Annie Shirley ’20, a social work major and sociology and women’s and gender studies minor, knew Carthage was the school for her from her first visit to campus. She loved that she had opportunities to make lasting relationships with her peers and professors, and to travel the world on J-Term study tours — and that’s exactly what she’s doing.
Annie is very active on campus, holding leadership roles Chi Omega, a women’s social sorority; Phi Alpha, the social work honors society; and Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity which was recently rechartered at Carthage.
After graduation, Annie plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work with a specialization in school social work. She hopes to one day work in an elementary school helping young children through tough times.
“The biggest surprise is how quickly Carthage became like a home for me. I was surprised by how many great friends I made and how much my professors really cared about me.”
“Professor Danielle Geary has been such an inspiration to me. I have had two classes with her and I have learned so much from her about the field of social work and personal development. She has so much experience and you can tell that she really cares about what she is teaching and her students. I always knew that I would leave her class feeling better than when I got to class.
“Professor Rebecca Hornung has known me since my freshman year. When you’re in her class, you can feel her passion for the field. She is so knowledgeable and really challenged me to grow as a person and a social worker. Her classes have taught me how to better articulate myself and my beliefs.”
“My favorite class was The Gendering of Leadership with Prof. Geary. Aside from the content about the disparity in leadership, we spent a lot of time learning about ourselves as leaders. I learned a lot about myself during that class and felt myself grow stronger as a leader as a result of the class.”
“I would say my toughest class was Introduction to Neuroscience. Science has never been my strong suit, so I really had to dedicate a lot of time to make sure I understood the content. But, I still managed to do well in the class because the professor was so helpful and I found a study group that really helped me.”
“Yes! I had an internship at Fratt Elementary School in Racine in the fall of my junior year. I helped to facilitate programs like a “Check In, Check Out” program that encouraged positive behaviors in students who were regularly having behavioral problems in the classroom. Then, in the spring of my junior year, I interned with Kenosha Human Development Services. I worked with those experiencing homelessness and helped things like providing resources and finding places for people to live.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“I have gone on three J-Term study tours. My freshman year, I traveled to Austria and Hungary to study the Kodály method of teaching music. During my junior year, I traveled to Tanzania with the Carthage Treble Choir to perform with the Ibuka Dance Group. In January of 2020, I am going to Tokyo to study the culture of the city and how it became the city that we know today.
“Through being in the Treble Choir, I have been able to perform in the beautiful Christmas Festival concert each year. Also, I have sung on the stage of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During my freshman year, we went on tour in Florida, and during that trip, one of my homestays was with one of Carthage’s former presidents, Greg Campbell.
“Through Phi Alpha, the social work honors fraternity, I have been able to attend two social work conferences and learn more about the field that I am going into. During my junior year, I was able to go to Madison for an Advocacy Day where I talked to legislators about issues that are important to me.”
Favorite moments at Carthage
“One of my favorite memories is at the end of every Christmas Festival concert when all of the candles are lit and the whole chapel is filled with people singing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’ It’s such a beautiful moment that just captures what Christmas Fest is about. Some of my other favorite moments are from traveling on J-Term study tours or just being on the lake with my friends. And of course, one of my favorite memories comes from going to CAB bingo!”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“I think after she got over the fact that I’m not a famous superstar, I think my 8-year-old self would be happy with my choices. I have always been someone that wants to help other people, so social work was a good choice for me.”
Advice for other students considering your major
“Social work is not the highest paying profession and it can often feel like thankless work, but the work that we do every day is so important.”