Students who made their mark their first year here

As we anticipate welcoming the Class of 2026, let’s celebrate the impact of our newest Carthaginians. Meet nine first-year students who are definitely ready for year two.

 

Abigail Davidson '25 Abigail Davidson ’25

Hometown: Ashland, Wis.
Major: Allied Health Science
Minor: Spanish

List any clubs, orgs, and extracurricular activities you were involved in:

  • Native American Student Association, founder and president
  • Black Student Union, member
  • United Women of Color, member
  • First Generation Organization, member
  • Athletic Training Club, secretary
  • Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, member
  • Pep band, member

Why did you choose to come to Carthage?
“They offered me the great opportunity of joining a 3+2 Accelerated Athletic Training Master’s Program. I also really loved the location and experiences offered here.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your first year, and why?
“I am most proud of founding an organization that highlights Native Americans on campus called the Native American Student Association. I am proud of my culture and am so happy that others on campus want to join me in appreciating Indigenous cultures. My hope is that this organization will continue to expand years after I leave Carthage. Another one of my biggest accomplishments from this year was making the Dean’s List with a 4.0 GPA!”

What’s been the biggest surprise about your first year of college?
“One of the biggest surprises of my first year of college, and specifically Carthage, is how much support you can find and how there is a way for everyone to get involved. Being a first-generation student, it was hard at first to be open to new experiences but I was able to come out of my shell this past year and find my place through the support of peers and faculty.”


Eli Powers '25 Eli Powers ’25

Hometown: Vinton, Iowa
Major: Nursing

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:

  • Carthage Association of Nursing Students
  • Residents Life Council

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your first year, and why?:
“I am most proud of getting involved in the Nursing Program by becoming a member of the Carthage Association of Nursing Students E-board (CANS). This has helped me to learn more about the program and help the community through our service events. It also has helped me meet and get to know some of my nursing professors before I have them in class, and also get to know upperclassmen in the program.”

Which professor(s) helped you to succeed during your first year?:
“Professors Christine Blaine and Justin Miller were and still are my favorite professors. Prof. Blaine made learning chemistry more fun, rather than a task that we had to do. My class had fun in lectures and in the lab, even if we messed up a little. Learning all of the parts of the body and what they do is difficult, but Prof. Miller made it so much easier. He chose to use a simpler vocabulary so that we could understand it easier, and not all teachers do that. It really makes the difference between actually learning something and retaining it, rather than memorizing something for the exam and forgetting it seconds after. Having these difficult classes with these professors help me to lead a happier year because I wasn’t stressed about my grades, because I knew I was doing good and learning what they were teaching.”

What advice do you have for incoming students?:
“Make use of your free time. Whether it be getting a job, joining a club, studying, or taking a nap. Time is precious and it often seems like we don’t have enough, so when you do get free time make sure you use it well. Also, a nap every once in a while really helps out.”


Kobe Gilbert ’25

Kobe Gilbert '25 Hometown: Roselle, Ill. 
Major: Criminal justice

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:

Why was it important for you to get involved on campus right away?:
“So I could meet people on campus and make friends. Also, to have something to do in my free time.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your first year, and why?:
“I am most proud of having a 3.4 GPA the first semester because my grades in high school were not as good as I wanted them to be, so I wanted to have a good GPA when I got a restart. I worked really hard and focused on school more than before and got a higher GPA than I ever have.”

Which professor helped you to succeed during your first year?:
Professor Zopf helped me succeed during my first year. He was my advisor and talked to me about what path to go down as a criminal justice major, and helped me pick my classes for next year. Also, his class was very interesting and made me certain I want to be involved in the American justice system.”

What advice do you have for incoming students?:
“Be social, and don’t be shy. Go out and talk to people. You will meet so many cool people from all over with different backgrounds and stories. Knowing people and having people to talk to will make the year more fun.”


Jacklyn Wintersheimer ’25

Jacklyn Wintersheimer '25 Hometown: Roscommon, Mich.
Major: Psychology
Minors: Creative writing and political science

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:

  • Carthage Republicans
  • Dean of Student Affairs student worker
  • After-school elementary and middle school teacher

Why was it important for you to get involved on campus right away?:
“It was super important for me to get involved on campus right away for many reasons. I came to Carthage not knowing a single person at Carthage or even in the state of Wisconsin. I needed to find meaningful relationships to help me succeed. I knew what I was passionate about and wanted to get involved as soon as I could.”

