Claire Pollard

Claire's Journey


Claire Pollard


Religious Studies & Political Science


Champaign, Illinois


Hours by Car

I was born and raised in Champaign, Illinois - a Big 10 college town four and a half hours from Grinnell.

Grinnell was the last school I toured, in November of my senior year. I immediately fell in love with the people, location, and feel of the campus. I switched from Regular Decision to Early Decision and haven’t looked back!

Volunteering with Animals

One of the first clubs I joined at Grinnell was SAVE (Student Animal Volunteer Ensemble). We went on a bi-weekly basis to help out with socializing cats and walking dogs at the Jasper County Animal Rescue League (JCARL). The staff and animals were always so sweet and it never felt like we had enough time there! I am a big animal lover and this club definitely helped me connect with likeminded people and adorable animals at Grinnell.

Dog jumping at camera
Picture of girl with cat
Students hand holding puppies face
Dog on girls lap yawning.
Cats in kennel

As much as I loved volunteering at JCARL, it was so hard not to sneak a cat back into my dorm!

Campaign Season

In high school, I had always been interested in politics, but hadn't gotten the chance to get an inside look. Luckily for me, Iowa is the hub for primary politics in the year before the general election! During primary season, I was able to work for former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julián Castro.

Iowa Caucus

Caucus time in Iowa, like the primaries, is super special. During this time I went on an Iowa Caucus Economy study tour, sponsored by the Rosenfield Center at Grinnell. I got to learn even more about Des Moines. I also reconnected with Castro at a special event he held at Grinnell in November.

Whats haunting you banner
Picture between two pillars
Group photo near stairs
Photo of library
Julian offering hug to student
Julian receiving hug from student

I got to see Ray Gun, a Des Moines classic, on this trip. You should check it out if you get a chance!

Finally, I got to caucus! It is such a cool experience that you really can't recreate anywhere else.

Student picture in front of bleachers
Two glass doors with taped paper to them
Picture of gymnasium floor with students on it
Students holding papers together
Student computer on edge of desk

If you look closely at the first picture, you can see that I am still repping Julián Castro!

Grinnell Summer

After being sent home in March 2020, I was itching to get back to campus. So, a friend and I secured remote internships - mine was working part-time with the City of Champaign's legal department, and part-time with the United Way of Champaign County - and pursued them with funding from Grinnell. We were then able to find a sublease off-campus and move in!

It was a weird time, but I was grateful to the town of Grinnell and my housemates for helping me make the most of it.

Picture of field of purple and yellow flowers
Grinnell college building underpass
Heart messages written on wall
Hand being held out to dog
Photo of porch with computer in bottom left
2 girls with a puppy biting
Picture held up by hot sticker
Picture looking outside from inside building
Picture of wall of stickers

Scenes from quarantine

The Sound of Summer 2020

Semester in Copenhagen

I originally hadn't planned to go abroad, but after doing online school for a semester and a half I was more than ready to be in-person in whatever capacity I could. This Copenhagen-based program, DIS, was one of the only programs offering an abroad experience in spring 2021. I decided to take a chance and try out Denmark!


While I loved getting to learn abroad, I had a little bit more fun getting to explore the city outside of structured class time. Here are some of my favorite moments!

flying swing carousel
Photo near water front
Selfie near docked boats
Selfie near canal
Photo of canal
Photo of building
Group photo in building in front of window
group photo in park
Photo looking into gift shop
Photo of group at dinner table
Photo of marching soldiers in front of building
Photo of lake with building silhouette

Næste Stop: Goodbye Copenhagen!


Alumni Externship

In the spring of my first year, Grinnell's Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) helped me secure an externship, which is an opportunity to shadow the work and home life of a Grinnell alum over the course of a week - typically during spring break.

I was matched with alumna Debbie Gottschalk, who works for the state of Delaware as a nonpartisan legislative attorney. This was my first time seeing government law, and I could not believe how cool it was!

Girl with blond hair typing on laptop
Photo of golden retriever
Blond girl to the right of presentation pedestal with other woman to the left
Girl in front of legislative hall
spectator view of legislative hall

My favorite part of the office was Tucker, the golden retriever

Constitutional Law

In the first semester of my sophomore year I was able to take Constitutional Law & Politics in the political science department. This is one of our more “pre-law” focused classes. One of my favorite moments was when we argued a pending Supreme Court case in front of a mock-Supreme Court in the final weeks of class!

Portrait of con law class
Picture of Con Law class group
Picture of Con Law class group 2
Portrait of con law class 2

Portraits and outtakes with my Con Law class

Summer in Chicago Law

Finally, this past summer I was able to work for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at their Chicago District Office. There, I was able to connect with another Grinnellian, Ethan Cohen, who works as a supervising trial attorney. Chicago was the largest city I’ve lived in so far, and it felt like a preview into post-grad life!

Room plaque number
Girl standing in front of building window
Silver bean
Girl taking photo in front of water front
Two girls taking photo while wearing matching yellow dress with flowers on it
Photo of city buildings
Photo of overview of city

Summer in the city - preparing for postgrad life!

Senior Year and Beyond

Hero Image with Text

I could not be more excited to be back on campus after such a long time away. I can’t wait to make the most of my senior year!

Looking forward, I am hoping to take time off in between Grinnell and law school, hopefully pursing meaningful work in the government or public sector. I am so grateful for the experiences I have had at Grinnell and I just cannot wait to see what comes next!

Ask an intern anything!

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