Shawnel Smith

Class Year



North Chicago, Illinois


Management and Marketing

Beginning her Carthage education as an adult, Shawnel Smith has used Carthage’s adult education opportunities to improve not only her own education, but the lives of her children and community.

Through class trips to the Kenosha Harbor Market, group fitness sessions, and thought-provoking classes, Shawnel has placed herself on a path of self-improvement and growth through Carthage.

Career goal

“After graduating, I am looking forward to getting back to work. An ideal job would take my 18 years of customer service experience and my new degree skills in business management and marketing into consideration. I would love to get something that uses my current knowledge, while also allowing me to develop my newly learned management skills.”

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

“I have appreciated so many of the professors during my time at Carthage. The most recent would be Professor Jean Quashnock. I took his personal finance class for J-Term and I still use the information he gave me to this day! I’m able to save more money than I ever thought was possible. Some honorable mentions are Professor Sandra Bisciglia and Professor Donald Gillespie, Mr. Simplicity himself. I had the pleasure of having both of these professors twice. I found them to be consistent in their teaching methods and the development of their students.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class so far was an agriculture class. I learned the benefits of gardening and the efforts Carthage takes to provide fresh food for families in our community. I remember going to the store to buy my gloves and knee pads. I talked about it so much that my daughter wanted to start a garden at home. The exposure to the Kenosha Harbor Market and fresh food impacted the way I shop for my home. The early hours in the garden and the hard work was gratifying. It was the feeling of unity and compassion that felt good! The feeling you get when you are a part of something greater than yourself is amazing! During this class, we also had the opportunity to help jump-start a garden at a local elementary school.”

Toughest class

“Understandings of Religion (REL 1000) has been my toughest class so far. My faith and what I believe was challenged in ways that I did not expect. While learning about other religions, and what they believed, I found it more important for me to know what I believed and why I believed it. I remember asking a professor if teaching other religions ever challenged what they believed; their answer was yes. At the end, it was a good challenge because it made me really evaluate myself.”

Campus involvement

“I did take advantage of the group fitness classes. I took a yoga and spin class. The spin class really challenged me and the instructor did a great job!”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I was selected as a finalist and given an opportunity to compete in the 2016 Part-Time Student Adult Undergraduate Studies Scholarship! Although I did not win the scholarship, it was a pleasure to be chosen as a finalist. I had a chance to meet some great people whom I keep in contact with today.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite moment was during my first class, “Elements of College Learning.” We were reading the book “Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It,” by John O’Hurley. He also came to the college and spoke and we were able to get our books signed by him. I really enjoyed reading that book; it gave great insight and life lessons. It’s one I would recommend anyone to read, especially young people. I also recommended it to my boys!”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite place might be an area in the A.W. Clausen Center on the second floor at the top of the stairs near the water feature. I like to just sit at the bench near the window and look out. It’s a relaxing spot and gets you a good phone signal.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise is how well I’ve adapted to the full-time student schedule. I started out as an adult student and have recently transferred over to the traditional student status. I am pleasantly surprised at how well I adjusted to a heavier workload while maintaining good grades, and my sanity!”

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

“My 8-year-old self would be shocked to hear that I am studying business and marketing. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse, like my mom. I’ll never forget being with my mom in a parking lot when a woman passed out from heat stress. To see my mom leap into action the way she did impacted me greatly. It was in that moment that I knew I wanted to be a nurse and help others. Although it’s not in the medical field, my current studies will allow me to help others in a different way.”

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

“Remember to take everything one class as a time, try not to be anxious, and be patient with yourself. There are so many free tools available to you to support your success at Carthage; be sure to utilize them. Stay encouraged, You can do this!”