Bryanna Barrera

Class Year

’19

Hometown

Palatine, Illinois

Major(s)

English

Minor(s)

Secondary Education, Spanish

After her first visit to Carthage, Bryanna Barrera immediately felt comfortable on campus and knew it was a perfect fit. “I was pleasantly overwhelmed by all the invitingly open office doors, engaging conversations, and the bright atmosphere throughout the campus.”

Now immersed in her major, Bryanna has expanded her creativity and critical thinking skills through relationships with professors and her fellow students. She has improved her writing and gone outside of her comfort zone through classes like British Literary Traditions II (ENG 2030) and writing focused J-Term courses.

Outside of class, Bryanna plays on the Women’s Lacrosse team and values her ability to balance sports and academics at Carthage.

After graduation, Bryanna hopes to obtain to attend graduate school. She thanks the Carthage community for encouraging her passions and supporting her academic growth. “Being an English major gives you the opportunity to interact in a multitude of disciplines that other majors don’t necessarily have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with. I have gained an extensive knowledge of the history of a variety of places and people through relevant literature.”

“I can honestly say every professor in the English Department has had an incredibly positive effect on both my academic and personal successes.”

Bryanna Barrera, ’19

Career goal

“After I graduate from Carthage I have a few passions I’d like to pursue, but most of all I would really love to attend graduate school to pursue a doctorate in English.”

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

“I can honestly say every professor in the English Department has had an incredibly positive effect on both my academic and personal successes. I think I have spent the most time with my advisor, Professor Alyson Kiesel, who has always graciously welcomed my life-talks and paper conferences with a smile and endless support. Everything that I have achieved at Carthage and the ambitious goals I have for after graduation I can owe to Prof. Kiesel’s support and guidance. Truly, I look up to all the English Department because they are all so kind and the most intelligent people I’ve ever met.”

Favorite class

“I don’t know if I have an absolute favorite as I have enjoyed every single one of the courses I have taken at Carthage, but my sophomore year I took a J-Term class with Rick Meyer where we would go on really long walks and self-reflect through journaling our experiences and reading those of others. Even though it was really cold the class was an amazing opportunity for me to gain more exposure to the creative writing side of the English major and really made me step out of my comfort zone!”

Campus involvement

“The majority of my extracurricular involvement has been through athletics as a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team. Athletics was a huge reason why I chose Carthage and it really has kept the promise that I can be a student and an athlete. I also am on the eBoard for the Center for Children’s Literature and part of the Education Program that places me out in the community at local schools as a student teacher.”

Toughest class

“I think the most difficult class I have taken at Carthage was British Literary Traditions II (ENG 2030) my freshmen year. The content itself wasn’t really difficult, but it was my first English course at Carthage and it really pushed me to push myself in the writing process.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to present at an undergraduate conference, bring my background in English to local high schools as a student teacher, travel to Europe with the Women’s Lacrosse team, go to a high ropes camp with the Honors Program and learn how to make clay bricks. And the most important of all, make a lot of friends along the way!”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“One time I was in Prof. Kiesel’s office for a paper conference and, per usual, we got off track and started talking about corgis. I tell people this story frequently in attempts to get them to join the English Department, and it usually works.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The first large table in Einstein’s on the wall facing the lake. It became a known thing that if anyone was ever looking for me, I would probably be there.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise so far has been how much I have enjoyed the classes that I have taken outside of my major and minors. I had to take a chemistry course for education and It ended up being one of my favorite courses that semester!”

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

“She would probably be mad that I’m not a vet or a pop-star, but I would hope that my 8-year-old self would look up to current me for working really hard to get to where I am and loving every moment of it.”

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

“Being an English major gives you the opportunity to interact in a multitude of disciplines that other majors don’t necessarily have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with. I have gained an extensive knowledge of the history of a variety of places and people through relevant literature, ranging from topics such as ecocriticism to ancient Egyptian palaces. An English degree encourages an endless amount of creative and critical thinking that extends into all other subject areas.”

“It is so much more than just reading books and writing papers! The great thing about literature is that it embodies every problem, fantasy, or idea that you’ve ever grappled with, and does so in an enlightening and engaging manner.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because of the learning environment I discovered on my first visit. I initially was introduced to Carthage through athletics, but on my first visit I was pleasantly overwhelmed by all the invitingly open office doors, engaging conversations, and the bright atmosphere throughout the campus.”