educated opinion on immigration.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar


“Today was an awesome day. The Climb was incredibly empowering...

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I wanted to quit every step of the way after a certain point, but I am so proud of myself for not taking the shuttle. Even though I don't usually wear scarfs, my new scarf is now a point of pride.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

Worth every step 

“Today was incredible. I was dreading the climb and thought it was going to be super hard...

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It definitely wasn't easy, but it was so worth it. I loved every minute of it.

It was incredible to be a part of such an amazing event. I've never participated in one before, so the amount of support and encouragement was overwhelming, in a good way of course. I still can't believe that I hiked 7 miles. It didn't feel like it and it definitely was worth every step.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

I feel loved 

“I'm definitely feeling the love tonight. It was great to be able to see how others perceive me, and I really enjoyed telling every single person what little things I loved about them...

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I just feel really good about the whole day. I feel like I have a job, I feel loved, I feel... awesome.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar

So thankful

“Kathleen has a solid, well-developed theology! I enjoyed her seminar and I look forward to tomorrow...

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It was interesting to hear from Coral Evans about the privatized prison system a few days ago, and then hear Kathleen talk about the issue too.

The job interviewing session is one of the greatest things about this institute. The opportunity to sit in a room full of employers like a plate of hors d'oeuvres...is unheard of. I am so very thankful! Now comes the difficult part of following up on applications, phone-calls and choosing my job. So exciting. And nerve-wracking.

I loved the hot seat activity tonight! I got to give affirmations and words of encouragement to my friends. They had so many flattering things to say about me and they meant so very much to hear.” A 2013-2014 Olson Scholar