Michelle Nuetzmann

Class Year



Gurnee, Illinois


Music and German

Transfer student Michelle Nuetzmann’s dreams came true her freshman year when she applied for the Carthage Spring Transfer Scholarship. “I attended the scholarship competition, totally unaware of what to expect, but I gave the very best I could,” she said. “I opened a letter dated on my birthday to hear that I received the full-tuition scholarship, and that was one of the happies days of my life!”

Michelle chose to study German as well as music. “German is incredibly useful, both in your studies and in terms of your career. Germany is Europe’s economic powerhouse, and the language is widely spoken and studied. It’s surprising how much my German studies have been relevant to other courses! There are also a lot of different reasons to be a music major, but if you do choose music at Carthage, you will be pushed and stretched, and realize your potential. You will work hard and see the fruits of your effort, which is one of the coolest experiences out there.”

“At Carthage you will be pushed and stretched, and realize your potential. You will work hard and see the fruits of your effort, which is one of the coolest experiences out there.”

Michelle Nuetzmann, ’16

Career goal

“I couldn’t tell you a life plan, but I do know things I want to do. I want to eventually go to grad school, maybe in global affairs or musicology, and spend time living and working in different parts of the world. My dream, though, is to be a professor.”

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

Dimitri Shapovalov is incredibly knowledgeable and deeply invested in everything that he does. He truly goes above and beyond when caring about his students. As a professor and advisor, he’s given me substantial guidance on technical things like writing skills and piano technique, but also how to be the best I can be. He gets to know his students’ individual strengths and will work with them specifically. For example, he once put me in contact with one of his colleagues from Cornell to have a conversation about synthesizing future studies and career options in German and music.”

Favorite class

Death, God, and Philosophers (PHL 200Z)is easily my favorite so far. The class was full of bright, thoughtful students who all brought a unique spin to the discussion. The texts we wrestled with opened my mind, and the discussion made me challenge ideas I felt sure about before taking the class.”

Campus involvement

“I’ve been involved in music ensembles, tutored various classes, worked at the campus Starbucks, and served as president of the Carthage College German Club. My sophomore year, I worked with other campus cultural organizations to create a new annual event called International Week, a week full of events to celebrate and promote awareness of global cultures. There was even a discotheque. If you don’t know what that is, you’ll have to come next spring and see for yourself!”

Toughest class

Contemporary Ethical Issues has been pretty tough. The discussions are great, but in order to get a good grade on the exams, you have to be a strong writer, thoroughly understand ethical theories, and be able to accurately apply them to practical scenarios. Despite the hard work and strict professor, it’s become one of my favorite classes, and I look forward to it every day, even if it’s at 8 a.m.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have traveled the world thanks to Carthage. In 2015 alone I spent J-Term in China with the Carthage Women’s Ensemble, and experienced a culture very different from my own. During the spring semester I studied abroad in Munich, Germany. I’ve also had opportunities to apply for prestigious scholarships such as Fulbright, DAAD, CLS, and Gilman.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Probably all of the time spent laughing and pseudo-philosophizing with great people.”

Favorite spot on campus

“Anywhere where you can see the lake. It’s nice to have a quiet moment of reflection in the midst of a hectic schedule.”

Biggest surprise so far

“How true it is that students change their major multiple times.”

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

“I think she would be proud. When I was little, I promised myself I would go to college on scholarship so my parents wouldn’t have to worry about money. As I got older, I understood that’s something you can’t necessarily plan on, but Carthage allowed me to keep my promise.”

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

“If you’re considering majoring (or double-majoring) in a language, I highly recommend it! Especially if you are already pretty proficient in a foreign language. Studying abroad will change you. Music is different. Major in music if it is your passion. If you aren’t sure, now is the time to take courses in a variety of subjects and explore. You might be surprised by what you find. If you do choose music, you will be rewarded, and you will have a community for the rest of your life.”