Mallory Finnigan

Class Year



Kenosha, Wis.


Elementary Education



Mallory Finnigan was inspired to become a teacher because she had amazing teachers herself. When one recommended Carthage as an option after high school, she visited the campus and felt confident that it would be the perfect choice.

One Carthage experience that stands out most happened before she graduated from high school: “I was a senior in high school and took a class for youth options,” she recalled. “It was a beginning level education class, Education 105, and it was the best experience. Kathy Lauer was my professor. She was so kind and really knew how to teach. She grabbed your attention and taught you exactly what you needed to know. I felt that the class really showed me what the education program was at Carthage and I knew then that I wanted to attend here.”

Another aspect of Carthage that has stuck out to Mallory is her relationship with her professors, which echoes the connection she had with a lot of the teachers she had growing up. The one-on-one time that she has had with the Carthage education faculty proves to her that they really care about their students’ success.

“Carthage’s professors are really available for questions, and you can go into their offices during office hours for whatever purposes you have,” she said. “The Education Department has a lot on its plate. By this, I mean that the professors are the ones who are teaching us and helping us become future teachers who will teach future students. I think they have a big job to get us ready and to make sure we are prepared to student teach at the end of our fourth year.”

Mallory decided on her major at a young age. Her fifth-grade teacher in particular was an inspiration to her, and has become a friend.

“Ever since I was in first grade, I have wanted to become a teacher. I have had quite a few great teachers in my life,” Mallory said. “I would wish to have an impact in as many of my future students’ lives and be that teacher that they come back and visit to say I made a difference.”

“I would wish to have an impact in as many of my future students’ lives and be that teacher that they come back and visit to say I made a difference.”

Mallory Finnigan, ’13

Career goal

“My goal is to work in an elementary school with fifth grade students or in a middle school with sixth grade students as a math teacher. I would love the opportunity to work for KUSD! Also, I plan on pursuing a master’s in mathematics. Continuing my education throughout my life is very important to me.”

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

“My favorite professor is Sally Groleau. She is a kind and caring person. She really knows how to teach math to you. She has a way of explaining the concepts and she does the notes on PowerPoint and you print the lecture notes out for class. Those really help when it comes to doing homework or studying for tests. Since I am a math minor, I have had her for three classes now. She is there when you need help with an assignment through her office hours or email. She makes herself available to help us. I really like that about her. I hope that if my education leads me to teaching at a college, I am as good as she is as a math professor!”

Favorite class

“My favorite class has been Reading and Language Arts 1, which is taught by Dr. Easley. I used to hate reading when I was little, and this class has shown me why. I was able to grasp the importance of reading and how it helps you as student just starting out. This class has its fun moments, especially when you have the right friends in the class with you. Dr. Easley really knows how to make her point clear with different topics. She brought in apples on Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. In that class period, we discussed him and read a book about him. She related this to how we can do something like this in our classrooms. This class really shows you how to teach reading and language arts. The clinical experience is set up really well, too. Being my first methods class, teaching was a little nerve-racking at first, but Dr. Easley set us up for success. Her lesson plan template is very easy to follow and easy to complete. I plan on using that template when I start teaching.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in Student Wisconsin Education Association [StWEA]. This organization gives us, as future teachers, a source for important and useful information to use when we start teaching. I have gained knowledge about what is expected of me when I go into an interview for a job, and what to wear and what not to wear. StWEA is a great organization for future teachers to learn about what they will be doing for their career and for some, the rest of their life.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class was Educational Psychology. I understood the importance of topics within the class, but I was not good at memorizing theories and connecting the ideas of the theorist with the other theorists’ opinions. In the end, I did make it through it and have used a lot of what I learned. The class was beneficial because you really understood why some students act this way, while others act that way. This class really shows you how to work with different kinds of students and different ways to help those students learn.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite moment at Carthage is probably the memorable times in classes with the great friends I have met. Being a commuter, it is hard to meet people and find time to hang out. With the friends I have met in my education classes, and just the memories I have with being in class together, working on a project outside of class really stands out. In the education program, once you get into your classes, you usually have the same people in your classes as you did in previous ones. You make great friends and I have found the ones with whom I can really connect.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot is the sitting area in Lentz Hall by the old bookstore with the big windows. I love sitting there looking out the window at Lake Michigan and the sky. It is beautiful and peaceful.”

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

“Make sure this is what you really want to do. Teaching is not for everybody. You have to have a passion for children and for helping others learn. Becoming a teacher is great deal of work and takes tremendous amounts of patience to learn how to do a lesson plan, or how to help this student who does not understand the topic, or how to manage classroom behavior, or how to communicate with parents, etc. There are so many topics and concepts you have to learn to become a good teacher. I am going into teaching because I had teachers who inspired me and made me want to teach. Others go into teaching because they had a bad experience. Whatever the reason is, make sure it is what you want to do and have the patience for it.”