Skip to main content


Student Voices

  • Miranda Paikowski '20

Miranda Paikowski ’20


West Bend, Wisconsin


English, French


Dance, Studio Art

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the sitting area in the David A. Straz Center, located underneath the planetarium. This is an excellent place to go when you need somewhere to study in a group or if you want a comfortable spot to catch up on assignments. This is also a great spot because it has a great view of the lake. In the warmer months, one can enjoy this view even more with the outdoor seating. This on-campus location is relaxing, quiet, and open, making it my favorite place to study.”

Career goal

“After graduating from Carthage, I hope to move to France for one to two years and teach English to high school level students. After returning to the United States, I hope to further my education and earn my master’s degree and doctorate in English. I would like to become a professor at a small, private college like Carthage.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

Professor Stacy Pottinger organizes and teaches in the Dance Program. She gave me the opportunity to choreograph for the student-run spring dance show. I worked with an amazing group of dancers and was able to watch them grow as artists. I taught a five-minute tap piece, which was awarded an Ashby award for best choreography. None of this would have been possible if Prof. Pottinger did not encourage me to be involved in the spring show.

I also traveled to Duluth, Minnesota, with Prof. Pottinger and a small group of dancers for the American College Dance Association’s North-Central Conference. At this conference, I was able to perform and take multiple master classes, as well as see other dancers perform their pieces. Overall, this experience helped to expand my understanding of dance as an important art form. I was able to see how Prof. Pottinger’s passion for dance impacts her discussions and activities in class.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class has been American Literature, due to the class’s content, my professor, and the relationship between all of the students in the class. I was always so eager to go to that class. Every class period provided a unique learning experience. Professor Shannon Brennan was very enthusiastic about the class, and her excitement during our discussions made the students more interested in the subject. This class, in particular, helped me to grow as a reader, writer, and thinker.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class has been Advanced French, but I also believe this class to be the most rewarding. This class focused most of its attention on grammar, which I often found incredibly difficult to grasp. However, I also remember the sense of pride I felt when I finally mastered something. In this course, I was challenged to read stories in French and watch French news reports, which led to a drastic improvement in my abilities. This class gave me the push I needed to feel more confident with French as one of my majors.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I chose Carthage because of the endless opportunities available to students. For example, Carthage offers the chance to take J-Term study tours, which allows students to expand upon their studies in new, exciting places. Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to the Franco-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe for two weeks. While there, I was able to broaden my knowledge of the French language while becoming immersed in the island’s French culture.

Carthage also allows students to develop a close relationship with their professors, as the class sizes are usually small. My first year at Carthage, I had one class, Advanced Jazz, in which there were only six students and another class, Advanced French, which only contained eight students. Carthage is a great place for students to feel a sense of community as they continue their studies.”


“I was awarded the Clausen Presidential Scholarship, which provides me with four years of full tuition at Carthage. I am forever grateful to my donors because I can attend school without the added stress of wondering how I will acquire the money to pay for my undergrad education. This scholarship has also reminds me of the benefits of hard work, and it drives me to be an active member of the Carthage community while striving for success in my studies.”

Campus involvement

“My first year at Carthage, I got involved in the student-run newspaper, The Current. My contributions to the paper were primarily political cartoons, which were published in the paper regularly. On one occasion, a political cartoon of mine was used as the cover art, which was definitely a memorable experience. Working for the paper also helped me communicate with many other members of the Carthage community. One great aspect of the paper is that anyone can join. There are a wide range of jobs and it is not limited to a certain major. Joining The Current was one of the best things I decided to do at Carthage. I highly recommend it to any student hoping to branch out.

Another group I joined at Carthage is the English Players. The English Players is a group of Carthage students and staff who meet on a weekly basis to rehearse scenes from Shakespeare plays, which they later perform to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday. Last year, I was a part of the English Players’ production of Macbeth. The best part of this on-campus group is that no acting experience is required to be involved. I had no acting experience prior to joining, yet I was still given four small roles in the play. For me, joining this club forced me to step out of my comfort zone, but I felt constantly supported by the staff leaders and fellow members. Performing Macbeth was a rewarding experience and the path leading up to the performance was filled with memorable experiences.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“One of my favorite memories so far at Carthage was attending the Kick Off Carnival during the first week of school. I went to this event on a whim with a few other students I had met in Western Heritage class earlier that day. While at the Carnival, we made memories watching live-band karaoke, getting animal balloons, and playing with a giant Light Bright board. The event sparked some great friendships. Attending the Carnival was a great way to kick off freshman year and my time at Carthage.”

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise so far at Carthage has been the extent of opportunities available to students. In just one year, I have been able to travel to the Caribbean, attend a dance conference in Minnesota, and choreograph a piece for the student dance show. I feel so grateful for all of these opportunities and am enthusiastic to experience even more in the years to come.”

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

“When I was 8 years old, I remember having a great love for books. That was the year I first opened up a Harry Potter book, and I loved the feeling of being completely immersed in a new world. I would read for hours on end, something that I continue to do today. Looking back, it makes sense that I am now an English major. I love thinking deeply about texts and discovering the magic in a book’s pages. I think my 8-year-old self would be pleased to see that my passion for reading has not faded, but has continued to grow and is now the focus of my career path.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“For other students considering a major in English, I would highly recommend taking advantage of office hours. Meeting with your professors will only strengthen your understanding of the material and show your professors that you care about their class.”


Madeline Paakkonen ’21
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), 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 The Aspire Center.

    • 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 has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. 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 marketing 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 $22,000 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 Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, 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 130 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 in the Top 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 …