Massey earns Olsen scholarship to work in Nicaragua

Ellen Massey '16Linfield College senior Ellen Massey combined two of her greatest passions – community service and communications – when she worked with Nicaraguan children this summer.

The recipient of the Deborah M. Olsen Public Service Internship, Massey volunteered at La Esperanza Granada, an organization focusing on children’s education, in Granada, Nicaragua. She served as the promotions and communications intern, and helped with events and online projects including a blog, website and social media.

The school is working toward breaking the cycle of poverty through the education of local children, explained Massey.

“Their mission statement is ‘we give a hand up, not a hand out,’” she said. “This is important to break that cycle of poverty and make a lasting impact, not only in these children’s lives but in the community as well.”

Massey’s interest in nonprofits began shortly after graduating from Bozeman High School when she worked in AmeriCorps NCCC, National Civilian Community Corps. There, she had the opportunity to work with a number of nonprofit organizations in the southern region of the United States. At Linfield, she worked with Upward Bound helping to support first-generation and low-income youth in Yamhill County. She also received a $1,000 scholarship through the Linfield College Career Development Impact Scholarship program.

As a Linfield student, Massey studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador, last fall and was excited for the opportunity to explore another region of Latin America.

“I was excited to use the skills that I have been learning at Linfield College in a real-world situation and to have the opportunity to work with an organization that is trying and succeeding in many ways to have a lasting impact on their community,” she said.

After graduating from Linfield, Massey hopes to pursue a career in public relations, working for a community-based organization. She also intends to travel.

“Travel is something I will do for the rest of my life, as often as I can,” she said.

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.