It's important to give a little back.
I do a lot of work in classrooms, offices, and conference spaces at UT, but getting outside these spaces to give some back to the larger community and society is just as important. For many years, I've had the privilege to be able to do this in ways that allow me to take my work and interests along with me, and bring all the things I love about philosophy to new audiences.
During the 2017-2018 school year, I was involved in founding and organizing my department’s first annual graduate conference, “Justice Across Borders.” Held in March 2018, the conference brought together twelve graduate and early-career scholars from across the world, two top keynote speakers, and UT students (both graduate and undergraduate) for a two-day critical discussion of philosophical issues pertaining to migration, immigration, and international justice. In addition to general program development and some of the administrative duties associated with running the conference, I coordinated public relations and social media initiatives for the event. I also took on various web, graphic, and print design projects to give the experience a unified look and feel for participants, as well as working to establish a consistent sense of identity for the conference in its future iterations.
Since I started graduate school, I have served in various volunteer and staff capacities with the Tennessee High School Ethics Bowl, an extracurricular outreach program which brings lively and important moral issues to the attention of high school students through some friendly competition. I have had the pleasure to serve as a team liaison and assistant coach for several competing East Tennessee high schools, and have served as a judge and staff photographer at the THSEB event in past years. I served as Assistant Director of the program from 2016 to 2018, where I coordinated the THSEB's public relations, social media, and volunteering initiatives, among other administrative responsibilities.
Environmental Ethics Program at Gilbert Elementary
In the summer of 2013, I worked with Savannah Oliver of the University of Mississippi to design a curricular program focusing on moral and environmental education for primary school students. Over the course of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, I consulted on the implementation of this program, integrating it with pre-existing STEM curriculum in my hometown's school district to ensure that students could learn about important moral issues on their own terms. I'm proud to say that as a result of this collaboration, a pilot program in partnership with Gilbert Elementary School encourages students to engage each other critically, learning about and grappling with tough moral and environmental issues in some of their favorite books and films, as well as learning to understand various political structures that affect them and how these structures relate to the environment. Additionally, I have been thrilled to watch students practice some of the implications of these discussions by researching, designing, and building sustainable agriculture infrastructure, engaging in local service projects, and much more!