Noah Cortez ?21

Noah Cortez

Class Year

’21

Hometown

Kenosha, Wisconsin

Major(s)

Marketing, Geographic Information Science

“I will never forget my time presenting my thesis in front of all of my peers and friends. It was such an intense and pressure-packed experience, but even still it was one of the most memorable and joyous experiences I have ever been a part of.”

Noah Cortez, ’21

Career goal

“I would like to start my career off by working in marketing and consumer analytics. My focus is to build up my skills in data science and coding while I explore automation across different processes in business. I also want to transition to creating and directing advertising and media. I also hope to work in the real estate, resort, and golf industries. I hope to ultimately become an entrepreneur and CEO of my own company. I would like to create a consulting company that assists medium- and smaller-sized businesses in using data and geographic information science (GIS) tools to improve their business operations efficiency and target their consumer base. These smaller businesses do not have the money and resources to afford GIS software and staffing compared to larger organizations. Every business, no matter the level of operation, has specific customer bases that are limited to specific locations and demographics. I want all types of businesses to benefit from these tools because they can create stronger organizations.

“With these stepping stones throughout my career, I hope to achieve the following aspirations: I am dedicated to establishing a scholarship and education institution. Specifically, I would like to focus my scholarships on Latinos and providing opportunities to the STEM, business, and medical fields. I hope to host these scholarships across a wide area, even nationally. My goal is to provide experiences and opportunities in critically demanding fields for people of my heritage.”

“I would like to lead future discussion and policy on big data and data science. Specifically, I want to trailblaze and become a thought leader about ethics with data collection and personal and private information. My senior thesis was strongly centered around data science, social media, and the information of the internet. New tools, algorithms, and processes are bring created that would need more detailed information to create more valuable and useful data in business.”

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

“I would not be here without the friendships I created with Carthage faculty members. Many of the professors I have studied under and the faculty I have interacted with piqued my curiosity in a variety of subjects, both professionally and personally. As a naturally curious individual, I enjoy bouncing thoughts and ideas around with others and that is exactly what started many of my great relationships through Carthage. I gained wonderful friendships with many faculty members, and I plan on maintaining these same friendships after graduation.

“Director of Admissions Greg Huss was the first staff member that I became friends with, and he took a chance on me that allowed me to attend this great school. Since then, I have offered all I can to every faculty and staff member I meet. Many Carthage faculty and staff members helped me land internships, gain access to resources, or connected me with other key individuals. These same people are just as open and willing to offer their guidance in many other aspects of life, work, and education, not just their studies. Their advice has become some of the most valuable information I learned from this institution. I truly cherish these relationships, and I will never forget what all these individuals have done for me.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage was Applied Projects in GIS. During this class, I completed two projects. My first project was an analysis of American Family Insurance. My project partner and I were assigned the task to use GIS to help improve an aspect of or provide something useful to the business. We decided to use GIS and Tapestry data to identify their top customer profiles. From here, we looked at where they do and don’t operate to identify potential new domestic markets as well as markets missed within their current customer base. We created a report and presentation to deliver our findings.

“My second project was for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA). This had the same prompt as the previous assignments. With this assignment, my partner and I decided to study and understand the company to know what would be useful for them. We concluded that creating an interactive and educational web app comparing the differences of five years across all different types of industries in Kenosha County would be the best option. After completing these maps and web apps, we presented our report to the Vice President of KABA. This was one of the greatest experiences of my time here at Carthage.”

Campus involvement

“I am very involved across campus life, despite being a commuter. Since my freshman year, I have played on the men’s golf team. I have been playing golf since I was four years old, and I am very grateful to continue the sport I love at the college level. I’ve had so many fond memories on the golf team — with competing in tournaments, achieving personal bests, practicing with my friends, and traveling to Arizona for spring break. Playing for this team and having access to all the facilities and tools has been so amazing.

“I am also a member of the co-ed social fraternity, Tau Sigma Chi. I joined this organization at the end of my sophomore year. When I first left for college I would have never guessed that I would join Greek life. Now that I have, it has been one of the most fun and meaningful things I have ever done. I have met some lifelong friends in this organization and learned so much about what makes me, me. I feel proud to be part of an organization that works to improve its community, speaks out for what it stands for, and embraces collaboration and brotherhood.

“The last organization that I am a part of is Carthage’s Latinx club, Mi Gente. I have been a part of this club since my first semester of my sophomore year. This club has had one of the biggest impacts on me personally as a proud Latino-American myself. I met my best friend here along with some of the greatest friends I have had the pleasure of knowing. When I first came to Carthage, I felt very out of place. I knew very few people, and I also did not find many other students who were Latino like myself. This organization allowed me to connect to people I could personally relate to and share my experiences with. In order for Carthage to progress its standards and community, I hope to see this organization continue to grow and flourish for years to come.”

Toughest class

“My most challenging class was Business Policies Senior Seminar with Professor Greg Barron, which I’m sure many seniors would agree with. Even though this was my toughest class, it does not mean I disliked it; this was definitely one of my favorites. This class demanded a work ethic, workload, and quality of work that I never had to produce before. High personal accountability, adaptable thinking, and organization were an absolute necessity to complete this course. On top of it being a demanding class, I was completing this class during a full semester of online schooling during the COVID-19 quarantine. Trying to navigate a very unpredictable year and a constantly shifting semester amongst a double major thesis was a very stressful time. However, despite all of that, I was able to manage my stress well and my time to complete my projects and make sure my semester was still intact to graduate. In the end, I was ecstatic that things worked out.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“My first internship related to my major was my research internship at Jones Lang LaSalle in Milwaukee. While I was there, I performed a variety of tasks in data analytics and GIS. I would gather, manipulate, verify, and visualize data in many different situations for the brokers at the Milwaukee office. I created maps, pamphlets, 3D renderings, flyers, and other items. I curated and distributed the Milwaukee office weekly newsletter to its mailing list. I updated and corrected JLL’s personal property database across Wisconsin (1000+ properties). My favorite part of this internship was collaborating alongside fellow interns from across the country to pitch a subject to the Midwest board of directors and the Chicago department. The subject was for us as a team to come up with one aspect we would improve across JLL, based on our experience there. This was a fantastic and valuable experience.

