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Student Voices

  • Jordan Parris '18
    Jordan Parris '18

Jordan Parris ’18


Shaumburg, Illinois




Creative Writing, English

Favorite spot on campus

“I love Einstein Bros. The windows give natural light, the view is amazing, and the traffic that passes through allows you to see friends all while doing your homework.”

As a transfer student coming from a large university, Jordan Parris selected Carthage for the individualized education and welcoming community that she knew the school would provide.

Because of her interest in and passion for social service, Jordan has been very involved in many on campus service groups and community projects. She has participated in groups like Zeta Tau Sigma, Pi Delta Chi, and ONE, all service-based organizations.

Career goal

“I hope to, eventually, create a nonprofit organization that helps people who have been incarcerated. It would provide resources to those who have been released, which would encourage them to re-enter the workforce and society. The focus would predominantly be on juvenile correction centers.”

Favorite professor

“I’ve taken every class taught by Professor David Gartner at Carthage. He was the professor who made me realize my love for history, and was also one of the first people to help me realize that life is all about balance. Because of his lesson on balance, I think my time at Carthage has become significantly better.”

Favorite class

Professor Stephanie Mitchell teaches a class on the Caribbean and the entire first half of the semester is focused on pirates. It was the first class I chose myself that I thought was interesting and loved attending.”

Toughest class

“Environmental Science was by far the hardest. I knew going in that it would not be easy, as science is not my strong suit. It was something I was interested in, I just couldn’t quite figure out the little details.”

Campus involvement

“I am a member of Zeta Tau Sigma, Pi Delta Chi, and a former member of ONE. All of these organizations allow me to participate at the many philanthropic events on campus. ONE also gave me the opportunity to lobby in Washington, D.C.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“The moment that comes to mind the most is representing Carthage’s chapter of ONE on Capitol Hill when I lobbied there. I spent about a week in D.C. learning about lobbying for the benefits of others. I believe the well-being of others should be in everyone’s interest.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“Switching my major was the biggest surprise. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted when I came into Carthage, but I’m a lot happier than I was initially.”

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

“I guess she would be proud. I’ve always been interested in helping people. My parents taught me growing up that most people do not have all of the opportunities that I do. Even then as a little kid, I wanted to make sure that they did.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“It is important to work hard, study, and pick classes on topics that you want to learn about. The History Department at Carthage offers so many specific classes, from Modern Britain to a comparative history of Milwaukee and Chicago. If you take the classes you want to learn about, it will make the experience all the more fun.”


Madeline Paakkonen ’21
  • 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.

    • 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 …