Philosophy

Philosophy DSA Libby Burton

Libby Burton

(she/her)

k18eb01@kzoo.edu
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Majors: Philosophy and Computer Science
Minor: German Studies
Study Abroad: Erlangen, Germany
Best Adjective to Describe You: Didactic


In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
The fantastic community of students and professors who learn, think, and laugh together.

What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Everyone can do philosophy! Your thoughts are always welcome and encouraged because we are here to support one another. Philosophy is more than tweed jackets and ivory towers; it gives us the words we need to describe the human condition. Reach out to the department and give it a try!

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
At the expense of a cliché, life is too short to do things you do not enjoy. K has the resources to put you on a path you can be truly excited about, you just have to take those opportunities.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?
19th Century Philosophy was my favorite class because it is where I discovered my love of philosophy. By the end of 2nd week, I was considering maybe picking up a philosophy minor, and by 10th week I knew my true passion lies in philosophy.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
When I first joined K, I had the intentions of only being a computer science major and working in IT after college. However, thanks to K’s open curriculum, I had the opportunity to take philosophy and German Studies courses, which changed the entire trajectory of my life.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
I have had the privilege of being a teaching assistant for both the philosophy and the computer science departments. I am also involved with K’s philosophy club, Homework Champions Tutoring (HCT) which partners with the Refugee Outreach Collective, and I have participated in an IT internship at Kellogg.

What is your SIP?
For my SIP I will be working on providing an English translation and philosophical commentary of several essays from German philosopher Martin Seel’s book “Die Macht des Erscheinens” (The Power of Appearance). Seel’s philosophy of aesthetics is some of the most profound theory I have come across, so I am always beyond happy to discuss it with anyone.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
Ultimately, I would like to become a professor in philosophy. My plans after K are to apply for graduate schools. However, I would like to take a gap year and participate in some sort of post-undergraduate program like Fulbright to gain teaching experience and improve my German.

Philosophy DSA Jessica Gracik

Jessica Gracik

(she/hers)

k18jg03@kzoo.edu
Hometown: Algonquin, Illinois
Majors: Philosophy and Political Science
Minor: Classics
Study Abroad: Rome, Italy
Best Adjective to Describe You: Passionate


In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
“Philosophy happens when life breaks down!” This department – the professors, students, and TAs – prioritize the individual to provide new ways of seeing the world, your peers, and yourself. The material you learn here helps you situate yourself within the world. You will take the lessons you learn with you for years to come.

What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Take a 100-level course and go to office hours with your TA. All the TAs absolutely LOVE philosophy and will talk about it all day if they could. They also know how dense the readings can be and are more than happy to break things down into much simpler terms.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
You have to try everything to know what you like! You may have interests and passions you never would have expected, and you may hate things you thought you would enjoy. This is the time to try and fail, you would rather figure out you don’t want to be a doctor by shadowing one in your undergrad than by doing it in med school.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?
Existentialism and Film. I took this course my first year and then was the TA for it my junior year. I learned to love philosophy in this class and continue to turn back to the readings in the summer and when I have breaks. This course changed my perspective on my life and history and provided me with the tools to confront my own agency. Even if you don’t like philosophy, this course will teach you something you remember forever.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
The open curriculum allowed me to double major, have a minor, and still take many courses in other subjects. Some of the most interesting classes I have taken have been in things I never would have expected. Even better, those courses have added significantly to my understanding of my major and situating my knowledge in a wider framework. It also allowed me to successfully avoid taking classes I was absolutely not interested in.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
After my first year I had an internship in Washington, D.C. I have worked on political campaigns all three years, I was the KCCSR Secretary my junior year, and I was a TA.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I hope to go to Law School after I graduate.