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The Aspire Program

#MyJobInSixPics

Carthage graduates are successful NASA engineers, doctors, lawyers, professors, designers, researchers, actors, and entrepreneurs. We’ve challenged our alumni to share six pics from their workplaces, to show exactly how achievable your dream career is when you aspire like a Carthaginian. 

Carthage alumni: Share your #sixpics

Casey Sugden ’12

THEN: Religion Major

Now: Lead Pastor

Casey Sugden ’12 serves as lead pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Being a pastor is so much more than giving the sermon every Sunday, Pastor Sugden has to wear a variety of different hats (or rather stoles in his case). “Every day is something new,” he says. “Whether functioning as the CEO of the congregation, or goofing around at camp, I never know what’s next and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

In addition to tending to his flock at Redeemer, Pastor Sugden is a crisis counselor and serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Injured Law Enforcement Officers Resource Council, an organization that seeks to assist injured law enforcement officers in a variety of ways.

Pastor Sugden didn’t have to wait until seminary to become a faith leader. He was able to hone his skills with Carthage’s Center for Faith and Spirituality. “I had fantastic professors at Carthage who challenged me to grow in both knowledge and faith,” he says. “I was able to lead worship and bible studies through the chapel office, and there are still staff members I seek out for advice even today. #faith #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

Casey Sugden '12
Casey Sugden '12

I get to walk people through the most joyous and the most difficult times in their lives.

Casey Sugden '12
Casey Sugden '12

“Whether weddings, baptisms, funerals, or hospital visits, I get to be there.”

Casey Sugden '12
Casey Sugden '12

“I had fantastic professors at Carthage who challenged me to grow in both knowledge and faith.


Cecil Jennings ’81

THEN: Biology, Natural Science, and Conservation Major

Now: research fishery biologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior

Stationed at the University of Georgia, Cecil Jennings ’81 is a research fishery biologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior. He works to determine what’s behind dwindling fish populations — often human activities like overfishing or degrading the habitat — and devise solutions. It’s vital to the health of commercial and recreational fishing, and the whole ecosystem.

“I absolutely love the variety of tasks associated with my job,” he said. “I teach and mentor graduate students at a major university, conduct field research, write scientific articles, give presentations at scientific conferences, and travel to remote/interesting locations to conduct fishery-related research.” #conservation #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

Cecil Jennings '81
Cecil Jennings '81

“I absolutely love the variety of tasks associated with my job.”

Cecil Jennings '81
Cecil Jennings '81

“The breadth of the classes required for my three majors built a solid foundation on which I could build graduate studies necessary for my job now.”

Cecil Jennings '81
Cecil Jennings '81

“The high expectations of Carthage professors prepared me well for working and excelling in challenging work environments.


Matt Thome ’17

THEN: Public Relations and Sports Marketing and Communications major

Now: Account Manager, Membership Service for the Sacramento Kings

Throughout high school, Matt Thome ’17 expected he would become a choir director, but the experiences he had working in athletics and communications led him down a different road to a career with the Sacramento Kings.

“My role on the athletic communications team allowed me to have experience with media relations, event coordination, fundraising, press writing, event management, and video production,” he says. “While working for the Men’s Basketball team I was not only able to gain valuable event management, travel coordination, budget management, and coaching skills, but this is also where I found some of my closest friends.”

He credits many members of Carthage’s faculty and staff for giving him opportunities and continuing to support him along the way.

“Even when my career aspirations led me away from studying music,” says Mr. Thome, “my professors were extremely supportive as they knew I had found my passion.”

What I enjoy most about my career is how I am able to use my position as an agent of change in my community. The impact that a professional sports organization can have is profound in regards to community improvements, non-profit assistance, and youth development. I’m encouraged and empowered every day to take time to inspire positive change. #sacramentoproud #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

Matt Thome '17
Matt Thome '17

“Carthage allowed me the flexibility to take advantage of learning opportunities all around the country and across the world.”

Matt Thome '17
Matt Thome '17

“Two days are never alike in the NBA which can be a challenge but also makes the job very interesting and entertaining.”

Matt Thome '17
Matt Thome '17

“I love that I get to influence positive change in my community by using the brand I work for.


Katie (Gast) Satula ’11

THEN: Biology and Neuroscience major

Now: dentist and small business owner

Katie (Gast) Satula ’11 is a dentist who owns her own practice in Hales Corners, Wisconsin and couldn’t think of being anything else.

“As a health care professional and small business owner, I wear many hats and each and every day is different. I absolutely love being a dentist and treating patients from their first dental visit at age one all the way to those who are 101. Being able to give someone the confidence to smile again or get someone out of pain can be life changing for both the patient and myself. Being a dentist also allows me to give back to my community in so many ways. I participate in Mission of Mercy and Give Kids a Smile in Wisconsin every year, both truly rewarding experiences.”

