Liz Olmstead

I grew up in Staunton, went to JMU, and then lived in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC for 15 years during which time I got married and had two children, now ages 25 and 22. We moved to Charlottesville in 1998 for a calmer and less expensive life and, after having bounced around in different industries since college, finally found a home at UVA where I’ve been since 2001. I started in the TV News office as a temp and have slowly worked my way to grant administration which I find very rewarding. As Dr. Guerrant says, it is important to do work that serves more than your own interests; and supporting inspiring researchers in ID and the Center for Global Health has allowed me to feel a great sense of satisfaction.

Why research? Every day is a different challenge (in a good way).

What Brought You To Charlottesville? A better milieu to raise myself and family.

What Excites you About Your Work? I feel like I am doing my little part to help make the world a better place.

Proudest/Greatest Achievement Outside the Professional Realm I successfully completed 5 marathons.

Next Life Living on our 160 acre property with my husband, bees, goats, and chickens in as peaceful and compatible a way as possible with the trees, beavers, deer, fox, wild turkeys and bears who already live there.

What are you Doing in Your Spare Time Since I can’t run anymore, I’ve been swimming and slowly getting more into bicycle riding with my husband (who is very patient).

Favorite Vacation Activity/Spot Losing myself for hours and hours doing physically demanding work at the property.

Most Admired Person and Why The witch archetype because she represents someone who knows and uses her power and chooses to live outside mainstream society / in nature rather than repress her true self.

Best Advice Anyone Ever Gave You Find and do what makes you happy.

What About You Would Surprise Us? That I am ‘grandmother’ and now primary caretaker of a spoiled little cockatiel bird named Ollie Gershwin who sits on my shoulder while I’m getting ready for work in the morning and loves to eat tortilla chips.


Filed Under: Profiles, Staff Profiles