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  • Mari (Drummer) Grobschmidt '02, a third-grade teacher at The Prairie School in Racine, Wis., was the subject of an alumni profile.
    Carthage College

Mari (Drummer) Grobschmidt ’02

Class Year


Current position

Third-grade teacher, The Prairie School, Racine, Wis.

Mari (Drummer) Grobschmidt has been teaching third grade at The Prairie School in Racine since she graduated from Carthage in 2002.

Her list of reasons to love teaching is extensive, but it all comes down to this: She enjoys learning and she enjoys watching her students learn.

“I love watching students blossom with gifts, talents, personality, creativity, and curiosity,” Mrs. Grobschmidt said. “I love it when students get so excited about learning that they cannot contain themselves. And I love spending every day trying new things and learning from my students. They are the best teachers, you know.”

Mrs. Grobschmidt says her time at Carthage provided her with a network of support, both personally and professionally, and she wants to help provide other future educators with the same opportunities.

“I am excited to have student teachers. I think one important part of being in an education career is to continue to mentor and coach those colleagues who are entering the field, so we all can continue to grow and better educators as a whole,” she said. “I had great professors who assisted me, so I want to be able to assist others.”

Mrs. Grobschmidt believes that it takes strong teachers to make strong teachers. At Carthage, her professor Marilyn Ward helped connect her to The Prairie School. Another education professor, Prisca Moore, helped her discover her love for designing curriculum. Professors David Krause and Jeff Roberg taught her the importance of being herself and critical thinking, she said.

Mrs. Grobschmidt has led her students in several large projects where she had the opportunity to really watch them show off their critical thinking skills. They adopted a beach through the Racine Adopt-a-Beach program for a service-learning project. Originally, the project was to clean up the beach, but then the class noticed a tributary that was feeding into Lake Michigan. With some help from the Department of Natural Resources, they pursued stream testing.

“We not only found some alarming information, but we also received a grant to continue the testing through the summer to get information about oxygen levels, temperature, phosphates, e. coli, macro-invertebrates, turbidity, and Ph,” Mrs. Grobschmidt explained. “Now we are working on an action plan to better the quality of the stream — with help form the community and the DNR — which in turn will better the quality of Lake Michigan. The students also got to name the stream, so now the tributary on all maps is named Prairie Stream.

“These two projects helped me to push what I wanted to study for my action research in grad school simply by watching the excitement and enthusiasm that the students had for the learning in these projects,” she said.

According to Mrs. Grobschmidt, the two most important skills that she learned at Carthage were how to multitask and how to prioritize. All of the opportunities available to students at Carthage make organization a necessity, which has helped her become a stronger teacher.

“Great people can make great change and we need the best of the best to become teachers,” Mrs. Grobschmidt concluded. “I would also say that a single person can be an element of change, and there are many boys and girls out there who need teachers who want to give all they have.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Looking to teach? Count on becoming a familiar face in local schools. Carthage students accumulate 135 hours in local classrooms before their student teaching semester. Make that 450+ for those entering our new urban teacher program.

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $22,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …