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Spanish at Carthage

Student Voices

  • Elizabeth Dopke '20

Elizabeth Dopke ’20


Cary, Illinois




Music and Secondary Education

Favorite spot on campus

“The A. F. Siebert Chapel. It’s just a super calm and peaceful space. I like to go there to take a break and destress.”

Career goal

“After graduation, I hope to become a Spanish teacher! In some way, I hope to always be involved with languages and education.”

Favorite professor

“In the Spanish Department, two professors helped me have an awesome experience: Professor Edward Montanaro is an awesome advisor for anything related to school and beyond, and Professor Maribel Morales Martinez always has her door open to students. They’re also super kind and encouraging!

“In the Music Department, Professor James Ripley always goes above and beyond to help out and make students feel welcome, and Professor Dimitri Shapovalov is the best professor I think I’ve ever had!”

Favorite class

“My favorite Carthage class is a tie between the J-Term class I took in Guatemala and the J-Term class in Spain. I learned so much in both classes, met some amazing people, and got to travel around two countries with some great friends and professors! Most J-Term courses goes much deeper than normal semester classes, which is a really cool feeling.”

Toughest class

“Music History taught by Prof. Shapovalov is by far the most difficult class I’ve had. The content is not easy to wrap your head around, and the nature of the class requires a different method of studying than most classes. Even so, I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much in a single class!”


“While I haven’t had internships through Carthage, I’ve spent lots of time in Kenosha-area schools teaching and working with teachers and students. Since sophomore year, when I joined the Education Department, I got to interview and shadow many Spanish teachers in KUSD to see exactly what I wanted to do first hand. I started to teach in those classes during my last semester at Carthage before student teaching full time.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“During my four years at Carthage, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Japan, Guatemala, and Spain on J-term trips; in addition to studying abroad in Argentina for a semester! I also had the opportunity to play French horn in the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra, and got to be a part of the Christmas Festival every semester I was on campus, which is super special.”


“I received a number of endowed music scholarships that really helped me manage the rising cost of tuition. I was nominated for two Spanish Department honor awards and received the Carthage Academic Honors Scholarship every semester as well. Each scholarship showed me that Carthage was willing to help me out in any possible way, so I could finish my degree, and I’m very grateful for that!”

Campus involvement

“I played in the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra, and I played in the pit orchestra for the main stage musical, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” I was vice president of Adventurers Anonymous, the study abroad club. I was also a member of Alpha Mu Gamma, the foreign language honors fraternity, and Alpha Lambda Delta and Alpha Chi, two academic honors fraternities. Nearly every week, I went to La Mesa Española in The Caf with the Spanish Target Language Experts, and participated a lot in Center for Faith and Spirituality activities and worship services.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“Spending time with everyone in my J-term classes gave me some amazing memories. The hours spent in rehearsal for music ensembles and the Christmas Festival, attending the late-night breakfast, and seeing Ben Nita in The Caf are some highlights! The Carthage Activities Board movies are pretty great too.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“How much I changed! I only spent three years officially on campus, and so much can happen in a semester that it’s easy to loose track of how much is going on. I have to make sure to pause every once in a while and take in what’s happening — it’s an awesome time in my life, which deserves to be remembered!”

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

“I think that 8-year-old me wanted one thing: to be fluent in another language! I’m so happy to say that, with help from so many awesome people, I’ve achieved that goal. I am happily on my way to learning another one: German! I think my 8-year-old self would be happy with my decision to become a teacher because this way I never have to stop reading or learning about languages and people!”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Do it! With a Spanish major, you’re required to study abroad for at least a semester; so if you can work that out with the other subjects you want to study, it’s so much better than a minor. If you put in the effort, you’ll truly become fluent, and it will make your life so much richer because of it. If the idea of studying abroad sounds daunting, but you can reach out for help finding scholarships, meet with students who have already been abroad, and talk with your professors. Help is there if you just ask. It’s so worth it!”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), 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 archaeology 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 $20,000 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 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 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 No. 3 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 …