Philosophy Undergraduate Journal

We are a student-run philosophy journal at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Spring of 2020 we published our third edition of Epistemai, an Undergraduate Philosophy Journal with a focus on short, original, philosophical work done by undergraduates from universities across the country.

We believe that many undergraduates do their best work in shorter papers, which get assigned for most classwork. By focusing on these papers, we not only will have access to some of the students’ best work, but also a wider range of writers than just those who produce long thesis-type work.

We will be accepting papers from two categories:

  • Short paper category: This is intended for short papers, which center on one original philosophical argument. These papers will be 3,000 words or less.
  • Longer paper category: This is intended for longer papers; term papers or senior theses between 3,000 and 10,000 words.

Criteria for papers

● Must be written by an undergraduate
● Original and concise philosophical work with a max length of 15 pages or 3,000 words.
    Include a 100-200 word abstract summarizing your paper and page numbers.
● Chicago style citations are preferred.
● Cannot be published elsewhere.
● Include a cover page with all personal information (do not include name anywhere else in
   the paper): your name, your email, and your undergraduate institution name.

Submission process

● Submit your paper electronically by February 1, 2021 by filling out and uploading a
   .docx or .docs (must be editable) to our google form[ https://forms.gle/QGALmJ9PHffEsP1j9 ].
● All papers will undergo a blind peer review.
● Papers will be selected by early spring. You will be notified as to our decision at that
   time

Questions? Contact us! komro012@umn.edu
STAFF DIRECTORY BIOGRAPHIES

Current Epistemai staff

Nimco Ali
Peer Reviewer, Publication Designer, and Staff Writer

Hello! My name is Nimco Ali. I am a sophomore at the UMN and I am pursuing a degree in Philosophy. I am looking to pursue minors in German and creative writing. I am a peer reviewer, publication designer, and staff writer. I don’t really know what my philosophical interests are yet, I am currently in an exploration period for that. Outside of philosophy, I write short stories and poems. I am also really into video games, i.e mobas like league of legends. I love playing badminton and squash. I enjoy anything that involves the arts and politics.

Christie Blood
Editor and Staff Writer

Hey Everyone! My name is Christie Blood. I’m a peer reviewer, editor, and staff writer with Epistemai. I’m from Minneapolis but consider myself as being from two places as I spent a lot of
my childhood in the Bay Area of California. My interests are history (ancient and medieval), political theory, political psychology, behavioralism, philosophy, religious ideologies, and myths and folklore. Philosophically, I’m enamored with ethics, metaphysics, existentialism (is bae), Latinx philosophy, relativism, the philosophy of law, language, scientific philosophy (space and time), and speciesism. When I’m not reading, I’m hanging out with my adorable pup Gus, painting, singing, cooking vegan spreads, watching Star Trek and National Geographic documentaries, exploring the Twin Cities for amazing graffiti, chatting with anybody willing about philosophy, and working to make this world a better place.

Robert Campbell
Editor and Staff Writer

Hi, my name is Robert Campbell, I’m from Minneapolis’ suburbs, and I’m an editor, staff writer, and peer reviewer at the journal. My interests include everything ethical; meta, normative, practical, you name it! More specifically, I’m fascinated by consequentialism, well-being, moral realism, and bioethics. I enjoy discussing all these topics, as well as general philosophy, politics, and history, so feel free to reach out!

Nicholas Castillo
P
eer Reviewer

Hello, my name is Nicholas Castillo and I’m a peer-reviewer here at the journal. I was born and raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin but I think I might like Minneapolis more. My philosophical interests lie in existentialism and metaphysics. I am also fascinated with psychoanalysis and symbolic anthropology.

Weisang Chen
Editor, Staff Writer, and Publication Designer

Hello! My name is Weisang Chen, a senior majoring in philosophy and mathematics. As you could imagine, I’m particularly interested in abstract concepts and those most “impractical” topics, which is naturally in the scope of philosophy and pure math. Within philosophy, I dive into epistemology and philosophy of logic, and also dabble in moral philosophy, especially utilitarianism. As to philosophers, I am a big fan of Wittgeinstein. I came from Nanjing, China, and lived there before entering UMN. I am now an editor, staff writer, and peer reviewer, publication designer in Epistemai.

