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Student Voices

  • Yana Astter '21

Yana Astter ’21


Johnsburg, Illinois





Favorite spot on campus

“I love being in The Tower and facing the lake! I love being outside of my room and being able to focus but also have a stunning view when I work.”

Career goal

“I hope to go to graduate school and become a physician-scientist.”

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

Professor Christine Blaine was one of the first professors I had at Carthage, and she is one of the nicest and funniest teachers I have ever had. She is super helpful and kind, and she really encouraged me to pursue multiple opportunities at in and outside of Carthage.

Professor John Kirk has also had an impact on my life. I started my research with him through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), and he gave me lots of advice. I look up to him as a mentor and appreciate everything he does for his students.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage so far has been Organic Chemistry. Although it is a challenging class, I love the connections I have built and how much I have been able to learn and connect to my previous chemistry knowledge.”

Toughest class

“My toughest classes have definitely been the General Physics classes. There was a lot of new and interesting information presented, and there were many different things to keep track of throughout the classes. Even though these classes were tough, I was able to succeed with the help of my peers and professors.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I’ve been accepted as a research intern in a research experience for undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University. I was able to apply to this program because of the valuable experiences I have gained at Carthage and will be able to further my skills at this research opportunity.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I participated in the SURE Program, which was an incredible experience that gave me insights into research. I now plan on pursuing research as a part of my career and am continuing to participate in the same research I did during the SURE Program. I also presented at the 2018 SURE Presentations at Carthage, the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Physical Sciences, Math, and Computer Science at Washington University. I am planning on presenting at the National American Chemical Society Meeting in Orlando in March 2019, and also at Celebration of Scholars at Carthage in Spring 2019!”


“I received the highest merit scholarship for my ACT and GPA. This scholarship actually gave me a chance to attend college and pursue my interests. I couldn’t be more grateful to be given scholarship money and follow my dreams here at Carthage.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in Chemistry Club and Pre-Health Club. I initially joined these clubs because of the sense of community these clubs brought. They were really welcoming and allowed me to grow strong connections with the faculty as well as other students with similar interests. I am on the executive board for both Chemistry Club and Pre-Health Club, and I love meeting with members every week and being a resource for people on campus.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Some of my favorite Carthage memories are definitely due the connections and relationships I have built here with my friends and faculty. I feel like I have a family here, and I enjoy spending time with everyone whether it be at the President’s Ball or keeping each other company when we are working on homework.”

Biggest surprise so far

“One of the biggest surprises is the amount of opportunities that are presented here. I would have never expected to be where I am now, but I am also really happy to have had all of the resources Carthage has provided. I feel like I have been able to grow a lot as a person and explore interests in areas I would have never thought to explore.”

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

“My 8-year-old self would probably think I am a giant nerd. I was not a fan of science at the time, so I would definitely not like what I am currently doing. I think when I was 8 I wanted to be a doctor, but clearly did not know that it was necessary to like science to become one.”

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

“Other students should consider chemistry because of the amazing community we have in the Chemistry Department. The professors and students are so kind and knowledgeable, and the connections you will build with them are unprecedented.”


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.

    • 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. 

    • 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 …