Ask Carthage graduates to name their most compelling academic experiences, and many will point to one from J-Term. How do we measure that impact? In degrees, of course.
Ask Carthage graduates to name their most compelling academic experiences, and many will point to one from J-Term. How do we measure that impact? In degrees, of course.
Setting sail for Carthage with plans to major in education, Caitlin Zant ’12 saw her route permanently detoured by pirates.
They ambushed her during J-Term of her freshman year, as she took the on-campus course Pirates: Fact or Fiction? After growing up tracking the fictional exploits of Captain Jack Sparrow, Ms. Zant learned what really happened during the Golden Age of Piracy in the 16th and 17th centuries.
No, she didn’t race off to buy an eye patch and a parrot. The class sparked an interest in history, especially the maritime kind.
“It was one of the first courses where I started reading original sources,” she said, like court files from piracy cases and manifestos from actual pirates.
Graduating with a degree in history and geography, Ms. Zant gravitated toward a two-year master’s program in a niche field most people don’t know exists: underwater archaeology. Even before wrapping up her graduate thesis at East Carolina University, she parlayed a summer internship into a full-time job with the Wisconsin Historical Society in 2014.
A maritime archaeologist, she helps to document and preserve “submerged culture” — like the wreck of the SS Wisconsin, which sank in 1929 just a few miles southeast of today’s Carthage campus.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity coming out of grad school,” she said.
The work entails lots of GIS mapping and, since the unit is funded one year at a time, grant writing. But she’s not exactly a desk jockey; the team does 25 to 50 public presentations per year, plus plenty of deep-water scuba diving to see how badly the ships are deteriorating.
Ms. Zant teases that, if the annual study tour to Honduras had come a year or two earlier, she could’ve picked up those skills in class instead of cramming diving lessons into the summer after graduation. Students in the Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior course earn scuba certification.
The only downer? She’s unlikely to stumble onto any sunken pirate vessels on Lake Michigan.
Read on to find out how J-Term experiences altered the course of a few other Carthage students.
During her freshman year, Katie Schlinder ’15 went on a J-Term study tour to Guatemala. “I spent a month in the country studying sustainable economic development, and it changed my entire focus of what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.
She took two more J-Term study tours and spent a summer in Guatemala working on development research. Katie graduated with majors in economics, Spanish, and international political economy and enrolled in a master’s degree program in development in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Had I not gone to Guatemala my freshman year,” she said, “it’s safe to say I would not have realized my interest in international development!”
A bel canto revelation
As a freshman, Maura Atwood ’16 participated in the Opera Workshop. Cast in “L’Elisir D’Amore” (in English, “The Elixir of Love”) after her voice teacher recommended her to audition, she quickly got hooked.
“The rehearsal process for the opera was delightful. The group of people I was working with were all dedicated and kind, and we had a blast,” Maura said. “I found that I really liked to sing opera. The music is beautiful, it’s challenging, and the history nerd in me loves how old it is.”
Instead of complementing her theatre major with an emphasis in music theatre, she chose to pursue a music core with an emphasis in vocal performance as her second major. It was a small shift, but one that pointed her toward opera.
As a biology major, Zachery Feldker ’15 dove into some pretty unique research. His J-Terms made an even bigger splash.
For one J-Term, he taught at an English language camp in China, and was amazed at how quickly the community welcomed him as an insider. During his J-Terms on campus, he was engrossed in religion courses and interfaith lunches. A second study tour, studying ecology in Costa Rica, with churches filling the countryside, sealed the deal.
“Wait, that sounds like my journey as well. You start to interact as people, rather than classifying by our ideas and country,” Zachery said. “I decided, you know what? I don’t want to live in a lab.”
Instead, he decided to pursue a career in ministry.
When this first cohort of nursing students walks across the stage of the N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center Field House in four years to receive their degrees, they will receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. However, they’re starting with history and philosophy before biology and anatomy.
What’s the first thing you think a nurse learns? How to take a temperature? What about measuring blood pressure? Maybe it’s even something more basic like how to properly wash your hands after working with a patient?
Nope, it’s something much more integral to the discipline. Students in this J-Term’s Contemporary Professional Nursing course are learning about the history of nursing, the social contract nurses have with their patients, and the underlying ethics that will be with them for the duration of their careers as nurses.
“We’ve learned that absolutely everything in life can affect your profession,” said nursing student Emma Frohna ’19. “We’re given case studies in class to analyze and develop how we would approach something. For example, one of the scenarios involved a mother who used sleep medication driving to pick up her daughter who ran into some trouble at night. It turns out that the mother was pulled over and charged with driving under the influence. She happened to be a nurse and lost her license. It’s those things we have to consider, even if we’re far away from work.”
This discussion-based approach surprised a lot of the students, the first cohort in Carthage’s new nursing program.
