Linfield student protects children from environmental hazards in her hometown

Katharine Holm ’13 has been serving her hometown community in California this summer as an intern with Linfield’s new Deborah M. Olsen Public Service Internship.

“This internship is a way for me to give back to the community that gave me so much when I was growing up,” said Holm, who is working for Parents for a Safer Environment in Moraga.

The grass-roots volunteer organization, formed in 2002, seeks to protect children from preventable environmental hazards through education, research and advocacy. As a summer intern, Holm will work on projects to help reduce the use of dangerous pesticides in the county.

The newly endowed 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.

“I saw many talented students take on menial jobs during the summer because they couldn’t afford to work in an unpaid internship,” Olsen says. “Students can use this opportunity to serve as interns at art museums, historical societies, government agencies and NGOs.

Holm will be a senior at Linfield College in the fall. She has been an active member of Greenfield, a student environmental organization, and will serve as the president of the school’s Circle K Club. She plans to pursue a career as an environmental educator.

Linfield College is one of the few schools in the Pacific Northwest dedicated exclusively to undergraduate education. The park-like campus is located an hour from Portland, Ore., and an hour from Pacific Ocean beaches, and is home to a vibrant community of students who engage in rigorous intellectual inquiry and experiential learning.