What Happened to Summer? 15 Grinnell College Student Summer 2023 Experiences

Check out how 15 Grinnell College students chose to spend their summer, and if you’re thinking ahead to summer 2024, connect with your CLS adviser by scheduling a meeting on Handshake. You can also dive into some of our resources to learn more about internships, volunteering, health professions summer enrichment opportunities, summer research in science, and more!

Photo of the Colorado Mesa Men's Basketball Team with text "Maximillian DeGeorge '25"

Who: Maximillian DeGeorge
What: Colorado Mesa Men’s Basketball
Where: Traveling through Europe including Paris, Berlin & Prague

“I helped to prepare the team for their tour overseas including social media management, video editing, film creation, advanced analytics, and individual coaching. I’ve built connections in coaching and learned with hands on experience some of the essentials of coaching while getting to experience different cultures around the world. Thank you to Grinnell for helping me get this opportunity!”

Maximillian DeGeorge ’25

Hayley Carson '25, holding colorful children's books

Who: Hayley Carson (She/They)
What: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intern at Drag Story Hour
Where: My Chapter Location Oversees: D.C Metro, Maryland, and Virginia

“I’m working on creating inclusive curriculum for children’s community education purposes primarily in libraries and other public spaces. Drag Story Hour is a non-profit organization with each of its chapters being independently run, meaning their resources are divided and some follow a volunteer-based structure due to less funding sources, My chapter is volunteer-run and only our storytellers (drag performers) who facilitate lessons are paid (where payment is by the venue). These circumstances create barriers behind the scenes as no one is being paid to research children’s books and various activities covering various topics like cultural backgrounds, familial structures, gender identity, and sexuality. Some storytellers may know of resources for a few of these areas but not all of them. Further, since there was not a curriculum or book list to pull from and personalize, it created barriers in building connections with libraries and prevented the ability for multi-week events (ex. an AAPI month series). My job has been to interview our various storytellers and research and read children’s books to start to repair this missing piece behind-the-scenes. My curriculum handbook is 50+ pages and includes pairable crafts and activity pages, movement activities, and information to create handouts (ex. FAQs for parents, resources for learning more, etc.). I tailored the curriculum to the needs of the chapter as various storytellers requested help in specific areas like more AAPI materials and books pertaining to themes of navigating expectations of intersecting identities.”

Hayley Carson ’25

Photo of Parikshit Roychowdhury '26 in front of heavy equipment and rocks from mining

Who: Parikshit Roychowdhury (he/him)
What: Summer internship with a company called Krasny
Where: Asansol, India and New Delhi, India.

“I’m doing research on the impact of large-scale coal mining in local communities, with a focus on village displacement and the power relationships between mining contractors and villagers.”

Parikshit Roychowdhury ’26

Photo of Destany Best '25 with peers sitting on a step outside a building surrounded by plants and a sign with information on the trees planted in the SIT program

Who: Destany Best (she/her)
What: I participate in SIT Study Abroad Indonesia: Biodiversity and Conservation
Where: FNPF Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia

“I am depicted alongside my peers, captured in a photograph wherein we are posing with a sign that commemorates our collective effort in planting 429 trees. Prior to this, our cohort had already planted 323 trees, and subsequently, the individuals featured in the image voluntarily planted an additional 106 trees during our leisure time, culminating in our overall achievement. Furthermore, I am also adorned with a hat crafted entirely from wild ferns.”

Destany Best ’25

Photo of Jake Hull '24 with Dr. Joe Whitman at Grinnell Regional Medical Center

Who: Jake Hull
What: Shadowing Dr. Joe Whitman, who is an ENT (Ears, Nose, and Throat) physician at the Grinnell Regional Medical Center
Where: Grinnell, Iowa

“I had the pleasure of shadowing an absolutely fantastic ENT (Ears, Nose, and Throat) physician, Dr. Joe Whitman, at the Grinnell Regional Medical Center. Throughout the two weeks, I observed some fascinating things, such as laryngoscopies, eardrum perforations, nasal polyps, and enlarged turbinates. Not only does Dr. Whitman engage in clinical practice, but he also operates in surgical procedures such as tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies, balloon sinuplasties, and many more. Shadowing Dr. Whitman has been an amazing experience, and watching him interact with his patients has only flourished my aspirations of becoming a physician.”

