Annie Shirley

Class Year



Plano, Ill.


Social Work


Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies

“The biggest surprise is how quickly Carthage became like a home for me. I was surprised by how many great friends I made and how much my professors really cared about me.”

Annie Shirley, ’20

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

“Professor Danielle Geary has been such an inspiration to me. I have had two classes with her and I have learned so much from her about the field of social work and personal development. She has so much experience and you can tell that she really cares about what she is teaching and her students. I always knew that I would leave her class feeling better than when I got to class.

“Professor Rebecca Hornung has known me since my freshman year. When you’re in her class, you can feel her passion for the field. She is so knowledgeable and really challenged me to grow as a person and a social worker. Her classes have taught me how to better articulate myself and my beliefs.”

Favorite class

My favorite class was The Gendering of Leadership with Prof. Geary. Aside from the content about the disparity in leadership, we spent a lot of time learning about ourselves as leaders. I learned a lot about myself during that class and felt myself grow stronger as a leader as a result of the class.”

Toughest class

“I would say my toughest class was Introduction to Neuroscience. Science has never been my strong suit, so I really had to dedicate a lot of time to make sure I understood the content. But, I still managed to do well in the class because the professor was so helpful and I found a study group that really helped me.”

Internships or on-campus employment

Yes! I had an internship at Fratt Elementary School in Racine in the fall of my junior year. I helped to facilitate programs like a “Check In, Check Out” program that encouraged positive behaviors in students who were regularly having behavioral problems in the classroom. Then, in the spring of my junior year, I interned with Kenosha Human Development Services. I worked with those experiencing homelessness and helped things like providing resources and finding places for people to live.”

Opportunities at Carthage

I have gone on three J-Term study tours. My freshman year, I traveled to Austria and Hungary to study the Kodály method of teaching music. During my junior year, I traveled to Tanzania with the Carthage Treble Choir to perform with the Ibuka Dance Group. In January of 2020, I am going to Tokyo to study the culture of the city and how it became the city that we know today.

“Through being in the Treble Choir, I have been able to perform in the beautiful Christmas Festival concert each year. Also, I have sung on the stage of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During my freshman year, we went on tour in Florida, and during that trip, one of my homestays was with one of Carthage’s former presidents, Greg Campbell.

“Through Phi Alpha, the social work honors fraternity, I have been able to attend two social work conferences and learn more about the field that I am going into. During my junior year, I was able to go to Madison for an Advocacy Day where I talked to legislators about issues that are important to me.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“One of my favorite memories is at the end of every Christmas Festival concert when all of the candles are lit and the whole chapel is filled with people singing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’ It’s such a beautiful moment that just captures what Christmas Fest is about. Some of my other favorite moments are from traveling on J-Term study tours or just being on the lake with my friends. And of course, one of my favorite memories comes from going to CAB bingo!”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is either Starbucks or by the lake. I love doing homework in Starbucks because you always see someone you know and the lake is just always so calming to be around.”

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

“I think after she got over the fact that I’m not a famous superstar, I think my 8-year-old self would be happy with my choices. I have always been someone that wants to help other people, so social work was a good choice for me.”

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

Social work is not the highest paying profession and it can often feel like thankless work, but the work that we do every day is so important.”

Why Carthage?

“As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew that Carthage was the right place for me. I loved that you would be able to really know the people in your classes and your professors. From my first tour, I could tell that the students loved what they did and that there were professors that really cared about what they taught and their students. Traveling is an important part of my life, so the opportunity to go around the world on J-Term study tours was really exciting for me as well.”