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Physics & Astronomy

Student Voices

  • Daisy Bower '16
    Daisy Bower '16
    Carthage College

Daisy Bower ’16

Hometown

Taylor Ridge, Ill.

Major(s)

Physics, Mathematics

Favorite spot on campus

“The best spot on campus is B-2 in Straz. It’s the physics lab/hangout where students can go for help, work on projects, or just hang out and meet new people in a comfortable lounge atmosphere.”

Daisy Bower came to Carthage because she wanted to work with NASA through Carthage’s Microgravity Team. Now a member of the team, she has spent two summers working with NASA engineers on experiments crucial to long-term NASA goals. She will travel to Houston with the Carthage Microgravity Team again during the summer of 2014.

“I never would have thought in a million years I would get to work in conjunction with NASA,” Daisy said. “This has really given me a lot of confidence in myself, and in what I  can accomplish in this field if I decide to go for my long-term goals.”

Daisy has known since the third grade that she wants to be an engineer, but she is pursuing a physics degree so that she truly understands how the world works.

“I know I am in the right field because I enjoy going to class every morning, and I can confidently say I walk away having learned something new every day and wanting to learn more about this ever-changing subject.” 

Career goal

“To be a mechanical engineer for the Department of Defense.” 

Favorite professor

“My favorite professor would have to be Prof. Jean Quashnock. I have had two classes taught by Dr. Q, and it never ceases to amaze me how high energy his lectures can be, and they are always paired with interactive labs and group studio problems. He can get important physics lessons and theorems across to his students in a fun way, yet still have them successfully retained.”

Favorite class

“One of my favorite classes here at Carthage has be Intro to Aviation. I took this class J-Term of my freshman year. This was my favorite class because it was a general information class geared toward learning the terminology and basic information needed to obtain a private pilot’s license. I was more fascinated with the aerodynamics of the planes and how the instruments worked. It was like an ‘accident’ physics course I had stumbled upon that I could actually use classroom information toward a real-life application!”

Toughest class

“Currently I am in Differential Equations, and it is the toughest course I have had. It is really challenging me to use my Calculus I and II but in different situations and end goals. I am glad that it is making me analyze calculus theorems and really make me understand the core purpose of them.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“The best thing I could have done for myself as a physics major, wishing to pursue an engineering career, is come to Carthage. Carthage is able to provide its undergraduate students with opportunities that would never be available to most graduate students at other institutions. After my freshman year, I applied to join the Carthage Microgravity Team to get hands-on scientific research experience over the summer. This summer ended up being so much more than I had expected! I learned not only physics and engineering techniques and applications, but math, computer science, and even chemistry. The kicker of getting to work on this project was traveling with the team down to the Johnson Space Center and working with NASA engineers at Ellington Airfield. It was an unforgettable experience to be able to work in a team effort toward a final goal that could ultimately change the way NASA spacecraft are cooled.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“Only being here at Carthage one year, I have so much more room for memories, but my favorite so far has been the two weeks spent in Houston with the Microgravity Team. The 19-hour road trip in the school van was actually more fun than you think, and all kinds of pranks and games can be played in hotel rooms!”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest shock to me thus far has been my experience at NASA. I never would have thought in a million years I would get to work in conjunction with NASA, let alone my freshman year of college. This has really given me a lot of confidence in myself, and in what I can accomplish in this field if I decide to go for my long-term goals.”

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

“I have wanted to be an engineer since third grade, so I’d say 8-year-old Daisy is probably pretty proud. Coming from a small, rural school and already accomplishing what I have, by being involved and active in the classroom and joining outside clubs and groups to really appreciate and learn more about physics, really means a lot to me.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Be confident. Sometimes you’re not going to get every concept or theory, you’re not going to get every problem correct. Reality is you learn through mistakes, practice, and help. Physics can be a little daunting sometimes, but there are always fifty other people behind you to catch you and get you right back on track. But it starts with you wanting to get that problem right or knowing you can learn that concept, and that’s what helps me every day.”

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

    • Computer science students watch Prof. Mark Mahoney’s recorded lecturers in their free time, so he can nearby “when they do their real learning,” he says. He has company: Physics professor Brant Carlson’s quantum mechanics video playlist has been viewed more than 170,000 times. 

    • 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. 

    • 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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