Maya Zenner

Maya Zenner

Class Year

’25

Hometown

Racine, Wis.

Major(s)

Computer Science, Chinese

“I chose Carthage primarily because of its size and the majors offered here. I came from a very small high school, so Carthage’s size made it a very easy transition. The smaller class sizes appealed to me as well, as I feel that I can better get my questions answered quickly. The beautiful view of Lake Michigan also helped!”

Maya Zenner, ’25

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage primarily because of its size and the majors offered here. I came from a very small high school, so Carthage’s size made it a very easy transition. The smaller class sizes appealed to me as well, as I feel that I can better get my questions answered quickly. The beautiful view of Lake Michigan also helped!”

Faculty mentors

“Every professor I have had so far has been amazingly supportive and helpful. Many of my professors have always been open about their office hours if I had any questions at all, whether it be about classwork or homework assignments, which was massively helpful to me last year when I was struggling in one of my classes.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage is either Chinese Literature and Language or Ballet I. In my Chinese Lit class, we got to read so many books and also watched a few films that helped to widen my perspective on the world and learn more about Chinese culture and how that is reflected in their literature and media.

“Taking Ballet I this semester has been a wonderful experience. Although I am not a dance student, I have always wanted to take ballet classes; I danced for a bit when I was younger but then quit, as I was also taking Tae Kwon Do classes at the time. The class is a wonderful start to the morning, and I truly look forward to every Monday (imagine that!) and Wednesday each week.”

Campus involvement

“I am the vice president of the Martial Arts Club here at Carthage, which has been a great experience. Previously, the club had fallen out of popularity, but last year, my friend Lily, now president, and I brought it back. The club quickly grew and some of my best friends are in the club. We have an amazing turnout each week, with an average of 10 to 14 people! It has been incredible to watch the club grow, from the first few classes with only a handful of students to now what is almost the size of an average class here at Carthage. I am so proud of the e-board and everyone who turns up each week — seeing their growth and progress is awesome to watch, and we have all grown so close. I am also a member of Carthage’s Model United Nations, which has afforded me many wonderful opportunities and friendships.”

Golden opportunities

“I was able to take advantage of so many wonderful opportunities last year as a freshman. The program that has, as of now, afforded me the most wonderful opportunities in Carthage’s Model United Nations. I joined at the beginning of last year. I’d always been interested in my high school’s MUN club but never joined, as I was pretty intimidated. However, last year I took the chance and got my name put on the email list. Little did I know that I would make some of my best friends in this club, as well as have the opportunity to travel abroad! At the first meeting, I was so nervous, but everyone was very welcoming. The true ice-breaker, however, was the annual AMUN conference in Chicago that November. Even though I felt way in over my head, I went to the conference, learned so much, and picked up some incredible experiences. The weekend in Chicago helped me get to know my fellow club members. It made me realize that for many of them, this was their first conference as well, which helped take a lot of the pressure off, and I was able to relax a bit and use the conference as a learning opportunity. That spring, Carthage MUN was able to travel to Barcelona, Spain, for our international conference, an incredible experience I will never forget. I never thought that as a freshman I would be able to have these experiences, and I am forever grateful to those who made them possible.”

Career goal

“In the future, I hope to work abroad, ideally in either China or Taiwan.”

Favorite spot on campus

“I honestly love hanging out and studying in Einstein’s, to be honest. I like having the buzz of activity around me as I work. Also, there’s coffee and bagels. Duh. In the fall and spring, I like to sit underneath the trees and read. The view of the lake is absolutely stunning. Sometimes I forget it’s there in the ‘oh yeah, it’s Lake Michigan right outside my dorm, no big deal’ type of way, but on certain days it takes my breath away. And I say this as someone who has never lived more than twenty minutes from the lake.”

Favorite memory

“The Mid-Autumn Festival, hosted by the Chinese Program, is one of my favorite memories from freshman year. It was about a month into the school year, and I was still very shy and quiet, as I didn’t know many people then. The Mid-Autumn Festival was amazing — we had tea and various Chinese desserts like mooncakes (10/10 would recommend), and we played games. I learned how to play Mahjong that night (I now have my own set) and met so many people that, surprisingly, wound up in many clubs I am in. It’s so much more connected than you think — there’s a huge overlap between the Chinese Club, Martial Arts, and Model UN. Great minds think alike or something like that, I guess.”

Biggest surprise

“So far, the biggest surprise for me has been how quickly I’ve gotten used to living on campus. In truth, it was a very easy transition for me and definitely worth it. There’s always something to do after class, whether it be one of the clubs I am a part of or seeing a play a friend is in, to the infamous BINGO nights on campus.”

Advice for other students in your major?

“I heavily enjoy both of my majors. As a Chinese major, I not only get to learn about another language and culture but knowing a second language, especially one as widely spoken as Mandarin, is massively useful and opens many potential doors for me in the future. My computer science major can sometimes be challenging, but it’s something I truly enjoy. There are so many things that you can do regarding programming, which is super exciting!

“Some advice: Start your work early, and don’t leave it until the last minute! Especially computer science projects. Also, it’s fine if you have no idea what you want your major(s) and or minor(s) to be yet! During freshman year, I took various classes, ranging from business to graphic design and dance, and this year I’m taking a political science class. Taking such a range of classes helped me to find what I was really interested in, and also gave me a wide range of experiences, and overall, I feel has made me a more well-rounded person.”

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

“I think that eight-year-old me would be very impressed. When I was eight, I wanted to be a vet, as many kids do. However, as I grew up, I realized that that wasn’t the path for me, and I did a 180 with my career path — from working with living, breathing animals to computers. I don’t think I would change a thing, though.”

Scholarships

“I received several, including the Carthage Highest Honors Scholarship, which was amazing. This scholarship has allowed me to live on campus, allowing me to participate in many clubs that meet at later times, which would have been much more difficult had I been a commuter. It also allows me to pursue a degree that I am truly interested in, which I am extremely grateful for.

“The Honors Program here also allows me to experience amazing things, like the Chicago Symphony and various plays and performances I may not have been able to see otherwise.”