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
Dan Dick ’13
THEN: Communications Major
Now: Major Gifts Officer
They say you can’t go home again. They’re wrong. Dan Dick ’13 has returned to where he grew up and is currently serving as a Major Gifts Officer for the Highland Community College Foundation.
“Returning to Northwest Illinois was a goal of mine when I transferred to Carthage,” he says. “It has always been home to me. This fall, my two-year college alma mater called with an opportunity to advance my career as a major gifts officer for the Highland Community College Foundation. This has allowed me to take my passion for educating young people through a part-time leadership development program I was coordinating through HCC and come back home to serve the community I care deeply about. I love being able to connect with folks who have a similar belief in education and the importance it serves for the long term needs of our communities in northwest Illinois. I love the people.”
Mr. Dick didn’t just get the chance to learn as a student at Carthage, but it also allowed him to grow professionally.
“Carthage prepared me in a number of ways from strengthening my academic ability to thrive, eventually leading me to a PhD program at UW-Madison, to creating the skills needed to connect deeply with the institutions and individuals I have had the privilege to serve. The best part is being able to come back to Carthage and serve as a volunteer when they’ll have me! To me, this is Carthage liberal arts education in its truest form.” #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“Not only did I learn immensely during my time as a student at Carthage, but I also had the opportunity to return to work professionally growing my experience in higher education development.”
“Carthage prepared me in a number of ways from strengthening my academic ability to thrive, eventually leading me to a PhD program at UW-Madison, to creating the skills needed to connect deeply with the institutions and individuals I have had the privilege to serve.”
“I love being able to connect with folks who have a similar belief in education and the importance it serves for the long term needs of our communities in northwest Illinois. I love the people.”
Katie Niemeyer ’13
THEN: International Political Economy and Economics Major
Now: Program Manager
Katie Niemeyer ’13 works for Land O’Lakes Venture37 as Malawi Program Manager. Her work focuses on food and agricultural development and rural economic growth. She currently lives in Lilongwe, Malawi.
“My work in international development is never boring,” she says. “I am always meeting new people with different backgrounds, exploring new places, and reveling in new experiences. Every day presents new challenges and opportunities to learn new things. I am constantly inspired by my incredibly talented and passionate colleagues from all around the world.”
“The combination of my liberal arts education, J-Term travel, and the interdisciplinary nature of my IPE and economics degree honed my ability to think creatively about the big picture and execute with great attention to detail,” she says. “This has helped me thrive in ambiguity, think critically during creative problem solving, and work effectively in complex and changing environments. I am also thankful when I think back to how much writing I did during my time at Carthage because it prepared me to be lead writer on technical proposals to implement multi-million dollar projects on behalf of the U.S government and other donors.” #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“I am always meeting new people with different backgrounds, exploring new places, and reveling in new experiences.”
“My work in international development is never boring.”
“The combination of my liberal arts education, J-Term travel, and the interdisciplinary nature of my IPE and Economics degree honed my ability to think creatively about the big picture and execute with great attention to detail.”
Neil Kristian Scharnick ’99
Now: Theatre Professor
“I’m a liberal arts-minded theatre artist — though, frankly, I’m not sure there’s any other kind. Theatre makers always need to be engaged in conversations happening far from the stage. That’s definitely been my experience with ‘The Handbook!’ I never would have believed I’d need to learn so much about the troubled state of cheerleading in the NFL, but here we are! That’s what I love about working in academic theatre: while one can study theatre itself forever, a life in the theatre is always pointing the mind elsewhere, out into the larger world. Being able to go on those journeys AND bring my students with me? Priceless. And all of this in addition to teaching a subject I love 10 paces from a Starbucks!”
“I graduated with majors in theatre and religion and a minor in economics. Not surprisingly, I was often asked what sort of job I expected to get with that odd assortment of qualifications. And, while I didn’t choose my majors with a pre-professional mindset, it’s amusing to note that my first job after completion of my master’s degree was as the business manager of a faith-based theatre company. Who could have been better prepared for that job than I was? But more significantly, Carthage was (and is!) a place for me to cultivate my curiosity and collaborate creatively with others. My research for ‘The Handbook’ inspired a presentation with a student at Carthage’s Diversity Leadership Conference. The project has meant collaborating closely with a talented team of creative artists — designers, performers, and a fantastic playwright. It’s put me in touch with dancers and filmmakers committed to telling the same story.” #iAspire #carthageaspire #theatre #newplay #myjobinsixpics
“The Handbook” opens Friday, Nov. 1. Tickets are available now at www.carthage.edu/tickets.
