IPR is featuring some of the many AAPI pioneers who impacted the field of public relations in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month

Thelma Garcia Buchholdt was born in the northern Philippines in 1934. After graduating high school, Buchholdt moved to the U.S. and attended Mount Saint Mary’s University and University of Nevada Las Vegas. 

In 1965 Buchholdt moved to Anchorage, Alaska. She co-founded the Boys and Girls Club of Alaska, was an active member of the League of Women Voters and was an appointed member of the Alaska State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

In 1974 Buchholdt was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives, becoming the first Filipino legislator in the U.S. She was reelected for three more terms, serving Alaska until 1982.

While in office, she passed legislation to protect the environment, improve education systems, and support domestic violence victims and mental health services. She served as the president of the Filipino-American National Historical Society and president of the National Order of Women Legislators. She died in 2007.


Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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