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Social Work

Student Voices

  • Annie Shirley ’20

Annie Shirley ’20


Plano, Ill.


Social Work


Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is either Starbucks or by the lake. I love doing homework in Starbucks because you always see someone you know and the lake is just always so calming to be around.”

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

“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.”

Favorite class

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.”

Toughest 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.”

Internships or on-campus employment

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 and memories 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.”

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

“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.”

  • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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 …