Riley Geoghegan

Class Year



Crown Point, Indiana




Biology, Dance

While touring another university, Riley Geoghegan was told she would not be able to study dance while working towards a degree in science. Like many other students with a variety of interests, Riley was torn between her two passions and was faced with the heart-wrenching decision of choosing which one to abandon.

That’s when she found Carthage.

“During my visit to another campus before my freshman year, I remember leaving balling my eyes out because I would have had to choose between dance and chemistry, and that’s just something I couldn’t do,” she explained. “One of the main reasons I chose Carthage was that here, I didn’t have to choose. I chose Carthage because the College let me focus on both of my passions without having to give anything up.”

Since deciding to attend, Riley has prospered in all of her departments at Carthage thanks to her strong presence in many clubs and organizations, close relationships with staff and faculty members, and undergraduate research and employment experiences. 

In the future, she hopes to use her experiences and education from Carthage toward a career in either pharmaceuticals or professional dance.

“I chose Carthage because the College let me focus on both of my passions without having to give anything up. I am able to focus on science and dance without sacrificing one for the other.”

Riley Geoghegan, ’20

Career goal

“After Carthage, I see my life taking one of two paths. I will most likely either go to pharmacy school and become a pharmaceutical advocate or go to New York and become a Rockette. I have two very different passions and I am trying to keep my options open.”

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

“I know it may sound cliche, but I really can’t talk about only one professor having an impact on my life when they truly all have had a positive impact. They care about their students and really want to see them succeed. They reach out when they see their students struggling, they go above and beyond to answer any question students may have, and they are very good at what they do. They have truly been the reason why I have enjoyed my time at Carthage so much.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage by far was the Medical Ethnobotany class with Professor Daniel Choffnes. It was a class about different plants and their medicinal properties. Since the book used in class was written by the professor himself, I really got an interesting take on the world from not only his travels, but also our own research.”

Campus involvement

“I am probably one of the most involved people on campus. For the sciences, I am involved in Chemistry Club, Pre-Health Club, and Theta-Chi Delta. For dance, I am involved in the Alpha Psi Omega, NDEO (the National Dance Education Organization), and NHSDA (National Honor Society for Dance Arts). Just for fun, I am also involved in Rock Climbing Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the women’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams. Although it sounds like a lot, it really just lets me feel free and allows me to meet new people while enjoying every moment at Carthage.”

Toughest class

“The toughest classes I have had were definitely the general physics classes. They were super hard, but very interesting. I spent a lot of time trying to understand them, and the professors were very good about answering my questions.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I have the possibility of working for a fortune 500 pharmaceutical company over the summer of 2019. This is due totally to the connections I have made on campus and I couldn’t have done it without them. I am really grateful for everyone who has helped me get to this point.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“One of the things I love about Carthage is all of the opportunities I have had. Because of our close proximity to Milwaukee and Chicago, I was able to take a J-Term class where I went to many of the major museums in both cities. We went to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, and many more. It was really interesting for me to get to see them all and really analyze what I saw. We then would go back and talk about what we had learned. At the end of the term, we even got to design our own museum using the techniques we had learned.”

“Another interesting opportunity I got to participate in was undergraduate research. I spent an entire summer under the direction of Professor Kevin Morris through Carthage’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). I got to work one-on-one with him while we looked into drug therapies for heart disease. I then got the chance to go to the National American Chemical Society Meeting in Florida to present my research.”

“With my other passion for dance, I have been able to participate in both the fall and spring dance shows. The shows, and dance in general, have helped me to relieve a lot of stress and feel as if I am a new person up on the stage.”


“I received the highest merit scholarship for my GPA and ACT score. It has really helped me to pursue my dreams at Carthage, which otherwise would not have been possible with my financial state. The scholarship allowed me to follow my dreams and actually be able to afford college.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“One of my favorite memories on campus would probably have to be the Natural Sciences Picnic, where every year the Physics and Chemistry Departments get together for a nice clean, friendly game of kickball. It is really a nice way to get to meet everyone outside of the classroom setting and let loose before finals. Some of my other favorite memories and moments come from just hanging out with the people I have met on campus. It’s a really nice feeling to know you always have someone to go to or hang with whenever you need.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus would probably have to be some of the trees along the lake shore. It is really nice to just set up a hammock and relax for a couple of hours with some homework or a good book.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise for me so far has been how close I’ve grown to everyone on campus. I went to a fairly big high school so I was used to not knowing anyone. Coming to Carthage, I have truly found a home and a family. Everyone knows everyone and it is really nice seeing someone you know everywhere you go”

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

“When I was 8-years-old, I thought I wanted to be a monster truck-driving princess. I thought I would be married to Prince Charming and have 8 kids by now. I think 8-year-old me would be a little disappointed that I’m not a monster truck-driving princess, and a lot disappointed that I haven’t married Prince Charming yet.”

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

“To any other student considering my major, I would say just do it. It’s a really close-knit family and everyone is willing to work with you. The connections you make are so valuable and everyone knows how hard it is, so they are willing to work with you, whatever the circumstance. It’s been a really good experience for me and one of the reasons I enjoy Carthage so much.”

Why Carthage?

“One of the main reasons I chose Carthage was that I didn’t have to choose between fields of study. While visiting another school before I chose Carthage, I remember leaving the campus balling my eyes out because I would have had to choose between dance and Chemistry, and that was just something I couldn’t do. But at Carthage, the faculty is very understanding and open to any helping with any bumps or obstacles that come in the way of your learning.”