Claudia Joy Beckwith '77

Grinnell, Iowa
Grinnell Major: Religious Studies
Alumni Student Connections Committee

Claudia Beckwith '77, originally from Clifton, NJ, was surprised to find out that by coincidence her Grinnell roommate was her Boston cousin’s best friend, who she had met travelling in Europe two summers before college. They did not even know that each other had applied to Grinnell. It was a wonderful 4 years from then on. Claudia spent her 3rd year in Japan in the Waseda program. She lived in a Zen Buddhist monastery in the spring where she meditated, contemplated her navel, wrote and read a lot. Post Grinnell found her working in NYC at a Japanese bank so that she could keep up her cultural immersion, and then Seattle where she worked in a feminist health collective and met her future husband, Bill Ferguson, '75, who she did not know in college. After a summer backpacking in Alaska, they decided that it was time to go to grad school. She became a Nurse Practitioner. A few years later, they moved back to Grinnell where Bill joined the Economics department. As a practicing NP, Claudia worked on health care legislation to promote full NP practice. She also taught in the Women’s Health NP program in Des Moines. Then twins came along (Caitlin, '14 and Taylor- Pomona '14) who are currently traveling the world.

Claudia works at Central Iowa Family Planning in Grinnell where her patients include many Grinnell College students. She loves working with them because they are open and inquisitive and are interested in learning about their bodies and their health. She also works in a community clinic in Marshalltown with many Mexican and Burmese patients.

Claudia is active on her national and State NP Boards and was recently named a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She swims, participates in 2 book groups, goes to DSM and Iowa City with friends so that she can be considered a foodie, travels with her hubby during school breaks and tries to keep up with their kids.