Sara Olsen
September 24, 2019

At the University of Maryland, Veterans Week is an opportunity to celebrate the past and present service of student veterans and honor the sacrifice and service they have given to our country. 

This year Veterans Day celebrations start early. Sara Olsen (MPH ‘17), a behavioral and community health doctoral student, will unveil the Chair of Honor alongside Maryland Athletic Director, Damon Evans, at the Saturday, September 27, Maryland vs. Penn State game. The Chair of Honor is a single black chair featuring the Prisoner-of-War, Missing in Action logo. The Chair honors and commemorates the over 91,000 servicemen that have remained unaccounted for since World War I.  

Olsen will also serve as the student veteran speaker at Maryland’s Veteran's Day Service at Memorial Chapel on Monday, November 11, from 12:00 pm — 2:00 pm. 

Olsen is a 17 year Navy combat veteran and has worked as an active duty explosive ordnance disposal officer for nine years. As a civilian, Olsen worked with Working Wounded Games and in 2012 she helped found Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance which started as a functional fitness competition for people with physical impairments.

Olsen was one of the first to receive a Master of Public Health degree in the physical activity concentration from the Department of Kinesiology. Now pursuing a doctorate in public health, Olsen aims to further her understanding of the different barriers to physical activity as well as the psychosocial benefits of community-based fitness for populations considered physically disabled. She intends to advocate for people with disabilities in research and policy.

Earlier this year, Olsen was named a 2019 Tillman Scholar and inducted into the 2019 class of the Women Divers Hall of Fame in recognition of her work with Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance and her Navy diving career.