The Grinnell Careers in Education Professions Program emerged out of a generous gift by Charles Ashby Lewis and his wife and lifetime Grinnell Trustee Penny Bender Sebring ’64. A former teacher herself, Penny has made supporting education her life’s work and passion, a passion similarly embraced by Chuck. Sebring is the co-founder of the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research and has been a leader in urban education research in multiple ways. In the last few years, through the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation, the couple has funded the Careers in Education Professions programs at Amherst College, where Chuck is an alumnus and Life Trustee; at the University of Chicago, where he is also a trustee; and here at Grinnell. By collaborating together and through the use of innovative programming, all three initiatives hope to realize Penny’s and Chuck’s vision of increasing the number of highly talented students from elite colleges pursuing careers in education and to enhance the professionalization of teaching.
As a part of the gift, and serving as a tribute to a long-time friend and colleague of Lewis and Sebring and supporter of Grinnell, the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions Director position is named for Lawrence S. Pidgeon. Larry Pidgeon served as an influential member of Grinnell College’s Board of Trustees and its investment committee from 1995-1999, a tenure that began when he was only 32. Pidgeon passed away in November 2012, after a struggle with cancer. His intelligence and dedication to excellence will long be missed.


Grinnell College Careers in Education Professions aims to increase the professionalization of teaching and other careers in education and attract talented, passionate, life-long participants in education-related careers. The program hopes to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to pursue a career in the field and to broaden students’ understanding of current issues in education.


The goals of the Grinnell College Careers in Education Professions are to:

  • Grow the number of Grinnellians pursuing careers in education, particularly teaching
  • Increase the on-campus visibility of students interested in education
  • Provide opportunities for students in the program to expand their knowledge of current trends and topics in education
  • Create networking opportunities for students with employers in education as well as with Grinnell alumni
  • Further students’ career-related skills such as resume writing, professional communication, and interviewing

Benefits for Program Participants

  • Priority for enrolling in education courses
  • Preference for education-related internships and a dedicated grant for internship funding
  • Preference for education faculty-sponsored MAPs
  • Exclusive access to all visiting guest speakers hosted by the program.
  • Extended networking opportunities with Grinnell alumni and friends of the college in an array of education professions
  • Experience in event planning
  • Development of  leadership skills
  • Honor cords to be worn at Commencement

Program Participation Requirements

  • Completion of two courses offered by the Education Department by time of graduation, one of which must be EDU 101
  • Monthly attendance at workshops or speaker events
  • Weekly meeting attendance
  • Remain in good academic standing with Grinnell College.
  • Receive positive evaluations from host teachers at local schools or supervisors at internship sites
  • Five hours of educational service-learning participation each semester
  • Attend yearly kick-off retreat