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Carthage Cross-Training

A Carthage education cultivates ALL of your passions, no matter how diverse

By Mike Moore, Carthage College

You shouldn’t have to discard your passions at the doorway to college. Carthage firmly believes that.

Students here are encouraged to pursue a variety of distinct interests. The focus on the liberal arts gives them room to grow in each of those areas.

Often, students take on double majors or major-minor combinations that help them develop complementary skills and that provide additional career options. A few receive approval to design their own majors, tailoring the course sequence to match their career goals.

Carthage also gives more than lip service to the term “student-athlete.” Academic and athletic mentors push students to maximize their talent in both areas.

While all of that cross-training requires hard work, it doesn’t have to drag out your graduation date. Among Carthage graduates, 95 percent earned their degrees in four years.

Meet five students who have made the most of their time at Carthage:

Manar Mohammad ’16: The pediatric poet

English Major / Pre-Health Track

She doesn’t remember making a conscious decision. For Manar Mohammad, becoming a pediatrician always has been the plan.

“I had the same pediatrician my whole childhood. I always wanted to be like her,” said Manar, who attends Carthage on a Kenosha Scholarship. “She was the only adult at the doctor’s office who understood me.”

On the path to that goal, she’ll spend the summer working with biology professor Amar Singh to determine the effects of nanoparticles loaded with anti-cancer drugs on the death of lymphoma or breast cancer cells. It’s part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.

Outside the lab, she’s likely to be found at an open mic session, reading some of her poetry. Manar usually writes about Palestine, where her family moved when she was 10, and about standing out as a Muslim. The poems eased her transition back to American life in high school.

“I reverted to writing,” she said. “That’s how I spoke to someone about myself. I never went up to someone and said, ‘Hi, I lived in Palestine for five years.’”

Repeated trips to the microphone have helped her overcome a stutter and improve her oral science presentations. She also believes a healthy imagination and ability to tell stories will help her someday relate to the kids in a clinic.


Garrett Fales ’16: The green theologian

Environmental Science / Religion Major

“A lot of people go into science without any foundation,” said Garrett Fales. Not him, though.

Garrett is determined to maintain a sense of ethics as an environmental scientist. After graduation, he’d like to join a humanitarian effort to build sustainable communities.

Although his parents weren’t churchgoers, Garrett embraced his faith in high school. His transformative experience came during a church project at a low-income housing site in Chicago, where he especially enjoyed maintaining a community garden.

Garrett spent the Spring 2014 semester trying to formulate the best soil mixture to support plant life on green roofs. He plans to continue that study for his senior thesis.

He hopes to dispel some misconceptions and bridge the gap between belief and scientific observation.

“A lot of scientists see religious people as closed-minded or unintelligent,” he said. “Science helps to reveal and unravel God’s handiwork in his creation. Theological thought gives ethics, significance, and meaning to scientific observation.”


Maura Melfi '17

Maura Melfi ’17: Stagehand with a head for finance

Finance Major / Theatre, Public Relations Minor

With three theatrical older siblings, Maura Melfi ’17 learned her way around the stage in grade school. Acting never interested her; the behind-the-scenes work hooked Maura.

“You kind of see the 360 degrees of a show, which a lot of people don’t get to see,” said Maura, who has had a hand in a bunch of Carthage productions — whether building sets or connecting the performers and technical staff as an assistant stage manager.

Ideally, she’d like to run her own theatre company someday. But she didn’t want to attend a specialized school that would severely limit her career options.

Her family owned a business for years, so math comes naturally to Maura. She chose to major in finance at Carthage while minoring in theatre and public relations.

“This lets me have the option of working on a show or running my own business,” she said. She’s willing to pay her dues in another field until a professional theatre opportunity pops up — or until the entrepreneurial Maura creates one.


Steve Hobe '15 is majoring in biology and music theatre, and plans to pursue a doctorate in paleo...

Steve Hobe ’15: The prehistoric performer

Biology (Paleontology Track) / Music Theatre Major

Steve Hobe majored in biology (paleontology track) and music theatre. Both remain in his career plans, as he hopes to obtain a doctorate degree in paleontology and a master’s in vocal performance so he can continue research while performing and giving vocal instruction on the side.

After participating in a dinosaur dig with renowned vertebrate paleontologist Professor Thomas Carr, Steve returned to Montana as a field assistant. He also completed an internship at the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, Montana, prospecting for and preparing bones. He worked at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha.

Then there’s his artsy side. Steve performed in a variety of plays, dance concerts, and operas, while singing in various choirs and playing the bass and contrabass clarinet in campus bands. He was active in the Lambda Kappa music fraternity.

Steve’s senior thesis described the stages of growth of a type of dinosaur called the lambeosaurines. One aspect of that is vocal development, and for that Steve plans to employ the same software he uses to analyze his own voice. He’s convinced the music theatre degree will boost the value of his scientific degree.

“It shows that ‘You could be doing something else, but you chose this,’” he said. “It’s good to have that versatility across the board.”


Student athlete Stephanie Kuzmanic is successful as a point guard (2012-13 CCIW Player of the Year) and in the classroom, with a 4.0 GPA.

Stephanie Kuzmanic ’14: Intersection of GPA and APG

Exercise and Sport Science Major / Women’s Basketball Player

As a point guard, one of her main jobs was to make it easy for teammates to score. So Stephanie Kuzmanic ’14 earned the right to hold onto one score: 4.0 — her grade-point average.

Stephanie was honored as Capital One Academic All-American® Player of the Year for NCAA Division III in 2013-14. Soon after, she received an NCAA postgraduate scholarship and plans to pursue a master’s degree with the ultimate goal to both teach and coach.

On the court, she did enough to have her jersey displayed at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Guiding her team to the Sweet Sixteen, Stephanie made multiple All-America teams after averaging 7.2 assists per game and 14.8 points in her senior season.

She welcomed the atmosphere of self-discovery on campus.

“Freshman year, I changed my major quite a few times, so I was glad that I could take a variety of classes to see what I enjoyed most,” Stephanie said, adding that students can “participate in activities we enjoy. Whether it be athletics, sororities and fraternities, band, choir, theatre, or some other club, Carthage has an option out there for everyone.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

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

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 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. More than 90% 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. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing 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 more than 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 students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. 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,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. 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 Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, 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 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. 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.

    • 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 in the Top 5 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 …