Tour Program

Fall Break 2018

The Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights is leading a study tour to Minneapolis, running from October 21–24, 2018.  The "Off the Field" tour will examine the ways in which sports intersect with the broader world of politics, economics, and society more generally. 

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Student Waiver 

Spring Break 2019

All aboard!  The International Affairs spring break tour will be leaving Grinnell on March 25 and returning on March 30.

Information sessions will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 and at 11 a.m. on Nov. 1.  Both sessions will be held in Rosenfield Center, Room 209.

Applications for the tour will be due on November 26.

Spring Break 2018

All aboard!

The Our Urban Future spring break study tour began on Sunday morning as we all boarded a motorcoach which transported us to Chicago.  Upon our arrival at the hotel, docents from the Chicago Architectural Foundation led us on a tour through Chicago's downtown, where we observed public art ranging from 19th century mosaics to modern abstract sculpture. Our group learned how public art has informed the development of the city itself, and framed the rest of our travels through Chicago.

Cullen Davis, who studied political science while at Grinnell, now owns a development company that specializes in real-estate management and investment to make housing more affordable in Chicago and around the Midwest. He gave us a tour of some housing projects in Chicago.  Student participant Max Hill says, "what I found interesting is that Cullen views housing as a macro-scale, long term solution to combat poverty as well as help individuals with mental illness reintegrate back into society."

We were then welcomed by The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, which is a government agency that’s independent of the City of Chicago and covers all of Cook County.  It plays an important role in saving water and building reservoirs.

The visit to the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities was an eye-opening and engaging experience. The grand Chicago city council chamber played host to a discussion of the efforts being undertaken across the country to improve the accessibility of city landscapes. Deputy Commissioner of Compliance Joseph Russo and Senior Policy Analyst Laurie Knox explained efforts to make everything, from new residential developments to rail stations, accessible. 

The group enjoyed the vibrant colors of the 2,000 plant species on display at the Garfield Park Conservatory as we toured the eight rooms of the third largest public plant conservatory in the world.

We were hosted at IFF by Joe Neri ’84, who serves as chief executive officer. Through his work, Mr. Neri has been able to engage and promote social equity, with IFF supplying financial loans to nonprofit organizations targeted at social justice and accessibility to resources. 

On our final night in Chicago, we met with area alums for a “back to the classroom” event.  Graduation years spanned many decades, and engaging debates emerged. Our focus centered around whether cities should be created via top-down planning schemes or bottom-up organic processes.

We were greeted in Washington DC with a snowstorm, shutting much of the city down. Ellen Satterwhite ’05 graciously met us at Glen Echo Group, which is an organization dedicated to policy advocacy. Glen Echo partners with businesses and other organizations to make the internet more accessible and functional for communities, businesses, and citizens. 

Next stop was at The Urban Institute.  The Urban Institute is a think tank that engages with economic and social policy research to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions.

We met with David Leitson ’16, a research analyst studying justice policy. Leitson looks at the impacts of policy programs using both data collected by the Urban Institute and data from the government. Leitson researches gun violence in Chicago, Illinois.

A highlight of the week was our visit to Verizon where we were hosted by Ed Senn '79, vice president of state government relations. The Verizon Technology Center is filled with unique displays and models depicting first the evolution of the internet, and transforming into miniature exhibits modeling technologies centered around the internet of things (IOT). The center is used to tell stories....with displays from electric cars and clean transportation, smart farming technologies, to virtual patient care and emergency services.  The Technology Center captures all the possibilities a growing global network can provide to our urban future and development.

Our last stop was on Capitol Hill where we saw the inner workings of a member's office, thanks to Chief of Staff Mike Goodman '01 from Representative Ron Kind's office in the Longworth House office building.  We also had a tour of the Capitol building to see the unique art and architecture inside the building. We saw the old Supreme Court chamber in which they made where the infamous Dred Scott decision. We viewed the main rotunda under the dome, which was covered in paintings and statues with significance to American history. Finally, we visited the old House of Representatives where we stood on the locations of the desks of Abraham Lincoln and John Quincy Adams.