“I’m a liberal arts-minded theatre artist — though, frankly, I’m not sure there’s any other kind. Theatre makers always need to be engaged in conversations happening far from the stage. That’s definitely been my experience with ‘The Handbook!’ I never would have believed I’d need to learn so much about the troubled state of cheerleading in the NFL, but here we are!”
“While one can study theatre itself forever, a life in the theatre is always pointing the mind elsewhere, out into the larger world. Being able to go on those journeys AND bring my students with me? Priceless. And all of this in addition to teaching a subject I love 10 paces from a Starbucks!”
“Carthage was (and is!) a place for me to cultivate my curiosity and collaborate creatively with others. My research for ‘The Handbook’ inspired a presentation with a student at Carthage’s Diversity Leadership Conference.”
Emily (Gogulich) Nelsen ’07
THEN: Public Relations and Communications Major
Now: Owner of “Emily Makes”
Emily (Gogulich) Nelsen ’07 owns and operates Emily Makes, a wood art company that tries to bring rustic Wisconsin style into the home. She currently sells her art in five stores (in addition to online), participates in art shows in the Midwest, and conducts art classes in the Madison and Crystal Lake, Illinois areas.
Not bad for someone who taught herself woodworking and carpentry.
“My majors have played a huge role in my understanding of people and how to market to them, but also how to be a person of influence in the community. My minor in Business Administration helped me start and maintain a small business,” she said. “But most importantly, Carthage taught me how to learn well. I learned wood working and carpentry all on my own. Trial and errors are okay as long as you keep pushing forward.”
Being an entrepreneur, she relishes the fact that no two days are alike and that she’s her own boss.
“I am boss, builder, marketer, and designer, in addition to being a mom on top of that. Every day looks different, presents new challenges, and brings a new adventure,” she said. “My favorite part of my business is being able to work with my hands. My passion is in the sawing, sanding, and any kind of carpentry in my workshop.”
Once the time in the workshop is over, Ms. Nelsen puts on the marketing and accounting hats. She stages photoshoots to update her website and social media platforms and then she gets to balance the books, the one aspect of her job that she’s not totally enamored with.
“My least favorite part of the job is balancing the books and paying the bills,” she said. “My lowest grade at Carthage was accounting and I guess it shows! I’m getting the the point where I can hire people to work with me in growing my business though!” #myjobinsixpics #carthageaspire #iAspire #entrepreneur
“I love being creative and working with my hands! I’m creative person and need an outlet to build and design. I love being my own boss and making a flexible schedule that allows me to be with my family.”
“I am boss, builder, marketer, and designer, in addition to being a mom on top of that. Every day looks different, presents new challenges, and brings a new adventure. My favorite part of my business is being able to work with my hands. My passion is in the sawing, sanding, and any kind of carpentry in my workshop.”
“Carthage taught me how to learn well. I learned wood working and carpentry all on my own. Trial and errors are okay as long as you keep pushing forward.”
Allison (Schwartz) Strickland ’10
THEN: Athletic Training Major
Now: Marketing/sales professional and athletic trainer
This feature is called My Job in Six Pics, but Allison (Schwartz) Strickland ’10 nearly has one job per picture! She currently has five jobs, taking the liberal arts example to the extreme.
Her full-time job is as a salesforce administrator for Integrated DNA Technologies, a company that makes custom DNA oligos (short, synthetic strands of DNA or RNA). Ms. Strickland manages the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software. “I love collaborating with many departments and problem-solving daily,” she says.
Putting on her entrepreneur hat, she also works part-time as a Strategic Communications Manager at a small start-up called Voxello, a medical technology company specializing in communication solutions for non-mobile and non-verbal patients. She manages their CRM and coordinates all of their marketing and customer support.
Not content to just help with a start-up, she also owns her own business, Shea Hawk Solutions. Named after her oldest son Shea, this company provides copywriting, web design, and online course consultation services.
“The start-up environment is interesting, but I love that I’m helping an organization that is making a huge difference for a vulnerable patient population,” she says. “I also love managing my own little business and the different creative challenges it brings me.”
Ms. Strickland also puts her Athletic Training degree to use. She works with Progressive Rehabilitation as a part-time athletic trainer.
“I go out to extremely rural schools here in Iowa and provide athletic training coverage during varsity athletic events on game nights,” she says. “I love connecting with the students and coaches, as well as providing services that the school would otherwise be without.”
