Jenna Zeihen

Class Year

’23

Hometown

Kenosha, Wis.

Major(s)

Communications

Minor(s)

Women and Gender Studies

“I think my 8-year-old self would think this makes perfect sense. I always had a desire to connect with people, share stories, make art, and help others. I know my studies bring me those things every day!”

Jenna Zeihen, ’23

Career goal

“After graduation, I hope to find a way to connect my creativity, and love for storytelling and performance, to my passion for social justice, advocacy, and activism. I don’t know where my path will lead me but that is the best part!”

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

“Carthage faculty have impacted my life in a huge way. I suffer from multiple chronic and rare conditions, and the empathy and support of my professors on a personal level have kept me succeeding in school despite the rollercoaster of my life.”

Favorite class

“I don’t know if I could choose one, but I’d have to say either Creative Writing with Lewis Freedman who was a visiting writer in residence at the time, or Women and Gender Theory with Professor Ellen Hauser. In creative writing, Mr. Freedman allowed us all creative freedom, and we all became very vulnerable sharing our art, thoughts, and poems with the class. It was moving and felt truly genuine. In Women and Gender Theory, my eyes were opened to many different perspectives, and the class itself, despite being virtual, discussed in-depth topics that have helped me to be a better human being.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class would have to be Sustainable Agriculture. Professor Tracy Gartner is one of my favorite professors ever. I took a class with her for credits outside of my major with very little environmental science knowledge, and she exceeded my expectations. The reason I say this was the toughest class is that the class was so intelligent, and the research was so important to the course that I had really high expectations for myself in the class. Prof. Gartner is truly amazing.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I worked for Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin farm in social media management for 2 years, which was one of the most special and educational experiences I’ve had. I love social media and the way it connects people and brands! I also started my own digital illustration business where I create commissioned portraits for people. It’s been so much fun!”

Opportunities at Carthage

“It has been difficult to be involved in campus with my health restrictions as of late, but I have been a fierce advocate for the disabled and chronically ill communities. I also perform regularly at the Racine Theatre Guild, most recently playing Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.”

Scholarships

“I was so blessed to receive the Presidential Scholarship Award, as well as awards from Carthage for placing first runner up in Miss Kenosha. As a scared high school senior, I had no idea where I would end up. Receiving the scholarships I did from Carthage completely changed my life as a first-generation college student. I took a gap year before college, I have been diagnosed with several health conditions, and was totally not the blueprint college student. Being able to receive these scholarship awards gave me wings. I am forever grateful to Carthage for the opportunity to succeed here against the odds.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite memories have to be meeting my boyfriend here on campus and being able to return to Carthage in person this May after a year of remote learning and a semester of medical leave. I never thought I would be here, and I don’t take a single moment of this life for granted.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot has to be either the chairs on the patio by Lentz Hall, Starbucks (of course), or just walking through Campus Drive and seeing the flowers and the sun on the lake!”

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise was definitely being able to return to Carthage and work hard enough to reach my senior year. My health journey and life outside of school is a full-time job on its own and I am so surprised but excited for what’s to come!”

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

“I think my 8-year-old self would think this makes perfect sense. I always had a desire to connect with people, share stories, make art, and help others. I know my studies bring me those things every day!”

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

Women and gender studies has helped to frame the way I see the world, guided my choices through empathy and listening, and given me a better understanding of the world we live in.”

Why Carthage?

“I have lived close to Carthage all my life, and yet never knew how wonderful the campus and school were until I attended a scholarship competition. I just had a gut feeling that this was the right place for me to be!”