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Student Voices

  • Carthage College

Zachery Feldker ’15


Bloomington, Ill.



Favorite spot on campus

“Walking every day back and forth down Campus Drive never is the same, especially when you turn and look at the lake on your way to class. For more quiet times, I am quite fond of the each of the chapels on campus.”

Zachery Feldker ’15 became a Carthage biology student at an exciting time for the department. He was one of the first students who was part of the freshman-only Phage Hunters genomics course, made possible by a grant from the Science Education Alliance. Zach was thrown right into research, where he isolated his own unique mycobacteriophage (a virus that infects bacteria) and studied its characteristics.

In the first semester of the two-semester course, his class sent in one isolated phage to have its genome sequenced. In the second semester, the class annotated and determined the features possibly coded for in the DNA of the phage. “The work of this class has been submitted, and now the participants and I are published in the Genebank database,” he said. Zach presented his research at the 2012 Celebration of Scholars.

Since completing the Phage Hunters course, Zach continues to admire the strength of Carthage’s Biology Department.

“The Carthage biology program offers the opportunities, and holds the standards of excellence, that a larger research state school would demand, while being packaged into a smaller school that allows for friendships between students and professors in a way that promotes creative student driven learning,” he said.

One of these opportunities Zach talks about is his small regenerative study in Xenopus (frog) tadpoles for the Developmental Biology course. Zach will also be traveling to Hairou, China, this summer to teach English in student summer camps

After graduating from Carthage, Zach has aspirations to study veterinary medicine or possibly pursue life science research. “Carthage has prepared me for these challenges by research class opportunities as well as interactive and rigorous core major courses,” he said.  

Career goal

“I have aspirations to study veterinary medicine, and or possibly pursue life science research of some kind.”

Favorite professor

“It is hard to pick a favorite professor, especially when they are involved in so many things on campus and you interact with many of them outside of class. However, I will miss Dr. Choffnes and Dr. Pfaffle while they are on sabbatical.”

Favorite class

“Again, it’s a hard choice to make. My favorite classes within my major thus far have been Phage Hunters and Genetics. The class that I had the most fun while taking was the Sci-Fi and Religion topics class for J-Term.”

Toughest class

Organic Chemistry. Not because it is extremely hard, but because I think a little differently than the class format, so it was up to me to adjust.”

Campus involvement

“I am most actively involved in CUMBYA, a youth ministry group on campus where I hold the office of vice president. I am also a member of the biology honors society Beta Beta Beta, and help out as a supplementary student instructor and lab assistant in the Biology Department.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“There are many Carthage ‘moments.’ My favorite thus far is a tie between presenting during the Celebration of Scholars, and attending the theatre production of A Clamour of Rooks.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“For a campus all stretched out on one short piece of road, you discover new things about it all the time — discovering locations unexplored by you (you’d be surprised what you don’t see every day!), finding new opportunities made available, equipment and machines you have not used before but are available when needed, and discovering bits of history of campus when passing through offices, buildings, and the library.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Develop time management and scheduling skills in order to survive! Be able to structure your day so that you can get everything done, but still plan flex time to be able to enjoy an unexpected invitation by a friend, or enjoy a discussion with a group of classmates over a meal.”


Kasey Dallman ’14
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • 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. 

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 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. 95% 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. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience 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 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 our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. 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,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. 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 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. 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.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • 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. 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 …