Lex Baumann

LEX'S JOURNEY

NAME

Lex Baumann

MAJOR

Political Science & Policy Studies

HOMETOWN

St. Charles, IL

3.5

Hours By Car

Externship in Miami

During my first year at Grinnell, I applied to the  Externship Program , which invites first-and second-year students to complete a job shadow and home stay with an alumnus over a portion of spring break.

My externship was in Miami, Florida, and I shadowed a bankruptcy lawyer named Robert Meyer. It was my first time flying on a plane without my parents, and I remember the stress of getting lost in O’Hare Airport less than 30 minutes before my flight was supposed to start boarding!

Despite the debacle at the airport, I successfully made it to Florida. While there, I learned a lot about the practice of law, including the process of creating a deposition and the way bankruptcy law operates in a courtroom. During my free time, I also visited several tourist spots, ate delicious Colombian food, and attended a basketball game at the University of Miami!

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Cultivating Community

After my first year at Grinnell, I applied to become a Community Advisor (CA), a live-in position that involves creating a sense of community and belonging within specific residence halls. I decided to apply because I loved all the events my community advisor planned for her residents my first year, and I wanted to be able to develop my own ways of facilitating community.

I enjoyed getting to know residents from different class years on my hall, and I also loved working with peer colleagues in my cluster. Right before the pandemic, we were able to host a Valentine’s Day event, where we bought food and materials for residents to make Valentine’s Day cards. Along with that, we created some really great bulletin boards each semester.

Group photo poses
Hand Written Post Card

(L): Community Advisors strike a pose during a talent show at winter training. (R): A thank-you card from my residents on Loose 3rd.

Changing My Major

At Grinnell, students are not required to declare a major until the end of their second year, which means that you have plenty of time and space to explore different academic interests. Even once you settle on a path, the flexibility of the individually-advised curriculum allows you to change your major or add a concentration as your interests shift.

 

August 2018

I went into Grinnell planning to be an economics major. I enjoyed my economics classes in high school, and I thought that pursuing a degree in economics made the most sense for me.

September 2019

I declared economics as my major at the beginning of my second year.

January 2020 

While taking microeconomics, I realized that a straight-track economics major was not the path for me. Through taking classes outside the department, I discovered that I was more interested in economic policy rather than the study of economics itself.

March 2020 

Thankfully, my advisors were very supportive and helped me to restructure my four year plan in a way where I could major in political science and complete a concentration in policy studies.

June 2020 

During the summer of 2020, I completed a  Mentored Advanced Project (MAP)  with Professor Albert Lacson in the history department. We looked at how Native American identity was shaped by the American government by analyzing newspapers in Idaho. Through this project, I was able to see how the study of history can be connected to politics and policies at a given time period.

Present

As I prepare to apply to law school, I have come to realize that the ability to understand how different disciplines interact is something very special and distinctive about a liberal arts education.

Getting Into Politics

A Front Seat to the Presidential Primaries

During the 2020 presidential campaign season, the college hosted multiple CNN town halls, where now-President Joe Biden and Tom Steyer spoke. Since it was televised, it was very interesting to hear the camera men explain what we were and weren’t allowed to do. Other candidates came brought to campus too, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane, and Andrew Yang. It was a surreal experience to have the opportunity to listen to the presidential candidates answer student questions and explain their platform!

Group photo with older man in middle holding girls shoulders
Two girls in photo with American flag behind them
Man and Women in front of Andrew Yang signs

During primary season, it's almost impossible NOT to meet presidential candidates giving talks on campus or stopping for coffee in downtown Grinnell.

Iowa Caucus

The Iowa Caucuses rank among my favorite memories of Grinnell. The day of the caucus was crazy: there were so many Bernie Sanders supporters that they had to move another group across the room to make room for all of the students! Although Bernie Sanders was ultimately not chosen to be the Democratic nominee, it was amazing to be able to see students’ voices in action.

Student Educational Policy Committee 

Three students in video chat on phone
A COVID-era virtual selfie with my fellow SEPC representatives.

Another way I was able to use my voice at Grinnell was through the Student Education Policy Committee. As a member of both the Political Science and Policy Studies policy committees, I work with faculty to plan events, conduct faculty reviews, and interview potential candidates to be hired within the department. It’s an amazing experience to get to work with the staff to create community within the major

#IowaSummer

After COVID-19 threw a wrench in my study abroad plans, I decided to spend the summer before my senior year living in the town of Grinnell with a bunch of my friends.

Spending the summer in Grinnell is so much fun, because you really have the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and get immersed in the town without the stress of classes. My friends and I have gone on runs, spent time at the pool, camped out at nearby Rock Creek State Park, and enjoyed the Iowa sunsets, to name just a few activities!

Group photo with road on the left
Picture of lake
Group selfie on snapchat
Girl posing for picture in front of grill

Good friends, food, lake views, and a break from schoolwork make for a delightful change of pace.

Looking to the Future

Hero Image with Text

I am currently in the process of starting applications for law school. At some point after Grinnell, I would also like to earn a master’s degree in public policy.

Above all, my Grinnell education has prepared me to think critically and boldly, and encouraged me to not only discover, but also chase dreams that I never thought possible.

Smizing into senior year!

Ask an intern anything!

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