Abraham Lincoln statue on Carthage College?s campus.
Jessie Skonesey

Jessie Skonesey

Class Year



Mokena, IL


Theatre Performance



After performing in high school, Jessie Skonesey ’26 knew she wanted to pursue theatre for her major in college. As a freshman at Carthage, she played the leading role in the College’s production of “Antigone” and was cast as a teacher for “FML: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life.” She continues to perform on Carthage’s main stage every chance she gets.

“Carthage faculty have been so welcoming and supportive. It’s been so easy to reach out to Carthage faculty members when I need.”

Jessie Skonesey, ’26

Career goal

“After graduation, I plan to hire an agent to audition for plays, movies, shows, etc. professionally. While doing so, I hope to work as a bilingual customer service representative for Quebec or France organizations via phone call.”

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

“Carthage faculty have been so welcoming and supportive. It’s been so easy to reach out to Carthage faculty members when I need to or write emails asking for assistance. My relationships regarding the amazing faculty I have at Carthage have only benefitted me for future success.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage is my Stage Combat class. This class offers a wide range of education on physical stage movement, such as professional punching, tackling, and slapping without harming an actor onstage. This class has shown me such an interesting perspective of violent scenes onstage broken apart and taught to actors. My fellow classmates and I love to hear the stories our professor tells us of the play disasters he choreographed that happened when an actor wasn’t careful. This class constantly reminds me that I love what I do for my major.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in the Merely Players on campus! It’s an improv group that meets three times a week. It’s so much fun to play games and perform to make people laugh.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class at Carthage so far has been my Intermediate French II course. Our professor rarely speaks English. The challenge helps me better adept to my French speaking and listening abilities; I study and work hard every day in order to improve my French to graduate as bilingual.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I work actively for the Office of Visual and Performing Arts as a board operator for shows, completing 50+ hours in the scene shop during J-Term, and as a faculty fellow for Professor Herschel Kruger to help promote Carthage arts to potential new students.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I had the honor of being a helper at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Flint, Michigan during J-Term. I helped assemble awards for colleges all over Region III. I now have the honor of visiting KCACTF as an actor for ‘The Genderless Play Experiment.’ Carthage students could have a chance to perform in front of 1000+ college students.”


“I received the highest Carthage Fine Arts Scholarship for my theatre performance major. It means so much to get a great scholarship for my passion for acting.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite moment on campus was last year when I thought my friends forgot my birthday. After my show one afternoon, I entered my dorm room, which was filled with streamers, a cookie cake, and a taco piñata. To my surprise, my friends and long-distance boyfriend were there screaming ‘Happy Birthday!’”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus by far is the Campbell Student Union Auditorium where the Merely Players Improv holds practices and shows. It’s so much fun to play games in a stress-free environment three times a week.”

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise so far was getting the main role in the play ‘Antigone.’ To play the main character in my first play at Carthage was the highlight of my freshman year.”

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

“My 8-year-old self would be surprised I chose the career of a performer/actress. However, I know they would be proud of our abilities to accomplish whatever we put our minds to.”

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

“I think students should consider a theatre performance major if they are interested in a focus for performing. Physical stage combat classes aren’t offered for general theatre. For a generalized theatre education, I would recommend a general theatre major in which one can learn a wider range of theatre skills that also offer one or two acting courses, a stage makeup class, stage craft, and many more!”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because of the small capacity environment I knew I would thrive in. The classes I have that don’t exceed 30 students make it much easier for me to reach out to professors for help as well as feel more connected to the lessons at hand.”