Department of Philosophy Alumni

Jonathan Parker says:

I am often greeted with much surprise when my classmates ask me what my undergraduate work was in and I say "actually I have two degrees one in biology (which is to be expected) and one in philosophy (gasp they say)". I am a first year medical student at A.T. Still University in Kirksville, MO and it is to be expected that someone did their undergraduate or graduate work in the sciences, specifically life sciences. My classmates include Ph.D.s in pharmacology, too many Master's degrees to count and a plethora of biochemistry majors, yet I am the lone philosophy major. Yet, I would not be met with surprise if they knew the UAH Philosophy Department and how my philosophical studies have not only helped my broad intellectual growth, as one might expect, but my everyday tasks as a medical student. Forms, monads, and Dewey are actually not as separated from medicine as one might think. My thought, discussion and education on topics such as these have formed how I think and study. I know for a fact I would not be able to handle the massive volume of material I am expected to learn if I had not had Drs. Martine, Cling, Heikes and Wilkerson walking me through Plato, Carnap, and Quine. Besides, tumor genetics is nothing if you can get through The Logical Structure of the World. So, I could not give the Philosophy Department at UAH enough credit for laying a vast intellectual groundwork. The road to medicine's future is paved with the bricks of philosophical issues and I am happy to have gotten a head start. To fill in the biographical gaps I am currently applying for a Master's Fellowship in Clinical Research at A.T. Still University and will take a year off of medical school to complete that degree before going on to finish my medical doctorate.

Kristin Osmer, University of Alabama School of Law, Class of 2009 says: 

When I began my undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, I knew that my ultimate goal in life was to become an attorney. What I did not know, however, was that a degree in Philosophy would open more doors for me than I ever could imagine. You see, I grew up in a small town in rural North Alabama, and although my academic performance was always above average, I never ventured beyond the answers that were printed on the pages of the textbook. That is, until I took an Introduction to Philosophy course, which was required for my Bachelor of Arts degree. Although initially I only took this class because it was required, I soon realized that this class would drastically change my entire outlook on life. Early in the semester, I found myself intrigued by the limitless discussions and explanations of occurrences that I once considered to be mundane, and I frantically searched for more information. Yes, I was hooked. After countless conversations with Dr. Cling and other members of the Philosophy Department, I decided that a double major in both Philosophy and English would give me the knowledge, skill, and insight that are absolutely required for success in a law school environment. I cannot begin to convey how helpful and supportive each of the faculty members was to me. Every professor knew my goals and did anything possible to help me achieve them. In fact, I would not be in the position that I am today without the unique professional skills that I acquired during my studies at UAH. For example, from Dr. Wilkerson, I learned the art of making effective arguments. Each of his courses was tailored so that it was extremely conducive to in-class discussion. Because of this teaching method, I credit Dr. Wilkerson with giving me the requisite knowledge, both stylistic and substantive, to formulate a well-reasoned argument and to support my argument with relevant empirical evidence. Clearly, this is a mandatory skill for someone pursuing a career in the legal profession. Similarly, I credit Dr. Heikes with instilling in me necessary critical thinking skills through countless abstract reasoning exercises. I took every class involving Logic or Reason that she offered, and she showed me how to look at a problem, define its parameters, and solve it logically. Thus, when I scored well into the 90th percentile on my LSAT, I knew that I had her to thank. And finally, I credit Dr. Cling with teaching me how to formulate my own opinion. Although I was initially hesitant to speak up in that Introduction to Philosophy class, Dr. Cling began to slowly ask me questions, and eventually one day I asserted an idea that was not found in the textbook or a study guide, but was instead a product of careful consideration and much thought. These were the types of answers that Dr. Cling encouraged from all his students, and not surprisingly, these are also the types of answers that Law Professors require from law students. Currently I am a law student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Although I have worked very hard to get to where I am today, I realize that I would not have been nearly as successful if I had chosen a different course of study. The UAH Philosophy Department curriculum provided the tools that I needed to succeed, such as argumentative tactics, abstract reasoning ability, communication techniques, and critical thinking skills. Likewise, the members of the UAH Philosophy Department faculty provided support and encouragement. I cannot think of a better combination, and I cannot think of a better program!

If you are an alum of the UAH Philosophy Department and would like to contribute to this site, please contact Dr. Cling or Dr. Heikes.