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Biology

Student Voices

  • Alex Farley ‘13

Suresh Graf ’15

Hometown

Shakopee, Minn.

Major(s)

Biology

Minor(s)

Chemistry

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is in the Campbell Student Union by the fireplace, on one of the big red chairs that look like red blood cells. The chairs are incredibly comfortable and the fire is nice and warm. It is a great place to get stuff done or just to sit and chill.”

Suresh Graf ’15 has wanted to be a doctor since fifth grade, so he was sold on attending Carthage after hearing about the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua on a medical mission trip. The annual J-Term trip takes 20 to 40 students to Ometepe, Nicaragua, to study tropical ecology, visit historical sites, and volunteer in rural medical clinics. “When I saw the impact Carthage students were having in a foreign country, it really spurred me to want to be that student making a difference,” said Suresh. 

Suresh was selected to go on the 2013 Nicaragua trip, and he said that it gave him a new perspective on the world and what he wants to do after Carthage.

“After attending medical school, I would like to open a clinic in Nicaragua that is built as a long-term facility and helps to educate locals on how to maintain general health,” he explained. 

The opportunities Suresh has had since attending Carthage have been plentiful. This summer he will conduct research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., with Dr. Rita Basu in the endocrinology department. He hopes that this research experience will help facilitate new ideas on the front lines or pancreatic research.   

From helping Suresh prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to providing many opportunities to get involved with academic organizations, Suresh feels that Carthage is definitely preparing him for his future. “Carthage is a great place to grow in this community and as an individual.”  

Career goal

“To become a doctor and help those who suffer. My goal as of now is to become an orthopedic surgeon.”

Favorite professor

“I don’t know if I really have a favorite professor so far. All of my professors have been very helpful and influential. However, if I had to pick one who really stands above the rest it would be Dr. Elaine Radwanski of the Biology Department. She is a very enthusiastic professor made class work challenging and fun at the same time. It is hard to not get excited about biology when Dr. ‘Rad’ is teaching. She unknowingly converted me from a chemistry major to a biology major simply by her overall enthusiasm for the course Cell and Molecular Biology.”

Favorite class

“I believe my favorite class so far at Carthage is Genetics. It proves to be a great challenge at times, however the challenge is always rewarded with the knowledge and understanding of a small process which impacts our lives in a huge way. I believe I have the most ‘A-Ha!’ moments in Genetics than in any other class that I have taken.”

Toughest class

“The toughest class that I have taken so far has been Physics. While it’s something that we experience every day and it’s the only science where an exception to the rule would result in the world falling apart (a generalization of course), it is a subject in which I seem to struggle. Though it is a struggle for me, there are plenty of resources at my disposal to get help and understand it. By attending Supplemental Instruction sessions and meeting with the professor, it becomes possible to struggle a bit less.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved with several on-campus organizations, including Chemistry ClubPre-Health ClubCarthage World Relief, and Gospel Messengers. I am the newly elected outreach coordinator for Chemistry Club, the Resident Assistant in the basement of Johnson Hall, and the bassist for the Gospel Messengers. I really love doing science for fun and showing people that science is fun and interesting. I am also involved quite heavily in music on campus. While I am not a music major or minor, I really love to play bass guitar with my friends and with different groups at school.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“My favorite moment at Carthage is a moment that didn’t actually take place at Carthage. It was when my J-Term class was at the airport getting ready to check in and go through security to go to Nicaragua. Something clicked in my mind that I was actually going to Nicaragua! It made me realize how many opportunities I have been presented with in my time here at Carthage, and how much I am able to do that my friends at other schools are not able to participate in.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise at Carthage so far was definitely the wind! When I visited campus I must have visited on the only not-windy day in the history of Carthage. The wind while walking down Campus Drive is so incredibly powerful. I have lost much body heat, and a few papers, to it.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Pay attention in all of your classes. By that I mean biology classes, but also physics, chemistry, and even religion! You will find ties between everything. The more connections you can make between subjects, the easier it will be to understand complex subjects and ideas. If you don’t believe me, I wish you good luck!”

Writer

Kasey Dallman ’14
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), 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 wins, 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 and 2017, 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. 11 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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