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The Aspire Program

Meet Your Team

Your Carthage network is big and broad, and includes Aspire Program staff, your peers working as Career Ambassadors in the Aspire Center, and alumni and employers nationwide.

Aspire Program Staff

  • Lisa Hinkley

    Associate Vice President and Executive Director for Career and Professional Development

    Lisa Hinkley oversees The Aspire Program at Carthage, and has nearly 20 years of experience building and managing career programs.

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  • Carolyn Serdar

    Director of Employer Relations and Internships

    As Director of Employer Relations and Internships at Carthage, Carolyn Serdar connects students with employers locally and internationally for outstanding experiential learning opportunities.

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  • Becky Windberg

    Manager for Community and Employer Development

    As Manager for Community and Employer Development at Carthage, Becky Windberg connects with employers and community partners to build experiential learning opportunities and strategies aligned with President Swallow’s vision to integrate regionally.

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  • Sarah Gorke

    Career Specialist, Academic Advisor for Undeclared and Exploratory Students

    Sarah is currently serving as the Interim Career Specialist for Arts and Culture as she transitions into an expanded role to support undeclared and exploratory students. Through relevant experiential learning opportunities, she assists students by helping them explore their academic and career aspirations and build their personal networks and professional skills that will evolve throughout their lifetimes.

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  • Trevor Jung

    Career Specialist

    As Career Specialist, Trevor Jung builds relationships with employers, alumni, and graduate/professional schools to provide students with access to meaningful mentoring, shadowing, internships, and other skill-building experiences starting in students’ first year on campus. He supports students seeking guidance in the fields of government, nonprofit, and law ensuring they have a rewarding and fruitful experience while studying at Carthage College.

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  • Tom Wood

    Career Specialist

    Tom joins the Aspire Center team as a Career Specialist supporting business and technology. Tom’s focus is to collaborate with students, staff, faculty and community representatives to preserve and expand the many opportunities Carthage students can utilize while transitioning through each phase of the college experience. In addition to considerations for the practical experience, skills, and knowledge required for career preparation, Tom is a proponent of supporting and encouraging students to strive toward a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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  • Haley Perez

    Career Specialist

    Haley joins the Aspire team as the Science and Pre-Health Career Specialist. She is excited to create a holistic support model for students who are interested in health care fields. Haley enjoys assisting students in gaining experiential learning opportunities and reflecting on their involvement in connection to personal and professional goals. 

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Alumni, Employers, and Friends of the College

Hundreds of alumni, employers, and friends are part of the Carthage network. They provide students with mentoring and career-building experiences. While there are plenty of connections regionally, the Carthage network extends around the world.

Faculty and Staff

At Carthage, faculty and staff work with students inside and outside of the classroom to build their skills and guide them throughout their journey. From class projects benefiting local communities to on-campus employment to global experiences through J-Term, Carthage faculty and staff are active members of students’ college experiences.

Student Career Ambassadors

  • Students ask each other for advice all of the time, so trained Career Ambassadors provide accessible, knowledgeable mentorship.
  • Underclass students tend to be more comfortable talking to students closer to their own age or life experience, so Career Ambassadors allow us to extend reach beyond structured events or normal business hours and create a more casual experience for even reluctant students to receive encouragement, referrals, and guidance.
  • Career Ambassadors refer their peers to professional staff for more advanced issues and questions.

Career Ambassadors are students with a diverse range of majors, campus involvement, and backgrounds who act as paraprofessionals for students across all majors. In addition to the development of strong coaching skills, Career Ambassadors help organize events, including the annual Aspire Conference, career fairs, and workshops.


Tessa Mugenya ’21

Tessa MugenyaMajor: Geoscience, minor in Women’s & Gender Studies
Involvement on campus: Black Student Union, United Women of Color and Advocates for Social Change
#iAspire to become: A runway model who is actively involved in social justice movements pertaining to gender equality, women’s rights and children’s rights
Best part about working in The Aspire Center:  The resume reviews that I thoroughly enjoy. I get to meet with different students and help them bring out their experiences in ways that improve their chances of getting jobs and internships which fills my heart with joy. I also enjoy learning about career development and having a foothold in real-world job experience by working in the office, which is an opportunity not a lot of people have while in college

Geovanni Virella-Torres ’22

Geo Virella-TorresMajor: Graphic Design, minor in Dance
Involvement on campus: NDEO, Away From The Mirror, Kiss Me, Kate
#iAspire to: Dance after college and utilize my graphic design major to freelance. After I dance, I wish to either work on the design side for a dance company or create my own and work for myself.
Best part about working in The Aspire Center: Working with the Career Specialists to understand more about what we’re passionate about and dig deeper into the opportunities available.


Christina Gonzalez ’21 

Christina GonzalezMajor: Marketing and Management, minor in Philosophy
Involvement on campus: Pi Sigma Epsilon, Alpha Phi Omega, and Mi Gente
#iAspire to become: Chief Operating Officer for a Hospital
Best part about working in The Aspire Center: All the great opportunities offered


Jessica Fischer ’22

Jessica FischerMajor: Nursing
Involvement on campus:  Peer Coach and CAB
#iAspire to become: A pediatric nurse or CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife)
Best part about working in The Aspire Center: The atmosphere. The team is very inviting to all who enter the room. I have grown as a student and individual here!