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Geospatial Science

Student Voices

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Shelby Smith ‘13


Rockford, Mich.




Geographic Information Systems, Sociology

Shelby Smith ’13, believes in trusting your instincts and following your heart. That’s how she got to Carthage. It also helped her realize that she wasn’t meant for the pre-med track that she had always planned on.

“The first semester of my freshman year, I was placed in an Intro to Human Geography class and absolutely loved it,” said Shelby. “I never really thought of geography as a major before that point, but after that class, I knew that my passion was in geography and I had to change.”

Her professors have been a great asset to Shelby, both as teachers and mentors.

“We have a smaller department, but it is wonderful,” she said. “We have professors who are passionate and love what they do. They make geography fun and interesting. The professors definitely make our program great.”

Her opportunities have expanded outside of the Geography and Earth Science Department. In fall 2011, she accompanied Carthage faculty and students on their annual trip to Stratford, Canada, for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

“We spent a long weekend in Stratford touring the city and seeing five performances while we were there,” she said. “It was an experience of a lifetime, and I plan on returning on this trip for years to come.”

Since making the jump to geography, many doors have been opened for Shelby. She is now a fellow for the department and is also a student instructor for geographic information systems courses.

“Carthage has allowed me to blossom as a student, but more importantly as a person. I want to follow my dreams and see where life takes me. As long as I am happy, I know I am doing the right thing.”

Career goal

“I can see myself going in many different directions. I have a lot of passions and dreams and I am not sure where those are going to take me, but I am excited to find out what my future holds. If I had to choose one thing, it would be a GIS analyst at a corporation.”

Favorite professor

“This is very hard since we have a wonderful department and I really have no bad things to say about any of the professors, but Professor Sun would have to be one of my favorite professors. She allowed me to find my passion for Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She has always been there for me if I need anything. She has also always encouraged and motivated me to be a better geography student.”

Favorite class

Meteorology has been one of my favorite classes. I learned so much and my professor made the topic fun and interesting. It is also something that affects our lives every day, so now I can walk outside, look up at the sky and all around me, and figure out why and what is happening with the weather. It was a topic that I didn’t know much about, and I walked away with knowledge I am going to have forever.”

Campus involvement

“On campus, I have always been involved withResidence Life Council. Residence Life Council brings the residence halls together for activities and fun. Also in the past year I have become the vice president of CURE. CURE stands for Carthage Unites to Rescue Earth; it is our environmental group on campus. CURE spends its time volunteering and educating the rest of campus on environmental awareness. Both of these groups are a very important part of my time at Carthage.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“If you love geography and want to be surrounded by professors and peers with the same passions, then you are thinking of the right major.”


Elizabeth Reinhardt
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