“I am a graduate student in Political Science. I teach courses on political philosophy and international relations and am writing a dissertation on the relationship between natural science and political philosophy in the thought of Plato.”
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
Teaching! It is such a privilege to converse with students about their understandings of justice and how we ought to live. A classroom produces an intimate space where serious conversations between strangers may lead to friendship and continued conversation.
How did Carthage prepare you?
I had a chance to pursue research over the summer on John Milton’s Paradise Lost through a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience grant with Dr. Seemee Ali; this showed me how difficult and yet rewarding academic research could be. In addition, the senior thesis projects in Great Ideas and English provided opportunities to push my heart and mind to their outer limits. Because of these opportunities, I was ready to hit the ground running in graduate school. Additionally, the inclusion of a number of discussion based seminar courses attuned me to be sensitive to how I might be able to get shy students in the classroom to share their valuable insights.
How has your liberal arts education helped you?
A liberal arts education isn’t about memorizing facts out of dusty old books; rather, it an opportunity to engage in a living, wide ranging discussion with diverse minds from different times and places. It trains us not to immediately react but to listen and reflect before we act. This thoughtful reflection about the circumstances we find ourselves in helps us to understand when we should lead and when we should follow the leadership of others. This leads to a kind of flexibility not found in other kinds of education, and one which allowed me to excel both as City Year Detroit Corps Member for a year and as a graduate student in Texas.
Tips for current Carthage students:
You have world class professors at Carthage–don’t take them for granted. If you have a question go talk to them. Also, take your Western Heritage sequence your freshman year seriously. You may never have such leisure to read and think like you do while you are in college. These books can absolutely change your life–you just have to give them a chance. These books are written for you–they speak to your deepest concerns, and you need them more than you might suspect.
Favorite Carthage memories:
My favorite memory was meeting the love of my life, my wife, Elizabeth. We met in a Classical Literature class, and our friendship bloomed over discussions of epic poetry, Greek tragedy, and Plato and Nietzsche. After class one day, I said to her, “Don’t you think that Homer was really ahead of his time?” and she rebuked me, saying, “No Homer isn’t ahead of his time, he is just able to see what is human, and we see ourselves in what he shows us.” What a woman! She is also pursuing a Ph.D. at Baylor in Political Science; we look forward to a life of learning and love. Honestly, I cannot put into words how grateful I am that I found Carthage. It put me on a path in life better than any I could.