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Psychological Science


  • Melissa Idzik '17

Melissa Idzik ’17

Class Year



Psychological Science and Neuroscience

Current home

Arlington Heights, Ill.

Current position

Medical Student at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University

Ms. Idzik graduated from Carthage in 2017 with degrees in psychological science and neuroscience. During her freshman year at Carthage, she met fellow freshman Pawel Jaworski, whom she married in 2019. 

“Advancing through this school was a huge blessing and the journey was especially extraordinary because I had Pawel thriving and growing beside me. We both feel incredibly lucky to have been educated at Carthage.”

Now a medical student at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University, Ms. Idzik hopes to specialize in emergency medicine. She volunteers at the Community Health Clinic in Chicago, the largest free-clinic in the United States. She is a member of the Student American Academy of Osteopathy, and the Underserved Medicine Club, Emergency Medicine Club, and the Wilderness Medicine Club at Midwestern University. 

Ms. Idzik values the support and guidance she received from her Carthage professors, naming a few who were especially influential.

“Professors Karen Walters, Bob Maleske, Leslie Cameron, Dan Miller, Dan Steiner, and Linda Greening offered encouragement and constructive feedback to help me succeed,” Ms. Idzik said. “I always felt comfortable asking for advice and opinions regarding my chosen path. Through these relationships, I was able to find job opportunities and I have enjoyed keeping in touch with such bright and kind role models.”

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“I have enjoyed learning new information and gaining knowledge in such a short time, although it is certainly challenging. The best part is that the topics I’m learning about are not only relevant to my career, but are also interesting to me.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“The professors at Carthage were by far the most influential aspect that helped guide me through my years at Carthage and beyond. The small class sizes allowed for students to form personal relationships with the professors who truly care about the success of their students. I learned how to form these professional connections at Carthage and was able to easily create relationships with later employers and professors, which I learned goes a long way. This has helped me stand out from a crowd and be seen as a more professional and competent student and employee.”

Tips for current Carthage students:

“My biggest advice to current students would be to ‘roll with the punches.’ Many students tend to have elaborate plans on exactly how and when they will reach their goal, but often times there will be unexpected challenges and life events that derail our plans. Despite any unforeseen detours in the journey, all that truly matters is reaching your end-goal, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you have any set backs because this can lead to positive experiences that you were not expecting.”

Favorite Carthage memories:

“My favorite memories revolve around meeting another student, Pawel Jaworski ’17. We began dating very early freshman year, and are now getting married in a few short months! He even proposed on the sand volleyball court on campus.

“Throughout my years at Carthage, I have grown so much as a person, student, and young professional with thanks to the amazing professors who helped shape me with all their honest advice, feedback, and wisdom. Carthage offered many learning opportunities outside the classroom, and the medical mission trip to Nicaragua truly changed me and my perspective on life; I am forever grateful for that.”

  • 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 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

    • 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 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 $22,000 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 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 …