Senior Showcase: Zak Carroll and EmmaRae King-Carroll

EmmaRae King-Carroll and Zak Carroll. Image sourced from Facebook.

Zak Carroll, senior Oxbridge: Institutions and Policy and international relations major, and EmmaRae King-Carroll, Oxbridge: Music major will be entering graduate school at Yale University much as they are here at William Jewell College: together.

The pair – married in August of 2018 – met early-on in their Jewell careers and, after a close friendship, developed a romantic relationship throughout their time at the College. After getting engaged during their year abroad – both spending time at Oxford as part of the Oxbridge Honors Program – the two began their senior year as newlyweds.

Both Zak and EmmaRae see their relationship as a progression of events born out of a good friendship and close proximity to each other – something for which they have Jewell to thank.

“We were really, really good friends for our first year of college. And then, we both were really available – we weren’t seeing anyone else – so it’s just something we sort of fell into. Oxford was a lot of fun, it’s just been growth I guess. It’s been like a progression of events, we’ve done some really cool stuff together, some really hard stuff too,” EmmaRae King-Carroll said of their relationship.

“I think that’s one of the coolest parts about Jewell is that nobody really does things in isolation, we all have a common experience that brings us together – whether that’s in a romantic relationship, whether it’s in just a personal relationship. For Emma and I, it was both – because we were just personal, just friends at first before we ever began dating,” Zak Carroll said in agreement.

The couple will shortly be leaving their home in Kansas City, Missouri for one in New Haven, Connecticut, where they will begin their graduate programs at Yale in the fall. Zak will be working on his master’s of divinity while EmmaRae will be doing a master’s of art and religion in liturgical studies in the University’s Institute of Sacred Music

“It was in Dr. Rigler’s class when she first brought up the notion of different styles of worship and how some are transcendent and bringing others into glory and heaven and bringing someone in verses the imminent nature of Jesus Christ being reciprocal and open to everyone.  Also, Jay Carter introduced me to the program. He’s the one that told me I could do it and be in it, he helped me with my application, so really if it wasn’t for him I never would’ve applied,” EmmaRae King-Carroll said of her program.

“What got me interested in it at Jewell is the institutional side of I&P [Oxbridge: Institutions and Policy], and how do we make organizations better and how can we make them more efficient. And I was able to, at Oxford, take a theology tutorial,” said Zak Carroll, in describing how his experience at Jewell prepared him for his master’s. “I knew I was interested in theology but that really solidified me wanting to do theology. And then I was able to do a project with Dr. Benz here, a distinction in religion project my senior year. That really helped out and seeing that it’s something I can do and really enjoy and just kind of confirming that passion.”

Proving true closeness – but still showcasing their nuanced individualism – the two gave similar answers when asked about their favorite part of their time at the College.

“I think the most memorable part [of my Jewell journey] would have to be on freshman move in day, my first year, I met EmmaRae, I met Meg [Anderson] and Haley [Hart] and we all hung out and went to the library and ‘broke’ into the White Science Center, and it was just a lot of fun,” Zak Carroll said. “And it’s iconic because they’re still my best friends and I’m married to one of them. So the fact that that happened on the first day and they’re still my best friends is such a cool thing.”

“There is no one specific memory I have to sum up my Jewell experience. Like move in day I met Zak, Haley Hart and Megan Anderson and we have been fast friends ever since, and that was really important to me. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. I remember taking a class with Dr. Rigler that really changed my perspective on Christian worship. I remember my very first day at Oxford when I got dropped off at LMH [Lady Margaret Hall], and I was all alone. Just the whole thing. I remember coming back and feeling confused and unsure of what was going on. I remember singing in the Schola Cantorum with Jay Carter – one of my favorite experiences,” EmmaRae King-Carroll said.

Although they will be beginning a new, exciting adventure at Yale, the couple will miss Jewell – which has provided such a sense of home over the years.

“At Jewell what I’ve been most thankful for is just how small it is and how able you are to form relationships with people and have to work through things for better or for worse again and again. That allows you to make a difference, it allows you to build relationships and a community that you won’t be able to build as well outside of these confines,” Zak Carroll said.

Nodding in agreement, EmmaRae King-Carroll left some closing advice for current students of her soon-to-be alma mater.

“Some people are worth the heartbreak that you’ll only will get to know them for so many years before you move halfway across the country from them. Some people are worth it, especially the ones that make you forget that there is only a really limited amount of time. Just embrace it, because it’s better than not feeling anything at all,” EmmaRae King-Carroll said, while Zak Carroll emphatically agreed.

Savannah Hawley

Savannah Hawley is the Managing Editor and Chief Copy Editor of The Hilltop Monitor. She is a senior majoring in Oxbridge: Literature & Theory and French.

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