Global Seminar Spotlight: John Carroll

John Carroll
Dr. Carroll during one of his many trips to Botswana, where he conducts field research and brings students.
Monday, November 16, 2020

Global Seminar Spotlight: John Carroll

This is a continuation of our "IANR is Global" series, which highlights the many ways internationalization is woven through the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources: through research collaboration, government and private industry partnerships, extension work, student educational experiences and the IANR community from around the world.

This edition is specifically focused on the many global voices we have or have invited to campus who will be sharing their expertise through seminars during fall semester 2020. John Carroll, professor and director of the School of Natural Resources, will be serving as one of the panelists for a discussion on how faculty who are engaged globally can involve their students in the work on Wednesday, November 18 at 11:00 a.m. as part of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources' Global Voices Seminar Series. We appreciate the expertise we are fortunate to have from all over the world, as shown by their many and varied contributions to the work of the university and our continued mission to create a globally engaged institution. To this end, we want to help our campus community get to know each other (and the world) more, starting with these experts.

Where is home for you? Where did you receive your education? 

I am from Boston, but I am also a first generation American and first generation university student.  I was interested in wildlife my whole life so I knew where I was going to university (UMass) and my major by middle school—did that.  Being a first gen I did not realize until late in the game as an undergrad that I had potential to go to grad school, so I turned into a perennial student finishing my PhD at the University of North Dakota. 

Tell us a little about your path to where you are now. 

I made a few smart decisions early on that helped pave the way for ending up here at UNL.  The first was to not being tied to my local geography.  A willingness to move opened a lot of doors for me, so since the early 1980s I have lived in 7 states and 3 countries.  I also figured out that there were some things that I am really good at and tried to use those to help enhance my career.  I would say when those doors opened I did not let them close out of fear.  No matter how they turned out they made me a better person and better professional. 

Are you involved in any international collaborations? 

Pretty much my whole career.  I still take students to Africa for my study abroad program and I am active in the IUCN-Species Survival Commission.

Why is it important for institutions like the University of Nebraska to create opportunities to hear from people with diverse, global experiences? There is nothing worse than not seeing other places and cultures.  One of the first things students learn from me is that we have a great deal to learn from Africans regarding wildlife conservation—Americans tend to think we have all the answers.  It is fun and awesome to see what we know about through a different cultural lens.

What is one piece of advice you would share with students, especially those interested in an international career? Have no fear, and get out and do things while you are young.  Also, sometimes mom does not need to hear about all your adventures.  My mom still worries about me.  

Be sure to tune into our discussion with Drs. Carroll, Danao and Awada at 11:00 a.m. CST Wednesday, November 18 and check out the rest of the events UNL has in store to celebrate International Education Week 2020!


Are you giving a seminar in fall or spring 2020 (or the future) and have an international element to your work, studies or experiences you'd like to see highlighted? Contact Brianne at