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Great Ideas

Student Voices

Ryeshia Farmer ’17


Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Great Ideas, English


Political Science

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite place on campus is the TARC (N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center). It’s beautiful and has so many resources for staying active.”

Ryeshia Farmer isn’t surprised that she ended up double-majoring in Great Ideas and English at  Carthage. What did surprise her? Adding a political science minor to her academic lineup. “There are so many opportunities at Carthage, and I hope to take advantage of those,” she explained.

That means getting involved outside of class, too. Ryeshia is involved in Kappa Phi Eta, United Women of Color, Black Student Union, Residence Life, Carthage’s Belly Dance Club, and is a writing fellow in the Writing Center. She has also been a field intern, campaigning for a state assemblyman in the Milwaukee district.

In the future, she hopes to do some form of political writing and looks forward to pursuing her passion at Carthage.

Career goal

“I would like to do some form of political writing such as writing for magazines, legislation, or editorials, but I will probably attend graduate school for political science first.”

Favorite professor

Prof. Pamela Smiley taught one of the English classes I took as a freshman, and she is now my academic advisor. She has been nothing but supportive since I’ve started in her classroom. She has helped me get scholarships, has written recommendation letters for on-campus jobs, and has offered me one of the best in-class instructions I’ve received at Carthage. She continues to guide me through my English major, and inform me of opportunities that allow me to exercise my passion for writing and make the best of my college experience.”

Favorite class

“I believe that Prof. Richard Heitman’s Introduction to Philosophy J-Term course has been my favorite. The readings were challenging but very interesting. I was also able to write about my own ideas in that class, which is something I most value in academics.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class has been Prof. Rick Meier’s Creative Writing Studio. Although I am a writer, Meier’s course really forced me to step outside of my comfort zone.”


“This past summer, I was a field intern on a campaign for a state assemblyman in the Milwaukee district. I met some great people and learned a lot by just phone banking, canvassing, entering voter data, helping write scripts for volunteers, and running an initiative that helped our candidate gain support.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I’ve entered writing contests and have held leadership positions in my sorority as well as Black Student Union. I’ve also performed at big events with Carthage’s Belly Dance Club. I plan to participate in the Carthage in Chicago program and take the 2015 J-term Italy trip. Carthage has more opportunities than meet the eye and I try to take advantage of those.”

Campus involvement

“I am a sister of Kappa Phi Eta, a member of United Women of Color, vice president of Black Student Union, a Resident Assistant, and a writing fellow in our Writing Center.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“I always love the moments when Carthage seems to come together as a whole, such as Homecoming, sporting events, or huge social gatherings and big dinners. Those boost the Carthage pride.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“Honestly, seeing so many familiar faces in one setting is surprising — so surprising that I wonder if I’m on the right campus whenever I walk into a place where there aren’t a lot of people that I know.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“My 8-year-old self would be proud. She would think ‘Of course you’re an English and Great Ideas major, but how did you end up with political science!?’”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Take a few classes first. It’s best to figure out what you want out of the major, and what skills you want to build so you can figure out your path before declaring it, but definitely do it!”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2019), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • 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. 

    • Carthage has been named a top producer of Fulbright Fellows three years running: 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing 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 more than 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 students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $1.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. 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,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 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 Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. 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.

    • 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 …