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Student Voices

  • August Andrew Villa '21
    Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

August Andrew Villa ’21


Waukegan, Illinois



Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the lounge in front of Einstein’s Bros. Bagels. Einstein’s is my go-to place for all my cravings. On a cold, windy day, their loaded baked potato soup warms my insides and satisfy my cravings.”

Career goal

“After graduating from Carthage, I intend to further expand my experience and education of the nursing practice by volunteering as an RN in the Peace Corps, working in community health care systems across the country, and diving into my studies to pursue a MSN and eventually a PhD in nursing where I can share my life experiences with future nursing students as a professor.”

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

Professor Margaret Wentzell is an extraordinary individual. Her strong passion for the sciences and concern for social issues complement her willingness to help her students succeed in her class. Though her teaching habits may be strict, she will always keep her students’ best interests at heart.

Professor Cheryl Peterson has opened my eyes to the integrity of the nursing profession. She taught me the importance of the quality of life, taking initiative when needed, and being the voice for those who have none. It is through her guidance in my freshmen year that has ignited my determination to pursue multiple leadership roles in the Carthage community.

“In the Nursing Program, each student is given an advisor. With a stroke of luck, I was assigned to Professor Patricia Flannery. She is a remarkable individual who has earned her spot as one of the biggest influences on my ambitions here at Carthage. She has taught me to stop, slow down, and take a moment to breath despite the workload and stressors of the nursing curriculum. Whenever I visit her office, she always greets me with a huge bowl of candy and a welcoming smile that reads: “Hey bud! How’s your week going? Want a piece of candy?” It is professors like her that reassure my decision to attend Carthage was indeed the correct one.

“Though he has yet to teach me in a classroom setting, Professor Franklin Hicks is the biggest influence on my character. He taught me to be an effective leader to others and to myself. It is through his guidance and leadership that has kept my feet on the ground. After graduating from Carthage, I will never forget the lessons these professors have shared with me. They not only have shared their experiences and life long teachings, but have affected the way I live my life moving forward.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage would be Anatomy and Physiology. Though it may be challenging and extremely time consuming, I see the importance of the class and the firm foundation it creates for the nursing education.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class at Carthage so far would also have to be Anatomy and Physiology. What makes the class difficult is not the work load or extreme attention to detail, but the intimidating fact that this class is one of the foundational pillars of the nursing practice, and practically the medical field as a whole.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Carthage has given me the opportunity to travel abroad. Come my junior year, I have plans to travel with Prof. Wentzell and other nursing students on a J-Term study tour to India where we will be focusing on global healthcare.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in many different organizations on campus. I am the representative for the third nursing cohort in the Nursing Student Council. I am the current president of Residence Life Council, one of the most influential organizations for residential students on campus. I am an active member of National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) the top 1 % of leaders on campus, Alpha Lambda Delta National Honors Fraternity, and I recently help charter a chapter for the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity at Carthage College. This year, I was also an orientation leader and a peer coach advisor to freshmen students.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Some of my favorite Carthage memories would have to be my first Christmas at Carthage. My friends and I had a Secret Santa in my dorm where we exchanged gifts, drank hot chocolate, and cried and yelled at Rose to make more room for Jack on the floating door in Titanic.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise so far would be the relationship that the students have with the faculty and each other. The nursing community at Carthage is my second home. The professors are extremely dedicated to their craft and are invested in the educational success of their students. The students act as one big family. Whenever someone falls behind in class or is feeling under the weather, nursing students are always willing to help each other out in whatever way they can.”

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

“My 8 year-old self would think I am insane for taking up nursing. When I was 8, I thought that nurses were always second to the doctor, the ones giving the shots, not calling them. As of now, I have come a long way from my 8 year-old self. I have realized that the nursing profession is of great honor and integrity. Nurses are leaders. They do call the shots when it comes to the care of their patients and the families. I am proud to be a part of a calling that has such a direct impact on people’s lives.”

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

“Nursing may be one of the hardest majors one could take. It requires much dedication, determination, and patience. But throughout all the hair-pulling stress and late-night Starbucks runs, nursing is one of the most rewarding majors out there. It is the core of the medical field. Nurses are the touch that never hurts, and the smile that never frowns. Ultimately nursing is a calling to serve others from the heart and lead with a smile. One thing I like to remind myself whenever I lose track from my goals is to remember that nurses are the last to see you before you sleep, and the first to see you when you wake.

“Nursing is a calling that everyone hears but not everyone listens. It takes someone who is kind, passionate, dedicated while also being firm, tough, and spirited. Nursing is one of the hardest majors at Carthage. There may be many sleepless nights and countless hours of notes, but with the guidance of your professors and the support of your classmates, you will find that nursing is the most rewarding and generous profession. There is a reason why the nursing practice is known to be the most trusted profession; it is because of strong individuals like yourself, someone who is clearly interested in the healthcare practice, who smiles with kindness and compassion.”


Madeline Paakkonen ’21
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), 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.

    • Two years in, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing is one of Carthage’s fastest growing programs.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 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. 

    • Every January and June, between 20 and 40 students travel to the island of Ometepe, Nicaragua, where they spend two weeks studying tropical ecology, volunteering in rural medical clinics, and helping to construct freshwater facilities. 

    • The Carthage nursing curriculum delivers nearly 1,100 hours of clinical experience by the time a student graduates from the program. Carthage partners with regional health facilities including the United Hospital System and Aurora Health Care. 

    • 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 marketing 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 $25,000 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 Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, 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 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 …