Welcome, Grinnell Class of 2017!

July 30, 2013

Every new cohort of Grinnellians brings its unique perspectives, ideals, and experience to campus. Our values and our commitment to a great education are rock-solid, but our community evolves with each entering class.

Meet a few representatives from the Class of 2017, who are already beginning to make their own mark:

World Traveler Ayesha Mirzakhail from Chicago, IL

…was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, relocated to Pakistan, then immigrated to Chicago. Other travels include trips to Denmark, Germany, and Turkey.  “One of my favorite hobbies is traveling,” she says, and it doesn’t hurt her studies. “Getting an education has been [my family’s] top priority,” she says. “Achieving that is something I owe my family and myself. I am my only competition. My goal was never to become valedictorian; that was a great bonus! As an Afghan female, I want to set an example for other girls who need a little push.”

Competitive Rock Climber Robin Crotteau from Boise, ID

…comes by her hobby naturally. “Before I was born, my mom used to climb,” she says. “Once I was old enough, she took me to a local climbing gym. Forty-foot walls can be fairly daunting, but I liked it enough to join a local climbing team.” Her favorite climb is Tennis Shoe Problem #3, outside of McCall, Idaho.

Musician Carolyn Peckham from Austin, TX

… plays several instruments, including French horn, mellophone, and steel drum.  The steel drum band, she says, “was a lot of fun. We got to do gigs around Austin and we also traveled to Chicago to perform at the Midwest Clinic.”  She’s played at Carnegie Hall with her high school band.  “Playing in New York was an amazing experience. It was surreal to listen to my band perform in one of the most famous concert halls,” she says.

Track and Cross Country Runner Jonathan Braun from Nutley, NJ

… is a third-generation Grinnellian. His father, Kenneth Braun ’77, joined Habitat for Humanity in 1986 and was assigned to Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), where he met Jonathan’s mother. He said his mother gave him “the perspective of someone who emigrated to America from a less privileged country,” but his grandfather, father, and uncle influenced his college selection. “I chose Grinnell because of its academic excellence and diverse community, and because I look up to those in my family who are Grinnell alumni.”


By the numbers:

Of the 430 students in the entering class*:

  • 27% are U.S. students of color
  • 39% participated in community service
  • 63% Graduated in the top 10 percent of their secondary school class
  • 2/3 graduated from public high school
  • 40% were varsity athletes
  • 45% are musicians or artists
  • 19% are first generation college students
  • 7% are National Merit finalists or semifinalists
  • 15% participated in student government
  • 15% worked on high school publications
  • 12% were active in speech, debate, or forensics

Fifteen percent of the incoming class are international students representing 26 countries. The gallery of flags above Spencer Grill will be expanding with flags from Burma, Zimbabwe, and Kazakhstan.


*As of July 31, 2013

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