Lastly, once a week she teaches swimming lessons to students with disabilities, or adults and small children swimming for the first time. “I love teaching a valuable life skill to students that most instructors would shy away from.” #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“I love collaborating with many departments and problem-solving daily. I love that I’m helping an organization that is making a huge difference for a vulnerable patient population.”
“I go out to extremely rural schools here in Iowa and provide athletic training coverage during varsity athletic events on game nights. I love connecting with the students and coaches, as well as providing services that the school would otherwise be without.”
“With all of my jobs, Carthage prepared me to juggle many interests and passions while still leaving time for a little fun! A liberal arts education prepared me to be able to jump into different areas, such as medical education, sales, and marketing.”
Bill Blagg ’02
THEN: Communication Major
Now: Touring Magician
Bill Blagg ’02 is a nationally touring magician and illusionist who made the most of the opportunities he had at Carthage to launch his career. Using a self-designed J-Term over the course of three years, Mr. Blagg built every aspect of a magic show, from the business side of putting on a show to the marketing and advertising of the show. The final J-Term had Mr. Blagg put both of those aspects together. His efforts culminated in a sold-out show at Kenosha’s Reuther Auditorium.
Today, Mr. Blagg participates in every aspect of his company MOBB Productions Inc, from developing new productions from concept to creation and managing existing productions, booking and promoting their national tours, to developing, designing, and creating and performing original magic & illusion effects.
“What I’ve enjoyed most about my career is being able to turn a childhood dream into a very successful business. I’m fortunate to be able to do something I love for a living.”
“My Carthage experience was extremely influential in my career. One of the most notable aspects was the accessibility to my professors. The small class sizes really created a more hands-on, in-depth experience, and having the ability to connect with professors outside of class was extremely helpful.” #magic #iAspire #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“Carthage taught me how to find clarity in my future and to change when necessary and most importantly how to make the right choices to lead me to the life I dreamed of.”
“My tip to any current or future students would be to really take advantage of all that Carthage has to offer. Explore a variety of subjects or courses that you normally wouldn’t or aren’t comfortable with. You never know what you might discover or learn about yourself in the process.”
“I could write a novel about specific examples in my life and career that were shaped by the liberal arts skills I gained at Carthage. From public speaking to video editing and accounting, as well as creatively creating content and exploring how to adapt concepts for stage, I use them all.”
Nick Huff ’15
THEN: Music Major
Now: Opera Singer
Nick Huff ’15 had a goal to never work a typical 9-to-5 office job. There aren’t many careers out there farther from the average 9-to-5 than opera singer, so we’d say Mr. Huff accomplished that goal. After graduating from Carthage, he earned his Master’s Degree in Voice Performance and Literature at The Eastman School of Music and is now traveling the country as a freelance opera singer.
“I love that I get to travel all over the place,” he says. “This year I’ll have worked in or visited Milwaukee, Kenosha, New York City, San Francisco, and Miami to sing!”
In fact, during his stop in San Francisco, he had the opportunity to create a role in a brand-new opera by internationally renowned composer Jake Heggie and sing with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.
Mr. Huff got opportunities at Carthage that he simply wouldn’t have had at a conservatory. “I sang important roles and built an awesome resume really early,” he says. “I got to know how to lead a show and manage all the fears and inhibitions that come with a performance life, and that started at Carthage!”
He also credits his non-music classes for helping to prepare him for the professional realm.
“Students in conservatory don’t take courses like Western Heritage, and I think they’re missing out,” he says. “I took a lot of philosophy, religion, and acting classes that you can only get at a place like Carthage and it’s made my work a thousand times better. Carthage was somewhere I could learn all the skills I needed, not just the nuts and bolts of music.” #opera #singer #music #iAspire #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“I love that I get to travel all over the place. This year I’ll have worked in or visited Milwaukee, Kenosha, New York City, San Francisco, and Miami to sing!”
“I had opportunities at Carthage I wouldn’t have had at a conservatory. I sang important roles and built an awesome resume really early!”
“Carthage was somewhere I could learn all the skills I needed, not just the nuts and bolts of music.”
Laura (Gregorski) Tyunaitis ’08
THEN: Communication Major
Now: Community Relations Manager
As community relations manager for the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Laura (Gregorski) Tyunaitis ’08 has a job that always keeps her on her toes.
“My job is different every day,” she says. “There is always a different project, a different event to plan, a different partner or business to help.” She also enjoys getting to help create new events for the Kenosha community and working with small business owners that make Kenosha unique. “I love the diversity of the work, the excitement, and the fast pace,” she says.
