Siblings Jack, Jessica and Kimberly Follow in Family's Well-Worn River Hawk Path
By Ed Brennen
Considering that their father and seven of their aunts and uncles attended UMass Lowell, there was really only one school for siblings Jack and Jessica Carroll to consider for their higher education.
“Our dad was saying, ‘Lowell, Lowell, Lowell,’ but I thought I’d like a smaller school,” Jessica recalls. Jack had similar thoughts, so the siblings went against the not-so-subtle nudging of their dad, Daniel, and headed off to Providence as freshmen in the fall of 2015.
The North Andover natives quickly realized, though, that a school with less than 4,000 undergrads was a little too small for their liking. So they met up on campus one day during their first semester and made a decision: They were transferring to UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business that spring.
“Our dad was very happy with the switch,” Jessica says. “He said, ‘Oh, now you’re talking sense.’”
Three years later, the Carrolls are glad they (eventually) followed their dad’s advice.
Jessica, a business administration major with concentrations in management information systems and management, took advantage of the High Density 3-Year Degree pathway and is graduating in May. She plans to pursue her MBA (perhaps at Harvard or Babson) and dreams of one day being the CEO of her own company.
“I think I can do it,” she says with unblinking confidence. “The harder you work, the more luck you have. And I want to get very lucky.”
Jack, who’s a year older than Jessica but a year behind her academically since he played a fifth year of prep school hockey at Cushing Academy, is a junior business administration major with concentrations in MIS and finance. He has an internship lined up with Dell this summer in Franklin and is eyeing a career in data analytics after grad school.
“Coming to UMass Lowell was definitely a smart decision,” says Jack, who was happy to discover that many of the state-school stereotypes he’d heard (large classes with little personal connection) were in fact a myth. “There’s such a diverse group of students here, and being able to work with people from all sorts of backgrounds is really a skill you need in the workforce. And everyone is so open to meeting new people and getting involved with all the different organizations.”
The Carrolls are chief among them. Jack is president of the Business Analytics Society this year (Jessica is secretary) and a member of the Manning Student Leaders Council. Jessica is secretary of the Student Government Association and belongs to the Management Society. She’s also a member of the Pre-Law Society and Mock Trial team, where she’s able to put her side interest in acting to use by playing the witness at competitions.
One thing that strikes Jack and Jessica about UMass Lowell is how so many people – from top administrators to faculty members such as David Ornstil, Frank Talty and Ravi Jain and their transfer advisor, Karen Hvizda – are invested in their success.
“It’s such a testimony to the experience here,” Jessica says. “They probably experienced that and are paying it forward.”
While the siblings get along well, they do have a rivalry when it comes to their grades. They both have perfect 4.0 GPAs – and a friendly competition to keep them that way.
“We kind of push each other,” Jack says.
And they have another sibling to compete with academically this year. Their sister Kimberly is a freshman biology major in the Kennedy College of Sciences.
“Being part of my family legacy here definitely motivated my decision to come to UMass Lowell,” Kimberly says. Seeing Jack and Jessica thriving at the school helped cinch her decision.
“I think one of the greatest fears going to college is that you're afraid of being alone, but they've made the transition easier for me,” says Kimberly, who gets frequent texts from her siblings telling her about events and clubs on campus that she should join.
As for the GPA competition, Kimberly knows Jack and Jessica have set a high bar, but she’s up for the challenge. She also has an ace up her sleeve: She’s a member of the Honors College.
“This is the one thing that they don't have,” Kimberly says, “and I plan to exploit it.”
Jessica also has a twin sister, Samantha, who attends a school in Concord for students with autism. Their youngest sister, Hannah, is a junior in high school. Their mom, Lisa, is not an alum, but the Carroll kids grew up hearing about UMass Lowell. Their dad came from a big family in Tewksbury where eight of the nine kids attended what was then known as ULowell. Besides Daniel there was Joanne, Jeanne, Joseph, John, Michael, Dianne and Marsha.
“My parents had nine children to provide for, so it was ULowell or bust for each of us,” says Daniel, who earned his business degree with concentrations in finance and information systems from the business school in 1990.
The degree has served him well. He’s worked for the past decade at Microsoft, where he was national director of digital strategy and transformation before recently co-founding the software giant’s growth board. Last year, Jack and Jessica invited him to speak to Manning School students about his career path.
“Am I proud they chose my alma mater? Undoubtedly,” Daniel says of his kids. “But what pleases me most is the intelligence of their decision-making. Not only will they receive a highly competitive undergraduate education, but they’ll also leave us with the financial means to help them down the road. It’s an absolute win-win.”