Briana Parks

Class Year

’21

Hometown

Chicago, Illinois

Major(s)

Chinese and International Political Economy

“I received the Modern Language Scholarship to study Chinese at Carthage. Receiving this scholarship has to be one of the most memorable days of my life. I now have the chance to study Chinese at Carthage with a semester abroad in China coming up.”

Briana Parks, ’21

Career goal

“After I graduate, I would like to teach English in China. I would like the chance to spend as much time in China as I can. My parents always made me comfortable with traveling and not being tied down to one place. Although my heart is in China, I would like to travel and see other parts of the world like Thailand and Seoul while I am overseas.”

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

“The most impactful professors on my life have been Professor Danielle Geary and Professor Art Cyr. Prof. Geary has encouraged me to live my truth and so much more. Even though I’m no longer in her class, I will always find the time for the woman that has empowered and encouraged me to find my own happiness. Prof. Cyr is unmatched with his thank you notes. He is the best hype-man and has never stopped motivating me to be such a great IPE scholar and a well-rounded student.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage has been Literature of Diversity taught by Professor Pamela Smiley and Professor Danielle Geary. This class taught me so much about feminist theory and powerful women such as Bell Hooks and Patricia Hill Collins. This class was an eye opener for me because often times men, and even some women, can say that they support women but do not know what supporting a woman actually means. Supporting women means supporting all women, especially those that have more crosses and burdens to bear. This empowering class shook up something within me to find my own happiness and to do things that truly make me happy and bring joy to my life. In addition to living my best life for myself, this class motivated me to empower other women and to support other oppressed groups in their struggle.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in a great number of diversity and inclusion organizations on campus and other student organizations with the goal of making life better for all students. I am involved in United Women of Color and am on eBoard as event planning chair. I am also involved in the Black Student Union, the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network Committee, sophomore senator for student government (Title IX committee), and mock trial.

I also work on campus as an office assistant in the Todd Wehr Center. I help people find their desired locations around campus and answer the incoming phone calls to the College doing the same job. I also work on campus as a student ambassador in the Admissions Office. I enjoy giving prospective Carthage families campus tours as they get to see and experience campus for the first time and attend admissions events meeting and telling prospective students about the Carthage experience.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class had to be my first Chinese class. The Target Language Experts and Modern Language Department at Carthage wanted students to be able to write characters by hand from memorization, not by using keyboards. From my junior year of high school up until my AP Chinese class, we used computers to type out our Chinese and not much was hand written. It took me a minute to catch up and to be able to memorize characters from all my years of study to write them from memorization.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“Before coming to Carthage, I interned at Nuveen in the ethics office under the compliance department. I worked over the summer helping this firm transition from one database to another. There are a lot of rules when it comes to reporting gifts as to remain compliant with laws and regulations. My job was to monitor if these rules were followed as to protect the firm and organize records as systems transitioned.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I am going on my first J-Term study tour to Senegal this coming January. I am excited to be going on my first trip to Africa as well as my first J-Term.”

Scholarships

“I received the Modern Language Scholarship to study Chinese at Carthage. Receiving this scholarship has to be one of the most memorable days of my life. I cried when I read the letter about the award. I now have the chance to study Chinese at Carthage with a semester abroad in China coming up. This scholarship has given me the opportunity to better afford college and I could not be more grateful.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite Carthage moments are all the times I spent with my friends on campus enjoying each others company. I prefer being in the company of those that I cherish. My favorite moments include attending sporting events with my friends, watching movies at CAB movie nights, and cooking together.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the Campbell Student Union because it is where I met some of my closest friends on campus.”

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

“When I was eight, my life was thrown for a loop when my grandfather got sick. I wanted to make him better and thought that I wanted to be a doctor. Now looking at my current choice, 8-year-old me would be pretty surprised. I always knew I was different, and my majors only further prove what my family and I always knew. 8-year-old me would be proud that I have stuck with something so long and found what I actually like that is completely and totally my own decision.”

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

“My advice to other students considering my majors would be to be open minded. Nothing worthwhile happens with a closed mind. When you open your mind and let go of all preconceived notions something truly amazing can happen. You will come to learn that your thinking impacts your life and how you think about things will determine what you will gain from your experiences.”

Why Carthage?

“My decision to choose Carthage was nothing short of my mom knowing what is best for me. I was so stubborn about my college decision, but ultimately chose Carthage when I visited and fell in love with the campus. Not to mention I received a scholarship that also made my decision a little easier.”