“Now into my career, I am further reassured that my time both academically and socially at Carthage prepared me for a lifetime of success. The education and educational opportunities cannot be beat and equipped me with the foundation and knowledge to continue my studies and succeed in my career. Also, the lessons learned out of the classroom through clubs, organizations, and on-campus jobs truly prepared me to be a strong contributing member to my profession and local community.” #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics #dentist #entrepreneur

Katie (Gast) Satula '11
Katie (Gast) Satula '11

“My ability to receive a top notch education, be involved in research, and participate in many extra curricular activities allowed me to be a well rounded and competitive candidate for dental school. Now into my career, I am further reassured that my time both academically and socially at Carthage prepared me for a lifetime of success.”

Katie (Gast) Satula '11
Katie (Gast) Satula '11

“As a health care professional and small business owner, I wear many hats and each and every day is different.”

Katie (Gast) Satula '11
Katie (Gast) Satula '11

“Being a business owner comes with it own unique set of challenges and rewards. I love being able to be involved in the day-to-day management of my own office and work with such an amazing team.


KristieRae Ellis ’15 and Maggie O’Toole ’17

THEN: Environmental Science Majors

Now: Restoration Field Technicians

KristieRae Ellis ’15 and Maggie O’Toole ’17 both work as Restoration Field Technicians for Applied Ecological Services, a company that works to “create ecologically-driven land-use solutions that are practical, economical, and based on the best science and technology.” 

“A typical day for us includes invasive species management and habitat restoration work,” Ms. Ellis said. “We are currently working to re-meander a section of river in northern Illinois and to restore the associated floodplain. The river was historically dammed to form a lake, so the restoration process has required a new river channel to be created and for much of the floodplain to be re-seeded with native plants. When we aren’t building rivers, we are applying herbicide or mechanically removing invasive species from wetlands, prairies, and woodlands throughout Southeast Wisconsin. During the spring, we have a short window in which we conduct prescribed burns, which are a crew favorite.”

It’s hard to believe that two people at Carthage in the same major only met for the first time on the job, but that’s exactly what happened. “Neither of us recall crossing paths at Carthage, despite being in the same program and taking many of the same classes,” Ms. Ellis said. “Since meeting at Applied Ecological Services, we’ve swapped many stories about our time at Carthage and have greatly enjoy working with one another.” #nature #restoration #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

KristieRae Ellis '15 and Maggie O'Toole '17
KristieRae Ellis '15 and Maggie O'Toole '17

We put so much hard work and time into each site, so when we see native seedlings popping up or wildlife utilizing the habitat, it’s very rewarding! Plus, we work alongside some truly amazing people!

KristieRae Ellis '15 and Maggie O'Toole '17
KristieRae Ellis '15 and Maggie O'Toole '17

“Not only did Carthage teach us the fundamentals of ecology, but all the outdoor lab classes really helped prepare us for working outside everyday!”

KristieRae Ellis '15 and Maggie O'Toole '17
KristieRae Ellis '15 and Maggie O'Toole '17

“It’s awesome to see restoration sites start to come together and flourish.


Brett Harmeling ’10

THEN: Double major in Education and leadership

Now: Financial Strategist and RYT® 500 Yoga Instructor

After pursuing real estate brokerage, sales management, and cyber intelligence, Brett Harmeling ’10 launched his financial practice with White Rhino Financial. Based in Houston, he serves professionals, families, and businesses in California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin. With a vision to transform the way businesses think, act, and operate, Mr. Harmeling and his team work with leaders and organizations in nearly every industry to help transform company culture and money mindset to create a better working world. As a trained financial strategist and yoga instructor, he has discovered remarkable patterns about how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act, and communicate. He has devoted his life to sharing his passion and leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them. #myjobinsixpics #finance #yoga #aspire

Brett Harmeling '10
Brett Harmeling '10

“I love getting the opportunity to help high-performing professionals and business owners understand their cash flow, protect it, and grow it all across the United States. My areas of focus are family planning, business strategy, and corporate financial wellness.”

Brett Harmeling '10
Brett Harmeling '10

“Carthage gave me the tools to better lead board rooms and connect with professionals in any field of practice. Through sharpening my proficiency in anthropology, psychology, and literary skills I am able to feel and understand what is needed to cultivate a successful meeting or conversation.”

Brett Harmeling '10
Brett Harmeling '10

Teaching yoga allows me to help people discover balance in their body through dynamic movement and intuitive breath work. I have a passion for energy and creating value through sharing the unique gifts I have acquired.”


