Ben Brim

Ben’s Journey


Ben Brim


Biological Chemistry


Wildwood, Missouri

I’m from a medium-sized high school (1,800 students) in a suburban area. I really liked that size but wanted a change of pace from the suburban landscape, so I decided I wanted to go to a small rural college.

What made me choose Grinnell, however, was ultimately the community. When I visited, I saw how everyone collaborated together and worked toward the same goals, while also having their own interests, which I really appreciated. With Grinnell’s research and off-campus study opportunities, stellar academics, amazing financial aid, and the opportunity to swim, I decided that Grinnell was the obvious winner for me!

First-Year Community

Coming into college as a first-year student, I wanted to meet a lot of people like myself, continue swimming, do research, and do some kind of off-campus study. So, I did something that was more outside the box for me, and I joined the club water polo team on a whim. My first-year roommate, who I’m still best friends with, was a team member and convinced me to come. I’m very happy I did; it was really new and exciting, and now I’m the captain of the water polo team!

I’m happy to report that throughout my four years, I’ve made a really great group of friends from my classes, my sports teams, and the clubs and activities I do on campus. We’re all like brothers, and we’re so close because we see each other very often. I’d say it’s a very goofy and adventurous group of friends. We once drove all the way to the Grand Canyon from Grinnell and went to Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

Swim and dive team members dressed up in funny costumes ranging from pirates to cowboys to spiderman to reindeer all pose in front of the selfie in a dining hall room. I have shades and a bandana on as I take the photo.
Swim and dive team smiling at picture relaxed on a couch
Me and my four friends are all wearing shades with backpacking gear in an opening in the Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs, CO.
Me and my twelve friends gather together for pictures. We have a beautiful sunset behind us.


I have been swimming competitively since I was eight years old, and I knew that I wanted to continue with it here at Grinnell.

One memorable experience was when the swim and dive team took a training trip down to Florida during my first and fourth years (when Covid wasn’t an issue). It was a really great experience getting some sun in January and training hard but also having fun. I also learned a lot about other people’s sleeping habits!



Coming into Grinnell, I wanted to be a math and chemistry double major, but I eventually realized that wasn’t for me. Once I took higher-level math classes, I realized that it wasn't as much like algebra as I had hoped.

However, I still liked my chemistry classes (“Nervous System and Crayfish” being one of them), so I thought that I would keep that focus and become a biological chemistry major!

Study Abroad

I always knew that I wanted to study abroad, and I knew that college would be the best time for me to travel and experience different cultures. When it came down to choosing a program, my love of science guided me to the DIS Copenhagen program in Denmark.

Here are some of the songs I listened to when I was studying abroad:

This playlist includes all of the songs that I listened to during my time studying abroad! I enjoyed listening to these songs as I explored the cities.


After my semester abroad, I wanted to do more scientific research in genomics. So during the summer after my third year at Grinnell, I had a research experience at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut. Our research was focused on providing therapeutic benefits for patients and improving drugs to fight cancer.

I researched triple-negative breast cancer, how it became resistant to chemotherapy, and how we can stop that resistance. Something I really took away from this experience was that I wanted to pursue a career in scientific research, especially since it can lead to therapeutic benefits!


Hopes and Plans for the Future

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For my last year at Grinnell, I want to have fun and take advantage of everything Grinnell has to offer. For example, I'm really treasuring living with my closest friends.

After graduating? I’d like to travel more. After studying abroad in Denmark, I realized I want to do more of that, especially with friends. When my swimming career ends, I'd like to get into competitive triathlons. And who knows, maybe I can combine these interests and do competitive triathlons all over the country or world!

Job-wise, I have a CRTA post-baccalaureate fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland for two years. After that: grad school!

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