Garret Gannon
Peer Reviewer

Hi, my name is Garrett Gannon. I’m a Sophomore at UMN studying philosophy and an assortment of minors (art, psychology, and creative writing). I’m a peer reviewer and staff writer at Epistemai . I was born and raised in Clear Lake, IA and grew into a philein sophia (lover of wisdom) over the years. My areas of expertise include metaphysics, logic, and morality. I consider myself an absurdist virtue ethicist. That being said I enjoy learning any and all philosophy or anything else for that matter. Outside of philosophy I’m a novice artist, writer, and
academic. In my free time I enjoy reading, writing, the arts, and conversing with anyone and everyone.

Alexis Gonzalez 
Editor

¡Hola! My name is Alexis Gonzalez and I am an editor and peer reviewer in the Epistemai Journal. This is my first year joining the journal and I am very eager to be alongside so many people who are also interested in philosophy! I am currently a senior double majoring in political science and philosophy so my main interest is in political philosophy but I'm not shy from delving into other philosophical areas. I am originally from Valparaiso, Indiana, which is a town near Chicago. I’m glad to have made my way here and I would be more than happy to discuss any topic!

Phil Kolas
Peer Reviewer, Publication Designer, and Staff Writer

Hi! My name is Phil Kolas. I'm a philosophy major at the University of Minnesota. I'll be a Peer Reviewer, Publication Designer, and Staff Writer for the Epistemai Magazine. I'm a non-traditional, decrepit aged student. I was born in Austin, MN, but since my philosophical specialty is Existentialism, and due to the current social isolation of the year 2020, I'm pretty sure I only exist in Zoom meetings, and I'm currently trying to escape from this laptop in order to experience Authentic Life. I also have a cute kitty cat.

Kiley Komro
President

Hello! I'm Kiley, Epistemai's president and a Wisconsin transplant. I've been enamored with philosophy ever since I took my first class in the department at community college – Environmental Ethics. Political and moral philosophy remain my main focus. Especially interesting to me are questions of how government affects citizens' character and general well-being. As the president I'm the main point of contact for all journal related questions so feel free to email me!

Esperanza Lee
Peer Reviewer

Hello! My name is Esperanza Lee. I’m a peer-reviewer and staff writer here at the journal. Growing up abroad, I developed a fascination towards international politics. I am most interested
in political philosophy, specifically the intersection of government and ethics.

Hailey Lipinski
Peer Reviewer and Public Relations Officer

Hello! My name is Hailey, and I am a junior majoring in Philosophy with a minor in business Law. I began taking an interest in philosophy second semester of my freshman year, with my interest residing in existentialism, ethics, and metaphysics. This is my first year with Epistemai and I will be contributing through the roles of peer reviewer and public relations. I am originally from Eagle, WI, a small rural town that I enjoyed for much of my life, but the cities have opened me up to so many different and unique opportunities!

Meagan Massie
Peer Reviewer, Publications Designer, and Public Relations Officer

Hey! My name is Meagan Massie. I’m a sociology major with a special interest in philosophy. I’m a peer reviewer, publication designer, and on the public relations team on the journal this
year. My philosophical interests include political philosophy, medical ethics, and philosophical poetry. I’m from St. Paul, Minnesota so I’ve grown up in the cities my entire life. Outside of philosophy, I can be found boxing, ballroom dancing, or debating politics.

   
Wangechi Mwaura
Chief Editor

Hello! My name is Wangechi Mwaura. I’m a sophomore studying mathematics and philosophy. I'm from Kenya and one of my main interests is (Eastern) African critiques of Western
philosophy. I enjoy mafia movies, radio stations, ridiculously lengthy novels and Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. My main philosophical interests are mathematics and critical theory. I’m also interested in leftist political ideology and aesthetics. I am the current editor-in-chief of Epistemai.

