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Political Science

Student Voices

Jenna Leazott ’18


Elmhurst, Illinois


Political Science, Sociology


Women’s and Gender Studies

Favorite spot on campus

“I’m always going to say my room, because that’s where I can nap the most effectively! After that, though, the Student Union. It’s a great place to just sit and get your work done, and you can always grab a snack or dinner without having to move too far from your work. And, if you need a homework break, there is almost always someone you know hanging around to talk to.”

Jenna Leazott, a political science and sociology double-major, came to Carthage for two reasons: First, she received a generous scholarship. Second, she wanted to study in small classes and really get to know her professors.

“I loved being friends with my teachers in high school, and I knew that the best way for me to engage in the classroom and make meaningful connections — both personally and professionally — was to go to a school with a lower teacher-to-student ratio,” she said. “The lakefront property isn’t bad either!”

Career goal

“I plan on going into the humanitarian aid sector, specifically working with Syrian refugee relief in refugee camps abroad and resettlement programs at home.”

Favorite professor

“When I was first deliberating which college to attend, my parents pushed me to meet with a political science professor so I could get a better feel for the program. I picked Dr. Jeff Roberg from the list of faculty because he is the head of the department. The rest is history. Not only has he been my advisor all three years at Carthage — and my professor in class many times over — he is the advisor for Model United Nations.”

Jenna was a member of Model UN in high school. That’s actually how she learned about Carthage in the first place — by attending Carthage’s Model UN high school conference

Now, “I have traveled the world with Dr. Roberg three times, and he has inspired in me an itch to travel that I have not been able to get rid of since!” Jenna said. “He encourages and pushes me to follow my dreams unwaveringly, he helps guide and advise me when I don’t know what step to take next, and he is genuinely the best instructor I have had the pleasure of having thus far. He genuinely cares for his students, and I am extremely lucky to be able to be one of the ‘Roberg Kids.’”

Favorite class

“The Problem of Progress by Dr. Rick Matthews was by far the greatest class I have ever taken. It was taken for the Honors Program, and there were only five students in the class. Because of the small size, we got to know each other very well. We were comfortable enough around each other to talk about pretty much anything.

“Dr. Matthews let us lead a lot of the discussions, allowing us to pursue topics that interested us the most. It challenged our ways of thinking and living, our minds were opened to new ideas, and we came out with a greater sense of purpose.

“It’s hard to explain until you take the class for yourself, but I left that class far more confident and optimistic about what I want to do with the rest of my life. It was everything I had ever wanted out of a college class, and I am forever grateful for the life and academic lessons I learned in it.”

Toughest class

“I think the hardest one for me was Latin American Politics with Dr. Roberg. It was my first-ever night class, and my first introduction to a college-level Comparative Politics class. Although it was the class that convinced me to declare my Comparative Politics concentration, it was definitely a class I had to work for. Luckily, I had already taken a class with Dr. Roberg, so I knew what I was getting myself into with the workload and expectations for essays. Nonetheless, I had little to no prior knowledge or experience with Latin America, and I found myself having to really catch up to understand a lot of what was going on. However, I survived and came out a more well-informed student. What I learned in Latin American Politics helped me immensely with other Comparative classes, like Middle East Politics and African Transitions.”


“Over this past summer, I worked as a Development and Donor intern at Tree House Humane Society in Chicago. Tree House is the largest no-kill, no-cage cat shelter in the Chicagoland area, and I was lucky enough to be a part of their team over the summer. I was involved with data and adoption entry, merchandise, some event preparation, and even writing cat cards for their sponsors. I absolutely loved working with my supervisor, everyone else in the shelter, and of course, the cats!

“Although it was sometimes hard getting work done with cats sleeping on my keyboard, I learned a lot about how nonprofits operate. It really solidified my choice to go into the nonprofit sector for a career.

