Riley Peterson

Class Year



Kenosha, Wisconsin




Political Science

“To me, economics is a way to understand the real-world effects of how humans make decisions. I often find that material in my economics courses overlaps with the material in sociology and political science.”

Riley Peterson, ’21

Career goal

“I hope to work for an organization that uses economics to positively influence people’s lives. That could mean helping people understand retirement savings or working with a nonprofit to change public policy, or eventually working in government or other public service.”

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

“The now retired James Skelly Warren was my Western Heritage I and II professor. In his classes, he emphasized debate and discussion in a way I’d never experienced. He wrote me at least two recommendations over the course of the year, one of them resulting in my job at the Brainard Writing Center

Professor Cassie Lau also had a significant impact on my first year at Carthage. In addition to teaching my Intermediate Macroeconomics course, she advised the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) project I worked on over the summer. First year students do not usually get the opportunity to work on SURE projects, so I was very grateful for the chance to try research with another student.”

Favorite class

“In my first economics class, Issues in Economics, I learned the basics of economics, which made me see the world in an entirely different way. It made so much sense that I knew I had to major in it.”

Campus involvement

“I am a member of Carthage Philharmonic, Carthage College Habitat for Humanity, Carthage College Democrats, and Swing Dance Society.”

Toughest class

History of Economic Thought was difficult for me. Economic theories build on and borrow from one another, so separating out individual progressions of thought gets complicated.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I worked as a marketing intern for Habitat for Humanity of Kenosha. I wrote social media posts, blog updates, mass emails, and press releases. I am also helping to promote several upcoming projects and create a new fundraising initiative.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“This fall I began work as a tutor in the Writing Center. I made plenty of use of the Writing Center as a freshman, so I am very enthusiastic to get to help other students strengthen their writing while also strengthening my own.”


“I received a Carthage Music Scholarship. Receiving it made me feel like Carthage really values all my interests and strengths, not just my academic ability.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“On the very first day of freshman orientation, I met my two very dear friends, one of whom is now my roommate. We’ve been inseparable since our first week, and I have many wonderful memories with them.”

Favorite spot on campus

“I like anywhere I can see the lake. My desk in my dorm room and the study areas on the east side of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center are some of my favorites.”

Biggest surprise so far

“How well all my classes complement one another. I can already see real world application for almost everything I’ve learned.”

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

“When I was eight, I started listening to the NPR podcast Planet Money, which is about economics, with my dad. I would have been really excited to know I would get to learn how to think about the world the way the podcast explained it.”

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

“Don’t judge the field based on the economics class you took in high school. It is so much broader and more applicable to everyday life than it gets credit for. Economics is an incredibly broad major. While it’s often grouped in with business and finance, it officially falls under natural and social sciences. To me, economics is a way to understand the real world effects of how humans make decisions. I often find that material in my economics courses overlaps with material in sociology and political science.”

Why Carthage?

“Growing up in Kenosha, I heard a lot about Carthage. When I got older and began researching other schools, I realized how exceptional Carthage is. There was no reason to go anywhere besides Carthage for what I wanted from my education.”