Carroll College, Helena Montana

Student Spotlights

Student and Alumni Spotlights

The Carroll College History program has a long and rich tradition of excellence and has produced many outstanding History alumni. Each has used his or her unique talents to enhance their profession and communities. Here are just a few profiles some of our most recents students and graduates. Click the picture to see what are they doing now!

  • Will Wright
  • Elizabeth Baker
  • Eddie Alvarez
  • Alex Gaiser
  • Meagen Cook

Will Wright

Class of 2013

Will WrightWhat were your majors?

While at Carroll, I majored in History, History & Political Science for Secondary Education, and Social Studies for Secondary Education. I spent five years at Carroll College to play football, so I wanted to get the most out of my degree.

What did you love about Carroll?

There were so many things that I loved about Carroll College. I enjoyed the opportunity to be surrounded by the outdoors, whether it was hiking Mount Helena, fly-fishing on the Big Blackfoot and Missouri Rivers, or cross-country skiing on MacDonald Pass. I cherished all of the faith activities available to grow in my spiritual life. Campus ministry provided numerous opportunities to develop my innermost character through Mass and Search retreats. Lastly, I treasured what is known as the “Carroll family.” To be able to develop the personal connections that transcend way beyond the classroom and campus was truly special, not to mention meeting my wife, Carly, at school.

What are you doing now?

Now, I am currently living in Helena with my wife, Carly. She works at St. Peter’s Hospital as a registered nurse on the Women and Children’s Unit. I am presently working at Helena High School teaching U.S. history. I also was an assistant coach for the HHS freshmen football team during the fall.

What do you plan on doing in the future?

My experiences with the Carroll history department and its distinguished faculty of Professors Bob Swartout, Gillian Glaes, and Jeanette Fregulia affirmed my passion for history. Furthermore, the opportunity to write a senior honor’s thesis and to intern at the Montana Historical Society strengthened my desire for historical research.

I have been accepted into Colorado State University's graduate program and will begin my studies there starting in Fall 2014. I will be specializing in the history of the American West and environmental history

What was your favorite experience or event at Carroll?

I can’t choose one favorite experience at Carroll College, but I can narrow it down to my top three. Saturday afternoon football games at Nelson Stadium, the annual spring Softball Weekend tournaments (we were back-to-back champions), and the Search retreat weekends through campus ministry were all amazing experiences.

Elizabeth Baker

Class of 2013

What were your majors?

I graduated with majors in History and French and a minor in International Relations.

What did you love about Carroll?

The thing I loved most about Carroll was the relationships I was able to build with my classmates and professors. As classmates, I truly believe we all wanted one another to succeed. From proofreading papers to suggesting materials for research, we helped each other out whenever possible. As for my professors, they knew me by name and I felt comfortable discussing with them my work at Carroll as well as my life outside and after college (apparently this isn't the case at all Universities!).

What are you doing now?

Today I am living and working in France as an English Language Instructor. I have the opportunity to work with children in elementary schools, teaching them English and about American culture.

What do you plan on doing in the future?

My future career plans are still undecided, but with a major in History I have plenty of possibilities!

What was your favorite experience or event at Carroll?

One of my favorite experiences at Carroll was during my senior year when I got to travel to Portland, Oregon with some of my fellow history majors for the Phi Alpha Theta conference. Along with presenting our research, we stayed in a beautiful and historic Portland hotel, ate delicious food, and spent time together laughing about our adventures at Carroll.

Eddie Alvarez

Class of 2010

What did you love about Carroll?

I loved the family aspect of Carroll. We all seemed to want to be there. I was able to get to know all of my professors and I wasn’t just number. Coming from Los Angeles, I was not sure how I would acclimate to a smaller community such as Eddie and Jesse JacksonHelena. It was a great learning environment! I also love the high expectations that were expected from our professors from day one. While they were never overbearing, they always expected us to do quality work and research to defend our positions. I also remember my first snowstorm in October. I woke up looked out the window and thought I was dreaming. I went back to bed, woke up, and realized that I needed how to learn how to shovel snow real fast. Normally in October, I would be trying to catch some sun at Zuma beach next to Malibu. Those type of experiences just added to the great friends and stories that I am able to tell now about my time at Carroll.

What are you doing now?

I am currently doing a few things. I graduated at the bottom of the rescission in 2010, so the job market was bare for a while. Luckily I was able to do odd jobs while things got better. I have been working in politics consistently for about 2 years now. I am running a race in Long Beach, Doug Otto for Mayor. I am also working on my Masters degree on teaching credentials. This election cycle will be my last because I really want to get into the classroom and teach history and government. The real world expereice that I have gained in the last few years has been great and I want to pass that on to students.

What do you plan on doing in the future?

I plan on teaching and coaching baseball. I should be done with my Masters in Education by this time next year, which would leave me next spring to do my student teaching.  To anyone that knows me, it's no surprise that I am huge baseball fan. Dr. Swartout and I loved talking baseball in his office. He is a big Jackie Robinson fan so somehow the conversation would always lead back to baseball. I really believe that the Civil Rights Movement started on April 15, 1947, the day that Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers integrated professional baseball. One of the things on my bucket list is to coach at the professional level. This is a huge dream, but I would jump at the chance if ever got to do it. I also officiate. It’s been something I have been doing since high school.

What was your favorite experience or event at Carroll?

Football Saturday’s and officiating my second college basketball game, ever, in the gym. Football on Saturday afternoon was great! For me it was a huge factor in selecting to go to school at Carroll. I wanted to go somewhere that had pride in their football program and thrived to be the winner year and year out. Athletics is part of a good college experience and Carroll offers that. Now with the expansion into men’s soccer and softball, it gives you another reason to be proud to be a Fighting Saint! The other big event was officiating my second college game in my career in the gym. My first game was a tournament at Northern and none of my friends or family were able to attend. My second game was a tournament game at Carroll, two visiting colleges were playing each other. It felt like my first game because all of friends were there and my girlfriend’s family at the time made the trip from Florence to watch. After that we all went to the Brewhouse and celebrated. It is a day I will never forget.

Alex Gaiser

Class of 2014

Alex GaiserAlex Gaiser (class of 2014) is originally from Portland, Oregon. In the summer of 2013, Alex had the opportunity to be the founder of ELAP in Jordan, which is a program that teaches English. He decided to go early and stay 2 weeks in a Palestian refugee camp. There, Alex learned Arabic.

At Carroll, Alex is the President of the history honors society Phi Alpha Theta and Carroll College's music club. Alex is a skilled guitar player and naturally obtained the nickname from his fellow peers "Guitar Alex" his freshman year of college.  He is also the history tutor at the ARC. Alex focused his Research Seminar paper on the The New York Times in the late twentieth century, specifically evaluating its coverage of Saddam Hussein and its influence in the realm of American foreign policy.

Alex brings comfort and laughter into the classroom. His energetic, sometimes sarcastic personality makes him a delight as a student and as a friend. He always has a smile. After graduating from Carroll, Alex plans to join the Peace Corps and return to Jordan.

Meagen Cook

Class of 2013

Meagen Cook

What was your major?

History with a minor in European Studies

What did you love about Carroll?

The small classes, the professors, and the community atmosphere.

What are you doing now?

I'm a digital collections assistant at the Montana Historical Society. I upload and maintain digital archives for public access and help in other projects around the research center.

What do you plan on doing in the future?

I'm taking a year off to do a church internship in Ireland. When I return, I am not sure what is next! I think it will be either ministry or museum work.

What was your favorite experience or event at Carroll?

I made some friends that will be around for my entire life. Those memories are priceless!