Mariana Gomez Class of 2020

"I sought to attend a doctoral program that produces knowledge that serves to improve the lives of underprivileged communities and could support my dedication to doing the same."

After gaining admission to several prestigious philosophy graduate programs, Mariana Gomez, has decided to attend graduate school at Georgetown University.

What made you want to attend graduate school?

When I began my undergraduate journey in philosophy at CSUF, I simply wanted the logic, critical thinking, and writing skills that would get me into law school. Being a daughter of Mexican immigrants and the only person in my family to attend college, like many in my position, I was interested in using my education to financially benefit my family and community. However, as I delved deeper into the discipline, my experiences learning about critical race theory, decolonial philosophy, and women of color feminisms allowed me to develop a passion for writing about topics that hit close to home. Eventually, I realized that investing myself in philosophy meant that I could potentially create theoretical bedrocks for liberation projects that address the oppression Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities face.

What drew you to Georgetown University?

My academic interests stem from my political and social commitments to underprivileged communities. Therefore, I sought to attend a doctoral program that produces knowledge that serves to improve the lives of those communities and could support my dedication to doing the same. As I weighed between philosophy Ph.D. programs that accepted me, I could not ignore the genuine open-mindedness that the professors at Georgetown had towards my research interests. I was also attracted to the fact that they were actively working towards changing the dynamics of their department as they had recently hired faculty of color who have strong political and social groundings in their research as well. What ultimately solidified my decision to attend Georgetown was the advice I got from one of their former Ph.D. students, Dr. Francisco Gallegos. By sharing his experiences with the program, he convinced me that Georgetown is a place that would challenge me as a student and that living in DC could help me flourish as a person who wants to keep community at the forefront of my philosophical interests.

Dr. Angela Davis || Dr. Maria Lugones

What do you intend to study in graduate school?

At Georgetown University, I intend to focus on learning more about phenomenology, Indigenous philosophy, feminist philosophy, and the political philosophy of the Black radical tradition. Eventually, I hope to extrapolate what I learn in those types of classes onto my interests in decolonial philosophy from a Latina feminist perspective. As I keep learning, my ultimate goal is to address questions I have had in mind in these last couple of years regarding how to existentially and politically approach the State’s neocolonial violence. However, as specific as my academic interests may be at the moment, I want to remain open-minded to the subjects of philosophy I did not get to explore as thoroughly as I wanted to as an undergraduate, including philosophy of language.

Looking back on your time at CSUF, what will you remember most?

The thing I will remember the most from CSUF is the relationships I made with my peers in the philosophy department. They were a key component in my success as a philosophy student. To me, the discipline is stressful because you are constantly juggling between complex ideas and deadlines. Yet, I believe the thing that contributes to philosophy students’ success at CSUF is the support we give to one another, especially in an environment like the Cave (the philosophy department). Whether it be the conversations I had with other students during tutoring hours or those before and after class, I was constantly learning and genuinely enjoying the company of a philosophical community. Those moments with my peers contributed to my ongoing passion for the discipline. I feel fortunate to have that experience.

What advice would you give to students starting out in philosophy at CSUF?

Do not be afraid to ask for help. In my opinion, learning how to do philosophy well is no easy feat, and it requires a considerable degree of epistemic humility to grow your ideas. But, although you are expected to think for yourself at times, I believe philosophy is fundamentally an interpersonal discipline that requires you to interact with the thinkers around you. Every time I had a hard time understanding a reading or thinking of how to write out my ideas, I relied heavily on the conversations I had with my professors, especially Dr. Emily Lee, Dr. Andrew Howat, and Dr. Matthew Calarco. I would be lying if I said I was not intimidated when I switched my major from political science to philosophy. I always had a lot of questions. However, I quickly realized that several people in the department were more than willing to lend a hand. I hope students, especially those who start off feeling intimated by the discipline, gain confidence as thinkers. That is, thinkers who are not afraid of receiving critique and building their arguments they think are worthy of others’ consideration.