Melissa Gorlewski

Class Year



Franklin, Wis.


Computer Science, Mathematics

Missy Gorlewski came to Carthage planning to become an actuary. “I never even gave computer science a thought, until I had to take CS 111 for my math major and loved it,” she said. “I’m a very logical person who thinks everything through. I love solving puzzles and problems, especially when I have to think outside the box. That’s mostly what computer science is: Solving problems. It just felt right, like it was what I’m meant to do.”

She originally planned to minor in computer science, then decided to double-major in computer science and math. “The field is so big, and has so many options,” she said. “I may even go to graduate school and become a college CS professor.”

Her professors at Carthage have been incredible role models and mentors, Missy said.

“Every one of the professors is brilliant, caring and patient. … They are there with open doors and a helping hand if you get stuck or don’t understand. Each of them only gives a push in the right direction, instead of just giving the answer and explaining why. They are patient enough to work with you. … I’ve built friendships and good foundations with many of my professors, specifically Erlan Wheeler, Charlotte Chell and Mark Mahoney.”

She also appreciates the variety of courses she has taken: Psychology, Sociology, Popular Music in America, Physics, Rock Climbing, Yoga and Recreational Sports. During J-Term her sophomore year, she traveled to Japan with the Carthage Wind Orchestra for an international tour.

“(A Wind Orchestra tour in Japan) was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that I’ll never forget, and I will always appreciate that Carthage set it up.”

Melissa Gorlewski, ’10

Career goal

“The field is so big, and has so many options. I may even go to graduate school and become a college CS professor.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“I don’t know that I could pick a favorite. I’ve taken multiple classes with every one of them, and each has something unique to offer. However, if I had to choose one, it would be Mark Mahoney because I’ve learned so much from him.

“Until two years ago, I had never programmed anything outside of a VCR. I didn’t even know what computer science was, and in these last two years, Mark has pushed me to become a much better programmer. He has always helped me when I needed it and encouraged me to keep working hard and not to get down on myself because the other students were more advanced than I was. He always told me that I was doing great, progressing well, and quickly catching up to the guys in my class who have been programming since high school.”

Favorite class

“CS 111: Principles of Computer Science, because we did a lot of basic programming in the form of animated art or games. Another favorite was CS 471: Topics in Computer Science, where we spent the J-term pair programming (programming in teams), and Mark ran the classroom more as a preview of what a programming job would be like, rather than an actual class. Everyone learned from each other and had fun in the process.”

Toughest class

“CS 256 Data Structures. It introduced you to the fundamentals and basic programs that are built into the programming software, so you learn how and why you use each of those basic programs. It was the class I learned the most in, the class that broke me into true programming.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Working at the school’s Rock Wall, and meeting all of the fun and interesting people there who have become some of my best friends … Hanging out with my friends in the dorms … Playing in the Pep Band freshman year was a great time, as well as my J-Term trip to Japan. That was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that I’ll never forget, and I will always appreciate that Carthage set it up.” But her all-time favorite moment at Carthage was the first day of freshman orientation. “After the (New Student Convocation) everyone filed outside and most of the kids quickly found their parents. I wasn’t one of them and as I was looking, I noticed a guy standing five feet away from me doing the same thing. I started talking to him and from that moment on, he became one of my best friends — my first friend at Carthage.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The Rock Wall, the percussion practice room, and the spot on the beach where some students built a couch out of some big rocks (it’s actually very comfortable, almost like sitting in your own couch at home).”

Biggest surprise so far

“How much I’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time, how amazing the teaching staff is, how much I’m going to miss Carthage next year after I graduate.”