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Grinnellink Internships

Taking part in an internship is one of the most accurate ways to experience the postgraduate world before it becomes your permanent home. Grinnellink internships offer Grinnellians — and only Grinnellians — the chance to try life after college on for size.

These fully funded, highly selective internships are made possible through the support of alumni and friends of the College. And they know what to expect from a Grinnellian.

High Expectations

Jordan Schellinger ’15

On her first day, Paige Wheeler ’16 was asked to write a petition for favorable prosecutorial discretion at her internship at the Law Office of Jillian Kong-Sivert. She was given a description and an example, and left to her own devices.

“I learned an immense amount both about writing petitions and about how I approach unfamiliar tasks in general,” Wheeler says. The experience provided her with a benchmark that she could compare her subsequent efforts to.

Jordan Schellinger ’15 spent her summer at the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona, surveying and recording archaeological sites. She says that the responsibilities that she has been given make her feel that she’s “really contributing to the organization and not just learning about what it means to be a part of such an organization.”

At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Collin Davis-Johnson ’15 split his time between managing anthropological and archaeological collections and more independent work. “For the July Science Lounge at the Museum, I developed a presentation of select musical instruments in our collections from around the world to show to the public; in addition, I also gathered recordings of each instrument in order to provide the public with a holistic musical experience,” Davis-Johnson says.

Substantial Results

Lisa Oyolu ’17

Grinnellink interns get more than a glimpse into post-Grinnell life. They experience careers that they aspire to, see how their coursework is applied outside a college setting, and realize how capable they are in the working world.

“Grinnellink internships are prime opportunities for students to apply classroom knowledge in a concrete way within the professional world. These internships open the doors to students who would otherwise not be able to pursue unpaid internships and provide a professional advantage as they move into life after Grinnell,” says Megan Crawford, director of career counseling and exploration at the Center for Careers, Life, and Service.

“Before this internship, I vaguely thought about how interesting it would be to work for public radio, but I didn’t think of it as a feasible life option. Being at Minnesota Public Radio for a summer has given me the confidence to see journalism as a potential career option.”

Lisa Oyolu ’17, Minnesota Public Radio News, St. Paul, Minn.

“This internship provided me with some perspective on exactly how versatile an anthropology major can be outside of academia and gave me the reassurance that I still have plenty of time to figure out exactly what it is that I want to do when I ‘grow up.’”

Collin Davis-Johnson, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, Colo.

“I entered my internship with the attitude that even though I didn't want to go to law school, it would look good on my resume. However, since being there, my interest in going to law school has been renewed. I'm now thinking I definitely might enter the field of human rights law in the future.”

Meagan McKinstry ’16, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, N.Y.

“I have spent most of my time at Grinnell in the humanities: taking philosophy, English, language, etc. However, my career interests are all in social work. This internship has pushed me to make what I have learned and studied at Grinnell relevant to a field I haven’t undertaken in the classroom.”

Fatima Cervantes ’15, Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, D.C.

  • Fatima Cervantes ’15 is a philosophy major with a European studies concentration from Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Collin Davis-Johnson ’15 and Jordan Schellinger ’15 are both anthropology majors from Minnesota. Davis-Johnson is from St. Paul and Schellinger is from Avon.
  • Meagan McKinstry ’16 is from St. Louis, Mo. and majors in sociology.
  • Paige Wheeler ’16 is a political science/Spanish double major with a concentration in linguistics.
  • Lisa Oyolu ’17 is from Houston, Texas and her major is undeclared.

Agents of Change

Campus committees abound at Grinnell and are among the numerous ways for students to leave their footprint. High student participation in campus committees may be an obvious result of self-governance.

“Self-government” and “a democratic student community” were concepts invoked by the College’s founders, notes Chris Jones, College archivist. Student representation on campus committees was regularly documented in the early 1900s.

So, the work of student involvement in the inner workings of the Grinnell campus is indeed a well-established practice. Some committees are elected; some are appointed; some are show-interest-and-you-are-in.

Benefits to students

“Through the Rosenfield Committee, I'm involved in the process of bringing fantastic speakers to campus to talk about issues of human rights and international relations,” says Nipun Basrur ’15, a chemistry major. “I have the opportunity to meet and interact with these speakers and to plan events and symposiums on topics that I personally care about — an incredibly rare opportunity for undergraduate students.”

Basrur is also a member of the Student Educational Policy Committee (SEPC) for chemistry. Each academic department has its own SEPC. Basrur says, “I'm able to build a closer relationship with other majors and faculty and learn more about the planning and working of an academic department — which will be helpful if I choose to continue in academia in the future.”

