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  • Caitlin Zant '12

Caitlin Zant ’12

Class Year



Geography and Earth Science, History

Current home

Madison, Wisconsin

Current position

Maritime Archaeologist 

During her time at Carthage, Caitlin Zant made an impact in both of her departments as the only Class of 2012 graduate to focus on historical geography for her Senior Thesis.

She is now a maritime archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society based in Madison. She attributes her success and position to Carthage’s amazing faculty, liberal arts focus, and many opportunities for fulfilling, unique experiences along the way. 


“I would likely not be in the career I am today if I had not attended Carthage. It truly was a remarkable experience.” 


What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“I really enjoy the diversity that this career brings and the excitement that people have when they learn about something new. You never know what you will discover, and there is such a wide breadth to the study of maritime archaeology that it ties into almost every aspect of human history. Maritime archaeology encompasses the study of human’s interaction with water, so it spans the globe, but it is also something that can still be seen in your backyard. I also really enjoy being able to see artifacts and shipwrecks that in many cases, no one has seen in over one-hundred years. It gives you a snapshot of how life was at a specific point in history that you wouldn’t normally get to see.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“Pretty much every aspect of my Carthage experience helped prepare me for this career. The ability to easily graduate with a double major allowed me to explore the study of history through a geographical perspective, a perspective that is many times overlooked in each individual field of study, and it is something that I was able to directly apply to my career in maritime archaeology.”

“At its root, maritime history and archaeology are geographical. Additionally, the liberal arts focus at Carthage really allowed me to explore a lot of different interests and mold my college experience into something very unique, which helped me figure out where I wanted to go after college. The focus on writing and public speaking was incredibly helpful as I moved into my master’s program, and into my career. As maritime archaeologists, we are constantly writing reports, both for academic purposes and for public consumption. My ability to communicate comes in handy almost every day as we have to give public presentations and conduct outreach events on a regular basis.”

How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?

“I’m not sure that I have one specific example of when the liberal arts skills I gained at Carthage helped the most, but they help me almost every day. Critical thinking and being able to attack problems from multiple angles is something that I have to do almost every day in research, fieldwork, public outreach, and when managing volunteers. When looking at a particularly complicated archaeological site, or tough research question, the skills I learned at Carthage really help me know how to come up with unique solutions. Additionally, my ability to communicate comes in handy almost every day as we have to give public presentations and conduct outreach events on a regular basis.”

Tips for current Carthage students:

“Take advantage of all the opportunities Carthage has to offer. If there is a class you can take that allows you to take field trips to Chicago or Milwaukee, take it. If you have the opportunity to take a class about the history and mythology of pirates, take it. Also, don’t keep yourself inside the box of one area of study. Explore different things, and be a part of different disciplines.”

“That is one of the most unique things I think Carthage offers, the relative ease to explore so many different areas of interest and study. I was a history and geography major who participated heavily in the Theater Department. They may seem wildly different, but in many ways, they are connected. It allows you to bring new perspectives and learn things that were completely unexpected. Don’t be afraid to try new things.”

Favorite Carthage memories:

“There are probably too many memories to count, but truly, my experiences at Carthage completely shaped how I am today. I look back on my time at Carthage and think of all the amazing opportunities that I had, friendships that I made, and ideas that I explored that I would not have had the opportunity to do elsewhere. In many ways, I would likely not be in the career I am today if I had not attended Carthage. It truly was a remarkable experience.”

  • 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 $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 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 …