Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Major: Philosophy and Biology
When I started my education at Seattle Pacific University, the idea of doing a philosophy major was not on my radar. It was not until I happened to sign up for a class with Dr. Layman during my sophomore year that I had considered the option. Quickly I decided to add philosophy as a second major — a complimentary discipline to my other major, biology.
Philosophy is a perfect second major or minor. Philosophy classes tend to be very skill based — you practice communication skills and evaluating arguments from different viewpoints.
I particularly enjoyed attending cadre meetings — an informal philosophy discussion group. It was a great opportunity to hear perspectives about current issues that might not have come up in class, and to practice philosophical discussion. If cadre meetings are available, I strongly recommend students who are interested in philosophy to attend.
I benefited greatly from the philosophy classes I took from Dr. Layman, Dr. Rice, Dr. McDonald, and Dr. Saunders. These professors invested in their students and often stayed after class to continue discussions.
Dr. McDonald advised my senior thesis, and he spent time talking with me as I tried to make sense of emergent properties. The willingness he had to take extra time and work through my half-baked ideas is something that I try to emulate and encourage in my students.
I am currently a doctoral candidate in history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh, where I have taught classes in medical and environmental ethics.
In my research, I do historically informed philosophy of science. I mainly investigate philosophical questions that arise in the sciences (e.g., questions about scientific concepts and their development, scientific reasoning methods, and ethics). My current work is on the concepts of ecological health and function, and how human values influence how we study and manage ecosystems.