Brad Olson in office


Community & Leadership Development is thrilled to welcome Dr. Brad Olson to our Big Blue Family. Hailing from Pennsylvania State University, we're helping him trade in his navy for royal blue. Dr. Olson his joining CLD as an Assistant Professor of Ag/Public Communications. In efforts to get to know a little bit more about him, we've posed ten questions. Catch his answers below!

1. Who inspires you?

"I’m inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s curiosity, self-taught nature, and contributions to science, art, engineering, and anatomy. His multi-disciplinary approach reinforced his learning and helped improve the form and function of his work. I admire this method of study and creation and try to emulate that approach in my own work."

2. What do you like most about Kentucky (so far)?

"This is my first time in Kentucky, but Lexington seems to have the best of both worlds – bigger city amenities with rural countryside not too far out. I’m a rural guy at heart and hope to have a hobby farm one day, but I do enjoy a good craft beer scene!"

3. What’s the greatest bit of advice a parent or mentor has given you?

"Recently, a senior faculty member gave me some advice for starting out on the tenure track, saying “remember to ride your own horse” (fitting for working in the Horse Capital of the World). Regarding my professional growth, he encouraged me to seek advice and ideas from others but to remember that I have my own horse and race to run."

4. What’s the last book you read?

"The last book I’ve listened to (shout out to all of the audiobook fans out there) is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates."

5. What’s your favorite part of teaching?

"I enjoy working with and learning from students. Teaching gets boring if it’s all me, all the time. I like to relate my instruction to students’ backgrounds and interests and give them autonomy to pursue their own goals. If we can both learn from one another along the way, it’s a win-win."

6. What’s your learning style?

"I prefer both active experimentation and abstract conceptualization. I like to learn through hands-on trial and error, but I also enjoy discussing the theory and concepts of a topic."

7. Describe yourself in 6 words.

"…in a constant state of progress."

8. Which four individuals, living or dead, would you like to eat dinner with the most?

"Anthony Bourdain (chef, writer, TV host) because he inspired me to travel to new places and be open to their food and culture. Keith Flint (member of the band The Prodigy) because his performance and the band kickstarted my enjoyment of electronic music. Julia Child (chef/TV host) because she used no-nonsense cooking and baking demonstrations to educate the public. Whoever created the Bad Lip Reading – Star Wars songs because they artfully matched comedic lyrics with catchy tunes!"

9. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

"Blue - it’s my favorite color and allows me to rep both my alma mater (Penn State) and UK."

10. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did they impact you?

"It’s a tie between two high school teachers. Ms. Hartman (biology) was strict and demanded a lot of us as students, which helped instill good study habits. She also gave me my first opportunity to teach during a senior internship. Mr. Calamia (physics) was scary and imposing but went out of his way to expand students’ learning beyond class. A few of us would meet with him before school once a week to drink coffee, discuss physics, and run experiments. Together, these two helped instill my passion for learning and teaching."