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History Peeps: Jonathan Carroll, Graduate Student

Jonathan Carroll, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Texas A&M History Department, has had an adventurous and unexpected trek from his rural small town in Celbridge, Ireland, to his new home in College Station, Texas.  Mr. Carroll reminisces, “I took a total gamble. I packed up everything I owned, which wasn’t much, mostly books (not even academic books), and I shipped it all on a slow boat to Texas.”

His trajectory had been circuitous.  Jonathan Carroll left school at 19, returned at 23, became a commissioned officer in the Irish Army, earned degrees in both history and law at Maynooth University—graduating at the top of his law-school class—and enjoyed a successful career in university administration.

What motivated him to start anew? “I had questions,” Carroll says. An unquenched appetite for intellectual stimulation and an enthusiasm for military history prompted his trans-Atlantic voyage to parts unknown. He says he chose Texas A&M because of its strength in military history: “I looked for the best game in town, and here I am.”

Mr. Carroll wants his work as a historian to serve a greater purpose. He calls history “the golden thread that permeates everything.” He hopes to illuminate nuances in history and advance knowledge in the field. In the classroom, he aims to ignite student interest. He wants undergraduate students to think critically—to understand hows and whys—to make informed, thoughtful decisions about their wider world.

To what historical figure Jonathan Carroll would like to say “Howdy,” given the chance?  He would love to meet Star Trek creator, producer, and writer Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry wrote the iconic television series during the turbulent 1960s, and Mr. Carroll would be curious to suss out the origin of Roddenberry’s vision of a world free from racism and gender discrimination, “where the future showed human potential as something really, really good.” To Jonathan Carroll, Roddenberry’s dream is both “fascinating and inspiring.”

(Jennifer Wells ’24)