“This J-Term, I will be traveling to Jos, Nigeria, to work at Grace Gardens to assist with their safe house for women transitioning from the brothels to having job in the legitimate employment sector.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“My freshman and sophomore years, I had the opportunity to travel abroad to Bucharest, Romania, and Bogotá, Colombia, with Carthage’s Model United Nations for conferences. There, we simulated the United Nations, created resolutions, won awards, made global friendships, and learned a lot about the local culture.

“My trip to Bucharest was the first time I had been abroad, and Model UN’s continued abroad conferences provide me with the best possible opportunities to do what I love — travel and Model UN!

“My sophomore year, I got to travel all around Cuba with Dr. Roberg and Dr. Penny Seymoure for J-Term. Not only was I with my favorite professor and my best friends, I had the opportunity to explore a country that very few Americans ever get to see. I made lasting friendships with Carthage and Cuban students, and learned about the history, politics, economics, and culture of Cuba more in-depth than most people ever get to experience. It was truly the greatest month of my life, and it has really set me apart when talking to not only friends and family, but on my resume as well. It humbled me, it opened my eyes, and it gave me a new appreciation for both America and the uniqueness of Cuban culture.”


“I received the Ruud Scholarship for full tuition for four years. This scholarship has truly given me the opportunity to pursue my academic and personal interests to the fullest extent. Because I am graduating with no debt, I have more freedom to travel the world, both with Carthage and without. It gives me more opportunity to invest in my future, and it gives me freedom to do what I want right after college rather than trying to pay off my student debts with a higher paying job that I might not enjoy nearly as much as nonprofit work. Too many students graduate with massive amounts of crushing debt, and I am grateful that I am the outlier in that statistic, because it means that I can more freely pursue my dreams and start making a meaningful difference in the world.”

Campus involvement

“I am currently the secretary for Model United Nations, the Vice President for Amnesty International, and the Treasurer for Honors Council. I also belong to Iota Iota Iota, the Women’s and Gender Studies honor society; Alpha Lambda Delta, the freshman honor society; Alpha Mu Gamma, the language honor society; and Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honor society. I will also be getting inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science honor society, and Alpha Kappa Delta, the Sociology honor society this upcoming year. I love the wide range of organizations Carthage has to offer — there is truly something for everyone here!”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“One of my favorite memories would definitely have to be from Cuba. There are few things in this world that can match sitting on a beach in a ‘forbidden’ country in January, hiking through tobacco fields during a rainstorm, dining on top of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hotel, or snorkeling in crystal clear Caribbean waters.

“Model United Nations has provided the rest of my favorite memories, whether it be traveling to Bucharest and eating the best shawarma at 2 a.m. after a long day of committee, talking to Venezuelan friends about the reality of living under Maduro, or bringing home seven awards after our Chicago conference. I have been very blessed to be able to travel the world and nation with my best friends, opening my eyes to so many new things and making me a more well-rounded, more empathetic person.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The amount of opportunities available to me so far. I knew that going to a small school would allow me to do more than if I had gone to a large school, but I was not prepared for the amount of opportunities I had in store for me. I have multiple jobs on campus, connections to jobs after college, opportunities to see the world, research, and do so much more.”

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

“My 8-year-old self really wanted to be a marine biologist or a mermaid, so I think she would be really confused as to why I went over to the social sciences. But younger me loved helping people, too, and I think she would be very proud of me for what I want to do for the rest of my life. She’d probably still be upset that I wasn’t a mermaid yet, though.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Don’t limit yourself by thinking that political science is only for people who want to go into politics or go to law school. There are obviously a lot of people in this major who want to do those things, but there is so much else you can do and so many other paths you can consider. You will come out of the major knowing how to research and write extremely well — a skill that is desperately needed in the job market today. You will understand current affairs a lot better, and you will know how to speak intelligently about them. Plus, you will be surrounded by people who are planning to go on to be politicians and other high-ranking officials, which could potentially help you out down the road with networking and job hunting.”

  • 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.

    • 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. 

    • 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.

    • 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, 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 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 …