Kathleen Cochran ?21

Kathleen Cochran

Class Year



Rochester, Illinois


Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Geoscience


Data Science

“One of my favorite courses was the Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) class I completed with Professor Matthew Zorn. We got to fly drones around campus capturing videos and pictures to use for data analysis.”

Kathleen Cochran, ’21

Career goal

“Following my graduation, I hope to either find a job using geographic information science (GIS) and my geoscience knowledge to solve environmental issues or go to graduate school to get my master’s degree in a geoscience related field.”

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

“Each and every single member of the Geoscience Department has helped push me in the right direction for my future career. I am able to rely on them for a lot, such as helping me with my coursework, research, plans for the future, and more. Without them, I know for a fact that I would not have had such a successful college experience.”

Favorite class

“If I had to pick a top three favorite classes, I would definitely say my study abroad class in Nicaragua is one of them because of the uniqueness of the course as well as its relevance to what I want to do in my future career. Another one of my favorite courses was the Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) class I completed with Professor Matthew Zorn. We got to fly drones around campus capturing videos and pictures to use for data analysis. Another one of my favorite classes was the Aquatic Ecology and Hydrology symposium I took my sophomore year. As a class, we went on several field trips in the Kenosha and Milwaukee area to analyze various ecology- and hydrology-related things. We put waiters on and stood in several rivers to collect samples of aquatic life, spent the afternoon on a research boat in Milwaukee, and more.”

Campus involvement

“One of my favorite extracurricular activities is my role on the women’s soccer team. Joining this team was one of the best decisions I made as it helped me find some of my best friends. From an academic standpoint, I am involved in quite a few clubs at Carthage, including Alpha Lambda Delta, National Society of Leadership and Success, Carthage Untied to Rescue Earth, and more. I am also the president of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the Geography Honors Society.”

Toughest class

“The toughest class I have taken was Computer Science I and II. I took the two classes my freshman year with very little background in the subject, so it was defiantly a challenge. Once I made it through those courses, I was convinced I would never do anything coding- or data science-related again. I guess I was wrong as I now have a minor in data science.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I completed an internship with Northwater Consulting, a small environmental firm based out of Springfield, Ill. At Northwater, I used Esri’s GIS software to develop maps for various environmental tasks, including watershed digitizing, pollutant monitoring, etc. I also had the privilege of being a Geoscience Department fellow this past semester, in which I tutored the GIS introductory class at Carthage.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“In Jan. 2020, I was lucky enough to take part in the Nicaragua J-term trip. This experience was life changing for many reasons. Not only did I get to hike to the top of an active volcano, but I got to meet people and experience Nicaraguan culture first hand while also solving clean water issues on the island of Ometepe. This unique opportunity is something I truly don’t believe I would’ve gotten to experience at another school, and I am so thankful to have had this chance.

“Another important opportunity I have had at Carthage was being able to work on the development of a GPS-enabled mobile app. A few of my peers and I were able to design and develop a mobile app in our Applied Projects class for GIS that takes users on a virtual nature tour of campus. With the help of Professor Wenjie Sun and many others, we were able to upload the app to the Google and Apple app stores and present our project at several undergraduate symposiums/forums.”


“I have been a recipient of two geoscience scholarships: the Edith J. and William H. Bullamore Geoscience Scholarship and the R. William Miller Scholarship.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Carthage has brought me endless memories and fun times. One of my favorite memories here was during my freshman year when our soccer team had an away game at Kalamazoo. In the middle of the game, a tornado warning was issued, and we all had to go into the locker room to wait the storm out. During the break, our entire team had a dance party to try and stay energized for when we went back out to play. It worked, and we ended up winning the game!

“Another one of my favorite memories was climbing on all fours up the side of an active volcano while on my J-term trip to Nicaragua. It was one of the most challenging hikes I’ve been on, but there is nothing that can compare to that feeling of being on the top and looking out to see the the entire island of Ometepe below. I will hold that memory with me forever.”

Favorite spot on campus

“There are a lot of beautiful places on campus, but I think my favorite place is the tree area along the lake behind The Oaks Residential Village. When it is nice outside, my friends and I like to hang our hammocks up on the trees and relax while listening to the waves of Lake Michigan.

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise has been the people. I have met so many amazing, hilarious, kind-hearted people at this school who have had such an unexpected but positive impact on my life. I am so thankful for everyone that has come into my life in the last few years, and I have Carthage to thank for that.”

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

“I am sure that younger me would be thrilled to know that I have found and dedicated myself to a field that I am passionate about. I have always had a love for science and geography since I was young, so I’m sure that she’d be proud to know that I have found a way to merge my two favorite subjects into a super cool career path.”

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

“GIS is defiantly one of the lesser known majors at Carthage, but it is one of the best. GIS is being used in all sorts of fields for a variety of analytic tasks. It is used in marketing, environmental science, business, geoscience, and more. This field can take you in so many directions, which is why I think more students should consider the major. On top of this, the geoscience faculty is amazing. They are all supportive, understanding, and very helpful both in the classroom and when planning for life after college.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest being the small class sizes and small campus. I didn’t want to be just a number like some students are at larger schools. I wanted to be able to have relationships with my professors and ask them for anything I needed help with. I also liked the more hands-on learning that the small class sizes provided. Another big reason I chose Carthage was because of the many study abroad opportunities the school provided. Not only did I chose Carthage for these academic reasons, but I also chose Carthage so that while I was further developing my education, I could continue to play the sport I love, soccer.”