TRiO Achiever: Kim Olson


My name is Kim Olson. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my story. I received my Associate of Arts degree from Itasca Community College in 1999. I attended ICC so I could continue working at a job I got in high school as well as live at home. While attending ICC I was fortunate to be a part of the Student Support Services Program. This TRIO program allowed me to work with staff that kept me on track with my classes at Itasca as well as encouraged me throughout my academic courses there. I was able to attend a trip to the Black Hills with the SSS program and complete my Humanities credits for my AA. I met many friends, learned great study habits, and experienced numerous things that I may not have been able to do if I wasn’t a part of the SSS program.

After ICC, I transferred to Bemidji State University where I graduated with my Bachelors in Science degree in Elementary Education, specializing in Pre-Primary Education. After BSU I moved back home to Grand Rapids in search for a job. I had my heart set on staying in Grand Rapids and unfortunately, I was unable to find a teaching job here. Knowing that I wanted to stay in the area, my job search for a career began. ICC had a job opening working part time at the desk in the library. I applied and got the job. I worked for a short time in the ICC library and then was hired under the SSS grant. I worked for almost 13 amazing years at ICC as an Academic Advisor and Testing Center and Tutoring Coordinator. I was able to provide SSS services to students that I was so lucky to receive as a college student. I am thankful every day for the opportunities I was given as a student, as well as an employee under the Student Support Services grant as well as Itasca Community College.

After 13 years working with SSS students, I was offered a kindergarten teaching job in Minot, North Dakota. I was sad to leave ICC, the students I worked with, the staff, and my administrators but I was given an opportunity to follow my heart. I worked out in North Dakota for one year and was then offered a job back here in Grand Rapids. I am currently in my 4th year of teaching kindergarten, and have graduated with a 4.0 in my Masters of Science degree in Education, with a specialization in Early Childhood Education. I am so thankful for my time as an SSS student as well as an employee under the SSS grant. The guidance, encouragement, kindness and knowledge I received helped push me to be who I am today as well as where I am today! They say ICC is the “Best Place to Start,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my story!