Ava Serfling Bennett ?24

Ava Serfling Bennett

Class Year



Harrisburg, South Dakota


English and History

“The students who go to Carthage are driven, intelligent, and hard working. If you want friends and peers who push you to be the best, this is the best place to be!”

Ava Serfling Bennett, ’24

Career goal

“Following graduation, I would love to pursue a masters’s degree in Europe. I am fascinated by Elizabethan literature and Celtic poets, so studying those subjects in the places that inspired them would be an honor! I also most definitely want to publish a collection of short stories!”

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

“Every faculty and staff member has been kind and supportive, from my admissions representative to my professors to the workers at Einstein Bros. Bagels. Right before the spring semester during my first year, I was going through a difficult time and needed to go home to my family. I was so scared to tell my professors that I was leaving class and even more scared to go around to each department and ask questions. I will never forget how understanding, patient, helpful, and genuinely concerned each faculty member was for my family and me. There is not a single time on campus I’ve felt uncomfortable or intimidated; without that safety, I would not have asked questions, advocated for myself, and grown my confidence in and out of class!”

Favorite class

“It is a tie between World War II and Creative Writing. I learned so much in the World War II course, and for some reason, everything stuck. One thing that really resonated with me was that, many times throughout history, the fate of our future was in the hands of just a few. Never again will I doubt the power of an individual!

“On the other hand, Creative Writing taught me how much better we can be together. Every time I thought I had written an amazing piece for class, I would hear what my peers wrote, and I was left in awe. Throughout the course, I was so deeply inspired by the material and my friends that I wrote things far beyond what I thought I was capable of!”

Campus involvement

“My first year, I made an effort to participate in campus activities like BINGO, fine arts performances, and sporting events. This year, I am getting more actively involved in Carthage United to Rescue Earth, the Carthage Left Alliance, and travel clubs!”

Toughest class

“My toughest class would also have to be World War II. The subject matter was so important and so complex, I was terrified of missing even the smallest detail. Additionally, the professor was so passionate and knowledgeable — I didn’t want to disappoint! It took me two months before I felt like I didn’t have to write down every single word said in class.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I had the opportunity to see “Hamilton!” I never would have been able to go to a Broadway performance with my friends if it weren’t for the fantastic Carthage Activities Board!”


“I am so lucky to have received the Carthage Highest Honors Scholarship as well as the Willem Oudegest, and Hurd-Charles and Harrie scholarships. I can’t express how much these scholarships have meant to me. Without financial assistance, I could not have afforded college in any capacity. What Carthage offered me changed the game; now, I can afford high-quality education and the most fantastic experience!”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“I loved my freshman orientation experience and had a wonderful first few days on campus. I enjoy meeting my friends for coffee and walking along the beach. I also love parent weekend. But I think my favorite memories are of the small moments: cramming 10 friends in a dorm room for a movie, late-night laundry runs, or a fun day in class!”

Favorite spot on campus

“Hands down, my favorite spot is the Hedberg Library! Finding a quiet chair tucked in the shelves or an old book by the huge windows just makes me feel like I’m in another world. Everybody goes to the library to use the printer or a conference room, but the amount of stuff the library has is insane! You can rent board games, movies, projectors, and even music. Not to mention, there are so many books to read through. It’s the best place to study, relax, explore, hang out, and anything else. Starbucks is a close second.”

Biggest surprise so far

“For me, the biggest shock has been how easy it is to ask for help and how smart every student really is. The people who work at Carthage genuinely care about how you are doing and are so excited to help you in any way they can. Also, the students who go to Carthage are driven, intelligent, and hard working. If you want friends and peers who push you to be the best, this is the best place to be!”

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

“I don’t think she would be surprised! I have always turned to writing for support. For as long as I can remember, I had a diary. I also remember my favorite movies were historically inspired, and I was always curious about what happened ‘before.’”

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

English and history are both subjects that study stories! It is fascinating to learn and read about our past, and it is just as exciting to start writing future stories. If you are a curious and creative person with a passion for connection and communication, you belong in the humanities. I would advise students, especially writers, to be confident. What you write is good, regardless if it’s in the New York Times or a new piece of notebook paper. Do not compare your writing to your peers — our voices and stories are all different.”

Why Carthage?

“Being from South Dakota, I had never heard of Carthage, Kenosha, or anything related. However, in high school, I accidentally entered my location on Spotify as Chicago. Then one day, I heard an ad on Spotify for a college on the shores of Lake Michigan with big-city opportunities but small-town camaraderie. Although I was not the Chicago student the ad was intended for, I knew I was meant to hear it.

“After that, I researched Carthage and fell in love with the College. My mom and I took a twelve-hour road trip in February to tour the campus. When I stepped on the grounds, the snow started sprinkling, the tour guide smiled, and everywhere we went someone would introduce themself. I knew that day that Carthage was the home I was looking for, and I couldn’t have been more correct. How I found Carthage may have been a complete coincidence, but how I feel about Carthage is no accident.”