New Faces: Nicola Olsen

New Faces: Nicola Olsen

The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State encompasses nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program. Each year, new faculty are brought on to elevate the academic offerings here at Fresno State. These new faculty members bring innovative research, diverse fields of study, and technical expertise to our college, inspiring fresh ways of thinking throughout our many disciplines.

We are excited to welcome Nicola Olsen as she joins the Department of Theatre and Dance as Assistant Professor. She teaches Drama 137 Creative Dramatics, Drama 136(S) Puppetry, Drama 138A Children’s Theatre and Drama 138B Children’s Theatre. Olsen is a youth theatre educator, dramaturg, director, and arts and health scholar.  She holds a Ph.D. in Theater for Youth from Arizona State University.  She taught high school theatre for 18 years in Yuma, Arizona and served as the Instructional Leader for the Fine Arts Department for four years.

What are your office hours?

Tuesday 9:30-11 am and 2-3 pm

Wednesday 10-11 am and 2-3:30 pm 

Tell me a little about yourself. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? What schools/universities did you attend?

I grew up in Smithfield, UT and have worked as a high school drama teacher for the last 20 years in Yuma, AZ.  I got my Ph.D. in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ 

What do you love about the theatre?

I love telling stories on stage with costumes, props, lights and sound.  I love the magic of theatre, a place where imagination, creativity, and wonder come together.

Why do you think theatre is important?

When teachers use drama-based methods to teach in schools, then students are invited to learn through experience using their whole bodies.  This is similar to learning through play with children naturally from a young age.  When teachers incorporate these methods with other methods, students grow and learn in an environment of creativity where the learning is robust and relevant to them.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration in nature, books, music, my family and God.

What are you looking forward to at Fresno State?

I was invited to design and implement a Theatre Education Major to support theatre’s new single-subject credential.  I am excited about doing that and getting lots of students into that program. 

What is a fun fact people might not know about you?

I went on a safari to Kenya, Africa — a dream I had since I was very small.

Is there anything I missed? Anything you would like to add?

I am thrilled to be a Bulldog and am impressed with my current students.  After only a month of school, I already feel like I belong here.

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