Caleb Hays

Class Year



Colfax, Illinois


English and Public Relations

“My biggest surprise is the number of relationships I’ve made with not only teachers but other students while at Carthage. I’ve never felt excluded or lonely while at Carthage, which was certainly a big worry for me going into my freshman year.”

Caleb Hays, ’20

Career goal

“I hope to eventually continue my studies at the graduate level, pursuing a masters degree in English. I am also looking into possible job openings in the field of public relations — either way, a passion for literature will always be at the forefront of my life.”

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

“I took Western Heritage and a philosophy class with Professor Richard Heitman early in my college career, and it got me very excited about literary works. His eccentric teaching style and passion about reading had a profound impact on me, and I certainly think that helped shape the trajectory of my studies.”

Favorite class

“I took a creative writing class with Professor Lewis Freedman my junior year. It was an enlightening experience to be able to write outside the restrictions of a formal paper and explore the boundaries of fiction. Prof. Freedman introduced me to a range of different writing styles and philosophies that continue to influence my studies.”

Campus involvement

“I am a member of the Track and Field team at Carthage.”

Toughest class

“During my sophomore year, I took an intro class to environmental science in order to satisfy my general education requirements. The class challenged me in a very different way than literary studies did, and I was forced to go outside my comfort zone in order to do well. In retrospect, I’m glad I took the class as it helped to expand the range of my scholarly studies.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I was a marketing and development intern at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. The internship was an amazing experience as it helped me expand on my studies and also allowed me to be immersed in a diverse environment of poets and writers.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in Carthage’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) the summer before my senior year. I worked closely with Professor Maria Carrig for ten weeks writing, reading, and completing research for a project that would eventually become my senior thesis.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite memories of Carthage are from my freshman year. I met a lot of my lifelong friends that year, and many of the best memories from that time are simple ones, like late night trips to the Campbell Student Union and hanging out with friends in the dorms.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the basement of the Hedberg Library. I go there when I want to read or write, using the space as a spot of quiet contemplation. Any place that has more books than people in it is a place I tend to thoroughly enjoy.”

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise is the amount of relationships I’ve made with not only teachers, but other students while at Carthage. I’ve never felt excluded or lonely while at Carthage, which was certainly a big worry for me going into my freshman year.”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would be extremely proud of where I’m at now. It’s always been my passion and goal in life to be involved with literature in some way, and I think I’ve accomplished that so far. I still haven’t developed those super powers I was hoping to get — so maybe 8-year-old Caleb would have a hint of disappointment, but there’s still plenty of time.”

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

“My advice would be to just go for it. So many people worry too much about finding a major based strictly on what will make them the most money after graduation. Post-graduation success is certainly something that should be on your radar, but I don’t think it should get in the way of your passion. If you are passionate about English, then you should major in it. Don’t let people convince you that you can’t do anything with a degree in English. If you are passionate and hardworking, you’ll be just fine.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because I wanted to attend a college in which I could have real relationships with my professors, instead of just being another face in the crowd. The lake isn’t too bad, either.”