Kristen Verdoorn ’16 was looking for more than just a school when applying for college. She was looking for a community, and found that at Carthage.
“Students are not just numbers, and professors are genuinely interested in the well-being of their students,” she said. “I have built such positive relationships with so many professors, and they have become part of my support system. They are sincerely interested in my well-being and have given me some of the best advice when I am in difficult situations. I know they want me to succeed in every aspect of life, and I could not be more grateful for their encouragement.”
Kristen has been able to participate in two J-Term trips, one to Japan with the Carthage Wind Orchestra and the other to Honduras through the class Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior. She is also actively involved on campus with Residence Life, Beta Beta Beta, and Theta Chi Delta while pursuing a biology degree in hopes of becoming a veterinarian.
“When I was 8 years old, I always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. As I got older, I had my doubts and concerns about seeking a career in veterinary medicine, but as an undergraduate senior biology student, I am well on my way to achieving that goal.”
“I hope to attend professional school to earn a degree in veterinary medicine.”
“Prof. Dimitri Shapovalov has had a great impact on my Carthage career. During a very stressful and overwhelming semester, when I was struggling in a class taught by Prof. Shapovalov, he helped me discover a personalized approach to better learn and retain material in his class. Because of the help and support I received, one of my most challenging semesters became one of my most successful and rewarding semesters.”
“My favorite Carthage class was a J-Term class called Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior. I spent the first two weeks of January studying the evolution of organisms and their nervous systems. In addition, I studied sociology because the second two weeks of the class involved traveling to another country. I spent the second half of January in Honduras, where I went scuba diving to observe many of the organisms we studied first-hand. I completed 18 scuba dives in the course of one week, including a dive with sharks. I immersed myself in an underwater world some people never get the chance to witness. Carthage gave me an incredible opportunity that I might not have had otherwise.”
“Biochemistry has been my toughest class at Carthage so far. It utilizes both biology and chemistry to form a more comprehensive understanding of concepts such as physiological processes. While Biochemistry was a very difficult class because it encompassed such a wide range of knowledge and required constant critical thinking to truly comprehend multiple physiological pathways and mechanisms, it was also one of the most fascinating classes I have taken.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“I have been able to participate in two J-Term trips while at Carthage. My sophomore year, I traveled to Japan with the Carthage Wind Orchestra, where we toured the country performing throughout southern Japan. My junior year, I traveled to Honduras for the class Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior. I studied the evolution of species, the evolution of nervous systems, and sociology. I was then able to observe many of the species that were studied while scuba diving in the Caribbean Sea.”
“I am a part of Residence Life at Carthage College. I am currently the Assistant Hall Director for Johnson Residence Hall, and I am also the Johnson Hall advisor for Residence Life Council. Additionally, I am part of Beta Beta Beta and Theta Chi Delta. I am a Biology Department Service Fellow as well.”
Favorite moments at Carthage
“Many of my favorite Carthage moments happen when I am doing ordinary tasks but am surrounded by wonderful people. Grabbing dinner in the Student Union with my friends or getting together for a study session almost always produces entertaining conversations and lots of laughter. Some great memories have even come from having an impromptu conversation about life with a professor. It is not always about what you do, sometimes it is about who you are with.”
Biggest surprise so far?
“I have built such positive relationships with so many professors, and they have become part of my support system. They are sincerely interested in my well-being and have given me some of the best advice when I am in difficult situations. I know that they want me to succeed in every aspect of life, and I could not be more grateful for their encouragement.”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“When I was 8 years old, I always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. As I got older, I had my doubts and concerns about seeking a career in veterinary medicine, but as an undergraduate senior biology student, I am well on my way to achieving that goal. My 8-year-old self never doubted that I would become a veterinarian one day, and I think I believe her now. Every day I get one day closer.”
Advice for other students considering your major
“Biology is an incredible field that is growing and changing every day. So much is still unknown, and you may be the person to make a new discovery. While a major in biology can sometimes be difficult and frustrating, if it is truly your interest, the end result is well worth the challenge.”