Jennifer Bulcock '05
Why did you major in philosophy?
I initially decided to take philosophy classes because I had heard philosophers score highest on the LSAT and do very well in law school. After taking my first seminar, philosophy of law, I fell in love with the discipline and how philosophers thought, wrote and approached the world. As a young woman it gave me the tools and frameworks I desperately needed to understand the world around me — a world newly filled with threats after September 11th and many unanswered and complex moral questions.
Interesting stuff you did as a UNH undergrad? Thesis, study abroad, etc.
I had many fantastic opportunities as an undergraduate at UNH. The summer after my junior year I received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to research and evaluate the U.S. compensation system for Iraqi civilian casualties resulting from the Iraq War. I got paid to do research I loved for a summer! It also served as a springboard for my honors philosophy thesis, which provided an ethical analysis of the Iraqi compensation system I had researched during the summer. Having the chance to pursue a research project over the course of 12 months gave me invaluable training for being a scholar and helped me develop much more complex analytic skills. I also got to be on the editorial staff of The Dialectic, our undergraduate philosophy journal and participated in the Socratic Society, a student-run philosophy discussion group. All of these experiences coupled with my education in philosophy helped me grow personally, intellectually and professionally. Most importantly, these experiences prepared me for my graduate studies.
What are you doing now?
I am an assistant professor of philosophy at Cabrini University in Radnor, Pa.
How has philosophy been valuable in your personal and professional life?
As a philosophy professor the value of philosophy to my professional life is quite obvious — it is my professional life. However, its value to my personal life has been just as significant. I am a different person than I otherwise would have been if I hadn’t decided to pursue philosophy at any level. Philosophy has given me a different way of understanding and analyzing the world that has made me better able to understand and evaluate society’s social, political and cultural norms; it has challenged and helped me to revise and better justify my personal beliefs; and it has awakened me to the many injustices that exist in our world. Consequently, philosophy has not only given me an intellectual passion, it has also given me a deep personal passion for social justice.
Any advice for students considering a philosophy major or graduating with a philosophy major?
Philosophy isn’t seen as a practical major like business or education by most. This is because most don’t understand and appreciate the skills philosophy instills in students — skills that are valuable in any profession. Philosophy teaches students how to understand and analyze difficult and complex ideas, how to develop and evaluate arguments, how to write analytically and how to solve problems. Philosophy students develop the confidence and skills to be independent, self-motivating and creative thinkers. These skills are sought after by major corporations, law schools and many other employers. Not only does philosophy give students a set of practical and marketable skills, it also provides students with the means to analyze and challenge the dominant perspectives in their contemporary world and to develop and analyze their personal views. Philosophy is good for one’s soul and one’s future.