Chris Olinger

Chris is grateful to Alan Alda for inspiring her to take her first improv class.

Chris started the WIT curriculum in Fall 2018 after reading Alan Alda’s book If I Understood You Would I Have This Look on My Face, where he described the use of improv games in workshops for scientists to improve their ability to communicate complex ideas to non-scientists. While improv helped her in the workplace, she continued on with improv because it was so much fun and a great way to decompress after work. She has completed the WIT curriculum, many advanced classes (sometimes twice) and workshops, and is grateful to WIT for their volunteer discounts!

Chris has competed in FIST and always keeps a running list of Improvapalooza ideas in her phone. One of her Palooza highlights was performing with her younger son in 2022 in a show titled Help! My Mom Needs Retirement Advice, where the audience provided ideas to occupy Chris’ time so she doesn’t provide “suggestions” for his life.

While her favorite place to be at an improv show is on stage, working in the booth comes a close second. Chris has been running lights and sound for WIT since 2022, including the tech for special projects such as Not A Pyramid Scheme and And, Scene.

Chris retired from the EPA as a supervisory chemist after 32 years of federal service. She loves to try new recipes, both sweet and savory, and is grateful to her husband for his excellent dishwashing skills. Her pandemic sourdough starter (made by rinsing yeast spores off of kale) is still going strong after four years. Chris became an avid knitter after making a ‘brain hat’ to wear to the 2017 March for Science.

She LOVES to buy yarn and start new projects; occasionally she actually finishes something. She doesn’t wait for “Worldwide Knit in Public Day” (second Saturday in June) and can be seen knitting on the Metro, in the booth between shows, and almost anywhere, hoping to finally finish that sweater that she began well before her sourdough starter.

Current Ensembles
Favorite word
Best dance move
Anything that will embarrass my sons