Firebird family featured on ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’
For the first time in the College’s history, three generations of students from the same family are attending Carthage this year.
Freshman Mia Carter ’27 entered Carthage at the same time her mother and grandmother, Amy Malczewski MSc ’24 and Christy Schwan MSc ’24, enrolled in Carthage’s 10-month master’s degree program in business design and innovation.
Their story has gone viral. After being featured on Carthage’s social media, the story was picked up by CBS58 Milwaukee, then CNN, Good Morning America, People Magazine, The Independent (UK), and other media from around the country and internationally.
The four women also flew to New York to share their incredible story on “The Drew Barrymore Show.”
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“This family reminds us of the power of lifelong learning,” says Ashley Hanson, vice president for enrollment at Carthage. “It’s been inspiring to see Amy, Christy, Sam, and Mia dive into some of our strongest academic programs and each find immense value — at vastly different stages in their lives and careers. They epitomize our Firebird spirit!”
Along with her full-time position in The Aspire Center, the hub for Carthage’s career development program, Amy is quite literally responsible for school spirit. She has directed the spirit team (which includes cheer, dance, twirl, and the College mascot, Ember) since 2001.
After her grandmother died, Amy resolved to spend more time with her own grieving mom. And Christy agreed the timing was right for both of them to take the next step in their educational journey.
To modify an old adage, the family that learns together stays together.
“Life is short, so I tell people to push their doubts aside and go for it,” Amy says. “It’s especially sweet to go through this experience with my mom, and seeing my daughters on campus is fantastic.”
More flexible than a standard MBA program, Carthage’s graduate focus on design and innovation offers a creative approach to solving complex problems. It appeals to business executives, yet the strategies can be applied to just about any field.
Christy, a 71-year-old retired corporate leader and small business owner, has also published several books. Among the core beliefs she lists on her website are that “together is better than separate” and “it is never too late for a new beginning.”
She’s certainly walking the walk. As a volunteer for local nonprofits, she’s eager to learn innovative strategies to put to use.
“Leaving my comfort zone got me where I am today,” Christy points out. “Age is no deterrent in education. Older students bring a valuable perspective to class discussions.”
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Although there’s a truly night-and-day difference in their class schedules, the four of them love having the option to reconnect on campus as family members and Carthage students.
“It’s nice that we can walk them to class, meet for a study session, or just meet in the cafeteria for meals,” Mia says. “I really love having that touch of home right here on campus.”