Julie Sargent ’12

THEN: Biology major

Now: Assistant Director of Academic and Membership Affairs for the ncaa

Julie Sargent ’12 works at the NCAA’s national office in Indianapolis where she works in Academic and Membership Affairs with a specific focus on student-athlete eligibility and Division III legislation. In addition to those responsibilities, she supports several committees including the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and the Division III Championships committee. There are also things you won’t find on her job description. “I pride myself with enhancing office culture as a self-proclaimed ‘social chair’ and enjoy staff events including our annual departmental ‘bake-off’, which I’ve won the past two-years.” #myjobinsixpics #ncaa #aspire

Julie Sargent '12
Julie Sargent '12

“I love everything about my job! I had an amazing experience as a women’s lacrosse student-athlete during my time at Carthage, and thoroughly enjoy working in collegiate athletics.”

Julie Sargent '12
Julie Sargent '12

“While receiving a stellar education, I was also able to compete on the women’s lacrosse team, stay involved in the music department, and join Chi Omega fraternity. There are not many colleges and universities where that is possible.”

Julie Sargent '12
Julie Sargent '12

“Carthage prepared me for career success by teaching me the importance of having a healthy work/life balance.”


David Maack ’88

THEN: Triple major in Political Science, Business Administration, and Public Management

Now: Emergency Management Coordinator

David Maack ’88 has served as the Racine County Emergency Management Coordinator since April 1990. Over the past three decades, he has built a program that has received national recognition from both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the International Association of Emergency Managers. He was a recipient of the 2011 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award in the ”Engagement with Faith-Based Communities” category and was one of 17 local leaders honored at the White House as Champions of Change who help prepare their communities for disaster and build a more resilient nation. As a Champion of Change, David was featured on the White House website and participated in a panel discussion at the White House. #emergencypreparedness #racine #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

David Maack '88
David Maack '88

“I have an interesting job that varies from day to day. Whether I am creating or updating emergency plans or planning the next disaster drill, there is never a dull moment.”

David Maack '88
David Maack '88

“I organize training classes, sometimes teach them, conduct public awareness campaigns, speak to various groups and respond to actual disasters and/or emergencies when requested.”

David Maack '88
David Maack '88

“Carthage taught me how to be a critical thinker. Skills I have learned at Carthage have carried through and I have been able to adapt.”


Bree McMahon ’12

THEN: Double major in Graphic Design and Art History

Now: Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

“I love working in academia because I get to be in school again,” raves Bree McMahon ’12 about her position on the faculty at the University of Arkansas. She started her job in August 2018; before that, Ms. McMahon worked as a graphic designer for several companies and as a freelancer. “I love working with college students every day and seeing how passionate they are about the work they are doing. It’s thrilling to see them learn something, grow, and make amazing things. … Like my students, I’m also constantly learning. I feel so lucky to not only teach design students, but also work on my own research, which deals with design pedagogy and collaboration.” #highered #feministdesigner #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

Bree McMahon '12 is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Arkansas.
Bree McMahon '12 is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Arkansas.

“I honestly have a blast devising projects and exercises that contribute to my students learning, and it’s even more exciting to see them use those skills to be successful.”

Bree McMahon '12 is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Arkansas.
Bree McMahon '12 is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Arkansas.

“It’s really important for graphic designers to be good collaborators. There’s a huge need for graphic designers to get involved with interdisciplinary work.”

Bree McMahon '12 is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Arkansas.
Bree McMahon '12 is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Arkansas.

“Carthage gave me so many opportunities to try different things and explore different disciplines.
It gave me context and knowledge from so many different areas that I’ve carried into my career. … Being able to double major was HUGE. Having a degree in art history in addition to graphic design has made me a unique candidate when applying for jobs. Plus, it gave me the tools to teach History of Graphic Design in my current position, which is my favorite class to teach. :)”


Isaac Rothenbaum ’11

THEN: Double major in Graphic Design and Computer Science

Now: Software Entrepreneur 

Just four years after graduating from Carthage, Isaac Rothenbaum ’11 was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 under 30 in the tech category after a job search app he developed was featured in the Wall Street Journal. “At that point we were averaging four to six downloads per day,” says Mr. Rothenbaum. “That day we were at 130 by noon and by that night our servers crashed due to the load.” Despite his success, Mr. Rothenbaum didn’t think he’d ever go back to a startup company again. But now he’s back it, living in New York City and is the Chief Technology Officer for Akwyar, an emergency response app. #startup #tech #entrepreneur #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

Isaac Rothenbaum '11
Isaac Rothenbaum '11

Brainstorming is incredibly invaluable in the tech world. That means company retreats! Here are some photos from a retreat at one of Mr. Rothenbaum’s previous companies. “The retreat is called ‘Values Day’ and is intended to be a two day deep dive where we can reflect on our company values, the progress made, and the road ahead. It’s a sort of celebration and a chance to refocus on our mission.”

