Olivia McClain: Exploring hyperlocal air pollution in Providence

While at Brown, McClain served as co-president of the Brown Outing Club and taught earth science to third-grade students in Providence as a volunteer with the Department of Science’s Science Education and Teaching Program. Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (DEEPS STEPS), among other activities.

McClain said her experience with Breathe Providence broadened her perspective, especially speaking with community members and organizations.

“As students, we spend so much time at College Hill, and it’s been really empowering to be involved in the Providence community and connect what I’m learning in class to people,” McClain said. “As a hub of environmental science, it helps ground you and ask the important questions: Who do you feel responsible for? Who are you doing the research for? And who do you want to be the ultimate benefactor. of your work?”

McClain will complete his Bachelor of Science requirements in December as one of Brown’s “.5ers.” She interrupted her studies in the fall of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to work as a Democratic field organizer during the 2020 presidential election in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, which has been “a huge learning opportunity”, she recalled.

For her final semester, she will study abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica before returning home to West Bend, Wisconsin. She will carry this summer’s research experience as she considers a future career in her field, such as community resilience or educational outreach.

“It’s been impactful to have this side view of chemistry and data,” McClain said. “It underscores the importance of those bonds – and the importance of building a powerful team.”

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