Erlan Wheeler III

Class Year



Kenosha, Wis.




Computer Science

Erlan Wheeler III has always been interested in math, so it was an easy decision to major in mathematics. Since arriving at Carthage, he has even been doing hands-on research. Last summer he went to Texas A&M University for five weeks for a pre-REU program. He describes the program as “a research grant for people before their sophomore year of college. I was paid to do math research and present the results at a math conference.” Erlan plans to apply for the REU program this next summer. 

Juggling a math major and a computer science minor gives Erlan a lot of career options. “One option is to be a college math professor, which would allow me to do research,” he said. “Another option is to go into the industry. The practical skills of computer science and the logical skills of math go very well together, so I could be some kind of computer programmer.”

“One of the great opportunities Carthage has given me is the chance to run cross country and track.”

Erlan Wheeler III, ’16

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“My favorite professor by far is Prof. Snavely. I have only had him for Discrete Structures, but I look forward to taking more classes with him in the future.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class so far was Discrete Structures with Dr. Snavely. It is a math class, but it is different from other math classes in that it is more about logic and problem solving. I took this class during J-Term, so I was able to focus entirely on it.” 

Campus involvement

“I am on the cross country and track teams. I have an on-campus job as a media service tech, where I make sure that all of the equipment is working in the classrooms and that professors can use the projectors. I am in the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Fraternity and I am on the executive board of the Math Club, where I am the historian. I attend Honors Council, which is a service-based club, and I am also in Swing Dancing Club.” 

Opportunities at Carthage

“One of the great opportunities Carthage has given me is the chance to run cross country and track in college. I really enjoy running competitively, but I would never be able to make the team at a D1 or D2 school. The training is so much harder. I have already improved so much, and I still have three years to go.”  

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite moment is definitely Swing Club, which I look forward to every week.” 

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise so far has been how much my running has improved. Senior year of high school I ran a 5K in 18:17, and by the end of my freshman year, my best time was 16:27 and I was consistently running mid-16s.” 

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“I think I have always known that I was going to study math since I have always been good at it and it really interests me. I’m the kind of person who reads books about math for fun. I’m pretty sure 8-year-old me would be impressed.” 

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Make sure you have some talent in math before majoring in it. If you do, it will be fun. In college, math changes from the computational stuff you do in high school to proofs and logic. Both are important, but I think that the college kind of math is more fun and interesting.”