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Crossing Borders: Jackson Olsen And 'Teaching For America' On Thursday's Access Utah

Jackson Olsen

When Jackson Olsen graduated from college, he had every intention of going to law school and becoming a lawyer. 

But before pursuing those plans, he took a temporary hiatus from being a student and decided to become a teacher instead. 

Along with his wife, Olsen joined Teach For America, signing on for a two-year stint in the rural low-income community of Henderson, North Carolina. What he experienced during those two years changed his life forever, Olsen said. 

"Teaching For America" is Olsen's compelling account of the astounding conditions he encountered in a struggling school and the difficult decisions he had to make regarding his career. Sometimes brutal, sometimes comical, but at all times honest and sincere, it paints a vivid picture of the inequities and injustices in our public school system and tells the powerful stories of the students and teachers who are impacted by them. 

This episode of Access Utah is part of UPR's year-long series "Crossing Borders" and was inspired by Olsen's January 2018 interview with UPR news director Kerry Bringhurst.

More of the UPR news team's reporting from the "Crossing Borders" series can be read or listened to here.

The UPR Original Series "Crossing Borders" is a yearlong storytelling project between UPR and the USU Office of Global Engagement - providing services for international students and scholars; and facilitating study abroad opportunities for students and faculty. Details found here.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.