Center for Ethics and Education McPherson Fellows 2018-19

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Abigail Beneke

Abigail Beneke is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Project Assistant for the Center for Ethics and Education. Her research examines the process by which disproportionate discipline occurs along lines of race, gender, and class, with a focus on how teachers and other adults in the school building make sense of and enact school discipline. She uses critical sociocultural theories, as well as qualitative case study methods to understand how teachers make sense of school discipline and school discipline reforms; how social relations and networks shape this process; and the broader social, political, and economic contexts in which their sensemaking and enactment is rooted. Abigail holds a BA in Anthropology from Lawrence University and a MA in Urban Education (as well as a certificate in learning disabilities). Before studying at UW–Madison, Abigail taught 1st grade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


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Shannon Brick

I'm Australian, currently enjoying studying in NYC. I have a background in phenomenology and existentialism but am now primarily interested in social epistemology, trust and the epistemic value of aesthetic experience. I’m currently thinking a lot about Bernard Williams on moral testimony, and the distinction he draws between persuasion and manipulation. I love being outdoors, and enjoy roller-skating, frisbee, running and dancing. I love the first few months of learning a new language. Because of this, my language skills are generally poor. I’ll travel long distances for ice-cream and have recently discovered American waffles.


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Kyoung Min (Kay) Cho

My name is Kyoung Min (Kay) Cho. I am from South Korea where I studied education for my bachelor and master. I came to the United States for PhD in education at Columbia, Teachers College, but I decided to change my major to philosophy. I got another master in philosophy at University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and doing PhD in philosophy at UIC. I have interested in Kant, Ethics, and Philosophy of Action.


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Emily Howe

I taught for five years in a Title I public high school in New York City, which inspired me to start a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. My experiences in teaching and education research have shown me that philosophy is useful for challenging problematic assumptions and refining our understandings (theoretical, empirical, and practical) about teaching and learning. I’m currently thinking about how ethics, social epistemology, and critical race theory can support teachers in becoming more critical and reflective educators. In my free time, I enjoy gardening, baking, and exploring western Pennsylvania.


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Kathryn Joyce

Kathryn Joyce is a Ph.D. candidate in the philosophy department at UC San Diego. Her research investigates questions within social and political philosophy and the philosophy of education. She is currently writing a dissertation on relational equality and educational justice. Her other projects concern normative and methodological issues with evidence-based education policy and Adam Smith’s moral and political philosophy. Kathryn serves on the organizing committee for UC San Diego’s Summer Program for Women in Philosophy. She has taught classes on critical thinking, argumentative writing, applied ethics, and most recently a course on freedom of expression.


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Tessa Maclean

Tessa MacLean is a second-year doctoral student in Educational Studies at McGill University. Formerly a high school music teacher and conductor, she holds a B.Mus. and B.Ed. from the University of Ottawa and an M.A. in musicology from McGill University. Her research investigates intersections between instrumental music education, democratic theory, and educational philosophy. Her current doctoral project, which was awarded the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship to Honour Nelson Mandela, examines how school music ensembles can provide experiential settings for promoting democratic civic virtues.


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Jessica Masterson

Jessica Masterson is a postdoctoral research associate in the department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where her research examines the literate lives of youth from underserved communities. Prior to her doctoral work, she taught 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts in `Aiea, Hawai`i. Jessica has also worked with art museums in both Hawai`i and Nebraska to curate programming and experiences for K-12 students and preservice teachers. She enjoys puzzles and games, running, and various forms of creative expression.


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Maria Mejia

My name is Maria Mejia. I am from Bogota and live in Chicago. I am interested in Kant and the history of moral philosophy. I love teaching philosophy classes and  lately started teaching yoga and helping adults prepare for their naturalization test/interview. 


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Garry Mitchell

Garry Mitchell is a doctoral student at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Previously, he worked as a middle school English and History/HERstory teacher in New York City. During his time in the classroom Garry became interested in issues of discipline and control within schools, particularly surveillance practices. He holds a bachelor’s in African and African American Studies from Stanford University and a master’s in Teaching from Relay GSE. His commitment to educational justice—especially around practices of mental and bodily control disproportionately prevalent in the lived schooling experiences of certain populations—is inextricably linked to his lifelong identity as an African-American male and his burgeoning identity as an educational researcher.


