Linfield student interns for World Affairs Council of Oregon

Clara Martinez '14Linfield College senior Clara Martinez of Seattle, Wash., spent the summer as an intern for the World Affairs Council of Oregon after she was awarded the Deborah M. Olsen Public Service Internship.

Martinez, a political science and communication arts major, worked closely with Amy Barass, director of International Visitors and Training Programs and Linfield alumni. The International Visitor Leadership Program is the U.S. Department of State’s professional exchange program. Current and emerging foreign leaders are selected by U.S. Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Embassies around the world. Martinez worked with delegates from 20 countries by helping to introduce them to different aspects of Oregon and U.S. culture.

“The most personally rewarding aspect of my internship involved engaging in person-to-person diplomacy, and observing the interactions between foreign visitors and their professional counterparts,” Martinez said.

At one point in her internship Martinez worked on a sub-regional project for Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines. Representatives from these countries came to the U.S. to explore the theme of economic models for community sustainability in the U.S. Martinez helped introduce these visitors to the Portland area and accompanied them to the Blanchet House of Hospitality, where they all served meals to the homeless.

“I gained firsthand experience in the daily operation of an international non-profit organization, developed skills in event planning, researching, project management and intercultural communication,” said Martinez. “Interning with the World Affairs Council of Oregon this summer was an immensely rewarding and enriching experience. It has solidified my interest in pursuing a career in international affairs.”

The Deborah M. Olsen Public Service Internship provides educational opportunities to liberal arts students, expanding the learning experience outside the classroom, preparing students for advanced professional or graduate work, and helping prepare them for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. The endowed scholarship was established by retired history instructor Deborah Olsen, who also served as Linfield’s competitive scholarships advisor.


— By Alyssa Townsend ’15