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Exercise and Sport Science

Student Voices

  • David Fish '18
    David Fish '18

David Fish ’18


Downers Grove, Illinois


Physical Education, Sport and Fitness Instruction


Health, Secondary Education

Favorite spot on campus

“The best spot on campus would have to be the Campbell Student Union. A number of my close friends and I have had plenty of late nights and post-practice meals there.”

When David Fish ’18 was a senior in high school, one of his closest friends kept talking about Carthage. So David decided to take a look.

“Between the education program and the incredible setup of the EXSS Department, there was a lot that Carthage had to offer me in terms of developing my knowledge on topics that interested me,” he said. The track and cross country teams also influenced his decision to come here. “The coaching staff and my future teammates were a fun group to spend time with and had similar aspirations.”

As a kid, David never dreamed he would be majoring in exercise and sport science. Today he hopes to teach both physical and health education at the high school level.

“’In life, taking risks is necessary, because nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished by playing it safe.’ While going through college, there will be situations that life throws your way. It is important to be open-minded and confident as you step outside of your comfort zone to embrace new, and oftentimes intimidating, challenges.”

Career goal

“After I graduate from Carthage my goal is to teach both physical and health education at the high school level, preferably back in Illinois. Then, I would like to be involved in extracurriculars and coach both the cross country and track teams as well as direct/lead programs geared toward leadership development. Over my summers, my plan is to coordinate a running camp for middle and high school athletes. On top of that, being able to work as a nutritionist over the summers would be a field I would like to pursue as well.”

Favorite professor

“I have been fortunate to work with many educators at Carthage who have impacted my Carthage career and given me skills that are applicable well after college. There are three big factors that I believe the best of educators exemplify:

“First, they are willing to meet with students outside of class and use that time to promote the student’s individual skills to the current assignment, project, or exam.

“Next, they discuss one-on-one students’ strengths and areas they can improve upon. This allows students to gain a better perspective on which skills they should feel confident applying, and which areas need more time and development.

“Finally, the educator and student need to have a strong relationship where they can be open about topics and have discussions that are essential to individual growth. This can be discussing strengths and weaknesses, presenting ideas that cause both parties to think and develop, solving a problem/situation as a team, or anything else that calls for the educator and student to reflect and gain a better understanding.”

Favorite class

“To date my favorite class at Carthage has been Foundations of Exercise and Sport Science (EXS 1010). This course offered a large spectrum in terms of what was taught and what the students needed to learn on their own. We learned about the history of physical education from the Romans to present day, and the different influences that time periods and cultures had when constructing their respective curriculums. The class got to participate in games that reinforced what we learned during our time in the classroom, and how these forms of teaching may be applied to our future careers. There was one day that we talked about leadership and how, despite people having different skills and personalities, variation can generate a better functioning group as long as individuals are able to set aside differences and pursue a common objective. Finally, this course looked at the construction of a resume and how previous experiences, regardless of what area you were applying for, still have applicable skills that could be transferred to make you more marketable.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class at Carthage has been Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 1040). Since this was the first time I had taken a science class in over two years, my concern was that I’d have to begin to find different methods of studying, especially since the course consisted of a large amount of terms and functions of those terms that needed to be memorized. I finished well in the class, worked with a number of classmates and friends in order to succeed, and constantly made sure I was working with the professor if any clarifications were needed.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“One of the opportunities I had offered to me was through the EXSS Department and it focused on the interview/hiring process of two new members to the department. Another great opportunity I had was to develop a running camp that is hosted at Carthage over the summer.”


“I received the Dean’s Scholarship for my GPA and ACT score from high school. This scholarship really shows how much effort and dedication to early schooling can benefit you later on, and how being more educated while taking studies seriously leads to great benefits.”

Campus involvement

“I am a part of Success Coaching, Character Quest, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and the cross country and track and field teams.

“The Success Coaching Program provides an opportunity for current students to work with incoming freshmen as they are being introduced to college. Topics that we cover include resources that can be used on campus and tools that students will be able to apply after they graduate.

“Then there is Character Quest, which provides leadership development through hands-on activities over the summer and coaching sessions to continue to enhance one’s skills in leadership during the school year.

“The SAAC organization consists of students from every sport Carthage offers. We have monthly to semiweekly meetings to discuss upcoming events and issues that we as athletes should be addressing. Next year I will be serving on the E-board and will act as the organization’s treasurer.

“Finally, the cross country and track and field teams have me training year-round for the three seasons of competition during the school year. The coaching staff and those with whom I compete are some of the most outstanding people I have gotten to meet and work with. They all have a sense of humor and dedication that go hand in hand, and make both teams function as really positive and respected programs.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“My favorite memories of Carthage all consist of the new friends I have made and all the fun situations we have so far found ourselves in. Whether it be a road trip in a van for eight hours, or working last minute on a project, I am glad that there have been so many of my friends there to make down time or exciting experiences more memorable.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise I’ve had at school so far was having my cross country and track and field coach come in during my freshman year. Originally I was looking forward to working with the old coach. However, the new coach has not only been one of my favorite coaches, but he has done wonders for the program. Multiple records have been broken under his watch and he displays ideals and expectations that brought a whole new form of thinking to the teams he oversees.”

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

“The 8-year-old version of myself would first ask what ‘exercise sport science’ is, and then go on to criticize how running is an activity that he will never pick up. There have been plenty of steps along the way where I developed and faced situations that changed my expectations. I can’t help but be happy with how far I have come and be thankful for those events, situations, and above everything else people that inspired me to become who I am today.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Approach it with an open mind. There are challenging topics and classes, but take what you can from these situations, and you will advance. Besides keeping an open mind, I encourage students to take positive risks and learn as much as they can in classes, even if that means learning from mistakes every once in a while. Taking opportunities offered in class is highly recommended.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • 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.

    • Since 2008, Carthage athletic training students have used the newest diagnostic tools to study concussions. Overseen by a leading brain trauma expert from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the research helps doctors determine when athletes are healthy enough to return.

    • 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. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience 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 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 our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. 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,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 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 Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. 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.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • 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 …