The Aspire Conference begins with evening programming on Monday, Oct. 4, and continues through Wednesday, Oct. 6. As a participant in the conference, you can attend and interact in high-quality experiences led by nationally recognized industry experts, prominent alumni, and even some current Carthage students!

New registrants: A confirmation email will be sent from Cadence, the conference platform, to give you access to sessions. Be sure to check your spam folder. 

Already registered? If you’ve completed the registration form and created your password, you can access the conference now!

Monday, Oct. 4

Campbell Student Union
Tracks: Try Something New, Making Connections and Exploring Entrepreneurship

Looking for a chance to unwind, laugh, and engage within a casual environment (and eat free food and make tasty treats)?! Join us for a night of FREE FOOD! (Can you say tot-cho bar and candy sushi making?!) We will also have a SWAG BAR for you to create for your own custom Carthage Firebird swag. It wouldn’t be a creative space without a little bit of messy fun. Life can get messy sometimes, but it doesn’t mean it can be fun. Hot Mess Studios, located just down the road, is providing a welcoming space to be your own artist. No judgments or critics — just enjoying the process of creating splatters and leaving with your Jackson Pollock-inspired masterpiece.

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Campbell Student Union Auditorium
An original feature film written, directed, and performed by Austin Winter ’18 and ’21, focusing on love and self-worth in relation to his experience as a queer person of color. The short musical film features songs by independent and well-known artists.

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Featuring Carthage’s Master of Music Theater Vocal Pedagogy Students
Campbell Student Union Auditorium
Our music theatre graduate students will each be singing a music theatre piece - so you can just enjoy the music! Each one of our graduate students has powerful advice about life after undergraduate study - and you’ll want to connect with them! Tickets are FREE but REQUIRED.

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Tuesday, Oct. 5

Kissing Rock (rain location: Einstein’s)
Start off your day on the right foot with free breakfast (pancakes on a stick!) and connect with your career specialist to chat about your career and life development path and how they can help students on their journey.

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Tracks: Making Connections, Building Professional Documents, Intercultural Development Plan, Telling Your Story, Securing Experiences, Exploring Entrepreneurship and Try Something New

Presenter: Melissa Burwell
Todd Wehr Center 128
The path to leadership for women is varied and complex. From sticky floors to shattered ceilings to navigating labyrinths, women are called to lead in different ways and in different stages throughout their careers. Through examining the stories and career journeys of 13 women leaders in student affairs, participants will reflect on their own leadership and the themes which emerged from the study participants. A discussion of the intersection of context, calling, gender, and a framework of stages of leadership will guide our reflection.

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Todd Wehr Center Jockey Room
Lunch Provided

Adrienne (Saputo) Hoyt ’05 has had an unconventional career path, to say the least — one that has taken twists (planning a 2012 Newt Gingrich Super Tuesday Presidential Campaign stop) and turns (cleaning bathrooms in an airline hangar and literally running into uber-celebrity Adrien Brody on a red carpet). And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Enjoy a free lunch and learn about her uncharted journey of being a religion major at Carthage to the vice president of internal communications at CNN. Adrienne will explore going with your gut, taking risks, talking to strangers, and cultivating curiosity.

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Tracks: Try Something New, Making Connections, Telling Your Story, Exploring Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, Oct. 6

Presenter: Carolyn Serdar
Todd Wehr Center 128

Carthage will co-host the annual Fall Internship and Career Fair in a few weeks. Carolyn Serdar from The Aspire Center will show you how to put your best foot forward and get hired for the career of your dreams! Employers and career specialists will provide some high-level tips and tricks on how to stand out at this career fair. Experts will provide you with individualized coaching on your resume and how to dress to impress. Whether you attend the Career Fair in person or virtually, you will leave this session ready to launch your new internship or career after graduation.

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Tracks: Building Professional Documents, Making Connections, Telling Your Story, Securing Experiences, Exploring Entrepreneurship, Try Something New

Presenters: Kevin Palmer and Jordan Ball ’23
Todd Wehr Center 128

From the time you are in middle school, there is an abundant pressure to pick and choose a career for the rest of your life, and begin preparing for it. This model is broken, and I’m here to tell you why. Join us to discuss creating opportunities, finding what makes you happy in your career, and pushing yourself to achieve it, even if it means being outside of the norm and your comfort zone. 