Isaac Rothenbaum '11
Isaac Rothenbaum '11

“A Values Day retreat will have three workshops (one for each value of generosity, proactivity, and problem solving) where the company comes together and tries to practice that value. For example, I lead the last one on problem solving and I opened with a discussion about how problems are best solved when you’re fully aware of the problem and have enough data to attack it. I used a TED Riddle to show how gut feelings are useful, but the problem isn’t truly solved until you can explain why. I then presented a real company problem (X% of users that finish registration never find a mentor) and we broke off into smaller groups to think of solutions.”

Isaac Rothenbaum '11
Isaac Rothenbaum '11

“In between workshops we play board games, participate in team building exercises, or do fun activities. The values day from 2017 was in Norway where we went fishing and crabbing. That was really fun; it was my first time every catching wild crabs. We ended up catching a bunch and made a delicious crab and pasta dinner.”


Tessa Rundle ’16

THEN: PHYSICS MAJOR at Carthage

NOW: Spacesuit engineer at NASA

Originally a music major, Tessa Rundle changed her major to physics, joined Carthage’s space sciences research program, and soon had more time in zero-g than any student who had flown before her. She landed two NASA internships and a spot in a prestigious graduate program. Today she’s a Portable Life Support System Development Engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Stated more simply? She’s designing the next generation of NASA’s spacesuits. “What we’re trying to do is design new spacesuits with upgraded technologies, so the suit can eventually be used for EVAs on the moon or on Mars.” #dreamjob #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

Tessa Rundle '16 is a Portable Life Support System Development Engineer at NASA.
Tessa Rundle '16 is a Portable Life Support System Development Engineer at NASA.

“Astronauts on the ISS have been using the same spacesuits to do their spacewalks since the early 1980s. What we’re trying to do at NASA now is design a new suit with upgraded technologies to be used for EVAs on the moon or Mars.”

Tessa Rundle '16 is a Portable Life Support System Development Engineer at NASA.
Tessa Rundle '16 is a Portable Life Support System Development Engineer at NASA.

“My work with the Carthage Microgravity and RockSat teams really helped prepare me the most for this career. Dr. Crosby played a huge role in teaching me what I know now. His approach was always to help us when we needed it, but he was never going to do the project for us. The answers aren’t going to be handed to you.”

Tessa Rundle '16 is a Portable Life Support System Development Engineer at NASA.
Tessa Rundle '16 is a Portable Life Support System Development Engineer at NASA.

“My dream was to work for NASA, but I never really thought it would happen. So it’s pretty cool that here I am.”


Abbey Prellberg ’16

THEN: Management Major

Now: Entrepreneur, co-owner of A & A Cafe Food Truck

Abbey Prellberg calls her decision to transfer to Carthage her sophomore year “the best decision I made in college.” She earned her degree in management and spent several years working in food management and marketing at Sodexo after her graduation. This spring, Ms. Prellberg realized a longtime dream and opened a food truck business with co-owner Anthony LaMartina. A & A Cafe LLC travels around southern Wisconsin serving gourmet sandwiches, loaded chips, and much more. #aacafellc #dreamjob #foodtruck #goodfood #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics

Abbey Prellberg, right, and Anthony LaMartina opened the A & A Cafe LLC food truck in 2018. T...
Abbey Prellberg opened the A & A Cafe LLC food truck in 2018. They travel around southeast Wi...

“Opening your own business is amazing, but it is the most difficult thing I have ever done. It is an emotional rollercoaster of happiness, excitement, success, tears, anger, and frustration. I work seven days a week, typically 12-hour days. My entire life is wrapped up in A & A Cafe LLC, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!”

The A & A Cafe LLC food truck, co-owned by Carthage graduate Abbey Prellberg, serves gourmet ...
Abbey Prellberg and Anthony LaMartina opened the A & A Cafe LLC food truck in 2018. They trav...

“I realized after opening my own business that Carthage professors taught me more than I ever knew. … Without Carthage, my marketing and business background would have been limited to just my work experience. Having an education and professors to guide me is something you don’t just get at a job.”

Carthage graduate Abbey Prellberg, with Anthony LaMartina, opened the A & A Cafe LLC food tru...
The A & A Cafe food truck, co-owned by Carthage graduate Abbey Prellberg, serves gourmet sand...

“My days consist of assisting in menu planning and prepping food, but the majority of my time is spent updating and changing our P.O.S. system, generating reports, serving customers, speaking with city officials, fixing problems (which always occur!), paying bills and taxes, shopping for product, marketing through social media and other sources, emailing, and meeting with event directors to become a vendor. … Without my Carthage degree, I wouldn’t be able to tell the world I own my own business and I am proud of it! A & A Cafe LLC is a recognized woman-owned business, and I am one of the owners. Thank you, Carthage!”


  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2019), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has been named a top producer of Fulbright Fellows three years running. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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