Local chosen for leadership conference | ParkRecord.com

Local chosen for leadership conference

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

Park City Winter School student Jazz Olshen, 15, was selected to attend the 2007 Congressional Student Leadership Conference, a 10-day event, held at San Diego State University.

The leadership program, sponsored by LeadAmerica, is dedicated to promoting high school students who excel academically, participate in extracurricular activities and are involved in the community.

Teachers who have been involved with LeadAmerica may nominate one student in their school who they say exhibits the qualities stressed in the leadership programs.

"I was excited when I got the letter," Olshen said of her nomination by an anonymous teacher at the Winter School.

"I had no idea, she said.

Olshen smiles often and comes across as relaxed, yet quietly passionate.

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Olshen said a leader is "anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in." She said a student at the conference told her, "There are two kinds of people in the world, those who bring you up and those who bring you down. I have never had someone bring me up so high."

She said a friend, the late Bjorn Thorson, could always make people laugh, and she has been inspired by his joy of life.

She said the experience at San Diego State was great with the people she met but admitted that dorm rooms are like jail cells.

Olshen chose to take part in a forensic science area of study at the conference. She and her team, composed of 16 students from around the country, competed against other teams learning forensic skills then trying to solve a mock crime. Students learned fingerprinting, DNA extraction, face reconstruction, blood-spatter patterns and blood testing.

Communication is an essential part of the skills they develop. The better a group communicates, the faster they will solve a case.

She said FBI agents taught some of the classes. Olshen likes the forensics TV program CSI Miami. She said instructors told students everything that happens in one hour on TV would happen in 10 weeks in a real situation.

"They have to do a lot of paperwork," she said of investigators.

She said she would not like to be involved in forensics as an adult and is considering medicine or being a hostage negotiator. She said her desire to help people, her soothing voice and her confidence would help her in either discipline.

Olshen, who trains in alpine ski racing at the Winter School, is recovering from injuries she suffered in a ski race last season. She said she loves going fast, and she loves skiing on ice. Her goal is to make the U.S. Ski Team and compete in the Olympics.

Although she is highly competitive, Olshen stressed the importance of making friends with all the other racers.

Olshen seems excited about the future, but appreciates her opportunity at the leadership conference.

"I’ll always keep the friends I met here," she said.