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Tracks: Making Connections, Telling Your Story, Exploring Entrepreneurship, Try Something New

Presenter: Kate Colbert ’95
Todd Wehr Center Jockey Room

Lunch Provided
What’s your story? Can you tell it on a moment’s notice, does it make people sit up and listen, and does it set you apart from the crowd? Does it make you feel proud to be “the biologist who …” or “the fiction writer best known for …” or “the business professional whose passions include …” or “the nurse recently recognized as …”? You might be “just” a college student right now, but your career story is starting to write itself. It’s time to know how to tell it! Individuals who go from “aspiring” professionals to actual game-changers rarely get from here to there without a clear understanding of what makes them unique, how others perceive them, and how to tell their story in a way that creates opportunity, happiness, and prosperity. Come learn how the words you use — to describe yourself and your academic and work experiences — are either helping or hurting you.

Then gather up some powerful new tools for understanding, crafting, and articulating a personal story that will turn heads, open doors, close deals, and create personal fulfillment. It’s time to discover what makes you meaningfully different from other students, grad school applicants, job candidates, or community influencers. Let Kate Colbert, one-time starry-eyed English major turned successful entrepreneur and bestselling business author, inspire YOU to tell a story that changes everything for your life and career.

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Tracks: Making Connections, Intercultural Development Plan, Telling Your Story, Securing Experiences, Exploring Entrepreneurship, Try Something New

Presenter: Sharmain Harris ’21
Todd Wehr Center Jockey Room

Being a student is tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Too many students get to a point in college where they are overwhelmed and have no idea what to do. They think that “taking all the responsibility on their shoulders” is the way to handle things. When students don’t know what to do, they shut down and feel like checking out or giving up. This presentation shows students what to do during tough times. Regardless of their year in college, this presentation shows them how to not only take advantage of the staff and student resources around but the attitude needed to become their own student advocate. Participants will learn critical skills needed to advocate for themselves, lead outside the lines and overcome any challenge thrown at them. The presentation is delivered in a dynamic and interactive experience that evokes emotions, leaving students eager to succeed when they walk away.

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Tracks: Making Connections, Intercultural Development Plan, Telling Your Story, Securing Experiences, Exploring Entrepreneurship, Try Something New

Presenters: Patrick Cummings ’04 and Prof. Laura Huaracha
Campbell Student Union Auditorium

Moderated by Laura Huaracha, associate professor of communication and digital media, hear from alumnus Patrick Cummings ’04 on how he landed his job as a graphic designer at Adidas after graduating from Carthage. He will also share how he led the entire rebrand and created the Carthage Firebirds logo.

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Tracks: Building Professional Documents, Telling Your Story, Securing Experiences, Exploring Entrepreneurship

Presenter: Carolynn Friesch and Holly Hess
Todd Wehr Center 128

Have you heard this saying before? “Life is a journey, not a destination.” In this session, presenters will dive into the importance of the “journey” and identify small steps that can make a big difference as you travel towards your “destination.” Whether you focused on identifying a career path or thinking about life in general, this presentation is for you. Join Carolynn Friesch, CEO of United Way of Kenosha County, and Holly Hess, Purposeful Life and Leadership Coordinator at Carthage for this session. 

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Tracks: Career Development, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Networking, Creativity

Presenter: Carolyn Riley ’02
Todd Wehr Center Jockey Room
Led by Carthage alum and Google employee, Caroline Riley, #IamRemarkable is a Google initiative empowering women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. During the 90-minute workshop, you will learn the importance of self-promotion in your personal and professional life and be equipped with tools to develop this skill. Participants will be invited to challenge the social perception around self-promotion. Boost your confidence and learn to express your achievements. 82 percent of participants declared to feel more confident since attending the workshop.

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Tracks: Making Connections, Intercultural Development Plan, Telling Your Story, Exploring Entrepreneurship, Try Something New

Todd Wehr Center 128
Building on the College’s existing urban education minor, the Urban Teacher Preparation Program is designed to expand the pool of educators who are equipped and committed to teach in urban elementary schools. Siovahn Williams, Director of the Accelerated Certification in Teaching and Assistant Professor of Education, will lead this session. 

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Tracks: Making Connections, Intercultural Development Plan, Securing Experiences, Try Something New