Helping bring visitors to Kenosha may not sound like it’ll change the world, but Ms. Tyunaitis thinks it just might.
“I believe it was in a world religions class that we learned about taking our education and doing something greater than ourselves - that work was not about earning a paycheck, but helping to change the world,” she says. “Changing the world doesn’t mean that you have to invoke world peace or cure cancer, it can be something as simple as serving great coffee or helping someone plan a weekend getaway.” #myjobinsixpics #KenoshaFun #LifeByTheLake #TravelWI #iAspire #carthageaspire
“Changing the world doesn’t mean that you have to invoke world peace or cure cancer, it can be something as simple as serving great coffee or helping someone plan a weekend getaway.” ”
“Carthage helped me to decide what I really wanted to do with my life, and that was follow a path of marketing and public relations. My communications degree has served me well.”
“Carthage instilled a passion in me to share my knowledge with others.”
Jason Taylor ’11
THEN: Geography and earth science Major
Now: Park Ranger
How many people can honestly say they’ve never had a bad day at work? Well Jason Taylor ’11, a park ranger for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, absolutely can.
“I have never had a bad day as a park ranger,” he says. “While there are always some days that are better than others, I always enjoy going into work every day. I enjoy helping people on a daily basis.”
Mr. Taylor gets to experience variety in both his duties and the locations he performs them. He gets to experience wilderness in the forests of Massachusetts while also experiencing the hustle and bustle of Boston Common in the heart of Boston. He gets to ride ATVs, help with stranded whales, assist injured foxes, perform search and rescues, and also gets to hang out with Smokey the Bear.
“There really isn’t anything I don’t enjoy,” he says. “What’s not to love about this job!”
Mr. Taylor credits a J-Term experience in Nicaragua for spurring him to work outdoors.
“I did a J-Term to Nicaragua with great professors and great people,” he says. “It pushed me physically and mentally. In the end I came out a much stronger person.” #massachusettsoutdoors #workoutdoors #carthageaspire #iAspire #myjobinsixpics
“I have never had a bad day as a park ranger.”
“While there are always some days that are better than others, I always enjoy going into work every day. I enjoy helping people on a daily basis.”
“Carthage was a second home. My friends were family along with my professors. I met my wife at Carthage and she continues to push me every day to do my best and be happy with what I do.”
Joe Zenzola ’12
THEN: Communications Major
Now: executive producer of “The Bill Michaels Show”
Joe Zenzola ’12 never dreamed that he would get the chance to talk about his favorite sports teams on the radio for a living, but he gets to do just that every day! Mr. Zenzola is the executive producer of “The Bill Michaels Show,” a statewide sports-talk show in Wisconsin.
“My job is never repetitive,” he says. “While my roles and responsibilities stay the same, each day we cover new sports topics and react to breaking news. It involves a lot of work and preparation and I love every second of it.”
Mr. Zenzola’s job doesn’t confine him to the studio though. Over the past few years, he’s been able to cover playoff runs by the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers, Green Bay Packers games in California, and the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills golf course.
“I’m challenged every day to help put together a compelling and entertaining radio show,” he says. “It’s even more rewarding when your listeners stay engaged and interact with your show content.”
“I’ve been at the center of so many important games. Those are memories I’ll never forget. Being lucky is an understatement. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have such a rewarding career.” Check out his takes on Twitter at @RadioJoeSports! #gopackgo #thisismycrew #fearthedeer #carthageaspire #iAspire #myjobinsixpics
“People think it’s easy to get in front of a microphone and just start talking about sports. It’s tougher than it looks!”
“The Communications Department at Carthage gave me the tools to build the foundation of becoming a professional radio broadcaster. From developing skills in public speaking, to learning the arts of rhetoric and persuasion, to understanding the many mediums, it really did put me in a spot to succeed.”
“I cannot stress the importance of being in an internship while at Carthage. The station that I work for now was the same station I interned for in 2011!”
Kaitlin Theobald ’15
THEN: International Political Economy Major
Now: Western Cultural Ambassador
Kaitlin Theobald ’15 is a Western Cultural Ambassador for the Chinese luxury brand Shang Xia. Shang Xia was established by designer Jiang Qiong Er and French high-fashion company Hermès. Based in Shanghai, Ms. Theobald promotes the work of Chinese artisans skilled in ancient crafts.
“We offer these artists the necessary workshops and materials to ultimately create beautiful contemporary items for daily life, while still encapsulating the beauty of the ancient handiwork,” she said. “Our pieces have been collected by museums internationally and won many awards. We’ve helped to sustain these crafts from being extinct.”
