Michael Motyka

Class Year



River Grove, Illinois





“I was able to perform my own intervention for my senior thesis as well as give a presentation on my results. I also participated in behavioral research on rats, cancer research in zebrafish, and bacteriophage research.”

Michael Motyka, ’21

Career goal

“After I graduate from Carthage, I plan to go to graduate school to become a sports psychologist. I want to be able to work with collegiate or professional athletes who may struggle with certain challenges to help them compete at their highest potential.”

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

“One of my favorite professors at Carthage is Professor Emerita Ingrid Tiegel. The first course I had with her was Child Adolescent and Development, which is a psychology course. I loved having class with her because she is probably one of the most intelligent professors I’ve had. She has a ton of experience in her field and has graduated from the top universities in the nation, so I wanted to learn everything she had to say. She always wanted the best for her students and always wanted them to thrive in the field, just like she did!”

Favorite class

“I think my favorite class was my Rat Lab. This was a neuroscience class, in which we did studies on live rats! If you ask any neuroscience major, they will probably agree because not only was the professor amazing, but just the hands-on experience you get with live rats was awesome!”

Campus involvement

“I’m a member of the men’s volleyball team, head student ambassador, an athletic event staff member, a First in the Family mentor, and a peer coach. I am also involved in the National Residence Hall Honorary, Alpha Phi Omega (National Service Fraternity), Psi Chi (International Psychology Honor Society), and Beta Beta Beta ( Biology Honor Society).”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I had one internship that I did for my senior thesis class. I worked at Open Wings Learning Facility, which is a school for children and adolescents with mental disorders. I was a teacher’s assistant for one of the classrooms, so I helped teach and facilitate classroom activities.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I was able to perform my own intervention for my senior thesis as well as give a presentation on my results. I also participated in behavioral research on rats, cancer research in zebrafish, and bacteriophage research.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Some of my favorite moments are of my volleyball games. Being on one of the most competitive teams in the country brings a lot of fans to our games, so it’s really fun to be able to play in an arena where hundreds of fans come out to support us.

Homecoming is also one of my favorite events of the year. There are so many activities during Homecoming week leading up to the football game. It’s really fun to see everyone involved.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the study area by the lakeside of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center. Being able to do homework or study for a few hours while looking at the lake is so rewarding. It gives me so much motivation to get my work done. Also, it’s really nice to do my work right by my professors’ offices because if I have any questions or just want to talk, I am able to pop my head in.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise so far is how much I’m able to accomplish while being a student-athlete. I thought I would never have any time to be involved or get to know other people because I would have trouble balancing academics and athletics. But, at Carthage, I’m able to be a student-athlete and get involved in a ton of extracurriculars to keep me involved and successful.”

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

“I always wanted to be helpful. My career goal when I was young was to be a veterinarian, but that changed. I think my 8-year-old self would still be proud of everything that I’ve done and succeeded in. I’m still working hard to reach my goal of helping people.”

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

“Keep an open mind. You may like some things about being a psychology major and may not like others, but from my experience, every student finds their passion within the department and succeeds in it.

“Also, go out and do something different. Meet new people and go have fun because your time at college is going to be done before you know it!”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because of all the opportunities and the feel of the community. At Carthage, no matter what you’re involved in, you are getting the best resources and support to become successful in the future. The College has athletic facilities, research labs, and even a Music Theatre program. It’s also really nice to have a communal feel to campus because it allows you to grow long-lasting relationships with your peers and professors. This gives everyone an environment to thrive academically and socially in their college career.”