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Social Work

Student Voices

  • Nicole Koerth '19

Nicole Koerth ’19


Brillion, Wisconsin


Social Work


Criminal Justice, Sociology

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the Campbell Student Union. That is a place that has it all: food, friendship, and entertainment.”

By participating in Greek life, clubs, and internships through her major, Nicole Koerth has really made a home for herself at Carthage. Whether it be shopping trips with friends, or sorority lunches, Nicole thinks of her many Carthage memories fondly. However, the valuable experiences she has had at Carthage reach far beyond the joys of campus life.

As a social work major, Nicole has invested countless hours helping those in need through intensive internships and study tours abroad. She has broadened her perspectives through work at the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha, the Women’s Resource Center, and through her studies in thought provoking classes.

Approaching graduation at Carthage, Nicole hopes to specialize in either criminal justice or medical social work in order to reach her full impact and potential. Nicole advises incoming social work majors to work hard and keep their eyes on the goal. “Social work is not an easy profession, but it is 100% worth the time and dedication. Sometimes I feel as if I didn’t really choose social work, but instead that social work chose me.”

Career goal

“After Carthage, I am still undecided as to what area of social work I wish to pursue. I am torn between heading down the path of criminal justice, working with juvenile delinquents, or going into medical social work. Medical social work is where I have always seen myself, and my “dream job” would be to work in a cancer center.”

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

“I think the professor who has impacted me the most is Dr. Danielle Geary. I have had her for a few of my social work classes and I think she has the most insightful, in depth, and informative view on the social work profession.”

Favorite class

“Picking my favorite class is hard because I enjoy many of them! However, my favorite class so far would probably have been my Juvenile Delinquency class which views the topic through both a sociological lens, as well as a criminal justice lens. We also looked at the phenomenon as a macro issue instead of a micro issue. This encouraged me to put my social work hat on and think of ideas and policies that could be proposed to help youth who wander down a path of delinquency.”

Toughest class

“I think the class that has been the toughest for me has been my statistics class, as I am not the best with reading and analyzing data. However, Professor Tian Tian taught this class in such an amazing way that I feel I can interpret and understand data, should I need to utilize that information in the future.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I have had two internships so far. The first was at the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha in the Teen Center. In general, this is a safe space for at-risk youth to go after school to do homework, hang out, or get some exercise in. I loved this internship because it introduced me to working with a new type of population –teenagers!”

“My second internship was at the Women’s Resource Center, a domestic violence shelter. This was a dramatic difference from the Boys and Girls Club, and I was exposed to the true hardships that women and children experience right here in our community. Being a part of the staff that supplied them with a safe and healing space was one of the most rewarding opportunities for me.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Carthage has supplied me with amazing opportunities. On top of the internships I have had, I was also able to go on a J-Term study tour in January of 2017. I went to London, England to learn and understand the differences in gender, race, and class between their culture and ours. We took on the lens of intersectionality because this class was a psychology and sociology Carthage Symposium. This allowed me to study things I love in a beautiful city.”

Campus involvement

“For the first two years at Carthage I was involved with the organization Colleges Against Cancer. During my second year in the club I served on the executive board as the publicity chair. I loved being involved with this club as cancer awareness is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. I am also in the Social Work Honors Society, Phi Alpha, and serve as the historian on their executive board. Being involved in a organization of like-minded individuals only encourages me to want to do more. My sophomore year I joined the social service sorority Kappa Phi Eta, and this spring I was elected as the vice president. All of these organizations have given me the chance to be involved with community service and giving back.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“All of my favorite Carthage moments and memories involve my best friend and roommate. They’re silly things like talking about unconditional love at 2:00 am, or grabbing lunch with one of our sorority sisters. Memories like driving to Gurnee to buy Crocs for some retail therapy after a long day, or heading to Petland to get our fix of animal love are ones that stand out to me the most. Coming to Carthage I didn’t know a soul, now I have met my absolute best friends.”

Biggest surprise so far

“I think the biggest surprise for me has been how I found things that I absolutely love to study. I knew coming to Carthage that I wanted to be a social work major. However, I had no idea I was going to pick up two minors, and still have the ability to graduate in 4 years!”

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

“8-year-old me did not know what a social worker was, so this is definitely not the path I imagined myself going down back then. However, I do believe that 8 year old me wanted to be a doctor. I can’t be too surprised that I changed my mind, but in reality, I didn’t change all that much – I still want to help in the medical field and I still want to help people. I think this goes to show that there are many paths one can go down to still achieve their ultimate goal.”

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

“The amazing thing about social work is that it is a very giving profession. We embody values that promote social justice and empowerment for everyone in our communities, country, and even world. People always talk about making a difference. Social work gives you the tools and abilities to change the life of just one individual, or even the lives of thousands.”


Madeline Paakkonen ’21
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    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 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 …