Stephanie Flores

Class Year

’17

Hometown

Zion, Illinois

Major(s)

International Political Economy, Social Work

Stephanie Flores transferred to Carthage looking for opportunity, so she was ready for a challenge when she chose to double major in international political economy and social work.

“I applied to be a transfer student to many schools, but Carthage stuck out,” she said. “Everyone from the admissions counselors, to the students, to the maintenance staff and professors have been so kind and welcoming to me. Any time I need help, someone at Carthage is always there to extend a genuine hand.

“Carthage has a plethora of opportunities for all students. I am so happy I transferred here because the past two years have been the most amazing years of my life, and Carthage has helped me grow personally and professionally.”

Favorite professor? Art Cyr (among others). “He was extremely humble, always pushing me to do my best, and always working with me to find new opportunities. Not to mention, he is extremely wise and has a good sense of humor.”

Stephanie Flores, ’17

Career goal

“My short-term career goal is to win a Fulbright grant to do research in Mexico after my graduation. If that does not happen, after my undergrad, my dream is to attend the University of Chicago. I would like to pursue a dual master’s degree in social work and international development and then, if possible, go back for law school.

“Overall, I want to help improve the social, political, and economic system in which social workers around the world work. After my schooling and career, I would eventually like to start my own nonprofit international organization that focuses on child and family welfare and community development, including access to education, economic improvement, shelter from abuse, and food security.”

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

“I will go in chronological order. My first semester at Carthage, I had a great Religion 1000 professor named Professor Phineas Marr. He was great. He taught me about religion from a perspective that I was unable to see before. He was very inspirational and always motivated me.

“My second professor would be my Western Heritage II professor. She helped me realize how much I love philosophy.

“My third professor would be Prof. Linda Noer (social work). She was just so sweet and understanding. I had her for my first social work class.

“Then, continuing to move up, my Practice II professor Patty Suhr was awesome. She taught us so much about social work in the most fun yet serious ways. She has such a big heart and is just truly amazing as a professor and person.

“Now, to my junior year, Professor Dani Geary (social work). I cannot imagine going to college and her not being a part of my college career. She is such a great professor. She is passionate about her profession and goes over and beyond for her students.

“Then there is Prof. Art Cyr (international political economy), whom I cannot thank enough for always believing in me. The first time I meet him, I came to his office sneezing and coughing because I had a horrible cold. I was so embarrassed and intimidated by him. He was extremely humble, always pushing me to do my best, and always working with me to find new opportunities. Not to mention, he is extremely wise and has a good sense of humor.”

Favorite class

“I would say my favorite classes so far are Social Welfare Policy Analysis (SWK 3100) and Philosophical Foundations of Political Economy (POL 2050). Both of these classes are very challenging, yet I’m learning so much. I love them both.”

Campus involvement

“At Carthage I am currently not involved in many clubs. Outside of school, I am a youth mentor for Catholic charities and a certified election judge for Lake County. I am also the National Association of Social Worker’s (NASW) student ambassador for Carthage College and a NASW member.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class so far at Carthage was The Intellectual History of Western Heritage I (COR 1100) because I just am not interested in old, fictional literature.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I have had two internships so far. My first internship was at Arden Shore Child and Family Services. I was a bilingual intern and while there, I translated clinical case notes and observed, alongside a therapist, individual mental health assessments, individual substance abuse assessments, and the family court process, and I spent time working in the group home.

“My second and current internship is at the Father Gary Graf Center. This is also a bilingual position where I assist the agency in teaching citizenship and English classes as well as advocacy for immigration reform. At this agency I also work every week at the agency’s food pantry with people from many different cultures.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I had the opportunity to participate in a J-Term study tour to Guatemala, which changed my life forever. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Words cannot explain how amazing it was. All I can say is that if you have the chance, you should definitely go. My second opportunity was with the Habitat Club. Last spring break, we volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in Laredo, Texas. Now coming up, I will be participating in J-Term in June to study Spanish in Spain.”

Scholarships

“I received many Carthage scholarships, and they have meant the world to me. I am an independent student, which means I have no financial family contributions. Therefore, the reality is that without the financial support of Carthage and the donors, I maybe would not be attending college, or if I did, it may not be the great quality education that I receive at Carthage.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“I have nothing but great memories at Carthage. My favorite would just be having met many amazing people.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus would be the Clausen Center. I find it to have a very motivational atmosphere and I can always get my work done there. My second place would be the library because I also love doing my work there.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise was the new printer in Straz. It is so convenient.”

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

“When I was 8, I had to worry about other stuff and never thought I would have the opportunity to go to college. Looking back, I think my 8-year-old self would be very proud and happy.”

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

IPE and social work are my passions. I did not choose them because I wanted to make a lot of money. I chose them because I want to make a difference and they made me grow into a better person. My advice to students is to follow your passions.”