Allie Ontaneda

Class Year

’22

Hometown

Arlington Heights, Illinois

Major(s)

Elementary Education

Minor(s)

Spanish

“Professor Nina Weisling greatly impacted my life and Carthage career. Not only does she go above and beyond to cultivate a safe, respectful, and growth-inspired learning environment for all of her students, but she also cares about the path students are on.”

Allie Ontaneda, ’22

Career goal

“I plan on graduating Carthage a semester early and then begin teaching in a dual-language elementary classroom, teaching in both Spanish and English. I plan to continue teaching for some years and then return to graduate school to one day become a principal.”

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

Professor Nina Weisling greatly impacted my life and Carthage career. In her class, not only does she go above and beyond to cultivate a safe, respectful, and growth-inspired learning environment for all of her students, but she also cares about the path students are on. During the fall semester, I had a big decision to make regarding my career, and she was the first person I thought to ask for advice. Her kindness, support, and encouragement have helped me and many others. She is the kind of teacher I want to be!”

Favorite class

“My favorite class has been the J-Term trip to Madrid, Spain during my freshman year. There, I was challenged to go beyond my comfort zone and grow in my confidence as a Spanish-speaker, speaking Spanish the entire trip. I made great friends, tried new food, and simply enjoyed the experience of using the language to fully experience life as a Madrileña.”

Campus involvement

“I am a Writing Fellow in the Writing Center, and DEIL Fellow in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Leadership (DEIL) Fellows Program, a member of the Honors College, and a member of the First Generation Organization. Although I am not a first generation college student, as a future teacher and as a Hispanic, I want to get involved in the discussion of college and advocate for higher education, so that one day I can encourage my future students to follow their passions and be the first in their family to attend college.”

Toughest class

“The most challenging class that I have taken has been Spanish 3010 with Professor Matt Borden. This class was challenging because it made me speak more Spanish, but for that reason, this was the class that I have grown the most from. My grade depended on my frequency of speech. I understand this was intended to strengthen my confidence and willingness to speak, make mistakes, and learn from them. I had to put aside my shyness and insecurities, and use what I had. I can confidently say that this class has developed me into a better Spanish speaker, future educator, and person. I learned that we must be willing to make mistakes in order to learn from them.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I will be starting a mentorship program in a Carthage alumna’s Spanish class at a local elementary school.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“As mentioned above, I went to Spain during the J-Term of my freshman year. I lived with a host family in Madrid, attended Spanish classes at a local language academy in Madrid, and visited the neighboring cities of Segovia and Toledo.”

Scholarships

“I received the Multicultural Scholarship — the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Leadership (DEIL) Fellows Program Scholarship — and the Founders Scholarship. Receiving these scholarships has meant a lot to me as a future educator because others have invested in me, and I want to do the same and invest in kids’ futures one day.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite Carthage moments and memories are the little things. Spending time with my friends, spending time near the lake, and being able to study something I am passionate about is a blessing.”

Favorite spot on campus

“When it’s nice outside, I like sitting near the lake on the tables by the David A. Straz Jr. Center — perhaps with some Starbucks.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise so far has been changing my field of study from secondary education to elementary education. I always thought I wanted to teach high school Spanish, but I had a sudden change of heart. I was too worried about how much money I would make and what others thought of me, when I should have been concerned with where I would be the happiest. Best decision ever!”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would be proud of me and a little surprised. I have grown a lot since I was was 8 years old. I used to be very shy, not one to raise my hand, and placed so much value on what others thought of me. Now, I am studying something I love, and I have decided to dedicate my life to furthering the development of children and leading them to be confident in themselves and discover their passions, just like I have done myself.”

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

“Don’t be afraid to change things up. Take risks. Be humble in the learning process. Don’t take classes, assignments, and learning opportunities for granted. Spend as much time as you can with kids — they are our teachers.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because the small class sizes provided me opportunities to build relationships with my professors and have a voice in the classroom, which has allowed me to grow as a leader, student, and person.”