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International Political Economy

Student Voices

  • Michael Arient '21

Michael Arient ’21

Hometown

Schaumburg, Illinois

Major(s)

International Political Economy, Accounting

Minor(s)

Political Science

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is definitely the shoreline. There is not a more relaxing spot on campus than the rocks next to the waves. When staring out over the lake during anytime of day, you can’t help but feel good.”

Michael Arient came to Carthage looking for an environment that would foster his academic and personal growth while allowing him to pursue interests in multiple fields. After only his first few moments on campus, Michael knew Carthage was a perfect fit.

“The first time I stepped on campus, I instantly felt tranquil,” he says. “I knew I was in an environment where I could learn well.

“Carthage was really the only school that allowed me the freedom to pursue all of my passions at once. I was unable to study both IPE and accounting at any other school, and here I am able to take on both as full majors alongside a minor.”

By getting to know his professors and classmates through the small class sizes and community provided by Carthage, Michael instantly found a home within his department, and the College as a whole. Michael thanks Prof. Arthur Cyr and other faculty members for giving him the warm welcome and encouragement in class that he now values deeply.

Michael is actively involved on campus and belongs to clubs and organizations such as the Carthage Accounting Association, VITA, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Model UN. These groups have allowed Michael to enjoy new experiences, friendships, and leadership opportunities. In what became one of his favorite Carthage memories, Michael experienced his first plane ride while traveling to Toronto with Model UN. He hopes to utilize Carthage’s many J-Term options to see more countries and ways of life in the future.

After Carthage, Michael hopes for a career in international trade. He encourages incoming students with interests in numerous topics to consider IPE and all that the department has to offer. 

Career goal

“I would like to eventually work with international trade in an economics or business role.”

Favorite professor

“The professor who has made the greatest impact on my life has got to be Dr. Arthur Cyr. As an advisor to me, he has been very encouraging, especially when I first arrived on campus. He was one of the first to welcome me and helped me to discover new clubs and classes. He made me feel like Carthage was not just interested, but engaged in my future success.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage so far has been Western Heritage II (COR 1110). It was all due to Professor Paul Ulrich’s questions which really brought the text to life. The philosophical questions he asked were very relevant to our lives and resulted in some impactful life lessons. Overall, it was the best discussion class I’ve ever taken.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class my first year was Philosophical Foundations of Political Economy (POL 2050). I took this class with Dr. Cyr and it was the first time I experienced real college-level reading and writing. Reading volumes and volumes of political philosophy was a brand new challenge in time management. Thankfully Dr. Cyr was helpful, my enjoyment in the readings grew, and the semester went well.”

Internships

“I have not completed an internship yet, but this upcoming school year, I have a fellowship with NextGen America. I will be motivating other students to register to vote.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Besides the traveling, I think one of the best opportunities I’ve had has been being able to meet and work with professors one-on-one. At a small school, you really get to know your professors well, which is a great help when you need career advice or essay help.”

Campus involvement

“I belong to the Carthage Accounting Association, VITA, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Model UN. All of these clubs led me to meet amazing new individuals who are all very motivated and intelligent. In Model UN, I made countless friends and had amazing opportunities to represent Carthage and make memories of a lifetime.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“My favorite memory from Carthage was a Model UN conference in Toronto. While the United States and Canada aren’t terribly different culturally, between two political science students, there were endless things to discuss. I made tons of friends and spent the weekend doing what I love. This was my first conference of many, all of which I know will be memories of a lifetime.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“I think the biggest surprise so far is how many new friends I’ve made. I really can’t believe how many lifelong friends I made in such a short period of time. I made friends from all different walks of life. In everything I did at Carthage, people were always friendly.”

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

“My 8-year-old self would be very pleased to hear that I am studying something with an international side. When I was in grade school I used to check a different atlas out of the library every week. I would be ecstatic to know all those hours spent staring at maps weren’t in vain.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“I would definitely recommend International Political Economy to any student who is interested in a variety of topics. IPE covers many different topics and Dr. Cyr encourages students to explore their interests.

“I have found accounting and IPE to be a very satisfying combination. On one hand IPE is a very wide major, while on the other accounting is a very deep one. This provides a very strong understanding of business and how it affects economics and in turn politics and international relations.”

Writer

Madeline Paakkonen ’21
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • 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.

    • More than 90% 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. More than 90% 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. 

    • Carthage’s J-Term offers IPE students opportunities to study business culture in other countries. Recent J-Term study tours have been led by economics, finance, political science, and marketing faculty to such destinations as Sweden, Cuba, Argentina, southern Africa, and Hong Kong.

    • Carthage IPE graduates are working around the globe as computer analysts, financial advisors, investment brokers, international business analysts, mutual fund specialists, and for government and nonprofit organizations. 

    • Popular with IPE students, the student organization Enactus provides students with entrepreneurial experience through community projects. The group’s name borrows from three words: entrepreneurial, action, and us. Enactus has received regional and national recognition.

    • Carthage has been named a top producer of Fulbright Fellows three years running. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing 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 more than 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.

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    • 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 …
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    • 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,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

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    • 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 Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. 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.

    • 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 …

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