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Undergraduate Research

Current Projects

See more current projects at www.carthage.edu/sure

Archaeology: Excavations at Omrit in Israel

Contact: Prof. Daniel Schowalter

Prof. Daniel Schowalter leads students on an archaeology expedition in Ormit, Israel, every summer.Every summer, Carthage students help to uncover the ancient world by participating in an excavation of a Roman temple complex in Omrit, Israel. Carthage co-sponsors the excavation with Macalester College. The project has uncovered a major Roman period site with later developments in the byzantine and Islamic periods. The most prominent feature is a temple complex constructed between 50 BCE and 100 CE.

“Having the chance to experience field work at Omrit has been incredibly beneficial for me; it has only strengthened my decision to go into the field of archaeology. By getting the chance to utilize skills learned in the classroom, archaeology comes to life. The early mornings and hard work are worth the result of uncovering an ancient site and learning more about the region of Northern Israel throughout multiple layers of occupation.” — Erin Oakland ’16


Biology: Phage Genomics Research

Contact: Prof. Deborah Tobiason

Carthage offers a Phage Hunters course for freshman biology majors.All freshman biology students at Carthage receive authentic research experience as part of their introductory biology course, so they gain insight into the process of science from their first semester. In the course Molecules, Cells, and Organisms, each student isolates a bacterial virus called a bacteriophage from soil or water samples, then prepares bacteriophage DNA for sequencing, and examines the virus using an electron microscope. Students get to name the phage they discover and register them in an actinobacteriophage registry.

“Most colleges aren’t even considering doing biology this way. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other science education policy places have been calling for real reforms in the way we teach biology to undergraduates. I would say we are on the cutting edge for how we should be teaching biology.” — Prof. Temple Burling


Space Sciences: Rocket Payloads

Contact: Prof. Kevin Crosby

Carthage fields a rocket payload team that participates in NASA's RockOn and RockSat programs.The space sciences program at Carthage is a nationally recognized undergraduate program that provides students hands-on opportunities in technology development and atmospheric sciences through partnerships with NASA and academic researchers around the world. Students and faculty regularly conduct research aboard NASA’s zero-gravity aircraft, build payloads for NASA sounding rockets, and are currently working to build a new CubeSat for launch in 2018.

“CubeSats provide the entire life cycle experience for space mission design and construction, from concept design, engineering, and reviews, to launch and post-launch operations management. That’s a huge experience that, because of the incredible growth of the space sciences industry, is very valuable to employers.” — Prof. Kevin Crosby


Biology: Bat Ecology

Contact: Prof. Deanna Byrnes

Prof. Deanna Byrnes leads students in a summer research project studying the bat population in southeast Wisconsin.Prof. Deanna Byrnes is currently leading a long-term study of the local bat population. She and her students gather acoustic data using a “bat detector” to identify which species are most abundant in different types of local habitats. They also share their data with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as part of a citizen-monitoring program to help define the ecological needs of Wisconsin bat species.


Chemistry: Road Salt and the Pike River Watershed

Contact: Prof. Christine Blaine

Prof. Christine Blaine currently involves Carthage students in her study on the impact of road salting on the Pike River Watershed. Her research specifically examines chloride concentrations in water and soil samples due to water runoff from roadways and sidewalks. Students performing research with Prof. Blaine gain experience with environmental sampling techniques, spectroscopic instrumentation, and quantification of trace contaminants in the water. Research results have been presented at the Midstates Consortium and regional and national American Chemistry Society Meetings.


Sociology: Congregations Study

Contact: Prof. Wayne Thompson

Through the Carthage Office for Research and Evaluation Services (CORES), students gain experience in applied research by interviewing pastors of churches nationwide that have separated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) since those denominations voted to allow ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. Students assist in analyzing the results to find patterns, with the ability to present findings at regional professional conferences.

See more current projects at www.carthage.edu/sure 

  • 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.

    • Beyond the campus boundaries, dinosaur fossils are prepared at the Carthage Institute of Paleontolgoy in Kenosha. A lengthy pterodactyl flight away, Finca Esperanza serves as a base camp for J-Term medical and water quality missions to Nicaragua. 

    • Since 2008, Carthage athletic training students have used the newest diagnostic tools to study concussions. Overseen by a leading brain trauma expert from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the research helps doctors determine when athletes are healthy enough to return.

    • 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. 

    • 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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