Ryen Cunningham

Class Year

’20

Hometown

Zion, Illinois

Major(s)

Great Ideas, Communication

Minor(s)

Spanish

At 8-years-old, Ryen Cunningham knew she wanted to study philosophy and Spanish. Now at Carthage, Ryen has excelled in her studies and continues to take advantage of the many opportunities offered through her majors.

With Carthage’s small class sizes and involved faculty, Ryen has been able to work closely with the professors in her majors, specifically Prof. Seemee Ali and Prof. Michael McShane. “They have made me more assertive, more confident, and more powerful as a scholar, and as a person. Because of them, I am not afraid to ask or answer tough questions.”

Also minoring in Spanish, Ryen has had the opportunity to attend a J-Term study tour to Guatemala. On the study tour, she was able to experience Guatemalan culture while also improving her language skills immensely. In the future, Ryen hopes to create documentaries revolving around Spanish-speaking countries and their cultures.

“My biggest surprise has been how many true friends I have made on this journey.”

Ryen Cunningham, ’20

Career goal

“I am hoping to produce documentaries in Spanish-speaking countries and edit films after I graduate from Carthage.”

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

Dr. Seemee Ali and Dr. Michael McShane are two professors who have been mentors to me ever since my freshman year at this college. They have both inspired me and my fellow colleagues to take on life’s challenges. They have made me more assertive, more confident, and more powerful as a scholar, and as a person. Because of them, I am not afraid to ask or answer tough questions. Their classes have always opened vast windows of knowledge and opportunities that show a different manner of thinking.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage has been my seminar in Renaissance Thought with Dr. Ali and Dr. McShane. We focused on Boccaccio and read his book as if we were investigators solving a mystery. What I took away from this class is that things are not always what they seem. They might even be the complete opposite of how they appear.”

Campus involvement

“I am the technical director of WAVE Radio here at Carthage.”

Toughest class

“The toughest class at Carthage so far has been my Foundations in American Thought class. It is tough because politics are not my strong suit. However, the class is always filled with interesting and controversial discussion.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“For my 2018 J-Term study tour, I went on a Spanish immersion trip to Guatemala. It was the best experience of my life. I was able to become more fluent in my Spanish, as well as grow closer to my group and the people living in Nuevo Horizonte.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite Carthage moments are when I can hang out with my friends and have philosophical discussions.”

Favorite spot on campus

“I really like my room.”

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise has been how many true friends I have made on this journey.”

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

“My 8-year-old self wanted to study philosophy and Spanish, so I think she would be proud of me.”

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

“Because of my Great Ideas major, I have become well-read and well-versed in writing. I have also been able to apply my knowledge from the Great Ideas courses into my other fields of study and enhance them.”