A close-knit, multi-generational alumni network isn’t typically something students look for when searching for the perfect college experience. But for Sara Lowenburg ’13, the opportunity to connect with a network of Grinnellians has been a hallmark of her education and post-graduate success.
The daughter of Grinnellian Jane Mauldin ’76, Lowenburg was impressed by the level of professor-student interactions during her visit as a prospective student. “I remember sitting in on Professor Purcell’s Civil War class, and it was awesome,” Lowenburg says. “The professor was engaging and the students were really into it and had a lot of thoughtful contributions. I could tell that the professors had relationships with students and I didn’t see that everywhere I visited.”
This initial experience with Sarah Purcell ’92, professor of history and a Grinnell alumna, later led Lowenburg to a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) on how the Civil War has been commemorated. This project enabled her to work closely with Purcell and a small group of other students, doing highly in-depth, critical research. The MAP culminated in the students curating an exhibit about Civil War era Grinnell.
“I loved the experience of doing a MAP, because it allowed me to hone my research skills and because it was a very intensive project. It was great to have a lot of control over what was exhibited and to see what the school was like during a very different era,” Lowenburg says.
After graduating, Lowenburg participated in an internship with the Museum at Eldridge Street in New York City, an opportunity offered by Grinnell alumna Hanna Griff-Sleven ’81. “She was genuinely interested in what I thought, and I could not have asked for a better colleague. I secured the internship for the summer after I graduated from Grinnell, and by September 1st, I had a full-time job,” Lowenburg says. She currently works for the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
With a Grinnellian mother, a rewarding MAP experience with a Grinnellian professor, and an internship with a Grinnell alumna, Lowenburg has been able to experience the intense connection many past and present Grinnellians feel toward each other.
“The network of Grinnell is pretty special. I feel very connected and very well taken care of.”