Philosophy Graduate Profiles
Philosophy majors end up in an astonishing range of careers. See this article to get a sense for the variety (and for how much they pay!). Below, see some profiles of recent graduates from the Philosophy program at Butler University.
Jill Gentry graduated in May 2015 with majors in Political Science and Spanish, and a minor in Philosophy.
“Upon graduation from Butler, I accepted a scholarship to teach English for one year in Madrid, Spain, where I also worked for an international travel agency part-time, volunteered weekly for refugees, and picked up Arabic as my third language in my spare time. While my experience in Spain showed me that a life on the move is for me, I knew that I missed Indianapolis and wanted to return to the city as my next destination. Since returning to Indianapolis, I joined a data-technology staffing firm headquartered in Indianapolis, MS Companies. MS Companies is now one of the 20 fastest growing companies in Indianapolis, and I serve as the company’s Corporate Liaison developing and communicating company information alongside the CEO, Vice Presidents, and General Counsel.
I knew that pursuing Philosophy at Butler would teach me how to think and write critically under strict deadlines, which is vital for my position with MS Companies. For example, I remember a discussion from my Philosophy of Biology class in which we debated the use and mention of “parts” and “systems” when referring to plant biology. Words like “parts” and “systems”, we concluded, can be thrown around without clarification. At MS Companies, I’m putting this exact conversation into a corporate context as I work to understand and standardize the company’s “systems”, “data”, and other practices. Today, I know that I have the confidence to succeed in my position because of the training I received from Philosophy. I can say without a doubt that Philosophy prepared me to respond and contribute to a variety of settings at complex levels that are challenging and rewarding.”
Kristin Glazner graduated in philosophy and journalism in 1999. Kristin obtained her JD at IU School Law and worked until recently at Baker & Daniels. In 2010 Super Lawyers selected Kristin as one of Indiana's "Rising Stars," a distinction aimed at recognizing the top up-and-coming lawyers in Indiana.
She wrote the following opinion piece for the Butler Collegian:
Philosophy Teaches You How to Think, Not to Waste Time
By Kristin Glazner
There I was staring at a computer screen page. The page was filled, but it wasn't that great. It was the beginnings of my honors thesis.
I guess I should mention initially that writing a thesis is painful, but I am sure quite rewarding. I am at the beginning stage. I am still finding it painful.
Anyway, I was pondering deep thoughts while looking at the computer. I got frustrated and called up a friend. His first question is what is the paper about. I start with "It is a philosophy thesis..." And he interrupts me. He scolds, "Why are you studying philosophy?" You know, that is a good question, but what is more interesting is why does it get asked. No one would ask a chemistry, biology, or business major that question.
Philosophy just doesn't get enough credit. Dave Barry described philosophy students as they students that do drugs, take long lunches, and talk about nothingness. That is a hard stigma to crack. Philosophy is simply about viewing the world a bit differently. It is about asking the tough questions and wrestling with the answers. More people should give philosophy a chance. It is not so bad, especially at Butler.
There is Dr. Dulckeit, the quick-witted German department chair with heels; Dr. van der Linden, very funny and from the land of tulips and cheese; Dr. Beversluis, the most relaxed and pleasant man you will ever meet; and Dr. Stuart Glennan, who is on sabbatical so I do not need to butter him up for awhile. They are all funny. They are all brilliant. And they all are worth taking a class from.
Now, what about getting a job and being a philosophy major? Should Mom and Dad be nervous about junior's future? Philosophy teaches you how to think. Not what to think, but how to think. In a technological era where everything is outdated once it is created, thinking skills are the only things that will last. It is also the single best major to study if you are interested in going to law school. Philosophy majors test higher on the LSAT than any other major.
So, that is why I study philosophy. And hell, being a philosophy major sounds impressive. So for all you undecided students, take a philosophy class. It is a funky major.
Caleb Hamman graduated summa cum laude in 2011 with a BA in philosophy and political science. During his senior year, Caleb won the competitive US-UK Fulbright Fellowship, and subsequently completed a year of study and research at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland. Caleb also received a presidential fellowship at the University of Notre Dame, where he is now pursuing a PhD in political science and peace studies.
"Philosophy at Butler University is a great experience. The department is broad enough to house specialists in the major fields, and at the same time small enough to provide an intimate learning environment for students. The skills I developed studying philosophy at Butler-especially clear thinking, writing, and speaking-have, without question, contributed significantly to the success of my post-graduate endeavors. Close relationships with department faculty gave me considerable support both during my study at Butler and as I made plans for life after graduation. On a personal level, studying philosophy at Butler had revolutionary effects on my perspectives. The unexamined became complex and exciting. I also made lasting friends through the department's small, seminar style classes and through meetings of the philosophy club. I short, studying philosophy at Butler is an experience I would highly recommend."
Peter Soldato graduated in May 2010 with a double major in philosophy and religion.
