Carthage’s liberal arts education will make you a better physicist, designer, actor, programmer, police officer, doctor, teacher … Whatever your major, be better. The essential skills you’ll gain from Carthage will help you advance in any career.
Here’s what faculty and alumni across majors say about the value of the liberal arts:
Serena Sessoms ’13 graduated with a triple-major in communication, graphic design, and public relations. Today she’s an account manager at GFX International, where she manages all day-to-day communication for multiple clients, and executes design and print production pieces.
“Coming from a liberal arts school has helped me in my career greatly,” she says. “Not only do I have skills directly related to my field, but I have the skills to go above and beyond. … Being in the design field isn’t all about designing. You have to be able to talk with clients and communicate in a way that not only helps you understand what their needs are, but helps the client fully understand as well.
“Carthage makes you think outside of your field and see things from different perspectives. You are not isolated in your specific field all four years of school. This allows you to broaden your background knowledge, and it gives you an upper hand in the corporate world.”
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When you major in theatre at Carthage, a third of your classes will be in theatre. But you’re also going to take courses across disciplines, so you will graduate with deep understanding about the world both behind the scenes and beyond the stage.
“We broaden your mind,” says theatre professor Martin McClendon. “Our mission is to create well-rounded citizen artists, not just proficient actors and proficient set designers.”
Yes, you will get stage experience. “We push performance experience. You’re active every semester. You’re on a crew, or you’re on stage, or you’re designing every semester.” But you’ll also be versatile, and trained to make the most of every opportunity presented to you.
“This is your foundation. You don’t want to build your foundation too narrow. You can build high on that, but it’s not as stable as having a broad base. So give yourself a broad base. You’ll be able to bring a lot to the conversation as you enter the world of the arts.”
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Jillian Theobald ’01 is an emergency medicine physician, medical toxicologist, and assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She got her start in Carthage’s Physics Department, and says that experience played a big role in preparing her for her medical career.
“I had such a wonderful, well-rounded experience bolstered by the amazing faculty; there was no way I wasn’t going to be prepared,” says Dr. Theobald.
Today “I encounter people from all walks of life in the emergency room: young, old, immigrant, local, male, female, transgender, you name it. And I have to make a connection with them in a very short amount of time. Each one of these patients has a problem to solve.
“Carthage laid the foundation for me to develop and fine-tune my approach to solving the patient’s problem, but also communicating with them in a meaningful way. … It is important to have goals, but it’s more important to remain flexible and curious.”
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“Before I started this job, I had absolutely no training in web development or anything in technology. I believe the reason for my success in this industry is due in part to my liberal arts education,” she says.
“Just because I am not working in a field that is directly related to my degree does not mean that my degree was a waste or not useful. Quite the contrary. There is not a day that goes by where I am not influenced by an experience from my Great Ideas or Political Science programs. “
“Studying the great books and politics taught me so much about the nature of human beings that I’ll always have a unique perspective on how people work. It allows me to be a strong and empathetic manager, and it gives me confidence when meeting new clients. I study technical documentation just like I studied the great books; and I prepare for presentations just like I prepared for my theses.
“Carthage instilled a strong discipline that allows me to thrive today. In my Great Ideas program, we talked a lot about the idea of gaining knowledge just for the sake of knowledge. So even if I am not studying the works of the most brilliant minds, or analyzing some public policy as my 9-5, I am still driven by the need to gain knowledge for the sake of knowledge. And that passion makes me the best employee that I can be.”
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When you study a modern language at a liberal arts institution like Carthage, opportunities and challenges on campus and abroad will motivate you to think and communicate critically about your language. Majoring in German at Carthage means diving deep into German literature, politics, history, economics, art, and language in ways that are culturally sensitive and insightful. Your course of study will inspire reflection and self-discovery, and make you adaptable and flexible in the workplace.
As you study German, for example, you will learn to ask and address difficult questions, support your answers with strong evidence, and communicate your ideas clearly, carefully, and correctly — all in German.
Employers want these kinds of critical thinking and communication skills. And these are the skills you will need as you uncover and ignite your potential and prepare to grow, serve, and lead in the 21st century.