Greta Schmidt

Ashley Baek, Staff Writer

Graphic by Live Hage.

Greta Schmidt `23 initially did not consider applying to Grinnell. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, she said she heard about Grinnell after her mom attended a financial aid session at their local library. Two weeks later, she attended a junior day about Grinnell College, and afterwards she immediately said, “Yes.” Before the visit, Schmidt said she got inspiration from a Grinnell alum, Claire Tseng `14, who worked as a yoga teacher in Madison and whom she talked to when considering applying to Grinnell. “She’s the reason I’m here. She always seemed so happy, and she really loved her experience at Grinnell,” Schmidt said.

During her time at the College, Schmidt has been involved in a variety of activities. Passersby may have seen her throwing a frisbee around on Mac Field — she is part of the women’s frisbee team, the Grinnelleanor Roosevelts or the Svelts. She said she has been a part of the frisbee world since her first year, but she really fell in love with the sport her second year during her seven weeks on campus in the 2021-22 school year.

“It was so much fun to be with other people and be outside together,” she said. Last year, Schmidt was the Student Athlete Mentor (SAM) for the frisbee team. Now, she is one of the captains. 

One of Schmidt’s favorite things to do with the team are mixed mini frisbee tournaments  — mixed minis — she said. The frisbee team is split between a women’s team and an open team, and Schdmit said she loves mixing the teams to scrimmage together. 

On top of frisbee, Schmidt finished a triathlon. Last year, Schmidt took a class taught by Erin Hurley in which the students did an entire triathlon at the end of the spring semester. They swam in the pool, biked to Rock Creek State Park and ran.

On the academic side of things, Schmidt is a biochemistry major with a dual concentration in neuroscience and science, medicine and society (SMS). She said that SMS-150, the introductory course for the SMS concentration, caused her to reflect and think about how she wants to be as a scientist, how she conducts herself in the lab and what values she wants to embrace within science.

While she came into Grinnell thinking that she would be pre-med, Schmidt said she has now decided to pursue a Ph.D. Schmidt said that a Ph.D. would give her more versatility in terms of understanding in the scientific community, asking questions and being able to poke holes into things. 

 Schmidt is also a science community leader (SCL) and leads skill sessions in chemistry. She said she enjoys being an upperclassman mentor to students and helping them through various experiences, from being a SCL mentor, a SAM and a captain of the frisbee team. 

Last summer, Schmidt did a research experience for undergraduates (REU) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on thermal stability of cation-induced phosphoinositide domain formation. In other words, she added heat to stabilize phospholipids under different conditions of calcium and magnesium. “The lab environment was really good, and the research was also interesting to me. The techniques we used were very engaging,” she said. 

The lab environment was really good, and the research was also interesting to me. The techniques we used were very engaging

— Greta Schmidt

Schmidt said that she will miss her friends the most after she graduates from the College. 

“I became best friends with my friends right away,” she said. “We just clicked instantly.” 

 Schmidt and her friends all lived together during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is where they really bonded, she said. 

“We all took classes from the house, we cooked together, we played a game called Werewolf together, we went on walks together,” she said. “It was just really happy times in a bleak period.” 

She recalled her and her friends’ first Dari Barn venture together during the first couple days of school in her first year, and she said that her friends are all a constant source of support and kindness. Schmidt said that spending time with her friends was a highlight of her college experience. 

In her leftover free time, Schmidt enjoys spending time in the downtown ceramics studio at the STEW Makerspace. She said she has made plates, planters and bowls in a variety of vibrant prints and colors. Her favorite — a large plate with black, green, white, purple and blue stripes running across it. 

After graduation, Schmidt will move to Massachusetts to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.