Elizabeth Wagner

Class Year



Villa Park, Ill.


Great Ideas, Political Science


Art History

Elizabeth Wagner originally thought she’d major in psychology at Carthage, but after taking a class in political science theory, she decided that studying political science was the best way to explore her fascination with human interactions. She found Carthage’s Great Ideas program through a series of serendipitous events.

“The classes in Great Ideas took me one step further into a more abstract realm that made it difficult to get mental satisfaction out of courses with solid answers and subject matter,” she said.

The Great Ideas program leaves her wanting to explore the subject matter further, she said. Her professors encourage her and the other students to think about class topics outside of the classroom. Elizabeth believes that they have a way of encourages intellectual contemplation amongst their students.

At Carthage, Elizabeth is the vice-president of Carthage Democrats, and in 2010 she traveled to Argentina during J-Term.

“Discussing other governments and ways of life is one thing, but to be able to see them first hand and talk with the members of those communities is another,” Elizabeth said. “I sadly contracted the travel bug from this trip, a disease I cannot cure on a college student’s budget.”

“Discussing other governments and ways of life is one thing, but to be able to see them first hand and talk with the members of those communities is another.”

Elizabeth Wagner, ’12

Career goal

“Honestly, I’ve always had a dream of owning a coffee shop or bar, or perhaps some combination of the two. It sounds odd, but they are becoming a location for ideas and discussion, along with bringing people together socially. If there’s anything I can believe that is useful to society, it’s a greater encouragement of community. If I could supply a place for this to occur, I will feel as though I’ve succeeded.”

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

Dr. Ali has been one of my favorite professors so far. I honestly get nervous going to her class unsure if I have prepared enough, and consistently leave feeling motivated to revisit what was discussed in class to fully understand. She is truly an inspirational individual.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class thus far would have to be Introduction to Political Theory with Prof. Kirkland. It was truly a pivotal class in my life, for it was what motivated me to switch to studying political science and, specifically, theory.”

Toughest class

“My geography lab class was my toughest class. I am horrific with details. It’s perhaps my biggest mental flaw to constantly forget names and dates. I was always able to describe what was happening geographically, but I struggled to be able to name it.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The wooded area by the stream has always been one of my favorite spots. On nice days I can think of few things more enjoyable then sitting out there and reading or even just relaxing.”

Biggest surprise so far

“How truly OK I am with being horrifically in debt.”

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

“Be prepared to explain to most people you meet what precisely a Great Ideas major is, and also be prepared to realize how extremely difficult it is to actually do so, for, much like what you study, it’s a bit ambiguous in its subject matter.”