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Shayan Nik Akhtar

Junior Philosophy major Shayan Nik Akhtar got his senior honors thesis published in Apeiron: Student Journal of Philosophy, Volume 9, edited by Slavoj Zizek. The title of the paper is "The Privation Theory of Moral Evil and Hick's Soul-Making Theodicy". Congratulations!



Emma McDonald

ECU Philosophy Club President Emma McDonald and Professor Brian Inavat discussed the virtues of studying philosophy with future students and their parents at ECU's Open House.



Alexandra Nolte

Senior Philosophy Major Alexandra Nolte traveled to Germany for the Cologne Summer School in Philosophy. This year's Cologne Summer School was led by Richard Feldman and Earl Conee, who spent the week presenting and defending various aspects of their evidentialist epistemology. Alex was the only undergraduate admitted to the Cologne Summer School this year.

G. W. F. Hegel tells Alex about The Absolute at the Heumarkt in Cologne.


Alex Nolte at the Albertus Magnus monument in front of the Main Building at the University of Cologne



Katie Chandler will graduate in May as a quadruple major in
History, Philosophy, Great Books, and Religious Studies.

As a freshman, Chandler was a history major. She took advantage of the Italy Intensives Program and discovered an interest for philosophy. The summer after her freshman year she studied abroad in South Africa and confirmed her love for philosophy, adding it as a second major.

During her sophomore year she was able to study abroad in India and found a passion in Eastern religion, later adding religious studies as a third major.

Contributed by Katie Chandler

Last semester, Chandler added great books as a major after interviewing Dr. Helena Feder, ECU's director of the great books program, about women in academia for a history assignment.

Chandler said that studying abroad really made her connect and appreciate her education because it is something that's taken for granted in America. Her mom is a big reason she's travelled so much because she is always so supportive.

Because of her many trips abroad, she was a global ambassador for two years at The International House, ECU's headquarters for international affairs. She loved it because she helped students find the right study abroad program for them and scholarships to pay for it.

She said studying abroad with four majors hasn't put her behind because each trip allowed her to take classes that counted towards each degree. In addition to her studies, Chandler is president of Phi Sigma Tau philosophy honor society, president of the Great Books and English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta and historian of the history honor society, Phi Alpha Theta.

She wakes up every day at 5:30 a.m. to start her day at the gym and is motivated to go to class, work, and club meetings throughout the day. "I really rely on the energy I get from the gym," Chandler says.

Last year she was co-chair of the Dean's Student Leadership Council in Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences where she served as representative for the philosophy and religious studies department. A professor nominates a student to be on the council and every department has a representative.

"We all represent the interests of our departments from a student perspective," she said.

Chandler says that over the years her time management skills have progressed. As a leader in numerous clubs, she is also a philosophy and religion tutor at the Pirate Academic Success Center.

"I like to see the different ways people learn," she said. "The students are so helpful."

Chandler said she would love to become a professor teaching Eastern Religions, specifically Hinduism and for now is focusing on applying to graduate school.

Author: Bre Lewis Katie's Pirate Profile



Find out Why:

Philosophy is a Great Major

Get a job. Choose your career. Be prepared for the unexpected.



ECU Philosophy Alums Make Their Marks in Religion

Joseph G. Wolyniak
BA in Philosophy, 2004
Episcopal Chaplain, Princeton University

Wolyniak comes to the Diocese of New Jersey after serving as Missioner for Discipleship & Theological Education in the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, where he worked in the Office of Faith Formation in support of campus ministries at several colleges and universities across the state. He was ordained to the transitional diaconate and completed his Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology from the University of Oxford in June, 2016.

Wolyniak has served in multiple chaplaincy settings, including working with undergraduates and seminarians at Duke University Chapel, graduate students and fellows at Saint John's College Chapel-Oxford, and a variety of students and staff at the multi-campus outreach of Raleigh Episcopal Campus Ministry.

Billy Atwell
BA in Philosophy, 2008
Chief Communications Officer

Billy Atwell has been appointed Chief Communications Officer for the Arlington, Virginia Diocese by Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge effective Aug. 1, 2017. He will report directly to the Office of the Bishop, serve as the diocesan spokesperson, and directly oversee the Office of Communications, the Arlington Catholic Herald, media relations, publications, and digital and social media.

Since 2014, Atwell has served as Director of Communications for the Diocese of Raleigh. Prior to that, he was Director of Communications for the Diocese of Venice, Fla., and also held positions in digital communications, program management and public policy in the Washington, D.C., area.

What Can You Do With a Philosophy Degree?

Reisman says that when it comes to complex issues, the abstract and systematic thinking he developed in his philosophy courses helped him make important decisions. "A lot of what we do here at NASA is deciding which new ideas should be [carried forward]," he explains, "and there are all kinds of questions we have to consider. If you choose the wrong thing, the government loses tens of billions of dollars in investment.

"A philosophy major will prepare you for so many aspects of life, not just work, but issues of life and death-if you do it right," he says. " What I would say is get the philosophy degree for your life."