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Neuroscience

Student Voices

  • Submitted photo

Kyle Brotkowski ‘14

Hometown

Roscoe, Ill.

Major(s)

Psychology, Neuroscience

Minor(s)

Spanish

Favorite spot on campus

“Sitting on the rocks by the lake. It’s my quiet spot when I just need to take a relaxing nap sometimes. Although, I wish the campus was on the other side of the lake so everyone could catch the sunset over the water.”

Kyle Brotkowski wants to be more than just a number in a classroom. “I want to be able to speak to my professors and have them know my name,” he said. 

Here at Carthage, he has experienced that, and more. 

He is packing a lot into his four years of undergrad. He’s double-majoring in psychology and neuroscience, with a minor in Spanish. “The Neuroscience Program gives you the chance to combine psychology, biology, and chemistry into one major,” Kyle said. 

He has always been fascinated by the brain. While he enjoyed biology classes, he wanted to dig deeper into how neurons work, what consciousness is, how people learn, and what thoughts look like. “With the information neuroscience has given me, I feel like I can answer those questions and more.”

Studying neuroscience at Carthage gives students the exceptional experience to participate in ongoing research, Kyle said. “The data you collect in Research Methods has the possibility to be used in an actual journal article due to the collaboration of Dr. Miller and Dr. Servatius, the Director of the Stress & Motivated Behavior Institute.” 

With this kind of experience and opportunity, he feels ready to take the next step in his career. He plans to go to medical school and become a neurologist.

“I have been given research experience, knowledge on how to read and write journal articles, and a set of skills I feel will be instrumental to medical school,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for more from an undergraduate program.”  

Career goal

To go to medical school and become a neurologist.

 

Favorite professor

“Without a doubt, my favorite professor is Dan Miller. He is both kind and brilliant in his classes and I’ve loved learning from him. His teaching style is a challenge, and I like that. He doesn’t spoon-feed answers during class, but makes you work out the answers for yourself while he guides the discussion.”

Favorite class

“I would probably say Research Methods in Neuroscience. Not many people can say that they have done surgery and lesions on live rats at our age.”

Toughest class

“I think Organic Chemistry might be. I’m taking it right now and it’s one of the first classes I’ve really had to work hard in to understand the content.”

Campus involvement

“I am a Resident Assistant in Johnson Hall, part of Psi Chi, and a member of the Honors Program.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“RA training last year with Courtney Drew. There were a few times she had me doubled over from laughing so hard.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“I never expected to be on a first-name basis with some of my professors. That’s pretty cool to me.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Be passionate about what you learn in these classes. A lot of people sit through the intro classes every week just waiting for the time to pass. Don’t do that. You need to be excited. The brain is an amazing and undoubtedly complex structure that makes you who you are. Millions of chemical reactions and electrical pulses are taking place each second inside your head that give you the ability to sense, analyze, experience, fell, react, and live. Take the time to learn about it and I guarantee you that you will be amazed with what you find out.”

Writer

Kasey Dallman ‘14
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage was granted Wisconsin’s first chapter in Nu Rho Psi, the national honor society for neuroscience. 

    • The Neuroscience Program offers one of Carthage’s most popular J-Term study tours: Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior. In this course, students earn scuba certification, then spend January diving in Honduras to understand the evolution of nervous systems and behavior.

    • New in 2015, the Carthage Science Center features a neuroscience laboratory equipped with rat and mouse colonies, a behavioral data collection room, suites for rodent surgery and histology, and a confocal microscopy lab.

    • Carthage is the only private college in Wisconsin to offer an undergraduate major in neuroscience.

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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