“Storytelling facilitates student learning, and that is something both Dr. Hicks and I bring to the table for this class,” said Prof. Lisa Anderson-Antle. “Students will be using case studies to analyze ethical tenets, apply nursing theoretical underpinnings to the acquisition of nursing knowledge, ultimately influencing practice, and create a course content synthesis producing a scholarly paper that articulates their personal philosophy, their beliefs, and values of nursing.”
This is the first course that this cohort of 22 students has taken together, and they’re already bonding as a family.
“We’re the first ones, so I think that brings us together both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Lloyd Sorrell ’19. “The class was pretty quiet at the start, but as it’s gone on with discussion, it’s become a lot more lively and we’ve learned about each other.”
The hands-on stuff begins in earnest next semester with BIO 2010 Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals. Though the professional nursing experience that Profs. Hicks and Anderson-Antle have is already evident.
“I could be pre-med and want to be a surgeon, but the person teaching a required biology course probably isn’t a surgeon,” Emma said. “Both of our professors in this class are nurses, and I appreciate that they have that experience and share it with us.”
That’s the temperature Carthage students used this J-Term to brew their first batch of beer.
Relax, Mom and Dad; they’re doing it in the name of science. Application of Fermentation, taught by Professor Justin Miller, is one of dozens of unique on-campus courses offered only during J-Term.
Fermentation happens at the molecular level when water, yeast, barley, and hops are combined under the right conditions. Changing the temperature at which the yeast is activated yields different types of beer, and the class is testing a range of those temperatures.
“I thought it was relevant to my biology major, but I also just thought that it would be a super fun way to learn something new and an exciting way to spend my J-Term. I mean, who else can say that they did this in college?” said Michael Poplawski ’17.
Students brew a different batch each week during J-Term. During the second week, the class produced more than 100 bottles of farmhouse ale.
“We gathered all of the ingredients last week and set the beer to ferment in a cask at room temperature,” said Emily Heuermann ’16. “After that process begins, it’s a waiting game, so we’re all happy that we’ve finally completed our first brew.”
For the final project, students brewed a regional beer using everything they had learned in the class. They didn’t sample the finished product; instead, Prof. Miller explained that the beer created in the class supports a popular J-Term study tour.
“All of the beer is going to benefit Professor Patrick Pfaffle’s water purification nonprofit through a fundraising event with other local brewers,” he said. Along with Professor Matthew Zorn, Prof. Pfaffle takes groups of Carthage students to Nicaragua every January and June.
Here’s a sampling of other J-Term experiences students can have without leaving campus:
Tea: Science and Society
Professor Dan Choffnes
Students learned the ins and outs of the tea industry, while mastering their own tea-brewing techniques and tasting different teas from all over the world.
Christian Responses to Nazism
Professor Tom Long
The course analyzed the various roles of churches during the Third Reich. Some churches advocated for ideas of the Nazi movement, while others stood against the operations of the Nazi regime.
The Art of Play: Video Game Theory and Culture
Professor Kimberly Kulovitz
Students in this class examined hot topics in the video game industry such as violence, communication, women in video games, and the video game narrative. Of course, to find those connections, they had to play those games daily.
Greenhouse Biological-Based Research
Professor Elaine Radwanski
Time to break in the new 700-square-foot greenhouse on the roof of the new Science Center. The new facility allows species to grow in different environments in the same greenhouse space.
Dr. Dolittle: Deciphering Meaning from Animal Vocalization
Professor Angela Dassow
Playing on the title of the popular comedy series, this course had students comparing human communication to animal vocal systems — particularly in white-handed gibbons, primates found in southeast Asia. The payoff? Students learned a word in gibbon.
Besides the interesting topics, J-Term lets students check off multiple graduation requirements that might be difficult to fit into a normal semester schedule. One is the Carthage Symposium, an innovative academic program in which two faculty members from different academic disciplines team up to teach a single course. Another is Global Heritage, a designation for a course that explores non-European cultures and traditions.
Those are (roughly) the latitude and longitude of Hong Kong. Hey, why just read about that sliver of Asian land and its unlikely route to become a global trade hub? That’s a waste of senses.
During J-Term 2016, 30 Carthage students traveled to see the bustling financial center for themselves. Hear it, too. Feel it. Absorb it.
Students in the class visited Hong Kong’s stock exchange, customs department, housing authority, and legislative council. They met with corporate leaders, diplomatic experts, and fellow college students. And they checked out as many of the 426 square miles as they could squeeze in.
It was one of 14 international study tours that Carthage faculty members led during January 2016. Seven others are booked for this summer.
Among U.S. schools that primarily serve undergraduate students, the Institute of International Education ranks Carthage No. 4 for student participation in short-term study abroad. These intense study tours aren’t like any family vacation — unless your mom and dad require written or oral research presentations.
“These are academic courses, and they offer insights into an area’s culture, geography, and experiences that people would never get on an ordinary trip,” said David Steege, senior associate provost at the College.
Other January study tours observed the effect of the U.S. embargo in Cuba, visited sacred sites in India, and studied coral reef ecology by scuba diving in the Caribbean.
Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), 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 ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. 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 $20,000 up to full tuition. 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 130 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. 3 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 …