Emily Van Dixhorn

Emily Van Dixhorn

Class Year



Eden Prairie, MN


Social Work and Chinese

Inspired by her mother to pursue a career in which she can help people, Emily Van Dixhorn chose to major in social work at Carthage. She also decided to major in Chinese, a language she began speaking at a young age.

Emily is excited to further explore both areas of study — especially traveling abroad to China and getting her field placement for social work.

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“All the social work classes I have taken are so interesting, and the professors really want the students to learn and grow.”

Emily Van Dixhorn, ’26

Career goal

“I want to work with youth as a social worker. Right now, I am really interested in Child Protective Services, but that might change as I finish the rest of my degree. I am excited for senior year when social work students get a field placement. I hope the field placement will help me decide what area of social work I want to go into.”

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

“While I came to Carthage for the programs, I have stayed at Carthage for the faculty. My professors are the best thing about Carthage. Early freshman year, while I was deciding whether or not to double major, my social work professor sat down with me and plotted out my four-year plan. During J-Term, I was struggling with some personal issues, and the same professor took time to talk with me and help me reconcile the issues I was facing with the content I had been learning in my social work courses.

“My Chinese professor has also been fantastic. She encouraged me to pursue a major in Chinese rather than just a minor, and I am so glad I took her advice. I look forward to studying abroad in China as part of my major in fall 2024. My Chinese professor is so supportive of both my areas of study as well as the activities I am involved in outside the classroom. She advised the Chinese Club, one of the organizations I am in on campus, and helped organize a club field trip to Chicago’s Chinatown.

“Besides these two professors, my other professors have also helped me succeed. Carthage professors are willing to come to their students’ assistance, whether that is writing letters of recommendation, helping with scholarship essay writing and applications, getting you into a full class, or just having a conversation with you after class about the material. Without the support of so many professors, my experience at Carthage would not be the same.”

Favorite class

“This is such a hard question because I have taken so many wonderful classes at Carthage! I have especially enjoyed all my sociology and social work classes because the content is so interesting and the professors are outstanding!”

Campus involvement

“One club I am involved in is the Carthage Book Club. I have always loved reading, and Book Club gives me a community of people to talk to about what I am reading. It also pushes me to read for fun, which is nice because it can be hard to find time to do that with classes and homework.

“Another club I am involved in is Model United Nations. I just joined this club this year, but I have loved it so far. I am learning a lot about the global society and had the opportunity to improve my writing and public speaking skills!

“I am also involved in Carthage Student Government. Student Government has helped me meet new people and make new friends and has also allowed me to create some of the changes I want to see at Carthage. It has been so rewarding to work with my peers and see improvements being made.”


“I received the Intellectual Foundations Scholarship. My essay was on the topic of how religion and the interpretation of religious texts can be used to both uplift and oppress others. Winning a scholarship for this was very meaningful because the topic has been on my mind since high school.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the picnic table area behind Tarble Hall. I love the lake breeze and how close it is to my dorm!”

Biggest surprise so far

“I was expecting it to be a lot colder and snowier. I’m from Minnesota, so the lack of below-zero temperatures has been a welcome surprise!”

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

“My 8-year-old self would be surprised about my current study path because I originally wanted to be a teacher like my mom. In her job, my mom connects with others to solve problems and build community. She also creates space for her students to help them grow emotionally and academically. While I do not want to have a teaching job like my mom, I still want to take the skills she uses and apply them to make connections and help people in my career in social work.”

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

“Other students should consider social work because the professors are amazing! All the social work classes I have taken are so interesting, and the professors really want the students to learn and grow. Even if you don’t want to go into social work or aren’t sure if it’s the right path for you, I would suggest taking the Introduction to Social Work course. This was a great intro course, and the content helps students understand more about the social world they live in.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage mainly because of the programs offered. I learned Chinese during my K-12 education, and I wanted a college that would allow me to further my Chinese acquisition. I love the location of Carthage as well! It is perfectly positioned to visit Milwaukee or Chicago, and Kenosha offers a lot of fun activities, too.”