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Student Voices

  • Katiann Nelson '22

Katiann Nelson ’22


Waterford, Wisconsin


Music Education (Vocal), Piano Pedagogy, Music Performance

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is right on the lake. There’s tons of benches and chairs, and it’s so nice to just take a beat every once in a while and look at the lake, especially passing between classes on a stressful day. There’s nothing as calming as feeling the wind off the lake and hearing the waves.”

Career goal

“Whatever I do, it will include lots of teaching and accompanying. Ultimately, I’d love to have a teaching position at a university.”

Favorite professor

Professor Deborah Masloski is my private lessons teacher on piano. Not only is she an incredible musician who inspires me to practice harder and play more, but she is also an amazing educator who motivates and inspires all her students. I was able to play in the Music Department Honors’ Recital and the masterclass with Jorge Osorio because of her encouragement and teaching.

“Additionally, I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who finds such joy in music and who feels so passionately about music education, as Professor James Ripley. I’ve learned so much from his rehearsals, both in the short-term sense about how to play and in the long-term sense of how to educate, remain patient, and keep a positive environment.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage thus far has been Piano Literature with Professor Wael Farouk. It was incredibly challenging. The class included an in-depth discussion about piano composers, music history, and individual piano pieces. The class teaches you to synthesize what you know about the composer’s biography, the stylistic norms of the period, and the overall trends of music history to inform your personal performance and assess the performances of others.”


“I haven’t had any internships, but I have had a couple of jobs on campus. For the past three semesters, I have been a tutor in the Keyboard Skills Lab, which is a fantastic teaching experience. I am also a student assistant for the Carthage Arts Academy, which is teaching me how to operate the inside workings of a community-based program. Additionally, I play piano for the Center for Faith and Spirituality’s Tuesday afternoon chapel services.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I went on a J-Term trip to Japan with the Wind Orchestra. We spent 12 days touring the country, with four performances at two different elementary schools, a high school, and a university. I also had the opportunity to be featured as a soloist with the Wind Orchestra, which was incredibly daunting, but it also taught me a lot about how I operate as a musician. More than that, the entire experience reaffirmed the idea that music gives us students a reason to belong. Though thousands of miles away from my home, there were moments in Japan when I experienced this overwhelming sense of belonging and community through playing music and listening to music with our Japanese music friends.

“In more travel news, over the summer, the Carthage Choir sang (and won!) in an international chorale competition in Spittal, Austria. Similar to Japan, the interaction with choirs from around the world was amazing. Our U.S. choir became particularly close with the choir from South Africa, and it was fabulous to compete against one another but also make genuine friends too! Lots of travel opportunities!”


“I received both academic and music scholarships to attend Carthage. Receiving the scholarships means I can afford to be here and helps tremendously with the financial side of higher education.”

Campus involvement

“Lots of my involvement revolves around the Music Department. I am a part of the Wind Orchestra, Carthage Choir, and Carthage Philharmonic. I also played trombone in the Jazz Ensemble. In addition to tutoring in the Keyboard Lab and working as the arts academy assistant, I also teach piano with the Arts Academy.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“It’s so hard to put into words all of the little moments and memories and experiences that I’ve had with my friends and the Carthage community, but one of my favorite memories thus far was getting to play “O Come All Ye Faithful” as the closing piece of Christmas Festival. There’s such a collective sense of joy from all of the students, audience members, and directors. It’s amazing to be a part of.

“Outside of academics, there was a really warm day last spring semester where my friends and I went to Big Star, which is a drive-in diner in Kenosha, grabbed our food, and had picnic on the shores of Lake Michigan. Fun memories!”

Biggest surprise so far?

“When I initially came to campus, the biggest surprise for me was the community within the Music Department. Where I was expecting competitiveness, I instead got an incredible sense of support. There’s a genuine hope for success.”

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

“8-year-old me would probably not be surprised. I’ve always wanted to teach and play music, and I’m incredibly glad that I’ve found the place best suited for those hopes.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“No matter where you end up, if you’re pursuing music, be prepared to be in a practice room. That’s where all of the real learning and growth happens. If you’re not practicing, you’re never going to get anywhere.”

  • 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.

    • Peer-reviewed student and faculty pedagogy projects have been presented at the International Conference on the Physiology and Acoustics of Singing, the International Conference on Arts and Humanities, the International Symposium on the Phenomenon of the Singing Voice, and the Estill World Voice Symposium at Harvard University.

    • Carthage voice faculty and students are active in voice science research, utilizing Voce Vista and Voice Print software in our voice lab setting. Students have presented their projects at regional, national, and international conferences.

    • The Carthage Chamber Music Series brings four internationally renowned ensembles to campus each year to interact with music students. Performers have included Anonymous 4, the Imani Winds, the Deadalus Quartet, the Manhattan Brass, and the Waverly Consort. 

    • Carthage music ensembles have been selected to premiere new and commissioned works, providing our students with meaningful opportunities to collaborate with nationally and internationally recognized composers such as Ola Gjeilo, Stacy Garrop, Patrick Long, Tom Vignieri, and Alex Shapiro.

    • Carthage students have been selected through competitive regional, national, and international auditions for exceptional young artist development programs, such as the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, Rocky Ridge Music Festival, and the Open Jar Institute in New York.

    • Carthage voice students are actively involved in the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and exceptional Carthage singers have frequently earned state honors in classical and music theatre voice.

    • 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 …