Student Spotlight Philosophy Department csu fullerton

Tate Renville (center) is a current philosophy major and President of the Philosophy Club. We chatted with her about her decision to major and a few other things related to philosophy.

Why did you major in philosophy?

"I originally entered CSUF as a biology major. Although I liked the coursework and the program in general I never felt as passionate about the subject as my classmates did. I realized that I was looking for a major that I felt connected to and with which I was going to be able to help people. . . . My first philosophy professor made me want to further my education in philosophy. (I often describe him as a cross between Colin Firth and Neil Patrick Harris). He was so passionate and engaging with the material that not only did I feel connected and excited about what I was learning, I wanted to see if the other professors were just as stoked on the discipline. I subsequently realized just how expansive philosophy is, and how a lot of the classes not only sounded interesting but also aligned with my goal of being able to help people. . . . Ultimately the faculty won me over. I felt genuinely cared about and valued as a student in this department; each professor cares deeply about the subjects they are teaching."

Tell us a bit about the philosophy club and what you do as a group.

"The philosophy club meets for weekly discussion meetings on topics that have been chosen based on what the members are interested in. We also host social events such as movie nights, study groups, or beach outings. Basically we just wanted to make the club a place where you can meet other people who are also interested in philosophy, and create a relaxed, laid-back environment to explore the discipline, build relationships with classmates, and provide support for anything philosophy-related (class schedules, undergraduate conferences, etc)."

Do you have a favorite philosopher?

"It's so hard to pick a favorite, especially since I tend to agree and disagree with a lot of ideas put forth by the same philosopher. That being said my favorite philosopher I have studied in class has been Michel Foucault. His book The History of Sexuality (vol 1), that addresses power structures and sexual repression, was super interesting to me--not just because the material was exciting, but because it created an interesting framework for me since I want to work in the social services/reproductive health/sexual wellness field. Another philosopher who I have been enjoying reading a lot recently is Linda Alcoff. What texts I've read of hers have always been super approachable. She specializes in feminism and race theory which are some of my favorite areas of philosophy."

Any advice for students considering a major?

"Just go for it! Nothing about this major could hurt you. Every class you could take is interesting and groundbreaking in its own way. Not only will this major supplement your studies and prepare you for whatever you do after your undergraduate studies, but it will enrich your whole life--plus, you'll learn how to be okay with leaving a classroom with more questions than when you entered."

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