Backed by nearly five decades of invaluable experience, Dr. Myrna Raye Olson has established herself as a renowned leader in the field of education. Currently, she is a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of North Dakota. Since joining the faculty in 1975, she completed postdoctoral work in visual impairment and blindness at San Francisco State University, as well as postdoctoral work in multiple disabilities at Peabody Vanderbilt College. Notably, Dr. Olson instituted the teacher preparation program in blindness and visual impairment at the University of North Dakota, directing the program for 25 years. Today, Dr. Olson teaches several doctoral level courses that are focused on the preparation of college teachers. She also coordinates the College Teaching Certificate Program. Prior to joining the University of North Dakota faculty, she served as a teacher at the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, and at the North Dakota School for the Blind.

Throughout the course of her illustrious career, Dr. Olson has conducted research in a multitude of areas, including the methods of teaching Braille reading, hypnotherapy techniques with the learning disabled, utilization of a dog in a classroom for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders, effect of music on behavior of children in an elementary school lunchroom, and successful single parents. Notably, she authored “Collaboration Handbook for Educators,” published in 1995, and “Women’s Journeys Through Crisis,” which was published in 1988. She has also served as a public speaker on topics within her field.

Originally from Lakota, N.D., Dr. Olson moved to Montana in 1968 and earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Montana State University–Northern in 1969. She went on to receive a Master of Education from Montana State University in 1971. Dr. Olson then returned to North Dakota, where she received a Doctor of Education from the University of North Dakota in 1975. In 1999, the North Dakota Council for Exceptional Children bestowed her with the Humanitarian Award.

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