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Accounting and Finance

Student Voices

  • Kaitlyn Yarka '18
    Kaitlyn Yarka '18

Kaitlyn Yarka ’18


Chicago, Illinois


Accounting and Finance

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the patio right outside the Science Center because I can get work done with an absolutely breathtaking view.”

When Kaitlyn Yarka ’18 arrived at Carthage, she hadn’t yet decided on a major. She knew she wanted to do something related to business, but she wasn’t sure which field — accounting, finance, management, or marketing — to choose. So she signed up for the course Financial Accounting (ACC 2010). There, she found her niche and decided to become an accounting major.

“The Carthage Accounting and Finance Department balances pushing students to their greatest potential with creating a nurturing learning environment,” she says. “At Carthage students can graduate with a degree in accounting as well as have enough credits to sit for the CPA exam in four years.”

When she was a kid, she thought she’d become a chef, or maybe a pharmacist or an opera singer. Now? She’s on track to work for a big four public accounting firm.

“Carthage is so much more than a school,” she says. “It is a home where people greet you on your way to class and truly care about your success in school and in life.”

Career goal

“I hope to obtain my CPA and work for a big four public accounting firm.”

Favorite professor

Professor Julie Dawson, as both a teacher and an advisor, has made me love being an accounting major, and confident in my decision to pursue accounting.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage so far has been Financial Accounting (ACC 2010). As my first accounting class, it helped me find my niche.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class at Carthage so far has been Principles of Computer Science I (CSC 1110) because I stepped outside of my comfort zone. Although not a required course for my path, I decided to take the class because of a vacancy in my schedule. Being completely new to computer science, it was one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I have ever taken.”


“The summer after freshman year, I interned for a fire safety equipment company in the south suburbs of Chicago in their accounting department. It was an eye-opening opportunity to experience accounting out of the classroom and sparked my interest to pursue it as a career.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“As part of Enactus, a business organization on campus, I have had the honor to attend their national business competition. My sophomore year as a presenter, I helped the Enactus team become Great Lakes Regional Champions as well as compete at nationals in St. Louis. This past summer, I was also blessed with the opportunity to attend the national convention for my sorority Alpha Chi Omega.”


“I received the highest Academic Honors Scholarship as well as an endowed scholarship from Carthage. Getting both of these scholarships has made it possible for me to attend Carthage and have best undergraduate collegiate experience I ever could have imagined.”

Campus involvement

“I am now the director of finance, previously the director of business consulting, for Enactus. In addition, I am vice president of recruitment for Alpha Chi Omega. This year, I am one of the head student ambassadors for the Office of Admissions. In my collegiate experience, I have also been a member of Colleges Against Cancer, the Student Alumni Association, Pi Sigma Epsilon, and am Volunteer Income Tax Assistance certified.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“Some of my fondest Carthage memories have been both big excursions as well as simple moments. Whether it be running down the beach to the Kenosha Lighthouse with my friends or going on amazing trips through on campus organizations, my Carthage memories accumulate more by the day.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“My biggest surprise so far has been how close I have grown to everyone around me. The people you meet in college impact your life in a whole new way. They shape you into the adult you are becoming and help build you into the person you want to be.”

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

“Eight-year-old Kaitlyn was caught between becoming a chef, pharmacist, and an opera singer so I believe she would be pretty shocked to see where we are now. I think her reaction would be, ‘I know we like numbers, but I didn’t think we liked them that much.’”

Advice for other students considering your major

“A piece of advice I have for students considering an accounting major is that it is a challenging degree, but incredibly worth all the work because of the rewarding opportunities and experiences.”

  • 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.

    • More than 90% 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. More than 90% 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’s Velocity Consulting was the first 100% student-run full-service consulting agency in the country. Students gain incredible experience while providing marketing, branding, accounting, finance, and other support to regional clients. Other schools have since copied the Velocity model, including Harvard University.

    • Taking you past just studying the theories of business, Carthage’s READY™ Curriculum Design, a proprietary student-centered philosophy, helps develop the best-prepared business students.

    • Located in the heart of the Chicago-Milwaukee business corridor, you will have plenty of options for internships and jobs.

    • Carthage accounting, finance, management, and marketing professors regularly lead J-Term study tours to such destinations as Sweden, England, Ireland, and China, where students meet with executives and learn first-hand how global businesses operate.

    • Carthage has been named a top producer of Fulbright Fellows three years running. 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 $5.5 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. 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 …