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Carthage Noyce Scholarship Program

Noyce Scholar Profile

  • Leah Hall ’19
    Leah Hall ’19

Leah Hall


Hoffman Estates, Illinois




Secondary Education

Why did you choose your major?

“I have always loved science. It was my favorite as a kid because I was able to work with my hands, and I was able to figure out all my ‘what if …’ questions on my own. Plus, I got to make a mess and my mom wouldn’t get (as) mad. Then, when I got to high school and science was broken up into different subjects, I found that I enjoyed chemistry the most, mostly for the same reasons I loved science as a kid. I had teachers who encouraged my curiosity, I was working with my hands, and it may have been a little less messy, but there was more fire so I felt that the trade was worth it.

“I should probably mention that my favorite movie was ‘Flubber’ and my favorite activity was playing with ooblek. As a kid, I had hoped that I could find a way to turn ooblek into flubber, and I thought the way to do that was through chemistry. Now I know that my goal is improbable, but I still have an affinity to finding out how things work and experimenting with goo.”

What most excites you about the Carthage Noyce Scholarship Program?

“What excites me most about the Carthage Noyce Scholarship Program is the networking. I have found that every teacher I talk to or work with has their own tips and secrets that I hope I can implement when I become a teacher. There are some things that you can only learn from experience, even if it is experience from others.”

What has receiving this scholarship meant to you?

“This scholarship has meant that I can stay within the Carthage community. I was really beginning to worry about the costs associated with Carthage and had begun thinking about transferring. The thought had upset me, though, because I have come to love the community I was a part of in the Chemistry and Education departments, as well as in my various activities. I was scared I would not be able to find a new place where I would fit as well; where I would know all my professors and they would know me; where I had friends anywhere I went on campus; and where I would be given so many opportunities for a vast array of experiences.”

What most attracts you toward teaching?

“What attracts me most to teaching is the way you can spread your passion to your students. In high school, I helped teach the basic flag moves to the new members of the flags team, and I helped with the JV team after I was moved up to varsity. I didn’t realize it at first, but after I graduated, I saw the impact I had made. One girl filled my shoes and helped the JV team. Another girl, whom I remembered being terrified of tosses, came up and showed me she had learned a complex toss that had scared me when I first learned it. Some who have now graduated went on to continue flags in park district teams. I know I didn’t affect everyone I worked with, and my goal was never to make anyone love the activity, but seeing that there were some who became passionate about flags so easily made me realize I could spread my love for chemistry if I became a teacher.”

What has been your favorite part of the Noyce program so far and why?

“My favorite part of the Noyce program so far is the J-Term teaching immersion courses. Not only did I have a lot of fun during the class, but I got to teach my first lesson as a freshman. It was an amazing opportunity. Normally teaching your first lesson is scary, and it was, but I had a lot of help and support. The lesson was far from perfect, and even the lesson plan that I created for it, but now I am much more confident when presenting lessons and ready to adapt to changing classroom conditions.”

If you are doing research this summer, tell us briefly the goal/objective of your project and what you find most interesting in this work.

“This summer, I was developing methods to use the microwave plasma atomic emission spectrophotometer (MP-AES) to quantify common ions in surface waters for Dr. Christine Blaine. Dr. Blaine’s previous research has looked at the changing concentrations of road salt that has been washed into the surface waters of Kenosha. They used conductivity to track the changes and chloride selective electrodes to quantify the concentration of road salt. I am using the MP-AES to quantify the other cations in the surface waters that contribute to the conductivity of the water. I find this most interesting because it is investigating a form of pollution that I never even thought about, and it will be something I can easily tie into my curriculum when I teach chemistry. I hope it will interest my students as well.”

What other activities are you involved in on campus?

“In the Straz Science Center, I work as an in-class, as well as preparatory, lab assistant; I am one of the outreach coordinators of Chem Club; and I am an active member of the Carthage World Relief Club. Around the rest of campus, I participate in the Carthage Swing Society, and am treasurer of the Belly Dancing Club. I also enjoy indoor and outdoor volleyball intramurals.”

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?

“Around campus, I enjoy playing video games, attending yoga, and attending my various dance clubs. When it is nice out, I love hanging my hammock and relaxing outside. I also like to hike, bike, play sports, and to go to the beach with my friends. I really enjoy reading and doing a bunch of arts and crafts activities.”

  • 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 …