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Student Voices

  • Liam Carls '23

Liam Carls ’23

Hometown

Racine, Wis.

Major(s)

Physics

Minor(s)

Meteorology and Climatology

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the third-floor lakeside study area in the David A. Straz, Jr. Center. I absolutely love the mural painted on the inside of the loft, and the large windows overlooking the lake are always a pleasure to sit by.”

Career goal

“My passions span across different aspects of science. I love to learn about how the world works, and understanding the nature of our universe is just one aspect of my passions. The main facet of my passions has always been to use my appreciation for science to learn to assist current scientists and engineers in finding better and more reliable ways to harness renewable energy. After I graduate from Carthage, I plan to continue my studies through a graduate program in order to further develop the necessary skills to achieve my goals.”

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

“I’ve learned so much more about career fields in science just by being around the faculty at Carthage. All of my professors have been willing to discuss with me any questions I may have about career ideas, skills I should build, classes that can help me, and tips that guide me. I’m very grateful for the supportive faculty at Carthage, and I value their intent on my success. There are too many examples to get into, but I particularly enjoy asking what some faculty studied in college and graduate school and what passions of theirs took them there. Being able to talk with the faculty all the time has made my decisions about what I want to do and study so much more fathomable.”

Favorite class

“There are too many classes that I’ve enjoyed so much that I can’t just pick one favorite. My top handful of favorite classes I’ve had the pleasure of taking are Meteorology with Professor Matthew Zorn, Foundations of Western Thought with Professor Dave Gartner, General Physics I with Professor Julie Dahlstrom, and The Intellectual History of Western Heritage with Professor Michael McShane. Each of these professors made learning the content of their course so self-indulgent and interesting that I was excited to get into the classroom.

“Prof. Zorn has such amazing hand gestures and energy when describing all different meteorological phenomena — it made me excited about what we were studying all the time.

“Prof. Gartner structured his reading-intensive course in such a way that each class felt like a fun book club meeting where we discussed key points and details of each book. He was very passionate about what lessons were taught by each book and how they were conveyed which made me enjoy learning them even more.

“General Physics I was such a fun course because the material is purely classical physics and having a professor like Prof. Dahlstrom was fantastic because she was so well equipped to explain any concept in such an understandable way.

“And my Western Heritage professor, Prof. McShane, was the first professor I met at Carthage and I will never forget the excitement he instilled in me to be a close reader, and not just of books. He was another professor that made coming to class fun just by the way he blew my mind with what hidden messages might be in plain sight regarding the oldest books in human history. Each of these professors was excited by the subjects at hand which made me very interested, curious, and really enjoy studying topics.”

Toughest class

“Experimental Physics has been the toughest class I’ve taken at Carthage so far. It’s a course where I get to become an experimental physicist and use really cool equipment to gather my own data. After the data collection process is over, I would have to analyze it to come to a conclusion about the physical concept involved in the experiment. This course was a J-Term course so the work was very dense and all of our experiments had to be done back to back. This was my toughest course so far, but I definitely appreciated the challenge and gained a lot of valuable experience in regards to the real-world experimental processes.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“Through the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC), which is based out of Carthage, I have worked with the physics Carthage Microgravity Team over one summer and two semesters and am scheduled to continue. We are a group of mostly physics majors that design, build, test, gather data, and analyze data regarding experiments in the space science field. The opportunities at Carthage for undergraduates through WSGC really are such a resource for building connections and gaining experience in the field of engineering, research analysis, project management, and many more things related to STEM. My favorite part about being on the team is getting invested in an experiment and working hard to see it succeed.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I’ve been so fortunate to be able to fly onboard the zero-gravity plane, G-Force One! As I am a part of the space science projects with the Microgravity Team, I’ve designed and built experiments that gather experimental data in a zero-gravity environment. One amazing bonus is that the researchers who work on the project get the opportunity to fly with the payload as it goes zero-g aboard the G-Force One aircraft. There is simply no other experience like it on earth, and I’m grateful to my faculty advisor for the space science projects. Professor Kevin Crosby truly values the quality of our experience on microgravity projects.”

Scholarships

“I am honored to be a recipient of the President Alan Anderson Scholarship. One of President Anderson’s recognizable attributes was his will to be an active leader in community service and charity. Being a recipient of such an award humbles me and definitely solidifies my constant decision to do my best in and out of the classroom. There are no words that could more properly encapsulate my gratitude.”

Campus involvement

“I was on the men’s volleyball team for my first year at Carthage and part of my second year. I had such an amazing time bonding with my teammates and traveling as far as California to play some competitive volleyball teams. By the time our season we cut short due to COVID-19, the team felt like family to me. I decided to drop volleyball the following fall in order to dedicate more of my time toward the space science projects with the motivation of gaining more experience in the research and engineering fields of physics. My down-to-earth volleyball coach, Coach JW Kieckhefer, was the most understanding and supportive of my decision to drop volleyball and he was very interested in what I was going to be doing within my physics-oriented involvement. I’m very happy I played volleyball my first year and I’m extremely appreciative of the relationships I’ve gained from my experience on the team.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Without a doubt, some of my best memories from Carthage are the two Zero-G flight campaign trips I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of. The trips were both about a week that the Microgravity Team and I got to spend in Florida, working on getting our experiments flight-ready and on board the Zero-G aircraft.

“There are a handful of other projects that researchers from schools and organizations all over the United States that also book their research flights with us. This makes for some really exciting conversations between various students and people in my field of study. Not to mention how close I’ve become with my microgravity teammates and how fun it is to hang out in Florida together when we get done with a long day of working in the hanger or flying our experiments.

“I will always cherish the memories I have of spending a week in California with the men’s volleyball team. Getting to travel and play high-caliber teams was such a fun and cool experience especially because the Carthage men’s volleyball team is such a great group of talented people.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise of my college experience so far has been the number of resources available for me to succeed in a multitude of ways. Whether it be in the classroom, with tutors or professors willing to help me understand the material, or in my career-pathing with faculty, I feel like all the help I need is just a question or an email away. Carthage does an amazing job of providing options and tools for those who need help and I have been very reliant on those opportunities.”

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

“If my 8-year-old self met me today, he would ask if I was a time traveler. But seriously, I think he would be excited by the number of cool things I’ve gotten to do and learn about. He would probably be intrigued and have a million questions for me about all about my scientific knowledge I’ve accumulated over my educational years.”

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

“I never would have imagined gaining as many skills as I have being a physics major at Carthage and I’m only wrapping up my second year! The physics major is much more than a dump of scientific knowledge into the classroom. Of course, the content of each class is very important material for anyone in such a field, but the real valuable tool you harness in the physics major is problem-solving. There are a multitude of creative ways my professors have put me and my classmates in positions where we have to draw on our knowledge of a scenario to devise a solution to any given problem.

“Some advice I’d give to anyone pursuing a physics major would be to put forward your best effort always. Study hard because that is the most fruitful way to spend your time. You won’t learn much if you don’t care about what you’re learning or don’t trust your professors to challenge you for your own benefit.”

Writer

Magdalena Werger
  • 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.

    • Beyond the campus boundaries, dinosaur fossils are prepared at the Carthage Institute of Paleontolgoy in Kenosha. A lengthy pterodactyl flight away, Finca Esperanza serves as a base camp for J-Term medical and water quality missions to Nicaragua. 

    • 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 $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 …

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