Philosophy Pre Grad Intern Sophia Poitier
"I am very pleased with my IE experience. As part of my internship I was required to observe my mentor while he is instructing his class. From this I have noticed much more the hidden curriculum of teaching Philosophy. One would think that the Intro to Philosophy class that my mentor Steven is teaching would mainly be taught in the way a history class is: memorizing facts about past philosophers and why those facts are important to philosophy today. This is not the case, however. Steven strives to teach philosophical technique and argument style. He does this by presenting philosophical ideas as arguments. He then shows counter examples and why the argument is taking place. This systematic approach benefits not only those who are philosophy majors, but all other majors as well. Getting them to think more systematically helps students with anything from essay writing to solving math problems. This approach is something I will remember when I am in Steven's shoes.
The IE internship also helped me select a paper for my writing sample. Writing samples are important for philosophy grad school applications and philosophy in general. In the quest to find an adequate paper I had to do some soul searching to find out what it is that I am really interested in (in the field of philosophy). I recently got involved in USAS (University Students against Sweatshops) and I experienced a passion that I had not felt in a very long time. It dawned on me that human rights are very important to me and USAS showed me how activism can help solve human rights problems. This led me to realize that I really want to focus on ethics for my philosophical career, especially applied ethics. So for my paper I chose to write about Susan Wolf's Morality and the View from Here. It talks about our psychological motivations for morality-a topic of importance for ethics as a whole.
One of the main "take aways" that I have gotten from this experience is to be assertive when it comes to your field of study. The IE program has given me the confidence to go beyond the minimum requirements and reach out to others in the department. I discovered that this is how you really get involved in your field because it is the only way people know that you are serious. I have also been able to lay some worries to rest since I have been involved with IE. After seeing what grad classes are like and talking with professors and grad students, I feel as if I have a handle on the graduate school world."