Brandon Prichard
Editor and Staff Writer

Hello! My name is Brandon Prichard and I am a sophomore at UMN pursuing bachelor degrees in history, philosophy, political science, and religion. After my undergraduate education, I plan
on attending law school and pursuing a career in the judicial branch. This year, I look forward to contributing as an editor, peer reviewer, and staff writer to Epistemai . I am originally from
Bismarck, ND where I found my passion for debating philosophical topics like truth, justice, and freedom. While I specialize in political and legal philosophy, my interest is not limited to a certain subsection of philosophy. Beyond my passion for philosophy, I enjoy exploring new states and countries with family, reading anything substantive, and discussing big ideas with anyone.

Xiaoyan (Alvin) Ren
Editor and Staff Writer

Hello! My name is Xiaoyan Ren, but I usually go by Alvin. Yeah, I know, like Alvin and the chipmunks. Anyways, I am a junior majoring in Applied Economics and possibly philosophy,
though it might also just be a minor. I was born and grew up in Wuhan, China until I was 12, and then I moved to Bozeman, Montana and spent 2 years there. Eventually, I moved to Livonia, Michigan and graduated high school there. My area of interest is mostly within the philosophy of political economy, especially from a Marxist perspective. I also like to dig into topics regarding ethics and metaphysics. Theology is also something I was disciplined in, as I was striving to be a pastor throughout my Christian high school years. My hobbies are many, soccer, snowboarding, hiking, and hunting are the few that I enjoyed the most. I will be an editor and staff writer as well as contributing to the Public Relation works of the journal. I’m excited for all that is to come.

Nicholas Simafranca
Peer Reviewer

Hi! My name is Nicholas Simafranca. I’m a freshman studying economics, philosophy, and (possibly) mathematics. After undergraduate I plan to go to graduate school in economics and become an economist. I’m from Orono, a suburb of Minneapolis, but for the past year I have been living, studying, and traveling around Brazil. Some of my philosophical interests include determinism/free will, existentialism, absurdism, nihilism, atheism/theism, metaphysics, ethical theory(mainly utilitarianism), philosophy of economics, and philosophy of science. I’m also interested in subjects such as psychology, neuroscience, history, politics, evolutionary biology, and astronomy/physics. Outside of school, I can be found playing chess, reading fantasy, or doing some sort of physical activity. I’m a peer reviewer here at the journal this year.

Tyler Sirovy
Head Staff Writer

Howdy! My name is Tyler Sirovy. I am a senior studying Philosophy, Political Science, & Classics. I am from a small-ish town northwest of the Twin Cities, but Minneapolis is my
adopted home. My role in the journal is multiple: I am an editor, administrative staff member, head staff writer, and resident tomfoolery. My philosophical interests lie in ancient philosophy,
history of philosophy (generally reception of ancient philosophy), critical theory, ecological thought, and existentialism and its philosophical milieu. I have budding interests in philosophical and natural poetry and indigenous philosophies of the natural. I am simply enamored with the
question of our relations with the natural world (god/the divine/whatsoever you may name it) in the widest sense possible. I try to live these philosophical interests, and as such I voyage into the wilderness at every possible opportunity.

Anna Stepanova
Editor and Staff Writer

Hello! My name is Anna, and I’m finishing up my philosophy degree this year. My background is in microbiology, but I began taking philosophy classes as a way to balance out the science and those classes quickly became my favorite. My major philosophical interests are within medical ethics and epistemology (who doesn’t enjoy thinking about whether disguised mules could be zebras?). My role on Epistemai is as an editor, peer reviewer, and staff writer. I’m originally from Russia, but immigrated to Minnetonka, MN when I was 6.

Lauren Toensing
Editor, Staff Writer, and Publication Designer

Hello! My name is Lauren, and I am an editor, publication designer, staff writer, and peer reviewer with Epistemai. I am from Richfield, MN, a small suburb right outside of south Minneapolis. My philosophical interests are primarily in ethics and metaphysics— most specifically, I am interested in questions concerning what in life is good or meaningful, whether ethical or existential. I am also interested in evolutionary philosophy.