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Pedro Monque

Pedro Monque is a doctoral student in philosophy at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Prior to starting there, he worked for a year as a Bilingual Resource Specialist for the Madison Metropolitan School District. Pedro was born and raised in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, and is interested in non-formal and popular education in Latin America. Lately, he has been pondering how education should respond to concerns about the future (e.g. narratives of national reconstruction) and the past (e.g. histories of marginalization, colonial occupation of indigenous land). Pedro enjoys hiking, playing music, biking and rollerblading.


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Emma Prendergast

Emma Prendergast is a PhD student in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She received a BA in philosophy at Millikin University in 2014 and an MA in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017. Emma's research and teaching interests include moral and political philosophy, meta-ethics, feminist philosophy, and sexual ethics. She also enjoys cycling, cooking, writing music, and spending time with family and friends.


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Ellis Reid

Ellis Reid is a doctoral student in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research interests are in civic education and educational justice, especially their intersection with issues of race. Previously, Ellis was the Associate Director of a college-access program and taught at an independent high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds a BA in Political Science from Stanford University.


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Lindsey Schwartz

Lindsey is a PhD candidate in the philosophy department at University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her primary areas of interest are social and political philosophy and philosophy of law, though she is also drawn to issues in moral education, the ethics of technology, and philosophy of mind. She shares her home in Madison with a human, a dog, and two cats. Interests in television and movies help get her through the winters, but when the weather is nice, she'll use any excuse she can to be outside.


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Lisa Sibbett

I am a PhD candidate in social studies education at the University of Washington. Philosophically, my work attempts to bridge the divide between approaches to education that prioritize a liberal ethic of critical thinking, and those that prioritize a radical ethic of critical pedagogy. Toward this end, I recently completed data collection for my dissertation investigating how social studies teachers interpret and respond to the substance of privileged students' ideas about the social world when facilitating classroom discussions of injustice. Another ongoing set of writing projects explores the uses of intersectionality in educational research. I got married in February, and I am a practicing Buddhist.


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Spencer Smith

Spencer is a doctoral student at The Ohio State University where he studies philosophy of education and teaches professional ethics to pre-service teachers. He taught in Detroit with Teach for America after completing a BA in English in 2013. Spencer is currently interested in thinking about how education effects identity development and how teachers can leverage narrative to aid students in developing their own identities. Spencer is working on an analysis of No Excuses charter schools using relational justice as a framework. In his non-academic time, Spencer is a co-founder and vice president of Smith Brain Connections.


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Elizabeth Southgate

I am currently a 3rd year graduate student in Philosophy at Cornell University. I primarily work in Ethics, particularly in Meta-ethics and Moral Epistemology, but I also have interests in Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, and Applied Ethics more generally. Before studying at Cornell, I earned my undergraduate degree (MA(Hons)) and a M.Sc. both in Philosophy, both from the University of Glasgow. When I’m not studying, I love to be outside! I am an avid rock climber and mountaineer. I also play the ‘cello and practice yoga if the weather is too bad to be in the mountains.


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Nick Tanchuk

Nick Tanchuk is a PhD candidate in the Philosophy and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Nick’s dissertation defends an egalitarian account of social justice grounded in the value of learning. Prior to coming to Columbia University, Nick earned an MA in Philosophy at the University of Manitoba and has taught a variety of subjects in public schools in Winnipeg, Canada. Nick is also the co-founder of a Summer Indigenous Math Leadership program at the University of Winnipeg and has over a decade of experience working on grassroots social justice projects in a variety of roles.


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Kirsten Welch

Kirsten Welch is a doctoral student in the Philosophy and Education program at Columbia University, Teachers College. She previously earned a B.A. from Baylor University and an M.A. in Philosophy from Western Michigan University, and she also spent two years teaching elementary and middle grades at Great Hearts Academies, a classical charter school network. Her current interests lie in the areas of education for moral and intellectual virtue, classical and liberal arts models of education, and the relationship of these topics to educational policy.