Jake Hull ’24

Photo of Nina Takashima '24 with colleagues, holding a certificate

Who: Nina Takashima (she/her)
What: CNA training with LA Skills Academy & Cerritos Vista Healthcare Center
Volunteer organization: American Red Cross
Where: Los Angeles, CA

“This summer, I took part in a 160-hour CNA training program through LA Skills Academy where I learned about the basics of nursing and gained clinical experience working as a nursing assistant at Cerritos Vista Healthcare Center. As a pre-med student in Grinnell, working as a CNA is a great opportunity to gain hands-on clinical experience in a long-term care facility. With the hope to expose myself to various healthcare settings and to learn how to effectively support and communicate/engage with individuals who are under emotional, physical, and psychological stress, I also began training/working as a Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteer. Both opportunities were made possible by the support of Grinnell’s CLS department and by the suggestions from my advisors. Thank you!”

Nina Takashima ’24

Photo of Kelly Banfield '24 outside with a camera on a tripod

Who: Kelly Banfield (he/him)
What: Hybrid Photography MAP & Community Theatre
Where: Bucksbaum Center for the Arts & Grinnell Area Arts Council

“For our MAP we have been learning to shoot, develop, scan, and edit medium format film on a variety of different cameras. We also spend time in the Print Study Room discussing some of the college’s photography collection. Currently we are working on our final projects which explore a topic of our choosing. In my spare time, I was in a community theatre production of one acts. I wanted to have an artful summer and so far, it has been!!”

Kelly Banfield ’24

Photo of Mo Igbaria '24 inside an urgent care clinic with medical equipment and signage

Who: Mo Igbaria (he/him)
What: I’ve been spending the summer as a technician at an urgent care
Where: Southern California

“My job is to triage patients. I take their vitals, height, weight, history, and chief complaint, and I make sure the more critical patients are seen first. I got my EMT certification last summer, so I wanted to put it to use in a clinical setting where I can help provide care for medically underserved communities locally. This job is also helping me professionally, as it is helping me gain clinical experience for medical school applications.”

Mo Igbaria ’24

Photo of Erin Hernandez '24 outside in Ithaca, New York

Who: Erin Hernandez (she/her)
What: Cornell University Tschida Lab
Where: Ithaca, New York

“Over the summer I worked in Dr. Tschida’s Lab that focuses on behavioral psychology and the neurodevelopment of communication signaling in the brain. This internship has provided me with a unique experience to work for a female owned independent lab at Cornell University. This summer, I learned more than just lab procedures and animal behavior protocols. Don’t get me wrong: it was excellent. But, more importantly, I’ve learned about the economic, social, and political elements that make up the scientific narrative over the last few weeks. In a nutshell, I learned the value of authenticity, truth, and not only carrying out science morally but also representing the results through the same lens. Professionally, I have learned extensively about the rich, new discoveries of the “black box” we call our brain and how the world of academia and publications build, analyze, and write the future of medicine and scientific discovery.”

Erin Hernandez ’24

Nick El Hajj interviewing Tom Cruise on the red carpet.

Who: Nick El Hajj (from Beirut, Lebanon)
What: The Associated Press
Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

“This summer, Nick has found himself undertaking an internship with the Associated Press amid the high-rise buildings and desert surroundings of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. He’s working as a reporter, covering everything from feature pieces to breaking news. Nick chose this unique opportunity to broaden his journalistic experience, engage with a diverse range of stories, and immerse himself in a city that makes for a compelling backdrop for his professional growth.”

