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International Political Economy

Student Voices

Stephanie Flores ’17


Zion, Illinois


International Political Economy, Social Work

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus would be the Clausen Center. I find it to have a very motivational atmosphere and I can always get my work done there. My second place would be the library because I also love doing my work there.”

Stephanie Flores transferred to Carthage looking for opportunity, so she was ready for a challenge when she chose to double major in international political economy and social work.

“I applied to be a transfer student to many schools, but Carthage stuck out,” she said. “Everyone from the admissions counselors, to the students, to the maintenance staff and professors have been so kind and welcoming to me. Any time I need help, someone at Carthage is always there to extend a genuine hand.

“Carthage has a plethora of opportunities for all students. I am so happy I transferred here because the past two years have been the most amazing years of my life, and Carthage has helped me grow personally and professionally.”

Career goal

“My short-term career goal is to win a Fulbright grant to do research in Mexico after my graduation. If that does not happen, after my undergrad, my dream is to attend the University of Chicago. I would like to pursue a dual master’s degree in social work and international development and then, if possible, go back for law school.

“Overall, I want to help improve the social, political, and economic system in which social workers around the world work. After my schooling and career, I would eventually like to start my own nonprofit international organization that focuses on child and family welfare and community development, including access to education, economic improvement, shelter from abuse, and food security.”

Favorite professor

“I will go in chronological order. My first semester at Carthage, I had a great Religion 1000 professor named Professor Phineas Marr. He was great. He taught me about religion from a perspective that I was unable to see before. He was very inspirational and always motivated me.

“My second professor would be my Western Heritage II professor. She helped me realize how much I love philosophy.

“My third professor would be Prof. Linda Noer (social work). She was just so sweet and understanding. I had her for my first social work class.

“Then, continuing to move up, my Practice II professor Patty Suhr was awesome. She taught us so much about social work in the most fun yet serious ways. She has such a big heart and is just truly amazing as a professor and person.

“Now, to my junior year, Professor Dani Geary (social work). I cannot imagine going to college and her not being a part of my college career. She is such a great professor. She is passionate about her profession and goes over and beyond for her students.

“Then there is Prof. Art Cyr (international political economy), whom I cannot thank enough for always believing in me. The first time I meet him, I came to his office sneezing and coughing because I had a horrible cold. I was so embarrassed and intimidated by him. He was extremely humble, always pushing me to do my best, and always working with me to find new opportunities. Not to mention, he is extremely wise and has a good sense of humor.”

Favorite class

“I would say my favorite classes so far are Social Welfare Policy Analysis (SWK 3100) and Philosophical Foundations of Political Economy (POL 2050). Both of these classes are very challenging, yet I’m learning so much. I love them both.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class so far at Carthage was The Intellectual History of Western Heritage I (COR 1100) because I just am not interested in old, fictional literature.”


“I have had two internships so far. My first internship was at Arden Shore Child and Family Services. I was a bilingual intern and while there, I translated clinical case notes and observed, alongside a therapist, individual mental health assessments, individual substance abuse assessments, and the family court process, and I spent time working in the group home.

“My second and current internship is at the Father Gary Graf Center. This is also a bilingual position where I assist the agency in teaching citizenship and English classes as well as advocacy for immigration reform. At this agency I also work every week at the agency’s food pantry with people from many different cultures.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I had the opportunity to participate in a J-Term study tour to Guatemala, which changed my life forever. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Words cannot explain how amazing it was. All I can say is that if you have the chance, you should definitely go. My second opportunity was with the Habitat Club. Last spring break, we volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in Laredo, Texas. Now coming up, I will be participating in J-Term in June to study Spanish in Spain.”


“I received many Carthage scholarships, and they have meant the world to me. I am an independent student, which means I have no financial family contributions. Therefore, the reality is that without the financial support of Carthage and the donors, I maybe would not be attending college, or if I did, it may not be the great quality education that I receive at Carthage.”

Campus involvement

“At Carthage I am currently not involved in many clubs. Outside of school, I am a youth mentor for Catholic charities and a certified election judge for Lake County. I am also the National Association of Social Worker’s (NASW) student ambassador for Carthage College and a NASW member.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“I have nothing but great memories at Carthage. My favorite would just be having met many amazing people.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise was the new printer in Straz. It is so convenient.”

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

“When I was 8, I had to worry about other stuff and never thought I would have the opportunity to go to college. Looking back, I think my 8-year-old self would be very proud and happy.”

Advice for other students considering your major

IPE and social work are my passions. I did not choose them because I wanted to make a lot of money. I chose them because I want to make a difference and they made me grow into a better person. My advice to students is to follow your passions.”

  • 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.

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    • 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.

    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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 …