Alumni Profile: Maddy Brighouse Glueck
When did you graduate and what was your degree?
I graduated in winter 2017 with a double major in philosophy and sociology.
When did you realize you wanted to study philosophy? Why?
I've always loved complicated questions, and I grew up around philosophy since my dad is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. But when I took my first class at the University of Minnesota, which was a freshman seminar with Professor Valerie Tiberius, that really solidified my desire to major in the subject.
What philosophical questions were you most interested in as a student? Are you still interested in these kinds of questions?
I'm really interested in ethics and political philosophy. I definitely still think about them in my day to day, especially as I now work in education with a focus on ameliorating inequality, so questions of right and wrong are always at the forefront of my practice.
Tell me about an experience or faculty member who had a powerful influence on you.
I took several classes with Professor Sarah Holtman, who encouraged me to get involved with the undergraduate philosophy journal Epistemai, which shaped my last two years of school in such a positive way. She was really supportive of our trying to get the journal together, which created such a positive atmosphere around the department.
Have your studies in philosophy helped you in your post-college life and career? If so, how?
I am currently doing a program called Teach First, which is a fast track into teaching in the UK. Although I will be an English teacher, my training in philosophy has had a profound effect on the way that I view academic material and conceptualize it within the curriculum. Philosophy has given me the tools to think within complex schemas, which is very important in developing both lesson plans and year-long curriculum plans, as well as thinking about the way that students are going to think about the things that you say.
What are the most important skills that pursuing a degree in philosophy fosters and develops?
I would say that the most important skill I got from studying philosophy is the ability to break down conceptually-complex schemas into more understandable chunks. That, alongside the ability to write clearly and persuasively, I think has had the biggest effect on my personal development and will serve me best in the future.
What advice do you have for philosophy students approaching graduation?
Appreciate how much fun it is! I think as philosophy majors we all love playing around with abstract concepts, which is great fun and games, but when you go into the real world usually you have to ground those ideas in some kind of practice. I’ve definitely had to adjust to the messiness of the real world in teacher training, realizing that not everyone values conceptual precision as much as we do.