Melissa Engelking

Class Year



Deerfield, Ill.


Philosophy, Great Ideas


Political Science, English

Melissa Engelking came to Carthage to study biology, but like many undergraduate students, reconsidered her major after a few courses in a new field. She’s now majoring in Philosophy, with a second major in Great Ideas. She hopes to become a professor or a politician.

“After taking a few Philosophy courses, I found it to be extremely interesting, so I chose to change my major,” she says. “Philosophy really develops one’s own intellectual skills. You learn to think from various perspectives. One also learns how to ask questions and formulate arguments better.”

She says philosophy makes a great second major or minor, since it better prepares students for study in other subject areas, such as English, psychology, science, and political science. “It also helps one think of a variety of solutions — for everything from problems seen in the political spectrum, to why a certain character in a piece of literature is acting or speaking as they are,” to considering what an author wants his or her readers to think about his writings.

This J-Term, Melissa will travel to Rome for the study tour Shakespeare in Rome, taught by Seemee Ali, assistant professor of English and Great Ideas, and Michael McShane, assistant professor of Great Ideas and philosophy.

She enjoys the contact she has with faculty in other academic departments, she says. “Even though (the Philosophy Department) is a smaller department, it involves professors from various other departments,” she says. “Therefore students are able to study philosophy in different ways and in different perspectives.”

“Philosophy really develops one’s own intellectual skills. You learn to think from various perspectives.”

Melissa Engelking, ’13

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

“I really do not have a favorite professor,” she says. “Each has a different teaching style and a different way of perceiving each work.”

Favorite class

“I really like all the classes,” she says. Her favorites have been classes in which the professor directs the class, but keeps the class open enough to let students influence some of the course’s direction. “These classes let students develop their own perspectives and make sure that they can dictate their argument or perspective in an intelligent way.”

Toughest class

“Each and every class is so different; it really is hard to say. I would say it depends on the professor but even more on the students and their involvement in the class.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“I have had so many fun experiences while attending Carthage. The professors are very understanding and open to any questions or possible concerns you as a student might have. There are also so many ways to get involved at Carthage through sports and clubs.”

Favorite spot on campus


Biggest surprise so far

“I would probably have to say that for such a small school, Carthage has such a great faculty. They are extremely intelligent, understanding, and willing to work with their students.”