Spring Break 2017

The Technology and Human Rights spring break tour provided the opportunity to meet leaders and policymakers in technology and human rights. The third annual tour took the group to Baltimore and Washington D.C. and was a great opportunity to build connections with alumni and other students.

The students participating in the tour were:

Deqa Aden ’18 | Nathan Calvin ’18 | Nicole Carver ’19 | Michael Cummings ’18 | Mark Duncan ’19 | Angela Frimpong ’20 | Anesu Gamanya ’17 | Lily Hamilton ’19 | Grisel Hernandez ’17 | Esther Hwang ’19 | Sophie Macklem-Johnson ’18 | Erina Matsui ’18 | Luc Moisan ’17 | Linda Oyolu ’17 | Hanh Pham ’17 | Nora Sahel ’17 | Jarren Santos ’17 | Sarojini Sapru ’17 | Nomalanga Shields ’18 | Xiaoxuan Yang ’17

Grinnell College Visit, The United States Institute for Peace, Washington DC

Faculty trip leaders were Sarah Purcell ’92, director of the Rosenfield Program; and Barb Trish, professor of political science.

The staff trip leaders were Maureen Fitzgibbon, assistant director of employer relations & employment counseling, and Laureen Van Wyk, Rosenfield Program coordinator.

Our first stop in Baltimore was at the Baltimore Sun. Adam Marton, senior editor of interactive design, gathered a group of journalists and data experts to illustrate how they produced an interactive feature on the death of Freddie Gray and the civil unrest in Baltimore. The data team sorted through police reports, eyewitness interviews, and reams of government data to provide a tool for understanding to the Baltimore community. The team also shared other interesting data journalism projects

Over lunch at Phillips Seafood Restaurant, Tamar Lasky ’76 shared with the group about the work of MIE Resources. Lasky's Baltimore company, founded in 2010, consults on epidemiology, and she discussed human rights and vital medications.

Ed Senn ’79, who is a longtime friend of the Rosenfield Program, hosted us at Verizon for presentations and a lovely lunch. The technology space, which opened October 2016, offers visitors interactive demonstrations of various "Internet of Things" technologies such as

  • Cameras and sensors that provide emergency services with a whole-field view of an emergency situation
  • Health sensors to send urgent warnings to medical professionals
  • A mock tractor and drone to demonstrate the use of agricultural sensors
  • A connected, electric, low-speed car to reduce parking congestion on college campuses
  • Supply chain telematics for keeping track of the status of packages

At the Federal Trade Commission, Russ Damtoft '76 explained that the mission of the FTC is to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices and to enhance public understanding of the competitive process.

The restaurant Circa Foggy Bottom was the happening place when our tour group met with Abel Lomax '05 and others to discuss careers in foreign service. The evening was topped off with homemade gelato at Abel's home. Many students were really interested in learning about careers in foreign service.

At the Urban Institute, we were hosted by David Leitson ’16 who assembled a panel of alumni from the Urban Institute and the Center for Global Development to talk with the students about research and the non-profit sector. Urban's mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Kate Goddard Rohrbaugh ’91 hosted us at the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps is a 2-year program in which American citizens volunteer in developing countries and work with local governments, schools, NPOs, NGOs, and entrepreneurs for social and economic development. The Peace Corps goal is helping people of other countries better understand Americans and helping Americans better understand people of other countries.

Ann Louise-Colgan hosted our group at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The Institute promotes peace in high conflict zones around the globe through research and collaborative processes.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis. Rand began as a defense research initiative after World War II, but now they tackle a huge array of social issues. We heard about several projects ranging from policing to data rights. Rich Moore, senior engineer at Rand Corporation, hosted a discussion with Rebecca Balebako, John Davis, Rich Moore, and Stephanie Rennane.

The group also visited Internews, Newseum, and the National Geographic Museum.

Technology and Human Rights Tour

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.

Grinnell College Rosenfield Center 2016 spring break tour participants

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 Senn. 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 that 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 of the 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

Video screen shot

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 College Rosenfield Center 2015 spring break tour participants at the Stern School of Business

To 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 College Rosenfield Center 2015 spring break tour participants outside The New York Times offices

The 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.

Rosenfield Center 2015 spring break tour students are engaged as they listen to Roberta Smith ’69, art critic at The New York Times

Day 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.