11:22 AM

Student Veteran Committed to Acting and Helping Others

Darnea Olson is a Renaissance man - a UHD student, military veteran, actor, Mission Continues Fellow and community activist.

Olson, a former United States Marine, served in Afghanistan before enrolling at UHD to pursue a bachelor's degree in fine arts. He is an active member of the University's theatre program and has appeared in shows for local theater companies, including the Alley Theatre and the Edge Theatre.

At UHD, Olson works 20 hours a week in the Veterans Services Office helping other vets get their G.I. Bill education benefits. The Office services the 600 veterans who currently attend UHD, a growth of 2-5 percent over the last two years. Soon, Olson will have another job to keep him busy. He was recently selected for a fellowship with Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that serves as a framework for United States military veterans to perform community service work toward issues ranging from disaster preparedness to education for low-income youth to training of service dogs for wounded veterans.

Following a fellowship orientation in Washington, D.C., Olson will begin working 20 hours a week for six months with Mildred's Umbrella, a local theatre company, where he plans to introduce drama to economically disadvantaged inner city youth through outreach programming.

According to Richard Selvera, director of Veterans Services, Olson exemplifies the student veterans at UHD. " He is hardworking and dedicated to service," he said. " We are proud to call him one of our own."