Alexandra Matzinger

Class Year



Lake Zurich, Ill.




Biology, Religion

When Alex Matzinger first came to Carthage, she wanted to be a pharmacist. Then she took one class with geography professor Julio Rivera. She had been placed in Human Geography for fall semester of her freshman year. “I ended up loving the class — and the field of geography,” she said.

Now Alex is majoring in geography and minoring in biology and religion. She wants to become a medical geographer, examining the geographical aspects of health and health care on the national and international levels. “Studying geography allows me to incorporate my passion for serving people along with my interest in the sciences,” she said. “I would like to work with either health agencies or humanitarian organizations to aid in an increase in medical efficiency, effectiveness and equity.”

Alex credits Prof. Rivera with guiding her toward the right career path, but “all of the geography professors have a deep passion for both their field of geography and for helping their students succeed,” she said.

“I feel incredibly blessed by the opportunities I have had at Carthage,” she said. “I have had the privilege of doing fieldwork for Professor Joy Mast in New Mexico the summer after my freshman year, and then lab work for her back at Carthage. This internship provided me with the opportunity to learn different aspects of physical geography firsthand.” She added that J-Term trips provide additional hands-on learning experiences.

But the department offers just as much experience inside the classroom as out: “The small class sizes allow for the opportunity to personally interact with both my peers and my professors, thus allowing me to gain more knowledge and connections.”

“Studying geography allows me to incorporate my passion for serving people along with my interest in the sciences.”

Alexandra Matzinger, ’11

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

“Professor Julio Rivera. He has been very influential in my life and my decision to pursue a career in geography.”

Favorite class

“Human Geography.”

Toughest class

“GIS (Geographical Information Systems).”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Some of my favorite moments at Carthage have been while working in the geography department and building friendships with my professors. My most memorable moments, however, have been the times I have spent with my close friends at Carthage laughing, crying and growing through all of life’s many experiences.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The meditation chapel across from Lentz Hall.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The change in direction my life has taken from originally pursuing a career in pharmacy, to now pursuing a career in geography,” she said. “I have also been surprised and blessed by the friends I have made who have helped me enhance my spiritual life and deepen my personal relationship with God.”