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Student Voices

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Tristin Nyman ‘13


Orfordville, Wis.


Neuroscience, Psychology



Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus has to be Straz. It is where a majority of my classes are, and most of my friends and peers are around the building for class, lab, or work at all hours of the day. I can walk down the hallway and be greeted by several students and staff. Everyone is always friendly in that building. It is a simple as that.”

Tristin Nyman ‘13, is a naturally curious person. She loves to hypothesize, observe and draw conclusions. Before she reached her teenage years, her family had fostered more than 50 children, many of whom had either physical or mental special needs. Watching these children grow and work hard to complete daily tasks was a major factor in Tristin’s decision to study neuroscience.

“I observed the different characteristics and interactions of the children we hosted, their families, and the strangers we encountered on outings,” she said. “These experiences, among others, are why I decided I want to dedicate my life to helping others, and hopefully expanding existing knowledge about certain mental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders.”

Once she knew she wanted to study neuroscience, the next challenge was choosing a college. With the rarity of undergraduate neuroscience programs and a desire to stay in the Midwest, Tristin’s options were somewhat limited. Only two of the schools she was looking at offered an undergraduate major in neuroscience; one of them, of course, was Carthage.

“For being a small liberal arts institution, Carthage has a strong Natural Science Division, with many opportunities to expand your knowledge,” Tristin said. “There are many research opportunities and on-campus employment options that help you gain more knowledge outside of the classroom. I also loved the faculty-to-student ratio at Carthage. While in college, I wanted to be a name, not a number, and have the ability to talk with my various professors when needed; Carthage gives me that.”

Tristin’s relationships with her professors and involvement within the Neuroscience Program have opened a lot of doors for her.

“I think the greatest strength of the Neuroscience Program is its staff,” Tristin said. “The staff includes faculty as well as students working as researchers and lab assistants. The real strength of the program is its faculty. Both Dr. Dan Miller and Dr. Penny Seymoure are phenomenal teachers and mentors. I absolutely love the enthusiasm they both show toward the Neuroscience Program and their students. I simply cannot imagine my Carthage career without their enthusiasm and guidance.”

Since coming to Carthage, Tristin has had so many opportunities that if she listed them all, “they would cover pages,” she said. She has conducted neuroscience research and participated in psychological experiments. Her networking skills have been put to the test at professional conferences in Milwaukee and Chicago, where she met with representatives from graduate school programs and potential future employers. During J-Term 2012, she traveled to Senegal, where she studied African art and religion.

After Carthage, Tristin plans on attending graduate school and obtaining her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She wants to work with children who have autism spectrum disorders.

Career goal

“I intend to be a pediatric clinical psychologist or neuropsychologist.”

Favorite professor

“This is a tough question. The professors I have had both in the Neuroscience Program and those from other courses have been wonderful. I would say it is a tie between Dr. Seymoure and Dr. Miller, but for different reasons. Dr. Seymoure shows a passion for her studies and her students. She is always willing to sit down and discuss something with you whether it relates to a course or not. I have loved every course I have taken with Dr. Seymoure and look forward to taking more. Dr. Miller has a great enthusiasm for his research and neuroscience in general. He always keeps his classes entertained, and no doubt has a vast knowledge that he is willing to share with his students. Dr. Miller and Dr. Seymoure are both fantastic professors, role models and people, and I am lucky to learn from them.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class thus far is definitely Research Methods in Neuroscience with Dr. Miller. When I first enrolled in the class, I was unaware of how much I would love the class. I have learned so much in just one semester of this class, all of which can be applied to my future goals. I especially loved all the hands-on experience I received while working in the lab.”

Toughest class

“The toughest class I have taken would be Cell and Molecular Biology. It is a required course for all biology and neuroscience majors, and was definitely the hardest class I have taken so far. The material itself is hard, but this class was also my first encounter with a Writing Intensive course and it definitely lived up to my expectations.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“My favorite moments at Carthage all relate to meeting new people and creating strong bonds with them. Whether I met someone in class for a project, through a job opportunity, or both of us being members of an organization, everyone I have met at Carthage has impacted me for life.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“My biggest surprise thus far is the impression students make on their professors. Coming to college, I knew I would probably remember every professor I had because it’s not that many to memorize, and they would all impact me somehow. But I didn’t expect the professors to remember me years later from one class I had with them. If you think about how many students they must encounter each year, and how rare it is for them to remember you, then you realize how special Carthage and its faculty really are.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“My advice for others pursuing neuroscience is to pursue it with an open mind. There are many different courses and topics covered in this program that can be challenging, but nothing is impossible. Keep your head up and don’t be afraid to ask others for help.”


Elizabeth Reinhardt
  • Quick Facts

    • 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.

    • Beyond the campus boundaries, dinosaur fossils are prepared at the Carthage Institute of Paleontolgoy in Kenosha. A lengthy pterodactyl flight away, Finca Esperanza serves as a base camp for J-Term medical and water quality missions to Nicaragua. 

    • 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 …