Elizabeth Dopke

Class Year



Cary, Illinois




Music and Secondary Education

“My favorite Carthage class is a tie between the J-Term class I took in Guatemala and the J-Term class in Spain. I learned so much in both classes, met some amazing people, and got to travel around two countries with some great friends and professors!”

Elizabeth Dopke, ’20

Career goal

“After graduation, I hope to become a Spanish teacher! In some way, I hope to always be involved with languages and education.”

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

“In the Spanish Department, two professors helped me have an awesome experience: Professor Edward Montanaro is an awesome advisor for anything related to school and beyond, and Professor Maribel Morales Martinez always has her door open to students. They’re also super kind and encouraging!

“In the Music Department, Professor James Ripley always goes above and beyond to help out and make students feel welcome, and Professor Dimitri Shapovalov is the best professor I think I’ve ever had!”

Favorite class

“My favorite Carthage class is a tie between the J-Term class I took in Guatemala and the J-Term class in Spain. I learned so much in both classes, met some amazing people, and got to travel around two countries with some great friends and professors! Most J-Term courses goes much deeper than normal semester classes, which is a really cool feeling.”

Campus involvement

“I played in the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra, and I played in the pit orchestra for the main stage musical, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” I was vice president of Adventurers Anonymous, the study abroad club. I was also a member of Alpha Mu Gamma, the foreign language honors fraternity, and Alpha Lambda Delta and Alpha Chi, two academic honors fraternities. Nearly every week, I went to La Mesa Española in The Caf with the Spanish Target Language Experts, and participated a lot in Center for Faith and Spirituality activities and worship services.”

Toughest class

Music History taught by Prof. Shapovalov is by far the most difficult class I’ve had. The content is not easy to wrap your head around, and the nature of the class requires a different method of studying than most classes. Even so, I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much in a single class!”

Internships or on-campus employment

“While I haven’t had internships through Carthage, I’ve spent lots of time in Kenosha-area schools teaching and working with teachers and students. Since sophomore year, when I joined the Education Department, I got to interview and shadow many Spanish teachers in KUSD to see exactly what I wanted to do first hand. I started to teach in those classes during my last semester at Carthage before student teaching full time.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“During my four years at Carthage, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Japan, Guatemala, and Spain on J-term trips; in addition to studying abroad in Argentina for a semester! I also had the opportunity to play French horn in the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra, and got to be a part of the Christmas Festival every semester I was on campus, which is super special.”


“I received a number of endowed music scholarships that really helped me manage the rising cost of tuition. I was nominated for two Spanish Department honor awards and received the Carthage Academic Honors Scholarship every semester as well. Each scholarship showed me that Carthage was willing to help me out in any possible way, so I could finish my degree, and I’m very grateful for that!”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Spending time with everyone in my J-term classes gave me some amazing memories. The hours spent in rehearsal for music ensembles and the Christmas Festival, attending the late-night breakfast, and seeing Ben Nita in The Caf are some highlights! The Carthage Activities Board movies are pretty great too.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The A. F. Siebert Chapel. It’s just a super calm and peaceful space. I like to go there to take a break and destress.”

Biggest surprise so far

“How much I changed! I only spent three years officially on campus, and so much can happen in a semester that it’s easy to lose track of how much is going on. I have to make sure to pause every once in a while and take in what’s happening — it’s an awesome time in my life, which deserves to be remembered!”

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

“I think that 8-year-old me wanted one thing: to be fluent in another language! I’m so happy to say that, with help from so many awesome people, I’ve achieved that goal. I am happily on my way to learning another one: German! I think my 8-year-old self would be happy with my decision to become a teacher because this way I never have to stop reading or learning about languages and people!”

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

“Do it! With a Spanish major, you’re required to study abroad for at least a semester; so if you can work that out with the other subjects you want to study, it’s so much better than a minor. If you put in the effort, you’ll truly become fluent, and it will make your life so much richer because of it. If the idea of studying abroad sounds daunting, but you can reach out for help finding scholarships, meet with students who have already been abroad, and talk with your professors. Help is there if you just ask. It’s so worth it!”

Why Carthage?

“The opportunity to travel by taking J-Term classes in many different countries was a big motivation for me, as well as the chance to work so closely with professors and Target Language Experts to improve my language skills. Traveling is key for anyone who studies language, and Carthage is very supportive of that.”