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Neuroscience

Student Voices

  • Alanna Sullivan '21

Alanna Sullivan ’21

Hometown

Lake Villa, Illinois

Major(s)

Neuroscience

Minor(s)

Psychology

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the Hedberg Library. I love studying in the library when I have to buckle down and get work done. It is one of the quietest places on campus and is close to printers and Einstein Bros. Bagels, if you need a quick bite.”

Career goal

“I hope to leave Carthage with the knowledge and experience to become a neuroscience researcher and go into a doctorate program.”

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

Katelyn Sadler was an adjunct professor for Introduction of Neuroscience in fall 2019. She was a fun and passionate instructor. Prof. Sadler would bring in professors and brains to present certain topics. She would tell stories of her life in graduate school and introduced me to possible summer research programs.

“She truly is a professor who wants her students to comprehend the hard topics, not just test you on it and never use it again. I am thankful that I was able to have her for my first neuroscience course to get me started on the right track.”

Favorite class

“Issues of Living and Dying with Professor David Duncan was by far my favorite class to take. I took it over J-Term 2019 and spent the semester opening my mind to the morbid, yet important topics of death and the afterlife. It was a tough course, with reading books and writing essays daily. Yet it was worth it for the three-hour discussions in class that Prof. Duncan would conduct. I left the class more grateful for life and more mindful of death and the grief of others.”

Toughest class

“My toughest course to take was Cellular and Molecular Biology with Professor Amareshwar Singh. It was a writing-intensive course and was a more in-depth course to Organisms, Populations, and Systems. I found the class challenging for the work load given, especially if you are taking other hard classes as well.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have had the opportunity to join two psychology research teams on campus. I joined Professor Arryn Robbins’ team and have been lucky to conduct eye-tracking experiments. I will be presenting my work at the 2020 Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago. I also help Professor Nora Nickels with human stress experiments and discuss scientific literature with her team.”

Campus involvement

“I am highly involved with many organizations on campus. I am a part of Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Lambda Delta, and National Residence Hall Honorary, but the main organization I am involved with is the Residence Life Council. I was the president during 2019-2020 and hosted various fun programs across campus for residents to enjoy! I am passionate about residence life on campus and hope to improve the environment for all Carthage students as well.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“One of my favorite Carthage moments was meeting my First in the Family mentees. I am a first-generation student and have participated in a program meant to prepare first-generation freshmen for college life by coming to school half a week early. Through this program, I met some of the most passionate and friendly students who I am lucky to call my friends now.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise for me was how quickly the semesters fly by. Many people say high school goes by fast, but college is that times a million. Newfound freedom and exploration of your hobbies, academics, and personal growth can makes college go by fast. I had to learn quickly to enjoy everything Carthage has to offer.”

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

“My 8-year-old self would be proud of all I have done in college and how hard working I am. I don’t think she would expect me to become a scientist since I wanted to be an artist for so long, but this would make her excited to see what my future holds.”

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

“If you are interested in biology, chemistry, psychology, or even topics related to anatomy and medicine, you should look into a neuroscience major. Neuroscience is a small and rigorous department, but the major has a lot to offer for careers. Also Professor Daniel Miller, the department chair, is very fun and easygoing.

“Do not feel afraid to ask for help. Classes may seem intimidating but can be easily digestible if you take them one step at a time.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage was granted Wisconsin’s first chapter in Nu Rho Psi, the national honor society for neuroscience. 

    • The Neuroscience Department offers one of Carthage’s most popular J-Term study tours: Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior. In this course, students earn scuba certification, then spend January diving in Honduras to understand the evolution of nervous systems and behavior.

    • New in 2015, the Carthage Science Center features a neuroscience laboratory equipped with rat and mouse colonies, a behavioral data collection room, suites for rodent surgery and histology, and a confocal microscopy lab.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% 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. 

    • 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.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. 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,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $22,000 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 …

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