Skip to main content

Chemistry

Student Voices

  • Rachel Martin '13
    Rachel Martin '13
    Submitted Photo

Rachel Martin ‘13

Hometown

Salem, Wis.

Major(s)

Chemistry

Minor(s)

Mathematics

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the labs. I am always in the labs, but that doesn’t bother me. I like doing experiments and discovering new things.”

Rachel Martin ‘13 was first intrigued by chemistry during her sophomore year of high school. Her teacher piqued her interest through his teaching style and helped her decide that she wanted to major in chemistry.

Relationships were the driving force behind Rachel’s choice to study chemistry at Carthage. She had the desire to not only learn about chemistry, but also build relationships with her professors and other students within her department.

“I liked how small and intimate the department was,” Rachel said about her decision to attend Carthage. “Everyone is always very helpful and supportive, and every professor knows everyone. You really get to know the professors in the department. No one is ever too busy to help, and teachers always make time and make themselves available to the students.”

Rachel plans on attending graduate school to earn a master’s degree in chemical engineering. She wants to have a career that will help improve the world; her goal is to work for a company that is creating new, alternative and renewable fuel. Currently, Rachel is conducting research with Dr. Christine Blaine.

Career goal

“I would like to be a chemical engineer and work for a lab to find an alternate, renewable resource.”

Favorite professor

“I have two favorite professors. One of those professors is Dr. Blaine. She really gets excited about the material she teaches, which makes the students get excited as well, and makes the class a more enjoyable experience. She’s not afraid to make the students laugh in class, and the way she teaches makes the material really approachable for students. Her door is always open, and she is always willing to help with any problem.

“My other favorite professor is Dr. Morris. Again, his teaching style really makes the material easier to understand and more approachable. He is always available to offer help, and he is also not afraid to make the students laugh.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class so far has been Physical Chemistry. I like how in-depth it goes into what was already learned in General Chemistry. It’s difficult, but the way it is taught, it is easy to understand. It is a very math intensive course, and I like the math that is involved.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class so far has been Organic Chemistry. There was not a lot of math in those courses, which made it difficult for me. I am a person who likes a lot of math, and there was a lot in Organic that had to be visualized, which I’m not very good at.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in Chemistry Club. I am currently the outreach coordinator for the club, meaning I am in charge of setting up the various demonstrations the club does throughout the year. I am also a member of the Belly Dancing Club, and I am in both concert band and the pep band.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“Some of my favorite moments have been being a lab assistant, becoming a lab fellow, and the time during J-Term freshman year when a chemical was spilled in the lab that turned the lab pink. It was just an interesting experience, something I will never forget. I’ve also enjoyed the demos we do in chemistry club, because I enjoy getting younger kids excited about chemistry and science.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“I’ve been surprised with how much work there is to do. I knew college was going to be a lot of work, but I wasn’t really prepared for how much work it was actually going to take. But I am also surprised with how much I have enjoyed the work. While it is a lot, I really enjoy the challenge of school and the work I am asked to do.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Don’t shy away from chemistry because it gets tough. Chemistry is supposed to be tough, and although the requirements for the major are daunting, you really get in-depth with the material and you come out learning more than you ever thought you would, and you feel prepared to take the next steps in life and in whatever career in chemistry you are considering.”

Writer

Elizabeth Reinhardt ‘12
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • 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 wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 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. 95% 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. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience 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 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 our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. 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,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. 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 the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, 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 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. 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.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • 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 No. 11 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 …

    Previous
    Next