Roni Finkelstein ’15 says, “I have learned so much about event planning, college operations, and networking from being involved in campus committees. I've also had invaluable enlightening conversations with accomplished scholars and professionals. My involvement with campus committees has shaped my perspective on my own career path.”

Last year, Finkelstein was involved in the Budget Planning Committee as Student Government Association treasurer. She currently serves on the Grinnell Prize Advisory Committee, the Rosenfield Program Committee, and the SEPC for history.

“I reach out to my social networks to gather opinions about what other students would like to see happen and share those opinions with staff and faculty,” Finkelstein says. “By gathering student opinion, committees become more effective in their missions to enrich campus life.”

Benefits to campus

Sarah Purcell ’92, professor of history and director of the Rosenfield Program, also knows well the benefits students gain from campus service. As a student, she served on the committee for the program she now directs.

“Everything in the Rosenfield Program involves students. It’s impossible to imagine doing this work without them,” Purcell says. “Students are the majority on the committee, are full voting members, and have input from ideas to planning to execution.”

Three students talking together in a committee

Grinnell’s committee work culture “is self-gov in practice,” she says. “Sharing committee responsibilities helps students to gain experience. Committee work is a great way to get to know Grinnell and build skills such as workplace etiquette. It’s definitely a resume builder, especially if the student has taken an active role and can talk about specific projects and their part in them.”

Mark Peltz, Daniel and Patricia Jipp Finkelman Dean for the Center for Careers, Life and Service, views student committee involvement as both a leadership and a learning experience.

“Students at Grinnell have uncommon opportunities to be involved in academic departments, standing committees, and task forces that directly impact the student experience. I tell students to take the role seriously. ‘You are a student whose voice is being heard so be an active participant in the process.’”

Peltz also sees a direct tie to self-governance. “Student participation is an expectation here, more so than at other places. Grinnell’s commitment to self-governance is the foundation on which committee decisions are made — from SEPCs where students play a role in recruitment and hiring of faculty to participating on Board of Trustees’ committees*. Students’ active involvement serves us better as a campus community.”

*The Student Government Association’s president and two vice-presidents regularly attend and participate on Board of Trustee committees.

Benefits for all

Basrur agrees: “When you give passionate and intelligent students the resources to plan events or student policies, our campus can only benefit.”

Nipun Basrur ’15, a chemistry major, is from Bangalore, India. Roni Finkelstein ’15, a history major, is from Tenafly, New Jersey.

2014 Graduate & Professional School Fair

As the highlight of Graduate & Professional School (GPS) Week, the Grinnell College Center for Careers, Life, and Service and the Careers in Education Professions Program are co-hosting the 2014 Graduate & Professional School Fair on Thursday, October 2, from 4:30 to 8:00 pm at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center. We will be welcoming representatives from a diverse selection of institutions and graduate programs across the nation.


Participating Programs


University of Chicago Booth School of Business (IL)
University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management (MN)


Teach For America (NY)
University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program (IL)
University of Iowa College of Education, Higher Education & Student Affairs (IA)
University of Iowa College of Education, Psychological & Quantitative Foundations (IA)
University of Nebraska Omaha College of Education Department of Teacher Education (NE)
University of Northern Iowa College of Education Department of Teaching (IA)

Health Professions & Public Service

Des Moines University (IA)
Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs (IN)
St. Louis College of Pharmacy (MO)
University of Iowa College of Public Health (IA)
Washington University in St. Louis Brown School of Social Work & Public Health (MO)


Drake University Law School (IA)
Indiana University Maurer School of Law (IN)
John Marshall Law School (IL)
Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law (GA)
University of Iowa College of Law (IA)
University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law (MO)

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

University of Iowa Department of Mathematics (IA)
University of Iowa Department of Statistics & Actuarial Science (IA)
Washington University in St. Louis Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences (MO)

Specialty Programs

Iliff School of Theology (CO)
Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism & Communication (IA)
University of Iowa School of Urban & Regional Planning (IA)

University-Wide Representation

University of Northern Iowa Graduate College (IA)
Western Illinois University School of Graduate Studies (IL)

Registration & Fees

Due to space restrictions, our fair is by invitation only. Please call or e-mail Diane Hawkins (641-269-4895; hawkins[at]grinnell[dot]edu) if you are interested in participating.

The registration fee provides for hot and cold beverages and a warm buffet dinner for all representatives. Fees are a function of the number of representatives being sent. Payment—by credit card or check—should be remitted by Thursday, September 18.

One representative:       $30
Two representatives:    $40
Three representatives:         $50
Other (please contact Diane Hawkins for details)


Other Fair-Related Details

After you register, Diane Hawkins will follow up with additional details about the venue (including directions), Internet and electrical-outlet access, parking, unloading and mailing promotional materials, and other matters.



