Abraham Lincoln statue on Carthage College?s campus.
Holly Pelnar

Holly Pelnar

Class Year


Current home

Glendale, WI



Current Position

Clinical Research Assistant II at Rogers Behavioral Health

As a clinical research assistant, Holly Pelnar ’21 works closely with a research psychologist on a few different projects related to neuroscience. Her role often involves recruitment, informed consent, managing various publication and recruitment logs, and processing data. She thoroughly enjoys interacting with clients and participants. 

In addition to working full-time, Ms. Pelnar is also a master’s candidate. She anticipates graduating in December 2024 with a dual concentration in clinical mental health and rehabilitation counseling. 

Ms. Pelnar still stays in contact with her Carthage professors. She is working closely with Professor Leslie Cameron to publish a manuscript that started off as her senior thesis.

“My experience at Carthage has helped me to thrive in my graduate program. Carthage is also where I was first introduced to research.”

Holly Pelnar, ’21

How did Carthage prepare you?

“Carthage did a wonderful job preparing me for graduate school and increasing my competitiveness in the job market.”

How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?

“Carthage exposed me to diverse perspectives and helped me view the world from a lens of social justice. Whenever I am in a clinical setting, I use this lens to address the broader social factors that increase suffering for clients. I am passionate about helping clients learn to advocate for themselves.”

Why did you choose Carthage?

“I was looking for a school in southeast Wisconsin, and when I visited Carthage, I fell in love with the campus. I was also very excited about all of the opportunities for growth that Carthage offered.”

What opportunities were made possible because of your Carthage experience?

“My experience at Carthage has helped me to thrive in my graduate program. Carthage is also where I was first introduced to research. I would not be working in clinical research now had it not been for this experience.”

What Carthage professors played a part in your success and how?

“Professors Leslie Cameron, Anthony Barnhart, and Kateryna Sylaska from the Psychology Department helped me feel connected to the Carthage community. They encouraged me to think critically and hone my writing skills. I cannot thank them enough.”

What role have the values in Carthage's mission, "Seeking Truth, Building Strength, Inspiring Service — Together" played in your life?

“These values have shaped me in the sense that I strongly advocate for collaboration in both clinical and research settings.”

What's your favorite Carthage memory?

“One of my favorite memories is of the relationships I developed with peers and faculty during the 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. Getting to be a part of that program helped me build the confidence to push myself outside of my comfort zone.”

Tips for current Carthage students?

“I would encourage other students to practice being mindful and present. I often look back on my time at Carthage and miss it. I wish I had spent less time worrying about the future and more time enjoying my undergraduate experience. I know how stressful tests and assignments can be, but it’s important to always try to enjoy the present moment.”

Are you a Carthage alum who is excelling in your field?