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PHILOSOPHY ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT Maura Priest

Dr. Maura Priest is currently an assistant professor of philosophy and bioethicist at Arizona State University. She came to major in philosophy by taking a business ethics course, by chance. "The professor, Gary Hartenburg (currently a professor at Houston Baptist University), taught an amazing course focused on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. I loved it enough to become a philosophy major, and future courses secured my decision to go to grad school."

Priest's current position at Arizona State University is research-based and comes with a light teaching load. Her specializations are in virtue theory, medical ethics, and theories of collective action. Priest describes her research agenda as follows: "Within virtue theory, I am interested in character traits that make us worse persons and worse intellectuals. Within medical ethics, I focus on children's rights and psychiatric issues. Lastly, my collective action work considers the ways that group action differs from individual action."

Priest is one of a fortunate handful of philosophy majors who go on to graduate school and secure tenure-track positions at research universities. But she thinks that philosophy is an excellent major for students who plan to work outside of the academy as well: "Students who choose to major in philosophy typically like questioning conventions and thinking about the world and how it works. There are many careers outside of academia that allow one to work with these interests. Often jobs in government are good fits. . . . Other careers are editors, high school teachers and administrators, therapists, military intelligence, computer programmers, and lawyers."

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Dr. Priest! If you'd like to keep up with Dr. Priest's research, you can visit her academia.edu page here.

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