Kassia Schraufnagel

Kassia Schraufnagel

Class Year



Waukesha, Wis.




Chemistry and Math

“The advice I would give to other physics majors is to challenge yourself and to use every opportunity to your advantage.”

Kassia Schraufnagel, ’24

Career goal

“I plan to earn my Ph.D. in plasma physics, and I hope to continue in the field to research nuclear fusion.”

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

“Through the help of Professor Julie Dahlstrom, I was able to arrange my schedule so that I could graduate in three years with my major and minor, in addition to adding a second minor. I have also received excellent career advice from my advisor, which helped guide me to find the most relevant classes for my career goals and to apply to a summer internship in my field of interest.

“I have also received guidance from other faculty members on careers and graduate school, which has given me a direction for after Carthage. Furthermore, their help in writing letters of recommendation helped me earn my internship.” 

Favorite class

“I have taken so many interesting classes at Carthage, it is difficult to choose one as a favorite. Some of the classes that I have particularly enjoyed are General Physics I with Prof. Dahlstrom, Organic Chemistry with Professor Susan Stevenson, and Modern Physics with Professor John Quashnock.

“For me, General Physics taught me to find physics in the world outside of class. This helped me to start considering applications of physics and to become more curious. Prof. Dahlstrom is great at making physics interesting and easy to understand, and always found a way to make class fun.

“In Organic Chemistry, especially during the second semester, I enjoyed learning how individual compounds can interact and cause phenomena we see on a macroscopic level. Prof. Stevenson’s excitement for organic chemistry made me enjoy going to class each day.

“Modern Physics, in addition to interesting and new physics concepts, teaches other important skills like science writing, presenting, and coding. Learning these other skills has made me feel more prepared as both a physicist and a student.”

Campus involvement

“I am a part of the Society of Physics Students (SPS). Through SPS, I have attended multiple important physics conferences, learned about career opportunities and graduate school, and have heard from physics speakers. SPS is a very strong and supportive community of students and has helped me connect with a lot of other students with similar interests. In addition to SPS, I am a member of Catholics at Carthage, Chemistry Club, and the Space Sciences Team.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class was Mechanics. This class challenged me to combine my understanding of physics concepts with new forms of math for the first time. As a result, my ability to see the connection between conceptual physics and math behind them grew.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I have spent one summer and two school years doing research with the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC). Through WSGC, I have worked on three different experiments, encouraging me to pursue research as a career. With this opportunity, I have been able to watch one of the experiments I worked on get launched on a rocket and to create a poster and present it multiple times.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I had the opportunity to accompany one of the experiments I worked on with the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium to Texas to see it launched on a Blue Origin New Shephard rocket! I have worked on the experiment since I first started attending Carthage and have presented a poster on it at multiple conferences. Seeing it on the rocket launch was a truly incredible experience that I will never forget.”


“I received a scholarship through the Carthage Music Department. Through this scholarship, I have played alto saxophone in the band and have taken piano lessons. I look forward to continuing being in the band and taking pipe organ lessons next year.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“I have many notable memories from Carthage, but one is when I attended the 2022 Physical Congress in Washington, D.C. At the conference, I was able to talk to other physics students from across the country, hear many incredible speakers, and network with professional scientists. This opportunity helped me meet with graduate school representatives and to learn about graduate school programs and possibilities.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the A. F. Siebert Chapel, where the pipe organ is housed. As an organist, I love that I am able to practice on such an incredible instrument readily.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise for me is the amount of opportunities Carthage has given me. I assumed that by graduating in three years, I would have fewer opportunities. But so far, I have attended four conferences, seen a rocket launch, met many incredible scientists, and had two exciting internships.”

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

“My 8-year-old self would probably be confused but happy that I have found a career path that I enjoy so much. But more significantly, my younger self would be amazed at all of the experiences I have had so far.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

Physics teaches many important skills beyond just the science most people expect. Physics majors are taught to be good at problem-solving, critical thinking, presenting, and many more skills. Consequently, physics students are qualified to enter just about any field. Personally, I love learning how to think deeply about how the world works and finding creative solutions to complex problems.
The advice I would give to other physics majors is to challenge yourself and to use every opportunity to your advantage.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because I knew that with its small class sizes, I would be able to work more closely with my professors. I also knew there were good opportunities for undergraduate research and finding internships.”