What’s been the biggest surprise about your first year of college?:
“My biggest surprise about my first year of college is that the year flies by so fast. One day you are waiting at the check-in line to get your room key, and then all of a sudden, I’m almost a month away from being done with my freshman year of college.”

What advice do you have for incoming students?:
“Do not take your relationships for granted and do all of your work. Talk with your professors and schedule meetings with your advisors. Take advantage of all of the people who are here to help you.”


Gabby Tanguay '25 Gabby Tanguay ’25

Hometown: Lockport, Ill.
Major: Social work

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:
“I am the president of the Suicide Prevention Awareness club and am in a sorority.”

Why did you choose to come to Carthage?:
“I chose Carthage because of the positive atmosphere. Everyone here — the professors, advisors, and students — are all kind-hearted and super helpful. I wanted a smaller school to make close connections with my professors. My professors always make time to meet with me and help me when I need it. Getting involved on campus is super easy and there are a plethora of things to be a part of.”

The Suicide Prevention Awareness club at the 2022 Winter Involvement Fair. Gabby Tanguay '25 foun... What accomplishment are you most proud of in your first year, and why?:
“The accomplishment I am most proud of is starting the Suicide Prevention Awareness(SPA) club. When I first came to Carthage, I fully intended on joining a club for suicide prevention. When I found out there wasn’t a club on campus, I started one. Carthage is cool in that way too. If you’re passionate about something, you can create and build a new positive environment. A lot of my friends are involved with SPA as well and it means a lot to me that my peers are just as passionate and super supportive.”

Which professor helped you to succeed during your first year?:
“I would like to give a shout-out to both my career specialist, Carolyn Serdar, and my student success advisor, Lydia Stiegman. I am a person that likes to plan ahead, but I also happen to change my mind a lot. These two people helped me through every struggle and career/class change that I wanted to make. I’ve made numerous appointments with both and each time was a success and I always feel 100 percent better after speaking with them. I have definitely succeeded the most because of Carolyn and Lydia and I am super grateful for both of them.”


Caitlin Powers '25 Caitlin Powers ’23

Hometown: Sun Prairie, Wis.
Major: Psychology and sociology

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:

Why did you choose Carthage?
“I choose to transfer to Carthage for a number of reasons. One of the first reasons was that while I was on campus during my tour and other visits it felt like home. I was comfortable with where I was and knew I could call this place home during my time here. The second reason was for academics and athletics. I felt that academics would provide me with a quality education and set me up for my future. With professors that had an outlook to set me up for success. For athletics, I knew that I would be in a position to show my talent, while also competing against some of the best competitors in the nation. Also, knowing that Coach Katie wanted to see me succeed and grow as a student-athlete drove me to want to play for her and the school. The final reason, which wasn’t a huge part of the final decision, was the view. You can never beat waking up to the sun rising over the lake.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your first year, and why?:
“There are two accomplishments that I am most proud of for my first year. The first would be finishing the semester with a 3.5 GPA. I was so proud of the success that I had in the classroom coming into a new school with a different style of curriculum. The second accomplishment I am proud of is winning CCIW Player of the Year. Coming from the situation I was in before transferring, I was unsure what the future held for me in my sport. But I was able to overcome multiple obstacles and push myself to be the best I can be. I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish either of these without the support of my family, coaches, teammates, and friends.”

What advice do you have for incoming students?:
“As a transfer student, these would be my bits of advice for other students looking to transfer to Carthage:

  1. Be patient as you transfer into the new environment and setting. It can be challenging and stressful, but one day everything will feel right.
  2. Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid. It can either be successful or a learning experience, but there isn’t a point in holding back.
  3. You’re not the only one. Going through the transfer experience can feel lonely, but you’re not the only one going through this change. There are other transfer students and even incoming freshmen that are going through the same feelings as you. Embrace the change and be excited for the new opportunities to come!”

