Grinnell Careers in Education Professions emerged out of a generous gift by Charles “Chuck” Ashby Lewis and his wife and lifetime Grinnell Trustee Penny Sebring ’64. A former teacher herself, Penny Sebring has made supporting education her life’s work and passion, a passion similarly embraced by Lewis. Sebring is one of the founding co-directors of the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research and has been a leader in urban education research. In the last few years, through the Lewis-Sebring Foundation, the couple has funded the Careers in Education Professions programs at Amherst College, where Lewis is an alumnus and lifetime Trustee; at the University of Chicago, where Lewis is also a trustee; and here at Grinnell College. By collaborating together and through the use of innovative programming, all three programs hope to realize Lewis and Sebring’s vision of increasing the number of bright, driven students 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 Members

  • Access to a community of student members passionate about education through weekly discussions, workshops, and social events
  • Exclusive access to nationally renowned speakers, such as Jonathon Kozol, and local leaders in education, such as Ryan Wise, the Iowa Director of Education
  • Exclusive funding for internship and externship opportunities, as well as preference for education-related internships
  • Domestic and international treks to examine different systems of education, as well as complete or partial funding for these trips
  • Extended networking opportunities with Grinnell alumni and friends of the college
  • Dedicated career counseling in the field such as pre-professional skills workshops
  • Local service opportunities in the Grinnell community
  • Priority for enrolling in education courses and education faculty-sponsored MAP

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