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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 paleontology.

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.”

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