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Sarah Werner

Clinton Township, MI
Study Abroad:
Budapest Semester in Cognitive Science
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Moose tracks
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Why not?

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
My broad and varied interests and general inability to focus on any discipline in particular drew me to this department. Philosophy’s ability to draw connections between all disciplines keeps me coming back. I enjoy its varied and holistic approach to questions of the human experience.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Explore.  Explore this department, explore others, explore extracurricular activities; don’t be afraid to learn new things about yourself. However, in that exploring, don’t feel that you have to pursue everything that interests you, be involved in every club, and declare every major, minor, and concentration. Balance is good and time for yourself is important.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
I’ve led on LandSea, I intern for Outdoor Programs, I’m involved in the Outing Club, I’d say I’m generally pretty interested in outdoor recreational activities. Though I enjoy backpacking and my interest in it stems from an appreciation for nature, is backpacking a sustainable and environmentally friendly activity? The questions and controversy surrounding humans’ use of and relationship with nature have been explored by various philosophers. Exploring it for myself has allowed me to reevaluate my own priorities and actions and, in turn, live more graciously. This is actually what my SIP will be focusing on and it’s been really neat integrating my internship into research for my major.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
What kind of person I want to be.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Probably The Just Society with Max Cherem because I took it during my first year and it affirmed my decision to major in philosophy. It assured me of my own capabilities and my interest in the subject and showed me (and this is super cheesy) that philosophy doesn’t have to be dry, it can be really fun. Outside of my major, I would have to say American Environmental History with James Lewis.

What is your SIP?
Still a bit hard to talk about, but in short, I’m exploring the intersection between ecological philosophy, critical theory, and philosophy of language, focusing on questions concerning humans’ relationship with nature and general systems of oppression in Western society and connecting the two.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I hope to work in education is some capacity. No, I don’t want to be a philosophy professor. I’m actually interested in alternative education, most likely outdoor specific. Basically, I want to work in outdoor education.

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