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Political Science

Student Voices

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Megan Smith ‘13


Anamosa, Iowa


Political Science, History


Criminal Justice

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the basement of the library by the windows overlooking the baseball field. I always joke with my friends that we’ll have plaques on the wall before we graduate because we spend so much time down there on homework.”

Megan Smith has always had a passion for politics. In the summer of 2012, she took her passion and education to Washington, D.C., as part of the 2012 Smeds Executive Internship Program.

“I have studied political societies throughout the world, but actually working in a political setting — in the heart of American politics in Washington, D.C. — helped me develop a deeper understanding of politics in practice,” she said.

Megan worked as an intern in the office of Rep. Bruce Braley, who represents the 1st District of Iowa, where Megan is from.

“This internship opportunity allowed me to fully engage and experience life on Capitol Hill, and think about where I see myself after Carthage,” she said. “I drafted letters to constituents, took phone calls regarding bills, prepared for meetings, processed scheduling requests, delivered co-sponsorship notices to the House floor, and worked on small projects with specific legislative staffers and correspondents.”

Favorite professor

Dr. Jeffrey Roberg is my favorite professor at Carthage and an asset to the Political Science Department. He continually pushes and challenges students to perform at their highest level while encouraging involvement both in and out of the classroom. Dr. Roberg is very committed to both his students and advisees, and develops strong relationships with them throughout their years at Carthage and for years after. On many levels, Dr. Roberg fosters student success.”

Favorite class

“I have enjoyed taking Campaigns and Elections so far this fall, which offers an in-depth analysis and critique of American political campaigns. The class is not only relevant with the presidential election, but is taught as a symposium with the Communication and Digital Media Department and the Political Science Department. The junction between the departments allows students to be creative and design a mock campaign for Congress, while considering real issues such as campaign finance, specific election tactics and advertising, which some of us might actually seek as a career path after graduation.”

Toughest class

“As a freshman, I struggled most with Political Theory and understanding ideals and concepts put forth by philosophers and theologians like Plato and applying their arguments to my own writing.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“I love being involved here and meeting so many great people along the way. Carthage creates a lot of opportunities for leadership, and through those experiences on campus, I’ve definitely become a stronger person over the last four years. The faculty is also very welcoming and recognizes students who set goals for themselves, providing support along the way.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“My biggest surprise so far has been how much I’ve changed since college started. I think a big part of college that you never expect is admitting what you don’t know, and trying to learn as much as you can while you have the opportunity to take challenging courses.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Don’t limit yourself to a specific area of interest. Try to be very open to taking courses and exploring areas of emphasis you hadn’t previously considered. It’s also very beneficial to develop a close relationship with an advisor or faculty member.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), 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 wings, 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, 2017 and 2018, 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. 5 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 …