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Sean Gill: From Carroll to Princeton, the Path to a Career Change


Sean Gill’s path to the prestigious Princeton University began later in his life, when he enrolled at Carroll with the aim to make a career change.

Gill had initially gone to Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) directly out of high school, but dropped out due to a combination of family and financial concerns. Over the next decade, he worked at a dead-end job that he, according to him, “positively hated.” This ultimately spurred him to go back to college so he could pursue a more rewarding vocation.

Gill spent three years at Carroll before earning his associate degree in English in 2014. “Carroll gave me the ability to ease back into academia while still working, through its flexible course scheduling and low cost,” explained the now 36-year-old alumnus. “I don’t think my career change would have been possible if I had been forced to do it through a traditional four-year college.”

Had I not attended Carroll, my career in academia would be totally different than it is today.

Gill is grateful for the support of two Carroll faculty members in particular: Dr. Michelle Parke and Dr. Kristie Crumley.

Dr. Parke served as Gill’s mentor while he decided whether he could really leave the working world to become a full-time student and pursue a career change. “She gave me the confidence I needed,” he said, “and even tailored my experience by constructing an independent study course for me that better prepared me for advanced studies in English.” 

Dr. Crumley was Gill’s go-to person while he ran the College’s online student newspaper, The-Quill. “She became a real friend during that time too,” he said. “Someone I could turn to with any concerns or worries I had.”

Gill is currently a PhD student at Princeton University, researching print culture/book history in the Late Victorian era, and an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, where he had earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude with distinction in English.

“Had I not attended Carroll, my career change in academia would be totally different than it is today,” Gill asserted. “Carroll made it possible to ease back into the classroom while still paying rent and other bills, and sorting out my life such that a full-time return to academia was eventually possible… I wouldn’t change a moment of it.”

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