“Since attending Butler, I have been attending University of Chicago Law School. I am about to start my second year of law school. This past summer, I worked for Elkhart Legal Aid Services, a clinic which provides free legal aid to low-income persons in need of representation. I hope to continue this sort of work after graduation.
I value my philosophy degree because of its comprehensive nature—my philosophy major gave me the ability to ponder the most important philosophical issues of many different disciplines. Science, aesthetics, logic, morality, religion, and political science were all explored—sometimes all in the same semester! I think that this breadth of learning made me a well-rounded individual, capable of understanding some important issues in many different areas.
Also, I value the time I spent pondering philosophical issues—many students never have a chance to consider these sorts of questions, and it is an unfortunate fact of life that most people don't have time to think about philosophical issues once they have entered the "real world." The time I spent reading the works of great thinkers, both religious and secular, led me to reflect on my own life and form my own set of values. It is this reflection that led me to pursue a non-traditional path in law - while working at a non-profit law firm certainly does not maximize my earning capability, it is consistent with my core beliefs and so makes me more happy than any paycheck ever could.
I enjoyed studying philosophy at Butler in particular because of the smaller class sizes and approachable professors. Professors were happy to talk before or after class, and they were always available for longer meetings during office hours. It was during these personal discussions that I was able to work through tough material, and I know many other philosophy students took advantage of these meetings in much the same way.
I especially enjoyed being able to work on my honors thesis with Prof. Glennan. Working with him week after week for almost a year really gave me a great insight into the creation of a scholarly work. Prof. Glennan always went out of his way to help me, even when it seemed that I would never make it past deciding on a thesis topic! I really value the experience of being able to feel like a philosopher—even a novice, struggling philosopher—for a short period.”
Taylor Stuckert graduated in May 2005 with a major in philosophy.
"After Butler, I moved to New York City to work for a large international law firm. I then became interested in economic development and joined the Peace Corps in Bolivia. My program in Bolivia was eventually evacuated due to political turmoil and I ended up back in Wilmington, OH, my hometown and where I currently live. Since being back in Wilmington, I started an economic development non-profit,Energize Clinton County, with a high school friend following the loss of our town's largest employer. Through this venture I've been fortunate enough to attend and speak at many national conferences, such as Pop!Tech and the Institute for the Future's 10 Year Forecast. I am still working with my organization and completing my M.A. in Community Planning at the University of Cincinnati, School of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning.
"I chose to study Philosophy at Butler because I wanted to develop skills for critical thinking. Studying Philosophy helped me to acquire the tools and knowledge to develop and articulate an understanding of the world around me. I can say that without a doubt my experience of studying Philosophy at Butler radically changed how I receive and respond to the world around me, and has greatly contributed to the post-graduate successes and experiences that I've had and will certainly contribute to my experiences to come."
Robert Warren graduated as a philosophy major in May 2011 and was selected for Teach for America.
"No amount of thought experiments or logical analyses will prepare you for the first time you set foot in front of 25 inner city New Orleans students, but preparation in how to critically assess a situation and respond to it will prove invaluable. My name is Robert Warren and I am currently teaching 9th grade English at L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans through a program called Teach for America. I spend my days in a world very unlike the halls of Jordan or the tables in Atherton, most of my students read 2 or more years below grade level, all live below the poverty line, and fights, gangs and drugs are more the rule than the exception.
"My study of philosophy at Butler prepared me for the challenges I now face by teaching me to critically consider people and events without pretense or bias. The ability to listen without judgment and to problem solve without prejudice has allowed me to gain the trust of my students in a way that transcends race and socioeconomics. Every day my goal is to leave my students with something worthwhile floating around in their heads, and the words of Plato, Epictetus and even Nietzsche, have found their way into my lessons. I am only able to pour out my passion for critical thinking because I was surrounded by great students and faculty who pushed me during my own time at Butler. So as I move forward in planning lessons and getting to know my students, I sincerely hope that I can spark in them the same fire of intellectual curiosity that took flame in me during my time at Butler.
Alex Wessel graduated from Butler in 2008 with a degree in Philosophy and Chemistry. He currently attends Indiana University School of Medicine. During 2011-12 he did full-time medical research and worked on his MA in Philosophy with a concentration in Bioethics at Indiana University.
"I am really happy with my decision to study philosophy at Butler. The faculty works hard at challenging students to think in new and creative ways, and the small class sizes provide an intimate environment in which true personal growth can occur. In college a lot of pre-med students only consider studying the sciences. However, I think it is also important to concentrate on the humanities in order to become a better-rounded person (the type that medical school admissions committees are looking for). For me, philosophy was a great choice because it addresses the "big questions" that are truly at the heart of medicine. Almost every day I in the hospital I encounter ethical dilemmas that are every bit as challenging as the scientific ones; and I believe that my background in philosophy has helped me to deal with them in an appropriate manner."