STEMM Idol: Dr. Jim Olson

If you saw 20 images on a screen for 15 seconds, how many of those images do you think you could remember? Dr. Jim Olson did this test as part of his STEMM Idol Speaker Series presentation on Tuesday, March 1.

Dr. Olson has been with the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wright State University since 1986 and is the head of their research laboratory. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the Emergency Medicine Foundation, among others.

"I am learning all the time," Dr. Olson said. "This past year I have learned more about how we learn."

During his presentation, Dr. Olson showed students the components of memory storage and why they may not remember something they have learned. He also did two fun tests, seeing what students would remember after being shown something on a screen.

"The memory quiz is to show how the memory system works and how students can use that to adapt the way they learn," Dr. Olson explained. "Students will be surprised with how much they can or cannot remember." 

Dr. Olson also had a cadaver brain to show students, who were interested in seeing it, and how the different lobes of the brain operate.  He also explained how students, with a desire to have a career in neuroscience, can take several course paths to get to that career.

"I started out as an engineer and then received my Master's degree in physics," Dr. Olson shared. "What I learned in engineering was how to solve problems; what I learned in physics was mathematics, and applying math to everyday life. From there I went into a biophysics program and then got a little more defined. I then went into neurochemistry and later, I went into neurology departments and studied acute brain issues."

Are you interested in becoming a CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presenter? Contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, at (937) 461-3740 x487, or at