A block of rooms has been reserved for the nights of both Wednesday, October 1, and Thursday, October 2, at the Country Inn by Carlson Hotel, which is located approximately 3 miles from campus near I-80 Exit 182 (Grinnell). The hotel offers pet-friendly, non-smoking rooms with queen- or king-size beds, a heated indoor pool, and a fitness center. Complimentary breakfasts and high-speed Internet access are included in the room cost; and rooms are equipped with coffee makers, mini-refrigerators, and hair dryers.

The group rate is $76 per night (plus taxes). Representatives should call the hotel directly to make reservations, asking for the room rate for the Grinnell College Graduate School Fair. The last day to reserve a room at the group rate is Sunday, September 21.

Country Inn by Carlson
1710 West Street South
Grinnell, IA  50112
Phone: 641-236-9600

A list of additional accommodation options, including bed-and-breakfasts, can be found on pages 48–49 of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Guide. (Dining options in Grinnell can be found on pages 40–42 of the same guide.)

Facts about Grinnell College

  • Immediately after graduation, 20–25 percent of Grinnellians in recent classes have gone directly to graduate or professional school.
  • Many of those who do not immediately go to graduate or professional school do so later. Within ten years of graduation, over 50 percent of a class typically holds at least one advanced degree.
  • Grinnell College is in the top 1 percent of colleges and universities for PhDs awarded per graduate.

Alumna Shares Career Insights, Offers Advice

Jocelyn Wyatt ’99 understands the power of good advice. Fourteen years ago, the anthropology major wanted to travel internationally and change the world. She took a professor’s advice and now leads an international nonprofit organization.

These days when she speaks with students, she’s the one giving the advice.

Her advice for Grinnellians

“It’s not about the quantity of the people in your network or the connections that you have on LinkedIn or the number of the people that you’ve emailed once,” she says. “It’s really about maintaining or developing real relationships — in-depth relationships with people who can help you and mentor you in your career search while you’re at Grinnell and beyond.”

Wyatt is the co-lead and executive director of IDEO.org, a nonprofit that fights global poverty through design.

“The combination of anthropology and a liberal arts education — combined with an MBA — is really what has allowed me to both have broad-based perspectives and an orientation toward learning that Grinnell provided, with some of the more specific skill sets around management and running an organization that I was able to get through business school.”

Doug Caulkins, professor emeritus of anthropology, has taught “alumni enriched” courses for more than 10 years. On average, 30 alumni participate in these courses annually. Wyatt spoke in two of Caulkins’ classes.

He teaches:

  • Solutions: Managing Entrepreneurship & Innovation, in which alumni innovators, like Wyatt, talk about their social and business enterprises.
  • Creative Careers: Learning from the Alumni, in which Grinnellians return to participate in the Friday afternoon class to advise the 50 to 80 students who take this class each spring semester.

“Alumni are, in an important sense, pioneers who have gone out into the world of work and career and are coming back to Grinnell to report to current students on the world that they are about to enter,” Caulkins says.

Tackling inequality and injustice

Jocelyn Wyatt ’99 standing in front of work board covered in post-it notesIDEO.org is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif. and manages 15-20 design projects worldwide each year. The organization has grown from two co-founders in 2011 to 32 employees. It is the nonprofit arm of the design and innovation firm, IDEO.

Wyatt, who also serves on the Grinnell Prize selection committee, is committed to sharing her expertise with Grinnellians.

“There’s so much positive change that’s happening in the world that it’s hard not to be optimistic that it’s going to continue,” she says.

Recent Art History Grads Make Good

Two recent art history grads move forward in their post-B.A. professional lives.

This summer Tianhan Gao ’11 (left) 

…became the associate cataloguer for the Classical Chinese Paintings Department at the art auction house Sotheby’s International in New York. Tianhan came to Grinnell in 2007 as an international student from China. She double-majored in bio-chemistry and art history. After graduation she took an internship at Samuel T. Freeman & Co. Auctioneers in Philadelphia, and then worked her way up to department assistant, property manager, and associate specialist of Asian art in three years before being hired this summer by Sotheby’s.

This fall José Segebre ’09 (right) 

…begins an M.A. program in curatorial studies at the Städelschule and Goethe Universität in Frankfurt, Germany. José came to Grinnell in 2005 as an International Merit Scholar from Honduras without (in his words) “the slightest idea that he would leave with a degree in art history.” He has since been involved with different art projects in Mexico City, his city of birth, and a self-sustainable art community in Portugal, and has also worked as assistant curator at the exhibition hall for contemporary art, Portikus, in Frankfurt. He is currently helping to organize an international symposium about contemporary Muralism that will take place in October at the cultural center riesa efau in Dresden, Germany.