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Student Voices

  • Allie Ontaneda '22

Allie Ontaneda ’22


Arlington Heights, Illinois


Elementary Education



Favorite spot on campus

“When it’s nice outside, I like sitting near the lake on the tables by the David A. Straz Jr. Center — perhaps with some Starbucks.”

Career goal

“I plan on graduating Carthage a semester early and then begin teaching in a dual-language elementary classroom, teaching in both Spanish and English. I plan to continue teaching for some years and then return to graduate school to one day become a principal.”

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

Professor Nina Weisling greatly impacted my life and Carthage career. In her class, not only does she go above and beyond to cultivate a safe, respectful, and growth-inspired learning environment for all of her students, but she also cares about the path students are on. During the fall semester, I had a big decision to make regarding my career, and she was the first person I thought to ask for advice. Her kindness, support, and encouragement have helped me and many others. She is the kind of teacher I want to be!”

Favorite class

“My favorite class has been the J-Term trip to Madrid, Spain during my freshman year. There, I was challenged to go beyond my comfort zone and grow in my confidence as a Spanish-speaker, speaking Spanish the entire trip. I made great friends, tried new food, and simply enjoyed the experience of using the language to fully experience life as a Madrileña.”

Toughest class

“The most challenging class that I have taken has been Spanish 3010 with Professor Matt Borden. This class was challenging because it made me speak more Spanish, but for that reason, this was the class that I have grown the most from. My grade depended on my frequency of speech. I understand this was intended to strengthen my confidence and willingness to speak, make mistakes, and learn from them. I had to put aside my shyness and insecurities, and use what I had. I can confidently say that this class has developed me into a better Spanish speaker, future educator, and person. I learned that we must be willing to make mistakes in order to learn from them.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I will be starting a mentorship program in a Carthage alumna’s Spanish class at a local elementary school.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“As mentioned above, I went to Spain during the J-Term of my freshman year. I lived with a host family in Madrid, attended Spanish classes at a local language academy in Madrid, and visited the neighboring cities of Segovia and Toledo.”


“I received the Multicultural Scholarship — the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Leadership (DEIL) Fellows Program Scholarship — and the Founders Scholarship. Receiving these scholarships has meant a lot to me as a future educator because others have invested in me, and I want to do the same and invest in kids’ futures one day.”

Campus involvement

“I am a Writing Fellow in the Writing Center, and DEIL Fellow in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Leadership (DEIL) Fellows Program, a member of the Honors College, and a member of the First Generation Organization. Although I am not a first generation college student, as a future teacher and as a Hispanic, I want to get involved in the discussion of college and advocate for higher education, so that one day I can encourage my future students to follow their passions and be the first in their family to attend college.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite Carthage moments and memories are the little things. Spending time with my friends, spending time near the lake, and being able to study something I am passionate about is a blessing.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise so far has been changing my field of study from secondary education to elementary education. I always thought I wanted to teach high school Spanish, but I had a sudden change of heart. I was too worried about how much money I would make and what others thought of me, when I should have been concerned with where I would be the happiest. Best decision ever!”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would be proud of me and a little surprised. I have grown a lot since I was was 8 years old. I used to be very shy, not one to raise my hand, and placed so much value on what others thought of me. Now, I am studying something I love, and I have decided to dedicate my life to furthering the development of children and leading them to be confident in themselves and discover their passions, just like I have done myself.”

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

“Don’t be afraid to change things up. Take risks. Be humble in the learning process. Don’t take classes, assignments, and learning opportunities for granted. Spend as much time as you can with kids — they are our teachers.”

  • Quick Facts

    • 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. 

    • Looking to teach? Count on becoming a familiar face in local schools. Carthage students accumulate 135 hours in local classrooms before their student teaching semester. Make that 450+ for those entering our new urban teacher program.

    • 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 $25,000 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 …