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Psychological Science

Student Voices

  • Kory Scherer '19

Kory Scherer ’19


Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin


Psychology, Sociology



Favorite spot on campus

“Like many students agree on, anywhere by the lake is amazing! Finding a place to walk or just sit is a great way to clear your mind. As for studying or working on homework, the chairs and tables by the back windows of Straz along the lake are my favorite spot. I am convinced that the view of the lake increases my productivity.”

Carthage’s combination of invested faculty members, inviting community, and liberal arts education initially attracted Kory Scherer. “It became very clear that Carthage was the best option for me, as everyone was very accommodating and showed a genuine passion for the institution.”

Now immersed in the Psychological Science and Sociology Departments, Kory has become a Department Fellow, participated in numerous conferences, and presented research at the Celebration of Scholars. To develop her minor, Kory  attended a J-Term study tour to Guatemala where she worked on her Spanish skills and learned about the area’s culture.

On campus, Kory is a part of Foreign Language Honor Society Alpha Mu Gamma and Psychology Honor Society Psi Chi. She works as a Writing Fellow at the Brainard Writing Center while also conducting children’s therapy through a job off campus. Kory enjoys the annual Christmas Festival and loves to relax and study by the lake.

She encourages potential psychology or sociology majors to push themselves and get involved in their departments and on campus. “Getting involved beyond class participation will greatly enrich your experience in the psychology and sociology majors. While doing this, do not be afraid to try new things.”

Career goal

“After I graduate from Carthage, I plan to attend graduate school to attain a master’s degree in mental health counseling, potentially with an emphasis on working with children.”

Favorite professor

“Professor Cornelia Zerban had a big impact on my Carthage career. Although she has returned to Germany, I feel fortunate to have had her as an academic advisor and professor. When I was making my college decision, she was the one that sat down with me and not only discussed the Department of Psychological Science at Carthage, but my career aspirations in general. She provided me great insight and guidance into the different avenues my interests could take me. Her support, as well as all the faculty support I have received in my respective majors, has made navigating the daunting process of deciding what I want to do after college much easier.”

Favorite class

“One of my favorite classes at Carthage has been Abnormal Psychology (PYC 3500). Given that this relates heavily to what I want to do in the future, I really enjoyed this course. However, I also thoroughly enjoyed the Cognitive Psychology of Magic J-Term class with Professor Anthony Barnhart, which I took my freshman year. This class was so much fun, and the magic never failed to amaze me!”

Toughest class

“My toughest class was my first 3000 level Spanish course. I loved the class; however, it forced me to speak more than I ever had. Due to this, it proved to be very challenging at times, but greatly improved my confidence in my Spanish speaking abilities. I overcame the mental challenges that accompanied my transition to the class by speaking every opportunity that I was able to, which was highly encouraged by Professor Matt Borden. He truly made the class a very welcoming environment in which I received more practical experience with Spanish than I ever had. It made me realize how much I can communicate in the language.”


“I have not had an official internship through Carthage. However, I am a Departmental Fellow for the Department of Psychological Science and work at the Brainard Writing Center on campus. Beyond my on-campus jobs, I work as a Behavior Technician, conducting ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy with children on the autism spectrum.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Through my Psychological Science Departmental Fellow position, I have had the opportunity to begin conducting research with Dr. Arryn Robbins on the topic of categorical search. I never envisioned myself conducting undergraduate research and, therefore, I am very grateful for the opportunity as I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience thus far. I am hoping to present our findings at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference in 2019. In addition to this, I recently had the opportunity to travel to New York and attend the National Alpha Mu Gamma Convention at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Here, I was able to present about my short-term study abroad experience in Guatemala.”

“This leads to another amazing opportunity I had: traveling to Guatemala for J-Term in January of 2018. This trip was truly an eye-opening experience in which I learned about a community with a rich history (la Cooperativa Nuevo Horizonte) and met many incredible people. I highly recommend this trip to any student studying Spanish. This J-Term, I will be going to Spain to continue developing my skills in the language.”

“When reflecting on my first few years at Carthage, an opportunity that stands out was being able to present at the Celebration of Scholars in the Spring of 2017 for the Western Heritage Scholarship. It was an honor to present at this event among many of my fellow peers.”


“I received a merit scholarship from Carthage, as well as an endowed scholarship. Receiving these scholarships made Carthage a feasible option for me, offering more financial aid assistance than any other school I was accepted to. Since then, I have been awarded with additional scholarships, such as the Western Heritage Scholarship, Spielman Award for Academic Excellence in the Social Sciences, and Rath Distinguished Scholarship. I am incredibly grateful for Carthage’s generosity and all the scholarship opportunities available to students. Without this, I would not have been able to continue my education at the school that I have come to love.”

Campus involvement

“I was elected president of Alpha Mu Gamma (Foreign Language Honor Society) for the 2018/2019 academic year after having been secretary the previous year. I was also elected as secretary of Psi Chi (Psychology Honor Society) for the same academic year.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“One of my favorite memories at Carthage was attending Christmas Fest for the first time. I love the holiday time and was amazed by the immense talent of all of those involved. This is just an example of one event that makes me proud to be a Carthage student. Seeing the whole community come together to celebrate a joyous time is truly a special experience.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“My biggest surprise so far has been the many ways you can get involved on campus and how welcoming everyone is! Carthage may be a small college, but it offers an abundance of incredible opportunities and ways to become immersed on campus. There truly is a place for everyone. Additionally, the small size allows for close relationships with both your peers and the faculty.”

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

“Although my 8-year-old self envisioned me being a professional dance teacher (despite my serious lack of rhythm), I think she would be proud of my current career path. Although my career aspirations may have changed since then, a lot of my current goals stem from my personal experiences when I was 8-years-old. It just took me a while to realize it.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“I would highly recommend that students consider either a psychology or sociology major, or both if they desire. However, if not a major, I would recommend simply taking a class in the social sciences. These classes not only can expand your self-awareness, but also your awareness of others and society. Psychology and sociology help make large abstract concepts about the human experience comprehensible by studying them under an objective and scientific lens.”

“I would recommend getting as involved as you can and getting to know your professors. Getting involved beyond class participation will greatly enrich your experience in the psychology and sociology majors. While doing this, do not be afraid to try new things. Although college is about navigating and narrowing your future path, you cannot do this without exploring. Both the psychology and sociology majors are very rewarding and can lead you down a variety of paths. It is important to explore these paths not only in your classes, but through practical experience.”


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

    • Winner of four national magic competitions, psychological science professor Tony Barnhart often performs rope tricks, coin tricks, and card tricks in class to demonstrate the psychological principle of inattentional blindness. “You know exactly what’s happening, and you still fall for it every time,” says Alison Mackey ’17.

    • 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 has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. 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.

    • 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 students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. 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,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $20,000 up to full tuition. 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 130 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. 3 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 …