Why sit around “paying your dues” for a year or two, when you can dive in right away? Wherever your interests lie, Carthage gives you the freedom to get your feet wet soon after moving in.
How soon can you start?
Let’s be honest: Patience is overrated. So leave it at home.
That’s one virtue Jacelyn Peabody ’15 never needed at Carthage, anyway. Now an M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jacelyn dove into original genomics research as a freshman at Carthage — research that’s usually reserved for upperclassmen or even graduate students.
Jacelyn knew a medical student at another Midwestern university who could hardly believe it.
“At his school, they don’t even let the undergrads know what room the electron microscope is in, let alone use it,” she said.
Now, every Carthage student taking an introductory biology course gets to use those techniques — something only a handful of colleges in the country can say. In the first week, students head out to dig for soil samples.
Amanda Grove ’17 tells a similar story about conducting surgical research on rats in a sophomore-level neuroscience class. Working toward a career as a pediatric neurosurgery assistant, she naturally swaps stories with close friends in the University of Wisconsin system.
“They don’t get to do anything like that during their first four years,” she said.
If the thought of research makes you sleepy (or nauseous), keep reading. Wherever your interest lies, there’s probably a way to get your feet wet pretty quickly here.
“We approach education with a sense of urgency,” said Nick Mulvey ’02, vice president for enrollment. “While some schools put up artificial barriers making undergraduates ‘pay their dues’ in busywork, Carthage offers students a full four years of active learning.”
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Early opportunities translate to more value for your tuition dollars. And they’re easy to spot at Carthage.
They’re visible in the Teacher Education Program.
Future teachers can count on spending five to 10 hours in local classrooms their first semester, observing working educators and their students. In year two, they’re leading small-group activities in those schools.
By the time the student teaching assignment comes, a Carthage education student already has accumulated at least 100 hours in classrooms — and probably more.
They’re visible in the fine arts.
In his first semester on campus, Justice Good ’18 earned a role in the theatre production “Day After Night.” The next spring, he was cast in the musical “Man of La Mancha.”
“I have friends at other universities who were not allowed to be on stage during their freshman year due to department rules,” Justice said. “Here, no matter your level of experience on or offstage, you can still get involved in the department in some way.”
They’re visible during J-Term.
For one month each year, freshmen are king. At J-Term registration time, they get first pick from the on-campus course list, so most choose to stick around — but that’s certainly not an order. Austin Winter ’18 took a two-week study tour to Paris with Professor Pascal Rollet during his first year, contrasting French and American public institutions by day and warming up to the taste of escargot at night.
They’re visible in extracurricular activities.
Carthage students are known for their lengthy email signatures, listing their various campus activities.
“Many students join organizations their first year and then speedily get selected for an executive board their sophomore or junior year,” said Rebekah Windberg, assistant dean of students and director of student involvement.
They’re visible on the stat sheet.
Men’s volleyball setter Matt Reinsel ’19 played a major role in the Red Men’s run to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals in spring 2016, earning coaches’ vote as national Newcomer of the Year.
His accolades come on the heels of fellow freshman Giles Phillips’ statewide co-Defensive Player of the Year award in men’s soccer the previous fall. And Rebecca Lamp ’19 immediately became a leading distance runner for Carthage’s cross country and track squads.
They’re even visible over summer break.
Over the past three years, 17 Carthage students devoted the summer after their freshman year to topics like mobile technology usage, media portrayal of traditional Chinese medicine, and dissension among Protestant congregations — and got paid for it — through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.
Janet Haro ’18 felt “excited and shocked” to be one of them. She worked with a chemistry professor to build a biological sensor that would detect lead in toys. Later, she discussed her experiments at a research symposium in St. Louis.
“I thought Carthage would just be a stepping-stone to pharmacy. I knew it had a great program,” Janet said, “but now I realize that I was able to do research, publish it, and present it at a regional conference, all before I finished my sophomore year.”
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Sure, in many cases, there’s competition. As an underclassman, you need to earn those big breaks. But Carthage will give you a fair shot.
Armed with a recommendation from her first-year advisor, Paige Myers ’16 talked her way onto a popular study tour to Guatemala her first year. There, she interviewed former civil war combatants and their families (in Spanish) who maintain a self-sustaining collective.
Hooked, she returned multiple times. Paige converted her early opportunities into a Carthage senior thesis, a presentation at a conference for professional historians, a future Ph.D. dissertation, and a career focus on Latin America.
Professors, rather than teaching assistants, teach all of the courses here — not just the upper-level ones. Connecting with them early gives you a running start toward a lasting bond.