As March comes to a close, people around the country celebrated female leaders during Women’s History Month. The Mustang conducted several interviews with female students,staff, and faculty members to learn about their contributions to campus.
Many students recognize Jennifer Olson by name, as they receive important emails about university deadlines and announcements, but not many know much about her.
Olson is a fourth generation Silver City local. She left Silver City, NM, to pursue her studies and returned in 2014. Olson majored in Journalism at UNM with a specificity in English. While she attended UNM, she was a student reporter and editor for the campus arts magazine, literary magazine, and the honors magazine. She additionally worked for the New Mexico magazine and constructed the 2010 Vacation Guide (now formerly known as the New Mexico Adventure Guide), and on occasion, she still works with them as a freelance writer.
Olson enjoys being a mother, and she loves to be outdoors with her family, although she does not have as much free time. Additionally, she enjoys bike riding with her friends, reading, traveling, and occasionally writing projects.
After Olson graduated, she was an assistant editor and web tester for the Women’s Adventures Magazine (a national magazine for women who like outdoors traveling) where she began as an assistant, then quickly became promoted as the editor and chief.
Once she realized she was ready for a bigger challenge, she decided to move back to Silver City and be a part of a team. She saw WNMU as a great opportunity to achieve this and started her new role in the Fall of 2017 as a communications specialist. She specializes in media relations, manages WNMU’s main social channels, and writes copy for marketing projects. She also contributes to The Westerner alumni magazine. We asked her some questions related to females in the workplace, their challenges and inspirations.
What struggles or scrutinies have you found yourself facing, as a woman? When I worked in the outdoor industry, as a woman, it was hard to get people to take me seriously. Especially being young, with very minimal experience. Although, since I worked for a women’s magazine, I got to know some really powerful and interesting women who do cool things outdoors. But the challenges are that it’s different for us.
Should society celebrate women only in the month of March or celebrate them everyday? Of course women’s history should be thinking of women as powerful leaders everyday in the year. I would say that I have celebrated it through the work I’ve done and collaborated in.
What inspires you everyday? What are some hopes you have to end the stigma between both men and women? My favorite aspects about being a lady is that we have the ability to work on openness. I feel like now-a-days, we can act like how we want. In other words, we’re getting better at minimizing restrictions towards both men and women. It’s all still evolving and when I talk to my daughter, I let her know she’s allowed to wear what she wants, be who she wants, and be strong. I think we all need to think about roles differently. It isn’t always about “pink or blue”, but more so the expectations that society still has, for example, for males. I’d like to see boys be raised sweet, like we generally raise girls, and to see boys and men being accepted for acknowledging their feelings and showing vulnerability – as opposed to being expected to put on a strong face and suppressing emotions like fear, sadness, and insecurity.
What women in your life have influenced you or that you look up to? Why? Women that I have been influenced by are often women in the magazines I’ve helped collaborate in. The female athletes were so welcoming to people entering their sport, regardless if they were the best level and those joining were only beginners. One of those athletes was Leia Davidson (Olympic Mountain Biker). Other women I look up to are my colleagues in the marketing office; Grecia Rivas and Laura Howell.
What are important strengths to have in today’s society? My strengths are my love for learning. As a writer, it’s important to be curious and open to listening. I would also say I’m generally really optimistic.
This is one in a series of articles commemorating Women’s History Month.