Distinguished Through the Decades: 2009, Anne Kathryn (Allen) Olson

Progress 2022: Distinguished Through the Decades

Anne Kathryn (Allen) Olson remembers her experience with Junior Miss as “a lot of work but worth it in every way.”

“My involvement in it has impacted who I am as a person. It helped me become prepared for life after high school in so many ways,” said Olson, a 2009 Russellville High School graduate. “I would highly recommend participating if you have the opportunity.”

As a high school student, Olson said she was on the introverted side and focused on her schoolwork. “I definitely became more sociable and involved as high school progressed, and I attribute a large part of that to being involved in programs like Distinguished Young Women, or Junior Miss as it was called then,” Olson said. “I had been involved in my local high school pageant for several years before DYW, and I had thoroughly enjoyed it. I also loved the idea of getting to meet other young women from surrounding counties as well as throughout the state.” The opportunity to win scholarships was, of course, another big draw.

Following high school, Olson attended The University of Alabama from 2009-2013, where she majored in marketing, before progressing to dental school at UAB from 2013-2017. After four years living in Atlanta, she is now a general dentist in Memphis, Tenn.

“I decided I wanted to be a dentist when I was a member of Health Occupation Students of America in high school,” she noted. “We had the opportunity to shadow different health professions, and I was very intrigued by dentistry.” 

Outside of her dental practice, Olson enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Joel; the two married in 2017. “My hobbies include gardening, cooking, needlepoint and decorating. My husband and I love to spend time outdoors together and to travel,” Olson said. “We have been to many different states and countries together and are working on visiting more.”

When it comes to her involvement in Junior Miss, Olson said she remembers her favorite part as “going to state and meeting people from all over the state.”

“Going to Montgomery for 10 days was so much fun but was also one of the most challenging parts,” she said, recalling – as do many of her fellow DYW/Junior Misses – the impact of not being able to call friends or family during their time at state. “This made us rely heavily on our host families, each other and ourselves. It was quite the reunion seeing everyone after state was over!” 

Olson said DYW and other programs like it “definitely made me more outgoing, well-spoken and helped me mature. I learned so much that helped me in the future, including how to handle interviews, how to interact with all types of people and how to appreciate being out of my comfort zone. It also allowed me to become more extroverted and comfortable in my skin.” 

I am very happy with where I have ended up,” Olson added. “I would love to keep traveling and living life to the fullest.”

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