Chloe W. Harper ?23

Chloe W. Harper

Class Year



Hendersonville, Tennessee


Biology (Paleontology Track) and Classical Studies

“Paleontology is just awesome. If you really have your heart set on the subject, you won’t regret coming to Carthage; you’ll finish your undergrad degree with graduate-level research and understanding in the subject.”

Chloe W. Harper, ’23

Career goal

“I hope to go to grad school in Mediterranean archaeology, Egyptian archaeology, Near Eastern studies, or Egyptology. I want to one day teach others about the incredible history of life on our planet, be it in a museum or classroom setting.”

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

“I think that the Carthage faculty are some of the best aspects of the Carthage experience. The professors I’ve met really care about what they’re teaching, and they also care about students. Professor Thomas Carr has been extremely supportive throughout my undergraduate career, and he’s helped me figure out what’s right for me in terms of grad school. Professors Angela Dassow and Paul Martino are also amazing people and wonderful teachers.

“Professor Chris Renaud has been the biggest help with my classical studies degree. I couldn’t have made it this far without her, and I really look up to her. She’s insightful, kind, and has lots of stories about her own work in Rome! In addition, the whole David A. Straz Jr. Center is full of great folks who are always willing to help.”

Favorite class

“The Vertebrate Field Paleontology J-Term course was by far my favorite class I’ve ever taken at Carthage. It’s required for paleontology-track biology majors like me, but it’s actually open to students of all majors. I highly recommend taking it because it’s a great experience. You get to travel out to Montana and excavate real fossil material that hasn’t seen the light of day in 66 million years! Every day out there is an adventure. If you’re the first to discover a site, you get to name it, and you’re guaranteed to find at least something every time you look around your feet.”

Campus involvement

“As the treasurer and secretary of the Paleontology Club, I helped organize club events and even made some awesome T-shirt designs. I did the same work for Beta Beta Beta, the biology honors society.”

Toughest class

“Biology senior thesis was the hardest course I’ve ever taken. I’m a perfectionist and a creative writer, but I am not that great at scientific writing. Bridging that gap and learning to accept my shortcomings was by far one of the biggest challenges for me. People told me since day one that I can’t expect to know everything, and that the point of science is to overcome challenges and learn knew things. I’ve never really felt challenged until that class, and I finally get that making mistakes and revising your work is part of learning. That’s how science works.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“The friends that I’ve made have been the best part of Carthage. We have our own Friendsgiving, in which we have a Thanksgiving away from home before or after break. It’s great!”

Favorite spot on campus

“The Hedberg Library is a lifesaver. It provides a great environment to work on assignments and grad school applications, and everyone is usually very quiet and respectful in the library study spaces. The Einstein Bros. Bagels area in the library is good if I need a coffee or something to eat while studying. I frequent the printing area, too, because it is by far the most reliable place to get your papers printed on campus!”

Biggest surprise so far

“Mental health is a real thing. I always kept pushing myself harder and harder every day and never thought I’d give out. It was a really humbling experience to wake up one day and realize my entire body had just crashed from stress. I realized that everybody needs a break sometimes, and that I really did need to take better care of my body and mind. We aren’t machines — we’re living organisms with needs.”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would be surprised but proud of how far I’ve come. Paleontology has always been in my heart, but I’ve only very recently pursued archaeology. My younger self would probably be confused on why I choose to work on human skeletons instead of dinosaurs! Either way, history has always been cool to me, and I know little me would have been very excited about all I’ve accomplished and all I plan to do.”

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

“Paleontology is part of understanding why the world is the way it is. You can’t fully understand modern biology without knowing organisms’ evolutionary history. That, and paleontology is just awesome. If you really have your heart set on the subject, you won’t regret coming to Carthage; you’ll finish your undergrad degree with graduate-level research and understanding in the subject. Also, the field experience J-Term course is absolutely incredible!”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because it was one of the only places in the continental U.S. that would allow me to focus on both paleontology and archaeology. It also helped that Prof. Carr is the head of the Carthage Institute of Paleontology.”