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Physics & Astronomy


  • Todd Schulter '16

Tod Schulter ’16

Class Year



Physics and Mathematics

Current home

Reston, Va.

Current position

Space Systems Software Engineer at Northrop Grumman Corporation

Carthage alumnus Tod Schulter is a space systems software engineer at Northrup Grumman Corporation outside Washington D.C, which he believes is the best job of both the spacecraft science and software engineering worlds. In this position, Mr. Schulter develops types of spacecraft simulations, which allows customers to train their spacecraft operators to control the spacecraft when it’s in orbit, and to better understand exactly what it will do in operation. 

Mr. Schulter graduated from Carthage in 2016 with degrees in physics and mathematics. While at Carthage, he was actively involved in many extracurriculars. He was a member of Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society, Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society, Alpha Chi Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and was president of the Society of Physics Students.

Mr. Schulter presented at the 2015 and 2016 Celebration of Scholars Research Symposiums and at the 2016 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

He received the Academic Honors Scholarship, the 2016 Carthage College Society of Physics Students Distinguished Service Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“I’ve enjoyed working with so many other people wholly interested and invested in developing and exploring space. From interning at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to my current position, I’ve met some amazing people who are all just as passionate about space exploration and development as I am, which isn’t something you easily find outside this industry.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“The aspects of my Carthage experience that helped prepare me for this career would be the leadership roles I took while at Carthage. From being president of the Society of Physics Students to helping students as a weekly math tutor, I was able to develop my leadership and professional interaction skills that would go on to help me in my graduate coursework at the University of Michigan, and ultimately, in my career.”

“There were a number of Carthage professors that played a part in my success, helping me learn critical-thinking, problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills. The relationships I had with these faculty members helped me succeed by giving me great opportunities to grow. 

“Professor Julie Dahlstrom gave me the opportunity to conduct research with her through the SURE program, giving me my first practical space exposure and research experience. Professor Mark Snavely gave me the opportunity to be a math tutor for almost half my time at Carthage. Professor Mark Mahoney gave me my enthusiasm for computer programming, which has driven me to my current role as software engineer.”

Tips for current Carthage students:

“Don’t get caught up with the small things. Try things you aren’t 100 percent sure about, like being an org president. I wasn’t sure about that before I took the position, but through my experiences, I proved to myself I could be a leader.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to professors when you need help with coursework or anything else. They are more than willing to help in whatever capacity they can, sometimes across disciplines.”

Favorite Carthage memories:

“Some of my favorite Carthage memories are from the summer working on my physics SURE project at Yerkes Observatory. Due to Straz construction, all the physics SURE participants got to live on the shore of Lake Geneva and work each day at the observatory, walking in the footsteps of people such as Albert Einstein. Between that and the fun we had in our free time, it was one of the best times I had at Carthage.

“Others include my time as SPS president, and any time I got to help others learn course material and gain a better understanding of core math, physics, and computer science topics.”

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

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    • Computer science students watch Prof. Mark Mahoney’s recorded lecturers in their free time, so he can nearby “when they do their real learning,” he says. He has company: Physics professor Brant Carlson’s quantum mechanics video playlist has been viewed more than 170,000 times. 

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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

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    • 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 …