“My second internship related to my majors was a golf operations and marketing internship at Sand Valley Golf Resort. I got to learn the ins and outs of the resort and how to manage all the traffic and workers that flow through. I also got to work with the marketing director at Sand Valley, where I sat in on conference calls, produced banners and media, and learned about photography and drones to help market the site. I also produced Excel payroll schedules and worksheets to organize the staff and shifts. The meat of my work conducted here was through my own independent study. While employed here, I came to an agreement with both my boss and his boss, that I would be using my time at Sand Valley to produce GIS web apps to assist in employee task management and guest relations. I created these apps, collected my own data, conducted research, reported my findings, and generated maps and visualizations to help Sand Valley improve their overall efficiency as a resort. Both of my bosses consented to let me use this information for my Senior Thesis Project.”

Scholarships

“I was one of the recipients of the 2017 Kenosha Oaks Scholarship, and honestly, it has meant so much to me that I can’t put a value on it. This helped me pay my tuition, but more than anything, this scholarship has sent me on a trajectory that I otherwise would have no access to. Receiving a scholarship from Carthage enabled me to attend a school with a top-notch Business Department, and I later learned it was one of the few schools nationwide that taught GIS as a major. The scholarship did not just provide me with unmatched opportunities, it changed my world for the better.” 

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My first homecoming parade was one of my favorite memories. It was so fun to see all the different organizations and students gathered together to celebrate all the different things we are and have to offer.

“I will never forget my time presenting my thesis in front of all of my colleagues and friends. It was such an intense and pressure-packed experience, but even still it was one of the most memorable and joyous experiences I have ever been a part of.”

Favorite spot on campus

“Definitely the Tower Residence Hall basement. It is a great space to chill with friends and to get work done.”

Biggest surprise so far

“Definitely COVID-19 — times have been incredibly hard on so many people all across the world. Our social, political, and economical climates across the world haven’t been in this drastic of a situation for several decades. However, despite everything that has been difficult, this surprise has not been all bad. I would have never thought that I would be completing my degree online and on time despite everything. This time also allowed me to decide what topic I wanted to do my senior thesis on and find the opportunities to let me complete a piece of work that I am truly proud of. These times have allowed for all people, including college students to learn from so many different perspectives and to rethink how our world works.”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would be very surprised to see where I currently am. He probably would be very confused about why I decided to attend college and the majors I chose. He would probably be more upset that I did not end up becoming a professional golfer. But I think with how curious I was back then, I would be intrigued by what I chose to study. My studies now satisfy my nature of curiosity and discovery. So I’m sure he might think it is cool.”

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

“Students should consider marketing to better understand the core of creation, communication, negotiation, persuasion, and value. I believe that marketing is applicable to many aspects of our lives. Many have heard that sales are in everything, so studying marketing allows you to breakdown and understand your decisions, exchanges, conversations, and value. Through my own personal experience, I learned what it means to understand an audience, capture and command attention, identify need and value, and packaging these components for delivery. Understanding the need to stay informed, up-to-date, along with other habits of organizing, prioritizing, managing, and probing, allowed me to identify how I would implement my personal agenda when I conduct business. While studying marketing, I was not expecting how much I would learn about the network of threads that intertwine all of the business world. This knowledge and awareness pushed me to learn more about the other aspects of the business so that I may play my role better for my team. For anyone entering marketing, studying this major will allow you to improve the way you live and act, throughout your career. Marketing is in everything.

Students should consider geographic information science as a tool to assist in understanding, gathering, managing, and analyzing. These skills and tools allow for powerful, fluid data visuals, and applied decision making with basic data analytics. As you study GIS, you will receive first-hand experience in how to gather and manipulate data, build maps and web apps, conduct analysis, and deliver a product. GIS has improved, expanded, and increased in demand since the turn of the 21st century; it is strongly centered in the environmental and public sector and can address global issues. With the power of big data and digital technologies increasing and expanding in business, GIS is proving to be more vital in impacting all types of decisions across many types of businesses. In the current digital age run by information, knowing how to process and convey highly complex data for different audiences and issues is invaluable. For anyone interested in GIS, I would encourage you to find issues or problems within an environment that you are passionate about. These tools can truly be applied in any context, the only limit is your imagination. During my time studying GIS at Carthage, I tried to push myself to use GIS within my personal passions and interests. I applied these skills in internships, personal ventures, and interests. I understood that thinking spatially and remaining curious about analyzing details, can reveal powerful information that will assist organizations to improve and maintain their highest level of performance. GIS will be pushing the future in location intelligence and spatial reasoning.”

Why Carthage?

“When I attended elementary school, I was fascinated by Carthage College when I first saw the campus. Back then, I had no idea I would end up graduating from that same place. In my senior year of high school, I was fortunate to participate in Carthage’s Kenosha Oaks Scholarships. After I participated, I was not selected as one of the recipients and instead planned on attending another college. However, in a sudden turn of events, the week of my graduation, I ran into Greg Huss and his son at a golf tournament. When I least expected it, Greg awarded me the scholarship on Carthage’s behalf. Surprisingly, I was able to attend the college that had mesmerized me all those years ago. After I made my choice, I did not look back, and now I am truly grateful for it.”