Mike Olson

Title: Full-time Faculty, School of Firearms Technology and General Education

Highest degree and school: MA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Psychology, Western New Mexico University

Teaching at SDI since: 2015

Mike Olson has served in numerous roles across multiple departments at SDI since joining the company in 2015. He presently serves as a full-time faculty member in the schools of Firearms Technology and General Education, a role where he gets to exercise his passions for education, firearms, and psychology. A proud veteran of the US Marine Corps, Mike holds an MA from Western New Mexico University and is currently working on his Ph.D in psychology. His research interests include resilience, antifragility, the psychology of leadership and performance, and logotherapy, which is a type of psychotherapy that helps people endure hardship and find personal meaning in their experience.

When asked why he chooses to teach at SDI, Mike waxed philosophical: “I love teaching and training people; if I have a ‘calling,’ that’s it. What I love about teaching at SDI is that I feel safe in my academic autonomy, knowing that I will never get pressured by the administration to adhere to some narrative. As a social and behavioral sciences teacher, that’s especially important to me, because academe is not doing a great job of supporting a reputation for heterodoxy in those disciplines. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a ‘gun guy,’ and SDI’s a great school for gun people! It’s hard to pick what I enjoy “most,” but I think it’s when I learn something from a student or get an idea from them that I can pass along to future generations of learners. Being a teacher is about something more than being a repository of knowledge; I see my role as more of a conduit, linking the minds of experts and emerging learners together so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Outside of the classroom, Mike is a devoted husband and father to five snakes, one gecko, four cats, one dog, and one human daughter. Given the time, he would enjoy learning about blacksmithing because “When you work with your mind, you rest with your hands.” His ideas on a perfect day show a zest for life’s small and most impactful moments: “A cool breeze, a warm sun, and a taut line on a glassy lake is perfect. So is a hike into the Pacific Northwest alpines on a clear fall day, a successful stalk, and whiskey by the fire with your best friends. But a day watching the wife and daughter smile and laugh and run amok, like the Lantern Festival at the Kentucky Speedway, is also perfect.”