Alanna Sullivan

Class Year



Lake Villa, Illinois





“If you are interested in biology, chemistry, psychology, or even topics related to anatomy and medicine, you should look into a neuroscience major. Neuroscience is a small and rigorous department, but the major has a lot to offer for careers.”

Alanna Sullivan, 21

Career goal

“I hope to leave Carthage with the knowledge and experience to become a neuroscience researcher and go into a doctorate program.”

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

“Katelyn Sadler was an adjunct professor for Introduction of Neuroscience in fall 2019. She was a fun and passionate instructor. Prof. Sadler would bring in professors and brains to present certain topics. She would tell stories of her life in graduate school and introduced me to possible summer research programs.

“She truly is a professor who wants her students to comprehend the hard topics, not just test you on it and never use it again. I am thankful that I was able to have her for my first neuroscience course to get me started on the right track.”

Favorite class

“Issues of Living and Dying with Professor David Duncan was by far my favorite class to take. I took it over J-Term 2019 and spent the semester opening my mind to the morbid, yet important topics of death and the afterlife. It was a tough course, with reading books and writing essays daily. Yet it was worth it for the three-hour discussions in class that Prof. Duncan would conduct. I left the class more grateful for life and more mindful of death and the grief of others.”

Campus involvement

“I am highly involved with many organizations on campus. I am a part of Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Lambda Delta, and National Residence Hall Honorary, but the main organization I am involved with is the Residence Life Council. I was the president during 2019-2020 and hosted various fun programs across campus for residents to enjoy! I am passionate about residence life on campus and hope to improve the environment for all Carthage students as well.”

Toughest class

“My toughest course to take was Cellular and Molecular Biology with Professor Amareshwar Singh. It was a writing-intensive course and was a more in-depth course to Organisms, Populations, and Systems. I found the class challenging for the work load given, especially if you are taking other hard classes as well.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have had the opportunity to join two psychology research teams on campus. I joined Professor Arryn Robbins’ team and have been lucky to conduct eye-tracking experiments. I will be presenting my work at the 2020 Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago. I also help Professor Nora Nickels with human stress experiments and discuss scientific literature with her team.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“One of my favorite Carthage moments was meeting my First in the Family mentees. I am a first-generation student and have participated in a program meant to prepare first-generation freshmen for college life by coming to school half a week early. Through this program, I met some of the most passionate and friendly students who I am lucky to call my friends now.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the Hedberg Library. I love studying in the library when I have to buckle down and get work done. It is one of the quietest places on campus and is close to printers and Einstein Bros. Bagels, if you need a quick bite.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise for me was how quickly the semesters fly by. Many people say high school goes by fast, but college is that times a million. Newfound freedom and exploration of your hobbies, academics, and personal growth can makes college go by fast. I had to learn quickly to enjoy everything Carthage has to offer.”

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

“My 8-year-old self would be proud of all I have done in college and how hard working I am. I don’t think she would expect me to become a scientist since I wanted to be an artist for so long, but this would make her excited to see what my future holds.”

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

“If you are interested in biology, chemistry, psychology, or even topics related to anatomy and medicine, you should look into a neuroscience major. Neuroscience is a small and rigorous department, but the major has a lot to offer for careers. Also Professor Daniel Miller, the department chair, is very fun and easygoing.

“Do not feel afraid to ask for help. Classes may seem intimidating but can be easily digestible if you take them one step at a time.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because it was close enough to my home so that I can visit whenever I would like, but far enough away to have a new life and meet new people. As soon as I saw the campus, I fell in love with the lake, the laboratories in the Straz Center, and the newly built Tower Residence Hall. Finally, Carthage accepted many of my AP courses from high school that other colleges did not accept. This allows me to graduate early and focus on my major courses in school.”