Brooke Kahly

Class Year



Freeport, Ill.


Criminal Justice, Social Work

Brooke Kahly dreads the day when she must graduate and leave the hallowed halls of Carthage. She considers Carthage to be her home, and has made a life for herself studying criminal justice and social work, leading multiple organizations, and traveling the globe with various J-Term classes.

Of the Social Work Department, she said that it is very close. “I know every single person in the department, both traditional and adult ed students,” she said. “I consider our small classes a blessing because you get to know your classmates better and can appreciate their passions.” 

Brooke plans to become a social worker who specializes in military and veteran’s services. “I feel confident that I can make a change in the lives of many individuals, and I cannot wait to get out there and begin.” 

“I feel confident that I can make a change in the lives of many individuals, and I cannot wait to get out there and begin.” 

Brooke Kahly, ’14

Career goal

“It is my goal to become a social worker who specializes in military and veteran’s services. I plan to focus on veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, while also working with families of active military members before, during, and after deployments.” 

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

Dani Geary, no question! Dani has been my savior throughout my years here at Carthage. She keeps me sane and is a phenomenal role model. She is one who truly cares about her students and values their opinions. She challenges students because she knows their potential and wants them to succeed. I would be lost without her guidance and support. She has helped me grow in so many ways, and I will forever be grateful for all she has done for me.” 

Favorite class

Police and Society was fun and informative. The professor was actually a police officer, so he had a lot of real-life experiences to share with us. The class was always entertaining, and I truly enjoyed it. I find all criminal justice classes really intriguing, but this was probably my favorite.” 

Campus involvement

Brooke is currently the president of both Omicron Delta Kappa and the Student Alumni Association. In the past she has also held the position of president for Colleges Against Cancer. In addition, Brooke is a member of Pi Delta Chi, Phi Alpha, Alpha Phi Sigma, and SWAG, the Social Work Advocacy Group. 

Toughest class

Social Welfare Research. I wouldn’t define it as the toughest class, but I would call it the most challenging. The main project in this class was a research paper, so I used it as a prep for my senior thesis. I did my paper on the risk of PTSD among police officers, combining information from both of my majors. It was challenging for me because it wasn’t something you just spend a few hours on a week. I was constantly doing research and updating my paper. I spent a large portion of my semester working on this project. I loved my topic and finding more research, but I couldn’t possibly research every variable. It was hard to narrow down exactly what I wanted to do. This class helped me a lot with my procrastination because it didn’t allow me to do so. It kept me focused, and I was very happy with my end result.” 

Opportunities at Carthage

“I participated in two J-Term trips. First to Guatemala where we studied economic sustainability/development, and then Ghana to explore African roots of religion and culture. Both were absolutely incredible and life-changing. If you have the opportunity to take a J-Term class abroad, do it! Take the challenge and step outside of your comfort zone. It will forever change your perspective on life and the world. I would give anything to go back.” 

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite moments at Carthage were spent with the Colleges Against Cancer organization. It’s so great being a part of an organization that works together as a family. We are all in the org because cancer has affected us in some way. It was comforting knowing that you always had support and realizing that all those people were standing beside you because they wanted to find a cure. I was fortunate enough to be able to lead this amazing organization, and I loved every minute of it. Our big event is Relay for Life. A lot of work goes into this events as we start planning the moment the previous year’s event is finished. This past year our Relay For Life event raised $48,476 which was $16,000 more than the previous year. I could not be more proud of everyone who participated in the event and worked to make it a huge success. I love CAC, what it stands for, and every member in it.” 

Favorite spot on campus

“I love to go sit on the rocks and just stare at the beauty of Lake Michigan. It’s a great escape to clear my mind and relax.” 

Biggest surprise so far

“I never knew that I would become so attached to Carthage. This place has become my home, and I honestly dread graduation day. I can’t imagine leaving this place and the friends who have turned into family. Carthage has given me the opportunity to grow as a leader and to learn a lot about myself. At a large school, I would have never had the change to be the president of four different organizations. I would have just been lost among the crowd, but here I was given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and develop my leadership skills. I truly believe that Carthage has helped shape me into the person I am today. The years have gone by way too fast. This is my last year here, and I am making every moment count!” 

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

“At that age, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I would teach to all my stuffed animals and dolls. We would have nap times, play games, and I would read to them. I loved it because I felt like I was making a difference in my ‘playtime world.’ I guess I always knew that I wanted to help people, but didn’t know which path I would take. I would hope that my 8-year-old self would be proud of how far I’ve come, just as I hope my 70-year-old self will be able to look back and be happy with my accomplishments throughout the years.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Do it! Social work is a field that is always going to be needed. The world needs more people with the desire to help others. We have the ability to impact and make positive changes in a person’s life. It is also very flexible since there are so many different concentrations, many of which are related. You will easily discover your passion; when you do, stick with it and know that you are making a difference, no matter how small it may seem. And, if you are interested in criminal justice, take a step out of your box and go for it. It’s a great field to be involved in. The professors in this program are great and you will learn so much from them. You also get to have a lot of fun and make connections with local police departments.”