Alumni Spotlight

Mary-Lynn Riche '09

Where are you working now and how did your undergraduate degree in Philosophy prepare you for this position?
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What advice do you have for current majors preparing to enter the workforce with a degree in Philosophy?

With my philosophy degree as a strong foundation, I was able to go on to get a master's degree in Education.  That program felt like a breeze compared to the dense material you have to read and write about as a philosophy major!  After graduating, I worked as a 6th grade English teacher in a large public school.  It was hectic, but also funny and rewarding.

As a philosophy major you really sharpen your reading, writing, and reasoning skills, which helped prepare me not only for graduate school, but for my teaching position, as well.  In philosophy you have to think on your feet and argue, which is most of what I do as a middle school English teacher!  I've also done lessons on forming basic arguments, finding contradictions, etc for my students, which they love!

 

What advice do you have for perspective majors considering Philosophy as their course of study?

My obviously biased opinion is to just go for it.  You will be challenged, but that's what college should be about.  Don't worry if you're not sure what you want to do after college, or if a philosophy degree will hinder you in some way.  I worked two jobs in fashion before I started my graduate program, and none of them had any problem with my degree.  Just use the degree to help you sharpen skills that you will need for any job, like critical thinking.  Like I said before, having strong critical thinking and reasoning skills is important for any job.

 

I think that what you've learned from your degree is how to form an argument, so go out there and prove to future employers that your degree has prepared you for that role!  When I was interviewing for teaching jobs I was up against candidates who had studied education all along.  I had to prove to future employers that my degree in Philosophy differentiated me from those candidates in positive ways- and it worked!  As a philosophy major you've really honed your critical thinking and reasoning skills, and honestly that seems worthwhile for almost any job.

 

John B. Noss Prize in Philosophy

 

 

Winners:

2016-17: Nathaniel Reynolds and Joshua Young

  • 2015-16: David Song
  • 2014-15: Natasha Sweitzer
  • 2013-14: Andrew Meriwether
  • 2012-13: Caitlin Brust
  • 2011-12: Abby Sheppard
  • 2010-11: Allison Massof
  • 2009-10: Daniel Kaplan
  • 2008-09: Tim Stoll
  • 2007-08: Corinne McCarthy
  • 2006-07: Jon O'Brien and David Taylor
  • 2005-06: Elizabeth Herrle
  • 2004-05: Bryan Pilkington
Caitlin Brust '14 and Andrew Meriwether '14 accepting their Noss Prize Awards at the Senior Awards Ceremony in the Spring of 2014.
  • Students of the Class of 2014 (Andrew Meriwether and Caitlin Brust)  participate in the annual Senior Awards Ceremony in the Barshinger Center for Musical Arts.
  • 2003-04: Evan Gumz
  • 2002-03: Deniz Dagci and Michelle Jenkins
  • 2001-02: Deniz Dagci
  • 2000-01: Ali Mehmet Oduncu and Andrei Cimpian

 

Student Research

 

  • Dan Kaplan '12 presenting his project "Objectivity, Rule-Following, and Joint Commitment" at this year's research fair.

Dan Kaplan '12 presenting his project "Objectivity, Rule-Following, and Joint Commitment" at a Spring research fair. 

In recent years, many students have undertaken significant research with Philosophy faculty. These include:

2011: Daniel Kaplan ('12), "Joint Caring about Truth" (with Bennett Helm).

2011: Allison Massof ('11), "Confident Blame: Justifying Judgments of Culpability"

2009: Kathryn Kutz ('10), "Truth, Emotion, and Shared Commitment" (with Bennett Helm).

2009: Corinne McCarthy, "Control, Beliefs, and Moral Responsibility"

2009: Joseph Kamp ('09), "A World Without Persons"