Nick El Hajj ’24

Photo of Marisa Goffman '24 performing

Who: Marisa Goffman (she/her)
What: River City Rhythm Drum and Bugle Corps
Where: We are based in Anoka, MN but we travel around the upper Midwest doing shows and competitions throughout the summer

“This summer I am playing the marimba for River City Rhythm Drum and Bugle Corps (RCR)! All summer we practice and perform our show “Falling” in areas around the Midwest. I chose to join drum Corps to continue rediscovering my love, obsession, and passion for the marching arts. Drum Corps is an experience unlike any other and it has pushed me to grow immensely both as a musician and as a person. Heading into the last three weeks of the program I can’t wait to see where we go as an ensemble and to soak up lessons I can bring back to Grinnell this school year.”

Marisa Goffman ’24

Photo of Ellen Hengesbach '24 leaning against a stone bridge

Who: Ellen Hengesbach (she/her)
What: U.S. PIRG
Where: Virtual

“This summer, I am working as a policy intern for U.S. PIRG’s “Don’t Sell My Data” campaign, which works to educate consumers and lawmakers about the need to rein in the harvesting and abuse of consumer data by companies looking to monetize personal information in ways that cause harm. My work has consisted of reading and analyzing current state privacy legislation, writing a consumer guide on a new data privacy law, and keeping track of ongoing federal agency rulemaking. As a political science major, I have appreciated the opportunity to do a deep dive into an issue area that is completely new to me. Through this internship, I have also strengthened my research skills and learned more about political advocacy work at the state level.”

Ellen Hengesbach ’24

Photo of Indy Joseph '25 in the natural disaster exclusion zone

Who: Princess ‘Indy’ Joseph
What: Montserrat National Trust
Where: Montserrat, British West Indies

“This summer, I completed an internship with the Montserrat National Trust. My internship took me all over the island of Montserrat: I was in the office creating new garden signage; outside in the Botanical Garden refining my plant photography skills; hiking through the forest as National Trust employees charted out the path for a new nature trail; and trekking through hazy air of the world’s only natural disaster exclusion zone on the ash-covered new land that was formed as the result of a series of volcanic eruptions from 1995 – 2010 (that’s me in pink in the picture!). I chose this summer internship experience because it promised to fulfill many of my interests, but chiefly those of becoming more familiar with West Indian native species and observing first-hand how conservation looks for the Caribbean context. My cups have all been filled and have overflown with the depth and richness of the local soil and knowledge that this internship has brought me, and I am ever so grateful for being able to have the experience!”

Indy Joseph ’25

Photo of Emmy Potter '24 in front of Michelle Obama's painted portrait in Washington D.C.

Who: Emmy Potter ’24 (she/her)
What: White House Internship Program/Domestic Policy Council/Executive Office of the President
Where: Washington D.C.

“I worked at the White House on the Domestic Policy Council. I specifically worked on health and public health issues, primarily nutrition. I learned so much both about the executive branch and policy as well as how to organize my time, plan events, and many other skills. I had the opportunity to sit in and lead meetings with both agency officials and stakeholders on a wide variety of issues. I also was able to spend the 4th of July at the White House and attend other presidential events. I have grown so much, and it was truly a summer that I will never forget.”

Emmy Potter ’24

Photo of Natalia Ramírez Jimenez '24 in an office setting

Who: Natalia Ramírez Jimenez ’24
What: Software Engineer internship with Genesys Cloud
Where: Virtual

“I had a remote internship this summer with Genesys Cloud as a Software Engineer. I worked closely with the principal engineer architect of Genesys Voice to design and create a new debugger service for the team. Moreover, I got to work with both backend and frontend tools. I truly enjoyed my experience virtually as I was sent a last generation Mac to start and hold various servers at the same time. Additionally, I learned professional coding practices used in high-end company products. Finally, the job had amazing benefits like great healthcare options, a retirement plan, transportation sponsor, free paid Fridays in August, and I was sent various company products throughout the internship. Finally, I got a return offer to work with them next spring semester and summer.”

Natalia Ramírez Jimenez ’24

Thank you to our students for sharing the photos and information on their summer experiences!

By Dani Perkins
Dani Perkins Director, Exploratory Career Community