Skip to main content

International Political Economy


  • Submitted Photo

Katie Niemeyer ’13

Class Year



International Political Economy and Economics

Current home

Minneapolis—St. Paul, Minnesota

Current position

New Business Development and Program Management Specialist at Land O’Lakes International Development in Minneapolis—St. Paul, Minnesota

For someone who never had traveled abroad before coming to Carthage, Katie Niemeyer ’13 quickly demonstrated an ability to adapt in unfamiliar surroundings. 

As a double-major in international political economy and economics, she thirsted for a chance to go abroad and learn about peoples’ lives in other countries. She traveled to Guatemala and Turkey during two of her J-Terms, and also to Tanzania, where she arranged her own summer internship with a non-governmental organization.

In the spring semester of her senior year, she learned she had earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She spent the 2013-2014 academic year as a Fulbright Fellow, living and working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, as part of the United States’ premier cultural ambassadorship organization.

Upon her return to the United States, she headed to the University of California-Davis, where she earned a Master of Science in international agricultural development.

Ms. Niemeyer said her liberal arts education helped her understand the overlap of politics, economics, and other factors that affect societies. She credits her Carthage professors for boosting her confidence, noting that before Carthage, she couldn’t imagine such a prestigious scholarship was within her reach.

“I owe a lot to the faculty for pushing me and, at the same time, supporting me along the way,” she said. “In the end, it was the guidance I received from faculty and staff that helped me pursue my interest in international development. It was their support and encouragement that allowed me to accomplish things I never would have expected before attending Carthage College.”

How has your liberal arts education helped you?

“The interdisciplinary education I received within International Political Economy and Economics allowed me to look at the world with varied perspectives and better understand how economic, political, and social systems work throughout the world.”

Tips for current Carthage students:

Ms. Niemeyer encourages fellow Carthage students to apply for the Fulbright program, and offers the following advice: “I think the most important thing students should know when they are applying for a Fulbright scholarship/grant is that they have to be absolutely genuine about their reason and purpose for pursuing a placement in the program. Many people tend to think that grades and maybe even related experience are the main factors that make a Fulbrighter.

“The truth is that of the former Fulbrighters I’ve met and my current peers, one of the common strands that connects all of us is our curiosity about other people and cultures. … Fulbrighters want to pursue the unknown and be willing to create their own unique experience.”

Ms. Niemeyer said she made the right decision to pursue a Fulbright Fellowship in Mongolia. “I couldn’t imagine a better fit for my interests, personality, and personal growth.”

Favorite Carthage memories:

“Carthage gave me opportunities to explore other countries and cultures through J-Term study tours. Some of my favorite memories from college are from J-Term trips abroad to Turkey and Guatemala, and not just because I had exciting experiences. I not only learned about other societies and cultures, but I learned more about myself. These memories have, in a way, shaped my personal identity and life direction.”

“In the end, it was the guidance I received from faculty and staff that helped me pursue my interest in international development. It was their support and encouragement that allowed me to accomplish things I never would have expected before attending Carthage College.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • 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.

    • 96% 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. 95% 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. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • Carthage’s J-Term offers IPE students opportunities to study business culture in other countries. Recent J-Term study tours have been led by economics, finance, political science, and marketing faculty to such destinations as Sweden, Cuba, Argentina, southern Africa, and Hong Kong.

    • Carthage IPE graduates are working around the globe as computer analysts, financial advisors, investment brokers, international business analysts, mutual fund specialists, and for government and nonprofit organizations. 

    • Popular with IPE students, the student organization Enactus provides students with entrepreneurial experience through community projects. The group’s name borrows from three words: entrepreneurial, action, and us. Enactus has received regional and national recognition.

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience 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 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 our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. 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,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. 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 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. 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.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • 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. 5 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 …