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Education

Student Voices

Caitlin Cook ‘14

Hometown

North Prairie, Wis.

Major(s)

Education

Minor(s)

Spanish

Favorite spot on campus

“When I’m not in class or working, I meander down to the lake. It’s the first place I fell in love with. It’s relaxing, and I’m able to get whatever homework I have done or simply clear my mind and meditate after a long day.” 

Caitlin Cook has always loved learning and wants to be able to share that love with future students. As a double-major in elementary education and special education, she gets to do just that.

“Being a teacher doesn’t end with teaching the curriculum,” she said. “It’s being a trusting and encouraging individual and role model for students who may not have that in their home life. I love having the opportunity to watch a struggling student have their ‘aha!’ moment, and advocating for students’ specific needs to help them succeed.” 

Specifically, Caitlin wants to work in a middle school as a special education teacher, where she will also be able to utilize her Spanish minor. “Eventually, I would like to get my English Language Learners (ELL) certification.” 

Career goal

“I’d like to work in a middle school setting as a special education teacher and be able to utilize my Spanish speaking skills.” 

Favorite professor

“I’ve had exceptional professors throughout my career. I can’t choose just one as my favorite. The energy and excitement my professors have is inspiring! I particularly enjoy the different personalities each one has and the passion they have to see their students grow into professionals as well. Prof. Munk has been one professor who has pushed me to strive. He’s personable, honest, witty, and humorous. The dedication he has to his students is present every day as he gets to know his students and is flexible. I’ve had him for multiple courses including Behavioral Management and Assessment of Exceptional Learners. His assignments and projects are tough but completely applicable. Because of him, I feel more equipped to excel in my future as a special educator. He also gave me an opportunity to conduct research with him, Prof. Moore, and another student from which I learned immensely.” 

Favorite class

“So far my favorite class has been Special Education Methods for Middle School Learners. Because I’m so interested in teaching middle school, the field experience associated with the course was my favorite by far. We mentored students at Washington Middle School during the spring semester, giving assessments and deciding which sorts of interventions to implement to help the student progress academically or behaviorally. I liked the challenge it presented and the relationship that developed between my student and me. I really got to know him, and it was rewarding to see how much he grew over our time together with my help. This field experience reaffirmed my choice to become a teacher.” 

Toughest class

“Social Studies Methods was one of my toughest, yet most beneficial, courses.” 

Opportunities at Carthage

“Carthage has allowed me to be a part of multiple organizations that deal with my interests. In addition, the education program allows students to partake in many field experiences including observations, teaching whole-class, and one-on-one mentoring type programs. I’ve learned a lot being able to experience different settings and levels of learners, from second grade to middle school. Working closely with Prof. Marilyn Ward, we planned a conference this past spring titled ‘Through the e-Looking Glass: Children’s Literature in the Digital Age.’ The process of coordinating speakers and logistics to make the conference a success was hard work but definitely rewarding. As a professional, I strive to look for opportunities to grow, and planning and attending this conference was a fantastic opportunity. I’ve also worked with Profs. Munk and Moore to conduct research regarding the benefits of outdoor/green education. Hannah Keller ‘14 and I were able to then turn our research into a poster for the Celebration of Scholars. Overall, I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve received to learn new things that will be valuable in my future career.” 

Campus involvement

“I’m the vice president of ADAPT, an organization on campus that advocates for people with disabilities on campus and in the community. We put on the Special Olympics basketball game in the spring and have done so successfully for the past two years. We also volunteer at the Arc of Kenosha helping for game nights, dances, etc. for adults with disabilities. I’m also a part of Alpha Mu Gamma, the foreign language fraternity, and I’m a part of SWEA (Student WEA).”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“Last spring, Hannah Keller and I headed the Center for Children’s Literature committee for SWEA. We planned and organized the Seuss-a-thon in the library, a day dedicated to celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday by participating in art activities, games, eating green eggs and ham, and listening to Dr. Seuss stories. After months of preparation and planning, it was fantastic to see the turnout. It made me see how much of a community Carthage is in itself, but also the impact it has on the surrounding community. Hannah and I both felt proud and accomplished to be able to make such a big, well-known event a success.” 

Biggest surprise so far?

“I never thought I’d go on a J-Term trip, ever! I always told myself I couldn’t because it would be too expensive. However, when I found out Prof. Borden was taking a trip to Puerto Rico, I asked myself ‘Why not? When else will you be able to do this?’ I was able to utilize my Spanish-speaking skills and met many new people as I conversed with locals and obtained a sense of the culture of Puerto Rico beyond the tourist-type attractions and activities.” 

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

“As an 8-year-old, I knew I wanted to teach. My ambition to become a teacher has matured and developed since then. My 8-year-old self would most likely remark, ‘See, you knew it all along! This is what you’re meant to be doing!’” 

Advice for other students considering your major

“Teaching is not a profession to get into simply because you love children. Education is much more than that. For me, I am fascinated by the different ways students learn, and I love to see a child have success in the classroom. You have to be patient and eager to strive professionally as an educator. You’re always learning new things and technologies that can help you teach your students effectively.” 

Writer

Kasey Dallman ‘14
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • 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 wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 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. 95% 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.

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience 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 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 our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. 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,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. 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 the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, 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 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. 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.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • 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 No. 11 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 …

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