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Laura Henderson

Class of 2004
Major/Minor: Philosophy

Q & A

Hometown? St. Michaels, Maryland

On Being A Philosophy Major

I enrolled in an honors level philosophy course my freshman year, and after high school it was an new and fun experience to talk with college students of all ages about questions and issues that I had never discussed before. That class made me realize that I wanted to keep taking philosophy classes throughout college, and explore it more.

What area of philosophy interests you most and why?

I’ve enjoyed most of the philosophy classes I’ve taken. Philosophy combines aspects of history, literature, religion, and even political science. So there’s always something new to learn about. Right now I’m interested in Existential writers like Dostoevsky and Sartre and Camus; but I think at some point I’ll revisit most of the writings I’ve studied while I was here.

What is unique about the philosophy department at Washington College that distinguishes it from other departments/majors?

In my experience, philosophy classes always attracted a diverse and intelligent group of people. Because so much of philosophy is seminar and discussion oriented, I had a chance to interact with people who were different than me, and from whom I could learn a lot. As a major in philosophy, I felt that I had a place in the department, and I was glad to be in classes with enthusiastic students and professors who wanted to discuss interesting topics.

What is the topic of your senior thesis?

My thesis is on Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov; it deals with how the novel attempts to reconcile the existence of evil with a belief in God. For the thesis project you can choose any topic that really appealed to you during your classes, so there’s a lot of opportunity to pursue your own interests.

Have you participated in any special activities, internships, clubs, field trips, etc. that have helped you get more out of the major?

I was the Philosophy Club president and vice-president during my Junior and Senior years. The department and the club are small, and I was able to help with and organize a lot of great events, like panel discussions, movie trips, and a student philosophy journal called the Apeiron.

What are your career plans after college? How has philosophy prepared you for and/or guided you to this career choice?

After college I’m working at a children’s summer camp, and then I plan to go to graduate school for school psychology. After majoring in philosophy I feel prepared to express myself effectively through writing and speaking, and I also feel more confident in handling ethical and logical dilemmas that I’ll encounter. Participating in the philosophy program at Washington College was a great experience, and what I learned will be valuable in whatever I choose to do.

Undergrad Highlights

  • Major: Philosophy