by Lin Stone
Shelburne resident Ian Hollyer is in his senior year at Carleton College in Minnesota, but before starting his final undergraduate year this fall, he will make a summer detour on July 7. Hollyer will head to Kathmandu, Nepal to volunteer in Helping Hands Community Hospital as part of a service internship for international development. In fact, this is not Hollyer’s first opportunity to study abroad with Carleton as part of his academic pursuits. A biology and pre-med major, he spent the fall semester of 2011 studying the European health care system in Demark, Germany, and Poland while also attending classes at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen. Additionally, this past winter he studied with the college in Australia conducting biology field research.
Hollyer has lived in Shelburne since 1994 with his parents Jan and Calista, and his sister Elsa. He attended Heartworks and Lake Champlain Waldorf School for his early education and Vermont Commons School (VCS) for his middle and high school years. While at VCS, high school science teacher Peter Goff ignited Hollyer’s interest in biology. “He simply made the subject meaningful and fun – he made biology exciting,” Hollyer noted.
During his junior year in high school, he and a classmate took advantage of a National Leadership Forum in Medicine program, which Hollyer described as “pretty cool” and interesting. He then became a First Responder, volunteering weekends and summers with the Charlotte Rescue Squad. Another “directional signpost” in high school came for Hollyer when an aptitude evaluation suggested he had the physical dexterity, academic ability, interest, and aptitude to be a good surgeon.
These skills served him in other ways as well. Hollyer is athletic and enjoyed playing on VCS’s championship ultimate Frisbee team. When looking at colleges during his junior and senior years, Carleton College caught his interest because it was a good small college with one of the best ultimate Frisbee teams in the country – Carleton Ultimate Team (CUT). They were the 2009 and 2011 college national champions (runner-up in 2010) besting thousands of players from much bigger schools and universities. During Hollyer’s recent time studying at the Danish Institute, he also played on the Danish National Ultimate Frisbee team, which won the country’s national championship.
Next on Hollyer’s agenda is to do more hands-on service work. “If I just focus on my own personal livelihood, it’s a little selfish. It would be easy to be here in Shelburne – Vermont – America – and only think of my lovely home and family. But I want to push my limits and be of service to people beyond my own personal experience and comfort zone. I can see that being a physician differs exponentially in different countries, and that making medical care available in places where that help may not be readily available can make a difference – daily – between life and death. However, I’m not yet 100 percent sure that I want to be a physician. I am still considering whether it would be most helpful for me to work in research instead – in order to try to alleviate or find treatments for disease. But ultimately, I do know what I really want: I want to help others and I want to make a difference.”