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Student Voices

  • Stephanie van Wieringen ‘18
    Stephanie van Wieringen ‘18

Stephanie van Wieringen ’18


Greenfield, Wisconsin




Dance, Psychology

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus would either be the dance studio or the theater. Dancing has always been my favorite thing to do and I get to do a lot of it in both of those places.”

Dedicated to English and dance at Carthage, senior Stephanie van Wieringen keeps herself busy on campus with papers, thought-provoking classes, performances, and choreography. Pushing herself academically and physically, Stephanie studies to become a professor specializing in Shakespeare while also serving as president of the National Dance Education Organization and captain of the Red Hots Dance Team.

Sad to leave after graduation, Stephanie encourages new students to “stick to your gut” and thanks Carthage for all of the opportunities she has received “that started the minute I set foot on campus my freshman year.”

Career goal

“I would like to become a Shakespeare professor with my English major, and I would like to use my dance minor to coach a dance team or choreograph and teach at a studio.”

Favorite professor

“I have had so many professors who have impacted me. Professor Annette Duncan and Professor Shannon Brennan are two English professors that have reminded me why I love English even when it gets stressful. Stacy Pottinger, Joey Hernandez, and Courtney Petrocci keep my love for dance alive with every class.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class would have to be Humor and Satire in Composition with Professor David Gartner. It was a J-Term class where we just wrote about the funny things we did. We got to play hide and seek in the David A. Straz, Jr. Center and we even had a bizarre food eating contest. It was the most fun I think I’ve ever had in class.’

Toughest class

“My toughest class would have to have been Lit in Its time II: The Gay 90’s with Professor Shannon Brennan. It was so interesting, but I knew next to nothing about the 1890s (yes I thought it would be the 1990s, too …) and it was tough to learn history as well as literary styles all at once.”


“I’ve worked the past three years at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a summer temp. I help plan our big 150-mile bike ride that raises over 1 million dollars every year. My family has been a part of the ride since before I was born and it has a very special place in my heart since my cousin died from Leukemia when she was only 3 years old.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have had so many opportunities while at Carthage. I have had the privilege of being a part of every single dance show that has been put on since my freshman year. I have been able to dance and choreograph which is such an amazing experience. I’ve also joined our Red Hots Dance Team and was elected one of the captains after only being on the team for a year prior.”

Campus involvement

“I am heavily involved in our Dance Minor shows and will continue to be during my senior year. I am now the president of NDEO (National Dance Education Organization) for this upcoming year. I also am a captain of our Carthage Red Hots Dance Team and am a lifetime member of Alpha Chi Omega. I have also been an Orientation Leader since my sophomore year.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“Spending time with my friends would probably make up my favorite moments. Having such a tight-knit community on campus really helps you find your lifelong friends and it’s so nice that it’s so easy to see them.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise for me is how sad I’m starting to feel now that I’m going into my final year. I thought it’d be easier to think about leaving this place behind, but it’s going to be really tough. I could talk about how much I love Carthage all day!”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would be proud of me. She’d definitely be ecstatic that I have finally become a pointe dancer and that I still dance every single day!”

Advice for other students considering your major

“I think for both my major and my minor, there is a lot of judgment that gets passed about them being ‘too easy.’ I can tell you from experience that they are not. They challenge me every day and teach me things that I’ve never known before. All of my professors have been amazing and I have grown so much since I started college.”

“I would also say to stick to your gut. I changed my major kind of late because I was worried about everyone else when, in reality, the only one that matters is yourself. If you’re not happy, it’s not worth it. Do what you know you’ll love.”


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 …