Elsie Berg

Elsie Berg

Class Year



Virginia, Minnesota


English and Religion


Emphasis in Creative Writing

“I’d highly recommend studying English because it opens up a surprising number of opportunities and builds many skills.”

Elsie Berg, ’24

Career goal

“After I graduate from Carthage, I plan on enrolling in a doctoral program in English and pursuing opportunities for writing scholarship that contributes to the current conversation in the literary community. In addition to this, I’d like to either work in book publishing or as an English professor.”

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

“The Carthage faculty, specifically my professors, are family to me. So many of my professors have supported me when I was having a difficult time, and each and every one of them wants to see me, as well as their other students, succeed more than anything else. Without them, I wouldn’t have nearly the amount of confidence in myself and my skills as I do now, and I wouldn’t have been able to experience all of the amazing things that I’ve been given the privilege of participating in. The faculty here at Carthage truly revel in their student’s successes, and I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else. My professors have given recommendations that have helped open doors for me, and they’ve always been available to schedule a meeting with me so I can get some advice or help on coursework—even just to have a chat and check in. Without them, I’d have no idea what I was capable of achieving, but they’ve helped me unlock my potential and thrive.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class so far at Carthage has been the short story class that I took with Professor Alyson Kiesel. Before taking this class, I always felt like my voice in a story didn’t matter, but Prof. Kiesel helped me learn, through the stories and conversations in that class, that my life experiences can make for great stories and great works of art too.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class at Carthage was also one of my favorites. That class was Queer Lit and Theory. I remember how my classmates and I used to joke about how the amount of reading in our folders made them so heavy that we could use them in self-defense! In general, that class expanded my thinking and perspective on life as well as the people around me more than any other class that I have ever taken. It took a lot of reading, a lot of talking, and a lot of trying my best to understand a concept that seemed so unfamiliar to me, but I learned that this amount of effort is what is necessary to grow to be a better person.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in Poetry Underground and Centrique Fine Arts Magazine and have been on the e-board for both. Centrique just recently published its first physical publication in four years, and I got to play a big part in making that publication a reality!”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I currently work as a writer on the marketing team for the Office of Performing and Visual Arts! I was recommended to the office by a professor of mine. I have found that working on professional writing, in tandem with the other writers and the graphic designers on my team, has taught me a lot about what it takes to organize and advertise events, as well as how to be more confident in reaching out to various people to get what I need for my project to be completed.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I was awarded the 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience grant for my research project ‘Disability and the Monster: How Andrew Joseph White’s ‘Hell Followed With Us’ Reimagines Ableist Tropes in Literature,’ with Prof. Kiesel on the various ways that the literary monster allegory can be harmful or empowering to disabled people.”


“I have received quite a few scholarships from the college during my time at Carthage, including the Vorpahl Scholarship, the Carthage Visit Grant, the Director’s Grant, and other merit-based scholarships, as well as scholarships awarded to me for winning creative writing contests. These scholarships are really the only way I can keep studying at Carthage. My family and I don’t have much money, and I wasn’t even entirely sure I’d be able to go to the university I wanted because of it, but these scholarships that I’m awarded make it so I can continue to be here and experience all of the joys that come with being a student at Carthage.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Most of my favorite moments take place in my classes. I love when the professor cracks a couple of jokes in class that make the lesson more memorable or when I have a good conversation with a classmate. A particularly special in-class moment took place in my advanced writing class. Our writing prompt was to write a poem that was 100 percent impossible (no part of it could be possible AT ALL). My poem ended up being so outlandish and ridiculous that the entire class burst out laughing — one of my friends and I still reference that poem to this day! Some of my favorite moments outside of class, though, have to be the open mic nights that we at Poetry Underground and Centrique put on. It’s so casual and fun, and I get to spend time with my friends and relish in their creativity!”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the lounge area by the windows on the 300 level of Lentz Hall. I love sitting there with my laptop and doing homework, as well as getting breakfast or lunch from Lentz Do Lunch and eating it there. It’s especially nice towards the end of the fall semester when they put up the Christmas tree in the middle of the area.”

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise so far at Carthage has been realizing just how much I’m capable of. I’ve always felt out of place in life, but here at Carthage, I feel like I’m finally starting to figure out how I fit into the world and what I can make of it. The other day in class, Professor Ng’weshemi said to us, ‘Now go out and change the world. You can,’ and studying here at Carthage has made me really believe that I’m capable of it. I didn’t expect that when I came here at first, but I’m so glad that Carthage has helped me fully realize who I am and how I can help make the world better.”

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

“8-year-old Elsie didn’t exactly have any career plans. I remember that I used to make up jobs to say I’d have in the future when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t really know what I was in the world for, so I think that 8-year-old me would be surprised that I’ve become so established in my departments and that I have so much more confidence in what I want to do with my life and how I want to do that. Plus, I’ve always loved reading, so I think they’d be jazzed to learn that I read so many books for school!”

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

“Well, I have two majors, so let’s go about this one at a time. I’d highly recommend studying English because it opens up a surprising number of opportunities and builds many skills. You’d be surprised how many job openings there are that utilize an English degree. Really, though, I chose to study English because I love literature.

“I recommend studying religion as well because it does wonders to help you understand the world and the various perspectives that other people have. I’ve learned more about myself and about other people in my religion classes than in probably any other area of my life, and this knowledge is extremely valuable. A good understanding of how religion functions in people’s lives is crucial for making informed voting decisions, being an open, conscientious person, and for being an all-around better global citizen.”

Why Carthage?

“I looked up an alphabetical list of every college in the United States at one point, and Carthage stuck out to me because the English program was said by many online to be phenomenal. When I came to visit during my senior year of high school, it just felt right to be here. The area reminded me of Duluth, Minnesota, which is very familiar to me, and I adored how small the class sizes and student body were.”