Political Science & Philosophy, 2015

ColleenI have always been interested in the means by which individuals make their decisions and determine personal codes of ethics. What could motivate someone someone to take actions that appear to others as reprehensible and immoral? How, exactly, does one do the “right” thing? What is the difference between “right” and “wrong”? My first semester at UNC, I found the perfect course to help guide me in exploring these questions. Geoff Sayre-McCord’s Phil 160 class, “Introduction to Ethics” was the perfect starting point for my Philosophy career. Additionally, I mentioned to my advisor that I had participated in Mock Trial and debate in high school and wanted to pursue a similar interactive extracurricular activity that would help put my critical thinking skills into practice. She recommended that I speak to Jan Boxill and participate on the Ethics Bowl team. At the time I was a 17 year-old first year and had no idea the degree to which that small recommendation would impact my Carolina experience. This fall will be my third and (unfortunately) final year on the Ethics Bowl team. The encouragement and guidance that Jan has freely given to me and the time I have spent with her both in and outside the classroom have been indispensable during my time as an undergraduate at UNC. In studying philosophy, especially through the Ethics Bowl, I have been able to sharpen my critical thinking skills, re-evaluate my own conceptions of morality, and clearly articulate my thoughts. Most importantly, I have become proficient in conveying my opinions and positions to others who may not agree with me.

For me, a career in law is on the horizon and my philosophy education certainly has embraced and enhanced this passion of mine. This fall, I will be submitting my applications to law schools and beginning my three years of legal education in the fall of 2015. My area of interest is constitutional law and the Supreme Court. I aspire to be a federal judge one day in order to employ my philosophy skills and weigh the merits of cases presented by two opposing parties. While I am sure the same is applicable for all departments at UNC, I would advise potential philosophy majors to approach their professors and get to know them on a personal level. Each professor with whom I have done that (Jan Boxill, Geoff Sayre-McCord, Keith Simmons, and James Lesher) has graced me with incredible advice, encouragement, recommendations, and aided me in gaining the confidence to pursue my passion.

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