Iowa Alumni Magazine | August 2008 | People

Teaching Talent: Emily Olesen

By IAM Staff

Lined up backstage and wearing a formal gown, Emily Olesen felt like a star. After all, the Nebraska teacher was about to accept a prestigious education award in a Los Angeles ceremony described by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching."

Before an audience that included politicians and Hollywood celebrities, Olesen received the Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 check in recognition of her work as a seventh-grade science teacher at R.M. Marrs Magnet Center in Omaha. Olesen, 01BA, of Council Bluffs, was one of 75 K-12 teachers to receive the award this past March at the Milken National Education Conference in Los Angeles.

Now an instructional facilitator, Olesen no longer teaches, but she still interacts with students as a sports coach and after-school tutor. "It's rewarding to know that I'm influencing the kids," she says, "and allowing them to get the most out of their education."