Getting to Know Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan

The Kremen School of Education and Human Development is welcoming a new face to the team. Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan has been appointed to serve a one-year appointment as Interim Associate Dean!

Are you from Fresno?

I am originally from Illinois. I was raised in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, and earned my degrees at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).

I was drawn to Fresno State because of its mission and its balance between teaching and research. But what kept me here was the students and the community. Fresno is so incredibly genuine and I think it is one of the best kept secrets in California!

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?

I enjoy live theater and music, reading, yoga, Zumba, and being outdoors (particularly the beach and the mountains). However, what I love to do more than anything is spending time with my family. We are recent empty-nesters, so time together is all too rare.

What are your success habits?

  • Goal-setting (and prioritizing). I am a big fan of the rocks/pebbles/sand analogy! I make weekly (and daily) lists of projects/tasks that I would like to complete and I focus on the most important or most challenging projects/tasks (the big rocks) first.
  • Being present. I try to be fully immersed in what I am doing. Sometimes this means not checking my phone or email, particularly when it is a critical conversation or a project that requires concentration.
  • Self-care. I try to exercise regularly, eat healthy, and find other ways to reduce stress (e.g., talking to a trusted friend) when I feel stress creeping up!

Tell us about your family.

My husband, Tim, is an attorney in town (McCormick Barstow). Our oldest daughter, Claire, is a senior at University of Oregon (Music major) and our youngest daughter, Beth, is a sophomore at Rice University (Linguistics & Psychology major).

Did you vacation over the summer? 

My husband, youngest daughter, and I drove up to Eugene Oregon for my oldest daughter’s junior voice recital at University of Oregon over Memorial Day. It is such a beautiful drive and we thoroughly enjoyed watching her perform. In June the four of us went to Cayucos for a few days and we spent a lot of time reading and walking on the beach and enjoying each other’s company.

What is the first concert you attended?

Oh yikes, does Shaun Cassidy count (so embarrassing)? Let’s say my first real concert was James Taylor.

What is your favorite TV show?

I think This is Us is beautifully written and acted. I also really like Gilmore Girls.

What’s one thing about you that surprises people?

This was a hard one to answer! But I think people are sometimes surprised that I met my husband on a blind date.  The matchmaker was very insistent that we were perfect for each other (and we are grateful for her insistence).

Also, people are surprised I have never tried coffee (to my parents’ chagrin). It was my way of rebelling.

What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever had?

This would have to be when I went as a stick of Juicy Fruit gum.

What was your first job?

My first job was as the office assistant for a solo-practitioner ophthalmologist. I did everything from ordering glasses/contacts to billing/insurance and scheduling surgery. I was 14 at the time, and, in hindsight, I am pretty sure this violated several employment laws.

Who was the most memorable teacher you had in school and why?  My most memorable teacher was my high school English Composition and English Literature teacher, Mr. Heup. He pushed me to be a better writer and he did an incredible turtle impersonation.

When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

I dreamed of being a veterinarian (I think all children do!) and an actress.

Are you involved in the community?

Locally I have served on Central California Food Bank’s (formerly Community Food Bank) Board of Directors for 9 years, was a Girl Scout leader for 13 years, and volunteer at a local food pantry. I am also serving as the main representative to the United Nations for my professional society.

What are you looking forward to in 2019?

I’m looking forward to getting to know the faculty, staff, and students in the Kremen school!

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