In fact, a Xi Pi lacquer heaven and earth lidded box was purchased by the British Museum in 2016 as an example of the tradition of Chinese lacquer making.
Ms. Theobald has always had her eyes abroad.
“Carthage allowed me to explore many different cultural backgrounds,” she said. “As an IPE Major, my coursework was mainly internationally focused and pushed me to discover the world outside of the USA.”
She took a year of Mandarin Chinese after she’d already completed her Modern Languages requirement and fell in love with the language so much that she continued to study it after graduating. Living in Shanghai is just the next step of her education.
“The best way to learn a language quickly is to move to the country itself,” she said. “My language preparation that started at Carthage allowed me to further my horizons and open my eyes to the world around me.” #shanghai #shangxia #iAspire #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“I believe it’s important to know that the phrase, ‘made in China’ is more than just cheap things one can find on the internet.”
“As a younger brand, it is not well known outside of elite circles, but is ever expanding. I’ve had the pleasure to give tours of our space to many famous people eager to discover the beauty, such as the cast of The Avengers.”
“The best way to learn a language quickly is to move to the country itself (I learned this while studying abroad in Peru for a semester my junior year). My language preparation that started at Carthage allowed me to further my horizons and open my eyes to the world around me.”
Amanda (Burns) McGillivray ’07
THEN: Theatre Major
Now: Outreach Librarian
Who says the library needs to be stuffy…or even inside? Amanda (Burns) McGillivray ’07 is the Outreach Librarian for the City of Milwaukee. Ms. McGillivray gets to go to schools, playgrounds, concerts, parks, festivals, and other events in the city to expose people to the library’s services outside the physical space.
“It is amazing to see all the diversity and hear stories from library users about what they love about the library,” she said. “I also get to introduce new users, both young and old, to everything the library has to offer.”
Carthage’s liberal arts curriculum allowed Ms. McGillivray to discover things she was passionate about. She even started her library career in Hedberg Library where she worked for two years as a student.
“I dabbled in fine arts, political science, digital media, and even astronomy and have been able to take all these different passions and use them every day in my position as Outreach Librarian.” #library #read #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“It is amazing to see all the diversity and hear stories from library users about what they love about the library. I also get to introduce new users, both young and old, to everything the library has to offer.”
“As a liberal arts college, Carthage allowed me to explore various topics and gave me the time to find myself. ”
“My job is amazing because I get to see all the happy, smiling faces of new and old library users. My question for everyone is, ‘Have you been to your public library recently?’”
Stephen Hobe ’15
THEN: DOUBLE MAJOR IN Music Theatre AND Paleontology
Now: Production manager, museum facilitator, resident artist, museum education coordinator
Stephen Hobe ’15 didn’t want to choose between music and science when he came to Carthage, so he decided to double major in music theatre and paleontology. After graduating, he finally made his choice: both.
To say that Mr. Hobe is busy is an understatement. He currently serves as:
- production manager for the Janus Concert Series in Chicago
- facilitator for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago
- resident artist at the Madison Opera in Madison, Wisconsin
- coordinator of museum education at the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, Montana
Because he apparently doesn’t have enough on his plate, he’s also a freelance opera singer who can sing in six different languages. He is also studying to earn his certificate in museum studies from Northwestern University.
“I love that I have the opportunity to follow any and all of my passions through my multiple career paths,” he says. “I love having such a varied palate of project fields; it makes me ready for anything!”
While opera and paleontology may seem to be polar opposites, Mr. Hobe believes that his careers in both embody the interdisciplinary spirit.
“Opera is such an interesting career because it synthesizes music, theatre, dance, history, foreign languages, psychology, entrepreneurship, graphic design, business and non-profit management and more all into one job,” he says. “Paleontology and Museum Studies follow suit. Think of any field, whether it be physics, education, chemistry, the fine arts, history, etc., they can all be applied to paleontology. Even astronomers at the Adler Planetarium have aided in the reconstruction of Sue the T. rex’s night sky.” #paleontology #dinosaurs #opera #musictheatre #liberalarts #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“I love having the flexibility of being creative in a scientific setting, and systematic in an artistic setting. I always come home feeling fulfilled.”
“Getting a double major across such varied disciplines, I grew into cross collaboration early at Carthage. I began to explore vocal structures and acoustics in dinosaurs. I also did research in the pulmonary fitness of singers. I had the opportunity to follow any question that piqued my interest and come to a conclusion using the tools Carthage provided.”
