Outstanding Majors

IN HIS OWN WORDS:Jared Olin, outstanding Theatre & Film student of the Year.

Jared Olin

2019-20 Student of the Year

Department of Theatre & Film

Where were you born and raised?

I was born here in Fairbanks and raised in Galena, AK by my late great-grandmother Lillian Olin for most of my childhood. She was such a sweet person who had very strong Tl’eeyegge Hʉt’anne (Koyukon Athabascan) values. I was fortunate enough to get those values passed down to me directly from her, and that helped me become who I am now.


Why did you choose to study at UAF?

Early on in elementary school, I knew that I wanted to go to college and UAF felt like a good fit, being closer to home and more affordable than other schools. I was initially interested in studying kinesiology & exercise science so I majored in biology, but my interest in different fields grew as I started taking more classes at UAF.


When did you first decide to pursue a degree in FLPA/ Theatre Concentration?

My major was officially changed to FLPA with a Theatre Concentration in the fall of 2017. But the thought first came when I finished the run of my first main stage production in the previous spring semester. I had a supporting role in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress directed by Carrie Baker, and I enjoyed the entire process of creating that show. I wanted more experiences like that one.


What first attracted you to theatre and film?

I had never done anything in the realm of theatre or acting before I took UAF’s FLPA 121X Fundamentals of Acting. That was my introduction to it all, and I loved getting into the mindsets of different characters. The feeling of stepping into another person’s shoes and telling their story rather than my own was so unique and satisfying to me.


What experiences at UAF have contributed to your academic and artistic success?

In the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to act in 7 main-stage theatre productions. There has been so much to learn from each of these shows. Every one of them has helped me dramatically improve as an actor, as a storyteller, and as a person. I am closer to knowing who I am and who I want to become as a result of them, and to me, that is very valuable.


Do you have any advice for new FLPA students?

It is extremely important that you trust yourself and get into those audition rooms. Take advantage of your learning opportunities here and apply them to the stage or to doing tech behind the scenes. Reach out to local theatre or film companies and gain more experience in that way. Take risks and do not lose sight of your passion.


Please tell me about your most influential theatre or film projects while at UAF.

I would say that the first projects that led up to my decision to pursue a career in acting were most influential to me. The projects I worked on after taking my first acting class included 3 short films, 2 reader’s theatre projects, 3 short plays, the national TV show Ice Cold Killers, and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. As each role came, I noticed they were gradually becoming more substantial and I felt the growth. That led me to want to try turning my developing passion into a potential career.


Please tell me about your experience with Student Drama Association and Film Club.

When I was very new to the department and still hadn’t made the switch in my major, I remember being warmly invited to participate in both SDA and Film Club. Acting in my first short films and plays built some great friendships, but it also taught me a lot about hands-on creating for stage and film. Now that I’m president of SDA, I have the added opportunity of managing SDA’s events from behind the scenes, and I am learning so much more from taking on this new perspective.


What are your plans for after graduation?

January 2021, I intend to audition for the University Resident Theatre Association’s Unified Auditions in New York City in hopes of getting into a suitable MFA in Acting program. My dream is to shed a light on Alaska’s grim statistics on topics like mental illness by creating more stories on mental illness through writing, directing, producing, and performing.