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Alumni Spotlight:
Q&A with Debbie Olsen

California School of Education at Alliant International University
Single Subject Teaching Credential alumni and recent graduate

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K-12 Substitute Teacher in Redland, Yucaipa and Banning, CA

Q: How did your Alliant experience contribute to your career growth?

A: After teaching in higher education for years, Alliant has given me the tools I need to transition to a new career in the secondary setting. My professors encouraged me, challenged me, and were tireless in making sure I am adequately prepared. I also learned from my classmates, some of whom have joined me on my career journey. I am grateful to Alliant for the opportunity to move forward in my life.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your work?

A: Teaching is my passion. Working with teens is my joy. Equipping students with the knowledge and skills they'll need to navigate their lives is the most rewarding thing I do. I start every day excited and grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on our future generation.

Q: What inspires you to make a positive difference in the world?

A: My relationship with my eleventh-grade English teacher inspires me to this day. She taught me the value of Latin and Greek in vocabulary development. This deepened my knowledge of English and inspired me to want to help others with their language skills. She also taught me the craft and rewards of writing, which made me want to help others grow their writing skills. Finally, she asked me to tutor a student who joined our class mid-year. Through this extraordinary experience, she showed me I could teach. I am forever indebted to Mrs. Goodman.

Q: Do you have any advice for current students?

A: Exercise to stay sharp! Give yourself daily rewards for being disciplined with the rigors of study. Reach out to your professors with any kind of help you need, no matter how insignificant it may feel. They will be there for you. Above all, don't give up. You've got this!!

If you would like to share your reflections in an Alliant alumni spotlight, please click here or email

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