“I facilitate discovery, whether its teaching twelve year olds about dinosaurs, or finding new ways to portray classic operatic characters.”
Kathy (Szczesniak) Brown ’12
THEN: Exercise and Sport Science Major
Now: Health Promotion Specialist
Kathy (Szczesniak) Brown ’12 is a registered and licensed dietitian that serves as the health promotion lead for Baxter International, a Fortune 500 company that specializes in bioscience and medical equipment. She also has her own small business, TheYogiRD, where she teaches yoga and serves as a dietitian.
Throughout the year, Ms. Brown works to strategize and execute health-focused campaigns like an exercise challenge and healthy eating month. She creates the tools and resources each Baxter facility needs in order to launch the campaigns, then hosts quarterly webinars to train the each facility’s champion. The champions then implement the strategy at a local level and report participation data back at the end of the campaign. “My favorite part of the campaign is seeing all the pictures that are submitted,” she says. “It’s thrilling to see people exercising and making healthy meals around the world!”
During the 2018-2019 term, she served as president of the North Suburban Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During her term, she was recognized as Young Dietitian of the Year by the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Members receiving this honor are 35 years of age or younger and have demonstrated leadership qualities and performance in legislation, research, public relations, education, community outreach, management, and other areas related to the profession.
Ms. Brown has also written a book called “Nutrition Under One Hour” and has also recently completed an additional 300 hours of yoga teacher training (similar to a Masters in Yoga) and is now able to train future teachers. #yoga #healthyliving #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“The thing I love most about my career is the ability to connect with people around the world and help them achieve greater health.”
“I organize and execute programs related to health and well-being to nearly 50,000 people around the world! I also teach yoga and have a small private practice as a dietitian.”
“Carthage gave me the tools and knowledge to understand how the human body works and doesn’t work.”
Jennifer Skarda ’15
THEN: Graphic Design Major
Now: Designer at Southern Living, Meredith Corp.
Jennifer Skarda was passionate about art, but didn’t want to be an artist. As she struggled to find her a major and career path that suited her, she happened upon graphic design at Carthage. “Graphic design is art at work — it’s art that solves problems and communicates,” she said. “I wanted to do that, and still get a liberal arts education.”
After earning a master’s degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she began working on multiple brands at Meredith (Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Southern Living) which has given her great experience with learning different audiences and producing a wide range of content; from recipes to travel stories, to beauty and style profiles.
“Every day is a new story to tell,” she said. “I love being on set and collaborating with our creative team; it truly takes a village from start to finish. Being able to see my sketch come to life through props, styling, photography, and onto the pages of the magazine is such an awesome feeling that I never tire of. Sharing great stories through design and art direction is my passion and I’m lucky to have to discovered it here at Meredith.”
The Communication and Digital Media Department faculty helped set Ms. Skarda up for success. “My professors genuinely took interest in what my passions were, and pushed me to be stronger conceptually with my work and not only learn how to be a designer, but how to be well rounded in all facets of communication,” she said. “My advisor, Laura Huaracha, was integral to the continuation of my education in graduate school, I would not be where I am today without her! Carthage’s liberal arts program is integral to how I approach my job as well. Having that base gives me such strong context when approaching problem solving.” #design #carthageaspire #myjobinsixpics
“Being able to see my sketch come to life through props, styling, photography, and onto the pages of the magazine is such an awesome feeling that I never tire of.”
“Every day is a new story to tell. I love being on set and collaborating with our creative team; it truly takes a village from start to finish.”
“My professors genuinely took interest in what my passions were, and pushed me to be stronger conceptually with my work and not only learn how to be a designer, but how to be well rounded in all facets of communication.”
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
“I get to walk people through the most joyous and the most difficult times in their lives.”
“Whether weddings, baptisms, funerals, or hospital visits, I get to be there.”
“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
“I absolutely love the variety of tasks associated with my job.”
“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.”
“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
“Carthage allowed me the flexibility to take advantage of learning opportunities all around the country and across the world.”
“Two days are never alike in the NBA which can be a challenge but also makes the job very interesting and entertaining.”
“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
“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.”
“As a health care professional and small business owner, I wear many hats and each and every day is different.”
“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
“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!”
“Not only did Carthage teach us the fundamentals of ecology, but all the outdoor lab classes really helped prepare us for working outside everyday!”
“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
“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.”
“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.”
“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
“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.”
“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.”
“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
“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.”
“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.”
“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
“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.”
“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.”
“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
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.”
“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.”
“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
“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.”
“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.”
“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
“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!”
“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.”
“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!”