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Student Voices

  • Caitlin Reynolds '18
    Caitlin Reynolds '18

Caitlin Reynolds ’18


Yorkville, Illinois


Elementary Education


Dance, STEM

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite place on campus is the lake. I love being able to walk down to it whenever I want to. It’s always really relaxing to hear the waves crashing against the shore.”

A current senior at Carthage, elementary education major Caitlin Reynolds is focused on expanding her perspectives, experiences, and knowledge for later use within her own classroom. Through Carthage’s Education Department, Caitlin has received key hands-on experience and networking opportunities in the Kenosha Unified School District, catapulting her into the field.

Caitlin has also been very active in Carthage’s Dance Program. She has participated in numerous fall and spring shows that have also displayed her original choreography. Caitlin hopes to incorporate dance into her teaching career as a healthy form of self-expression for her students.

Career goal

“I hope to be working in an elementary school, broadening the minds of my students and helping to create innovative and critical thinkers. I also hope to be a dance instructor on the side. I want to teach my dancers to have confidence in themselves and instill a passion for dance within them.”

Favorite professor

“A few who have impacted me in my life at Carthage are Professor James Lochtefeld, my dance professor Stacy Pottinger, and adjunct professors Piper Morgan Hayes and Kristina Saldarelli. Professor Lochtefeld was my religion professor in Hinduism. He shared a lot of interesting things about the religion and pictures that he took on multiple trips to India. This made the class so much more interesting because he connected himself to what he was teaching, and that helped us understand it better. He also connected to the class by sharing his own stories, and he was always open to talk and discuss. He put a huge emphasis on the importance of family in the class while we were learning, which really helped me when I was going through a very tough family loss. He was very approachable and understanding of my situation and it really helped to be with my family in that time rather than worrying about school and homework. He really helped me see the value that all religions have and how they are all still connected by many similarities.”

“As for my dance professors, they have all really helped me grow as a dancer. They’ve really pushed me out of my comfort zone by introducing new styles and new ways of thinking about movement. The new methods have helped me choreograph two pieces for dance shows. Because of their classes, I have embraced my own dance style and I now explore any type of movement or concept I am interested in, regardless of my comfort zone.”

Favorite class

“I think my favorite class at Carthage so far would have to be my Choreography and Repertory class, which was required for my dance minor. It really improved my understanding of how to teach dance to others more clearly. It also provided me with information I could use within my own choreography. My professor slowly provided us with information and after, we would create little pieces to test the concepts on. The end of class final was a solo piece we had to create. I thoroughly enjoyed creating my piece and was very proud and confident of what I had finished at the end.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class so far at Carthage would have to be my Carthage Symposium class, which was Women in the Literary and Visual Arts. My two professors for the class gave us difficult readings and we had 10-minute writes at the end of each class to explain the concepts we had just learned. Over the course of the semester, I had a moment where it all kind of clicked and I was able to better understand what my professors were teaching. The class also changed the way I think about myself and other women. I learned what it really means to be feminist and about women throughout history. It was a very difficult, insightful, and thought-provoking class.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have had the opportunity to be a dancer in two faculty-led dance shows in the fall of 2014 and 2015. I choreographed a piece for the student-led dance show in the spring of 2016. In the fall of 2016, I was asked to add a solo that I choreographed to the faculty-led dance show.”

“I have also had the opportunity to be a part of the Lady Reds track and field team. My events are indoor weight throw, hammer throw, and javelin throw.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“One of my favorite moments at Carthage was when my dance professor asked if I would include a solo that I choreographed for one of my dance class finals in the faculty dance show. It was a huge accomplishment for me as a dancer, and choreographer, to be a part of a show that all of my dance professors work on.”

“Another favorite memory from Carthage that I will always cherish is the way my Fall 2016 professors all really helped me out. At the end of my fall semester last year, my family was going through a very difficult time when I lost someone very close to me. All my professors, both of my track coaches, and other behind-the-scenes people at Carthage helped to get me home a week early to spend time with my family. They worked with me to make sure I got all of my classwork and finals done. It is something that I will always deeply appreciate and be forever grateful for. It allowed me to be with my family when I needed to be.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise to me so far is how much I’ve grown as a student, potential teacher, and just in general. I’ve learned so many lessons and received a lot of valuable advice. I’ve also come to be a little more adventurous. I have found more pieces of who I am, and who I would like to become. I’m glad I was able to do that at Carthage.”

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

“I would never have thought I would be studying to be a teacher, but I’m glad at the way things have turned out.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Don’t give up on the profession because you think the students will be difficult. Your students are the most rewarding part of this major. You’re here to make a positive impact in a child’s life and their future.”


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. 

    • Looking to teach? Count on becoming a familiar face in local schools. Carthage students accumulate 135 hours in local classrooms before their student teaching semester. Make that 450+ for those entering our new urban teacher program.

    • 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 …