Jessica is an Upper Peninsula native and a proud graduate of Northern Michigan University's Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs where she specialized in clinical social work practice.  She holds certifications in Forensic Social Work and Sentencing Mitigation.  Jessica joined the Department of Social Work in the Winter semester of 2023 and teaches courses on various topics at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Jessica’s experience in direct service informs her teaching and grounds her work in the realities of social work practice. Her professional experience spans both direct social work practice and program development. She has worked in diverse settings such as mental health, corrections, substance abuse, and crisis intervention. Currently, she serves as the Mitigation Services Program Director at the Marquette County Office of the Public Defender where she has been instrumental in the development and integration of holistic defense and social work services in the office since 2021. She is a passionate advocate and is regularly engaged in efforts that promote equity, inclusion, and advance social justice. She actively collaborates with community organizations and policymakers to progress social change and advocates for policy reforms that prioritize social welfare and human rights. Jessica presents regularly on topics such as trauma-informed practice in criminal justice settings, the application of motivational interviewing techniques, and the integration of social work practice into indigent legal defense models. Looking ahead, she hopes to contribute to research projects exploring the impact of social policies and subsequent systemic barriers to equity and inclusion experienced by indigent individuals and families involved in the legal system.

Jessica builds resiliency through the outdoors and movement. In her free time, you will find her outside exploring all the beauty this world has to offer, spending time with her family, and enjoying a warm cup of coffee and a good book.

An image of Jessica Olson.