Nick Tackes

Class Year



Rockford, Ill.


Great Ideas, Religion

Nick Tackes likes to ask and answer tough questions. So studying both religion and Great Ideas has been a perfect fit for him. “I don’t think many departments allow students to reach within themselves for tough answers to the degree that the Religion Department and Great Ideas Program do,” Nick said.

He knew he wanted to study at Carthage after attending a Capture Carthage event. “After I spoke with faculty, I knew that Carthage lined up with what I wanted in a college experience.” 

Now that he is a senior, Nick said he’s received support from Carthage faculty in many ways. Just one example: He’s currently doing a one-on-one Hindi language study with Prof. James Lochtefeld. He is also applying for the Fulbright Scholar program. “The support I’ve received through my Fulbright application advisors has given me the skills and confidence to reach my career goal,” he said.

Both the Religion Department and Great Ideas Program offer Nick a community of learners, he said. “I have faculty and peers who care about me, as well as about what I study. They form a community that inspires me to go above and beyond what happens in class, and they really allow me to make the most of my time at Carthage.”

He has also studied abroad twice. A few summers ago, he spent a month in China researching the ways that Chinese and Western medicine are perceived. Last January Term, he traveled to India for a study tour. “The vibrant colors, the constant hum of music, the chappatis and dal, and the crazy driving changed my life in fantastic ways that I’ll never forget,” he said.

“Every day something happens that offers me insight into how I fit into the world.”

Nick Tackes, ’13

Career goal

“I plan to teach Indian religious culture at the college level.”

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

“That isn’t a fair question — there are so many favorites! Prof. Lochtefeld had the biggest impact on my freshman experience, as did Rick Meier and the entire Great Ideas faculty.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class has been Advanced Writing in Poetry with Rick Meier. To use his own words, ‘the studio approach’ of his course really made it an amazing time for me.”

Campus involvement

“In the spring of my freshman year, I founded Meditation Club. I served as president for three years, and I passed the role to Sam Heyne this last year. It has grown so much! I also served as the president of Tau Delta Psi last year. I work as a writing tutor in the Writing Center.”

Toughest class

“I took a course on Nietzsche’s philosophy with Prof. Kirkland in the spring of 2011. No other class has kept me on the edge of my seat for three straight hours in the way that his course did.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Every time I sit among my peers in the Great Ideas Program, I engage in a conversation that becomes another favorite moment in my Carthage experience.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The meditation chapels. If I ever need to sit, relax and unwind, I sit for a while under the glow of the lights.”

Biggest surprise so far

“Carthage constantly surprises me by how much it teaches me about myself. Every day something happens — a comment in class, a lunchtime conversation, a Hannibal Lecture — that offers me insight into how I fit into the world.”

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

“Bring a good attitude to class. You will learn so much if you allow yourself to get excited about coursework, especially with the faculty we have here at Carthage.”