Samuel Croak ?22

Samuel Croak

Class Year

’22

Hometown

Crete, Illinois

Major(s)

Political Science and Economics

“I have formed many cordial relationships with professors both inside and outside my two departments of study. Moreover, I always feel like I can have a friendly and honest conversation with any professor I meet. The campus itself provides many opportunities to meet with faculty, both inside and outside of class.”

Samuel Croak, ’22

Career goal

“I plan on going to law school to study corporate/business law. I hope to someday become a legal advisor to a business within a field I may become drawn to once I begin my legal studies.”

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

“I have formed many cordial relationships with professors both inside and outside my two departments of study. Moreover, I always feel like I can have a friendly and honest conversation with any professor I meet. The campus itself provides many opportunities to meet with faculty, both inside and outside of class.

“One professor that has been particularly helpful in advancing my studies and with whom I have continued to collaborate on many different projects is Professor Brent McClintock of the Economics Department. Thanks to him, I have been able to carve out that aforementioned niche by meaningfully combining my two areas of study in such a way that I am in a much better position to write a senior thesis for both my political science major and economics major, and to enter law school.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class to date is Constitutional Law I with Professor Thomas Powers. It was the first law class I ever took, and it was there that I found out just how suited I was to become a lawyer. Not only was I introduced to the process of reading and deciphering case law and court opinions, but I was also introduced to certain legal doctrines that continue to interest me to this day. One such example would be the Interstate Commerce Clause, which would become the basis for future research I have conducted with Prof. McClintock and which I plan to include an analysis of within the drafting of my senior theses.”

Campus involvement

“I am currently involved with the Carthage Mock Trial Team. I was planning on joining the team for at least a year at some point during my time at Carthage to experience what it has to offer, boost my academic credentials, and better myself as a student and public speaker. I’m hoping I can become a valuable and integral team member so that we may be able to make it to the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Opening Round Championship Series.

“I was also a part of the Carthage Pep Band during my freshman and sophomore year. As someone who has developed a deep appreciation for music, it has been cathartic being able to pursue it as a fun hobby rather than a profession while being compensated for the time I put into it. I plan to rejoin the Pep Band for my senior year.

“Lastly, I have been involved in a number of different academic organizations, such as Alpha Lamda Delta, the National Society for Leadership (NSLS), and most notably the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Club. The latter has been a great resource for becoming more integrated with the Pre-Law program here at Carthage, and I hope to become more involved in the future.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class so far is Introduction to Comparative Politics with Professor Jeffery Roberg. Not only did the class require extensive reading and class participation (both in discussion and student presentations), but it also required me to write every week on a discussion board about an item in the news that related to the field of comparative politics. As someone who did not actively keep up with the news until that point and who had just a cursory knowledge about political science (as I was just a freshman at the time), writing authoritatively on such subjects proved challenging for a person with perfectionist tendencies like myself.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have collaborated with Prof. McClintock as an Economics Fellow on multiple different occasions. I even did a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) project with him entitled ‘The Interstate Commerce Clause and the Economic Effects of Racial Discrimination.’ I studied the negative economic effects that racial discrimination, particularly in the denial of African Americans the right to use public accommodations, has had on U.S. society.

“I also researched how Congress’ growing power of the Interstate Commerce Clause allowed it to ban such discrimination in public accommodations in its passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the case of Heart of Atlanta Motel versus the United States. I gave my presentation on my findings in the fall 2020 semester. Overall, I am proud of what I was able to accomplish over that summer, and I hope it will be a useful stepping stone in my future studies and career.”

Scholarships

“I received the Eric Olson & Anna Olson-Thom Scholarship from the Political Science Department. Not only am I happy to receive this scholarship so that I may lessen the financial burden of college, but I also am extremely proud that my academic efforts within that department have been personally recognized by both my professors and the college itself.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the Hedberg Library. In addition to Einstein Bros. Bagels (in the library) being one of my favorite places to eat breakfast/lunch on busy weekends, the study areas provide me with the quiet ambiance and suitable environment I need to focus on huge assignments and extensive readings.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise during my college life so far has been how involved everything is on campus. Even as someone who was a straight-A student in high school, I feel I was unprepared for just how much effort was required for me to maintain that academic standard going into freshman year. However, due to the supportive nature of the faculty at Carthage and the many academic resources available, I was able to meet the challenges set before me and come out the other end as a better student.”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would be pleasantly surprised that my older self was able to derive enjoyment from academic studies while never really losing the things that I was passionate about back then, like playing video games and such. I have added new interests without ever really dropping old ones, and while my current career path may not always seem enticing to the impressionable and easily distracted kid that I probably was, my current self is at least somewhat satisfied with where I ended up.”

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

“Both political science and economics are remarkably interesting fields of study in their own right but, due to the vastness and all-encompassing nature of the fields, one is able to carve out a niche no matter what one’s own personal interests or hobbies are. I, for example, have taken to study topics in the so-called ‘Legal and Economic Nexus,’ where the framework of the U.S. judiciary and the legal decisions it makes are examined through the lens of economics. Economics in particular is, I believe, much more expansive in scope than a prospective student may first assume. Economics has something to say about environmentalism, the actions of political actors (public choice theory), health care systems, and nearly anything else you might think of. It is a great field to gain insight into the root of human nature, albeit as imperfect as any other ideological perspective or worldview.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because I liked the modernized aesthetic of the college itself, the academic prestige the school carries, the prospect of smaller-class sizes allowing for a greater personal connection between me as a student and my professors, the internship possibilities it offered, and because of many other smaller factors that inclined me towards it.”