Spring Break 2017

Technology and Human Rights will be the topic of our spring symposium and will be the theme of our spring break tour. The third annual tour will take the group to Baltimore and Washington D.C. and will be a great opportunity to meet leaders and policy makers in technology and human rights organizations.  

Visit Sites

  • The Urban Institute
  • Google (tentative)
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Verizon Policy and Innovation Center
  • Peace Corps
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Mosaic Theater production of South African play “The Blood Knot”

Spring Break Technology and Human Rights Tour Video


Spring Break 2016

Cherry blossoms adorned the nation’s capital as 25 Grinnell College students, faculty, and staff arrived for the Policy Tour in Washington D.C. The tour, which was the second week of spring break, provided an opportunity for students to see aspects of the policy making process in practice. Visits to organizations allowed students to build connections with alums. Policy Tour

The tour began at the Arms Control Association where Greg Thielmann '72, Arms Control Association, talked about his 25-year career in Foreign Service.

On Day two, the students were captivated as Ed Senn '79, Verizon, discussed his work in public policy advocacy. "Grinnell is the basis of who I am today," says Ed. Mr. Senn hosted the group for lunch at the National Association of Manufacturers. Former Rosenfield Program Committee Members Chris Hildebrand '10, Sally Blatz '08, Josh Dorner '03, Hamsa Hasan '09, and Claire Griffith '12 joined the group for lunch.

The tour of the US Capitol included a visit to Senator Chuck Grassley’s office.

A highlight of the week was the Alumni Reception at Decatur House. President Kington and Student Trip Leader David Leitson each gave a talk before Rosenfield Program Director, Sarah Purcell, spoke about the 30 years of success of the Rosenfield Program.

Next was a visit to the Heritage Foundation where Ted Bromund '91 shared with the group about the history of think tanks. The Heritage Foundation, the world's largest think tank, was founded in 1973. It is a research and educational institution think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

A special feature on the tour was a meeting with Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Secretary Vilsack spoke about the history of the USDA and how the organization provides leadership on issues related to food, agriculture, and natural resources. He welcomed questions from the students. Iowa State Director of Rural Development, Grinnellian Bill Menner, assisted in hosting the tour group.

Ben Weyl '07 invited the group to visit Politico where he talked to the group about his new career. "It's a bright spot in media," says Ben. Politico is a journalism outlet covers politics and policy in the United States and internationally.

The Grinnell group enjoyed a gourmet Native American lunch at the Mitsitam Café at the National Museum of the American Indian. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere. Eric Green '85 and Aubrey Carlson '82 joined the lunch to discuss their work at the State Department.

The tour concluded on Saturday morning with a tour of the White House.

The students participating in the trip were Deqa Aden ’18, Jackson Blais ’16, Glorianne Dorce ’16, Michaela Gelnarova ’18, Suha Gillani ’16, Martha Graham ’16, Carley Kleinhans ‘16,Emma Lange ’16, Laika Lewis ’16, Thanh Mai ’18, Katherine Menner ’18, Luc Moisan ’17, Olivia Queathem ’18, Virginia Purcell ’16, Caleigh Ryan ’17, Deanna Taylor ’18, Roselle Tenorio ’17, Anna Schierenbeck ’18, and Lauren Yi ’18. David Leitson ’16 was the student trip leader.

Faculty and staff who were on the trip were Sarah Purcell, Director, Rosenfield Program; Barb Trish, Professor of Political Science; Wayne Moyer, Professor of Political Science; Christie Mohlke, Assistant Director of Career Development and Internships; and Laureen Van Wyk, Rosenfield Program Coordinator.

Spring Break 2015

Excitement filled the air as a group of 20 Grinnell students and four faculty and staff members set out for the Human Rights and International Relations Tour during spring break. The trip was co-sponsored by the Rosenfield Program; the Center for Careers, Life, and Service; and the Development and Alumni Relations Office.

Grinnell students at the Stern School of BusinessTo start off, the group met with Sarah Labowitz ’04, who used to work for the State Department, and is now a research scholar and directs the program on business and human rights at NYU Stern School of Business. Sarah has worked on issues of business and human rights for almost a decade, with expertise in the areas of labor rights in supply chains and Internet policy. The students had conversation with Sarah and Professor Michael Posner, former Assistant Secretary of State, over lunch. Catalina Caro Torres hosted the group at the Council on Foreign Relations for a student briefing. Networking skills were put to use during the evening reception with New York alumni and President Kington at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Grinnell students outside the New York TimesThe second day in New York City began at the New York Times with a tour with Roberta Smith ’69, art critic. The students then had the opportunity to meet with reporters Michael Winerip and Michael Schwirz who are collaborating on an investigative series about police brutality at Rikers Island. Damien Cave, deputy national editor for digital at the Times. At Human Rights Watch, Paul Aufiero spoke with the group about the work of the organization and then the group headed to the Center for Constitutional Rights for a presentation from Executive Director Vince Warren and a meeting with Leonard Kurz ’75 and other alums.

The excitement continued on day three as the group traveled to Queens to meet with Luna Ranjit ’00 at Adhikaar. With a donation from a Grinnell professor, Luna began Adhikaar in 2005 to improve the lives of Nepali-speaking communities, and her group has had great success in advocating for civil rights. Episcopal Relief and Development was the next stop, where Katie Mears ’03 shared about the work of this international organization working to overcome poverty. The day ended at Alliance Berstain L.P. where Ahsan Rahim ’11 hosted a pizza dinner with the New York Alumni Planning Committee.

 The students are engaged as they listen to Roberta Smith ’69, art critic at the New York TimesDay four began with a briefing at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations with Liz Lee ’99, a foreign service officer assigned to the mission. The students were captivated by the experiences she shared. The group then split up for a few hours: some of them opted to go see Ground Zero, others enjoyed some shopping at Chelsea Market and a stroll at Highline Park. The afternoon started off with a tour of the United Nations and ended in Jersey City at Forbes Magazine. Liyan Chen ’12 arranged for the aspiring students to meet with several editors and reporters for the magazine, where she works as a reporter covering international issues.

Sarah Purcell, Director of the Rosenfield Program, says: “We were so excited to share with students so many fascinating and important organizations and individuals. We got an inside look at human rights and international work, and our entire visit to New York was so energizing.”

Student trip participants were Lilianna Bagnoli ’15, Chantelle Dallas ’15, Silvia Foster-Frau ‘15, Stephen Gruber-Miller ‘15, Gwendolyn Ihrie ’15, Iulia Iordache ’15, Liesl Schnabel ’15, Tefiro Serunjogi ’15, Louisa Silverman ’15, Danielle Chorne ’16, Colleen Moser ’16, Paige Wheeler ’16, Andino Isaac ’17, Annie Casey ’17, Teodora Cakarmis ’17, Desiree Dos Santos da Mota ’17, Armando Perez ’17, and Sebastian Rivera ’18. Student trip leaders were Roni Finkelstein ’15 and Anesu Gamanya ’15. Faculty trip leaders were Sarah Purcell, Professor of History and Director of the Rosenfield Program; and Ed Cohn, Assistant Professor of History and Interim Director of the Rosenfield Program. Staff leaders were Nate Dobbels, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations for Career Programs; and Laureen Van Wyk, Rosenfield Program Coordinator.