Andrew Kasica ’25

Andrew Kasica '25 Hometown: Slinger, Wis.
Majors: Accounting and political science

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:

  • Student Government, Finance Chair
  • Model United Nations
  • Carthage Democrats
  • Accounting Association

Why did you choose to come to Carthage?:
“I came to Carthage because my professors advertised their program, promising I could earn 150 credits in four years so I may sit for the CPA exam. At [other] Colleges, it would have taken me five years to sit for the CPA exam. Another reason is the campus size is smaller, so I may stand out among students. Additionally, Carthage is a beautiful campus, no matter the season. Carthage also has a great reputation, and I felt I fit in here during my tour.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your first year, and why?:
“I am proud to be involved in many organizations and to have been elected finance chair for Student Government. I wanted to get involved so I may know as many people as possible who have similar interests while I’m here for my four years. This helped me to become more extroverted and apply for new opportunities. In addition to making friends, I wanted to make a difference here. I hope in my next few years, I am able to continue doing that.”

What advice do you have for incoming students?:
“My number one recommendation is to join clubs you are interested in as soon as possible. If you are uncertain about clubs, attend the Org Fair on campus, where you can talk to members and learn more. Clubs will lead to having friends on campus and make your time on campus enjoyable. My other advice is to do things you never tried before. Attend a Career Fair so you can network, go to events on campus hosted by clubs, and use all the resources available to you.”


Madelyn Leppiaho ’24

Madelyn Leppiaho '24 Hometown: Luxemborg, Wis.
Major: History
Minor: Secondary education

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:

  • Student Government, Organization Representative
  • Firebirds Dance Team, President
  • Writing Center Fellow
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Association for Carthage Education Students
  • Chi Omega Social Sorority
  • Student Ambassador
  • Honors Program

What’s been the biggest surprise about your first year of college?
“I guess I’m most surprised about how much Carthage has become my home. I’ve met so many new people and know the area so well that going back home will be hard. As much as I hoped I’d get used to life here, I never expected having to say goodbye for the summer would be so hard. I truly had the best first-year experience and am so grateful for that.”

Why did you choose to come to Carthage?
“Honestly, big universities scared me. I never wanted to be a face in a lecture of 300 people where the professor didn’t know me, I didn’t know my classmates, and no one cared about me. I wanted to matter. Carthage gave me that opportunity. From touring and talking to students, I could see the close-knit community Carthage has, where everyone has a place and a network of people that can help us succeed. I knew I wanted to be part of the community and take advantage of all the opportunities here at Carthage. (I also grew up near the bay of Green Bay, so the lake has always felt like home to me!)”


Kaeleen Smith ’25

Kaeleen Smith '25 Hometown: Moline, Ill. 
Major: History
Minor: Political science

List any clubs, orgs, extracurricular activities you were involved in:

  • Carthage Activities Board
  • Pep Band
  • Student Government, Freshman Senator
  • Carthage Democrats
  • Honors Program
  • Student Ambassador, Office of Admissions
  • Career Ambassador, The Aspire Center

Why did you choose to come to Carthage?:
“I knew my first visit here that this is where I wanted to be. I came for a History Department visit day and I watched the way the faculty interacted with each other and the way the faculty interacted with their students and I knew it was the place for me. I also wanted to continue to have strong relationships with my teachers as I had throughout all of my previous schooling and I knew that Carthage could offer that to me.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your first year, and why?:
“I’m incredibly proud of all of the opportunities I took advantage of this year. I have two jobs on campus in places where I wanted to work. I worked very hard on my grades this year and made it onto the Dean’s List for the fall, and I am hoping to do it again. I was invited to be a part of the Wind Orchestra, and I got to go on a Phoenix tour over spring break. Finally, I applied for the opportunity to be a peer coach in the fall, and I am so excited to do that. I’m very proud of all the times I said yes this year because they paid off.”

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?:
“Say hi to people. I know that sounds really cheesy but its true and it works. I met one of my best friends over Orientation weekend because we were in the same group and were looking to know anyone — now we go to dinner and hang out together all the time. I met another two of my best friends in my stats class. The three of us decided to work together on a group project together and then we worked on every group project after it together. Even though first semester is long over, we found time in our schedules and make it a point to have dinner together every Thursday and its a highlight of my week. I have some of my best friends because I took that leap and said hello.”