Olivia (Harris) Smith '16, '17

Olivia (Harris) Smith '16, '17


BS: Childhood/Special Education

MS: Special Education

Olivia (Harris) Smith graduated from Daemen with a deep passion for education. Olivia credits both Dr. Bruce Shields and Dr. Susan Krickovich for support and assistance as she was learning about the education field. Olivia also counted on her friends and colleagues and truly found a community at Daemen. She still keeps in touch with fellow alumni! Olivia has been teaching Special Education for the last 7 years in Bradenton, Florida. 

What brought you to Daemen/Rosary Hill?

I came to Daemen as a transfer student, after completing a year at a local community college. I chose Daemen because of the small class sizes, its community involvement, and because of how easy the transfer process was.

Were you a commuter or resident?


What activities were you involved in as a student?

Sigma Pi Epsilon Delta
Admissions Volunteer (participated in the Transfer Student Panel regularly)
Education Club
Daemen Life
Academic Festival

Do you have a favorite professor, coach, mentor that impacted your life and experience at Daemen/Rosary Hill?

Dr. Bruce Shields became a professor that was our shoulder to cry on. He pushed us to be great students and educators, but he also taught us how to be great people. He was always available to lend an ear when you needed it.

Dr. Susan Krickovich was also amazing. She was extremely knowledgeable in the literacy field, and she genuinely wanted us to be the best we possibly could be. There were days when we needed guidance on class work and she would invite us in for lunch to get help.

What do you remember most vividly from your time at Daemen/Rosary Hill?

I remember my friends and classmates! There were 12 of us in my class, and you never saw one of us without at least one more. Not only did we all spend time together AT school, but we spent time together OUTSIDE of school too. Several of my Daemen friends were bridesmaids in my wedding..

What have you been up to since graduation?

After graduating with my MS ED from Daemen in 2017, I moved to St. Petersburg, FL to teach 3rd Grade. I then moved to Bradenton, where I have been a Special Education teacher for the last 7 years. I have served as a Department Leader, Safety Patrol advisor, and the yearbook advisor at my school. My longtime boyfriend and I got married in 2019 in our hometown of Ellicottville, NY. In June of 2023 we welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Caden Allen Smith.

How did your experiences and education at Daemen/Rosary Hill prepare you for life after college?

Daemen taught me about how important it is to be involved in your community, as well as the importance of networking. Daemen showed me just how much you can achieve when you work hard and ask for help when you need it.

How are you involved at Daemen as an alum?

I wish I could be more involved, but living in Florida is challenging! I wish there were more opportunities for local alumni gatherings.

What advice do you have for current and prospective students interested in Daemen?

Get involved! The world around you can improve when you get involved with those around you.

Always say yes to an educational opportunity- you never know what you might learn!

For fun- List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.

  1. I’m from Ellicottville, NY.
  2. I never miss an opportunity to see a Billy Joel concert.
  3. I have never eaten eggs.