The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Bob Olson Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

November 14, 2014


“Parasitologist and Public Educator”  November 14, 2014  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Olson discusses his upbringing in Minnesota, his early interest in science, his undergraduate years at Concordia College, and his graduate studies at Montana State University.

The primary focus of the interview is Olson's work at and connection with the Hatfield Marine Science Center. He describes his arrival at the Oregon coast, the Marine Science Center facility in its early phases, and some of his initial contacts at the center. He then details his activities in teaching and curriculum development, noting other developments at the center that enabled improved instruction in Newport, and mentioning specific colleagues who were involved in teaching activities. Olson likewise reflects on his research career - including fruitful scientific collaborations in which he engaged - and shares his memories of the forward evolution of HMSC as a facility.

Olson next recalls his activities as HMSC's associate director for education programs, shares the story of the naming of a parasite in his honor, recalls the creation of the Seataqua Program, and comments on the importance of HMSC's public presence and its positive relationship with residents of the central coast. He also lends his thoughts on HMSC's connections with the commercial fishing industry, some specific research projects of which he is especially proud, memorable contacts that he has made with other scientists working in his field, and changes that he has observed in teacher-student interactions over the years.

The session concludes with Olson's personal memories of his family and extracurricular activities, and with recollections of moments in his scientific career that have proved especially gratifying.