Heather Olson

Heather Olson, UAF graduate

Math Education Major with French minor, 2011

Currently in Fairbanks, Alaska
From Palmer, Alaska

“I studied French for 8 semesters at UAF, earning a minor. Currently I am teaching math at a junior/senior high school in Fairbanks and I know that learning French has made a difference in my life. French classes were a bright spot in my day. They gave me a venue to share and learn something about which I became passionate. Learning French also helped while traveling through Europe recently. I was able to communicate with locals in small villages, broadening my horizons and hopefully giving a better reputation to Americans. While at UAF we performed Eugene Ionesco’s French play ‘La Leçon‘ for a 400-level French theater class. When it was done, it was amazing to know that I was capable of memorizing such a long text and performing, acting, entirely in French. I felt more camaraderie with my French classmates than with almost any other class. I am currently teaching at Monroe Catholic Junior/Senior High. I hope to start teaching French next year because the school really wants a French teacher.

In education classes I have learned that taking a foreign language helps the brain to think in new ways. I believe French has done that for me and I hope to be able to share that knowledge with future students. One of my favorite poems (which I learned for a French class) says in part, ‘…enivrez-vous. Enivrez-vous sans cesse.‘ To me it says to be passionate about something, that is how to live your life. French classes at UAF gave me something to be passionate about, something that makes me a better world citizen and thinker as well as makes me more marketable.”