Mapping a Meaningful Career Pathway

The commitment to help students align their values, strengths, and interests is what drive staff in Careers, Life, and Service (CLS).

November 22, 2021

When Max Hill ’20 looks back at his four years in Grinnell, the relationships he developed at the College particularly stand out. He met his two best friends, bonded with his football teammates, and engaged with faculty members in interesting ways. But when it came to planning for his future, he treasures the relationships made with Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) staff.

Keira Wilson [assistant director of service & social innovation] is one of my mentors at Grinnell,” Hill says. “She is energetic and kind. Going back to my first year, she was always encouraging me to branch out and think about what service and social innovation look like.”

Hill, who grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley, is a first-generation graduate. He originally thought he was destined for community college. Grinnell’s offer of admission changed his plans, and scholarships along with working on weekends helped him mitigate the amount of student debt he incurred.

A political science major (with a concentration in statistics), Hill envisioned becoming a lawyer and then a politician. Thus, he joined the CLS’s Law Career Community. Each of the College’s career communities provides specialized advising and programming for students to focus and connect their values, strengths, and interests to particular post-graduate goals and ambitions. Currently seven career communities are offered, ranging across industries and professions.

“I later joined the Business and Finance Career Community because financial literacy and stability were very important to me coming from a low-income background,” Hill says. “I was trying to get my feet wet in those skills. My first internship, which was with the Iowa Center for Economic Success, dove into microfinance and social enterprise. We were providing financing for minority small business owners. It also taught me how to read financial statements, balance sheets, and credit reports. It was real experience that put me on a trajectory of helping people while understanding the dynamics of financial products.”

Hill also interned with Hubbell Realty and later was a CLS service and social innovation intern, which further shaped his career interests in fiscal policy, workforce development, and affordable housing. His internship, like many others at Grinnell, was supported through gifts made to the CLS.

“Going to Grinnell really drew out my intrinsic motivation and helped me think and be intentional about what I do with my time,” Hill says. “The CLS provided me with a lot of assistance. The staff wants you to succeed. They helped me identify and follow my dream.”

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