Meet our Graduates!

Sean Deringer is graduating with a double major in philosophy and sociology. Sean believes philosophy could not be more important in our contemporary era and global predicament.  “I chose philosophy because in facing the encroaching crises which bear down upon us, it was impossible for me to continue on with my life without doing so. Philosophy has shaped me insofar as its furthered, complicated, and frustrated this need. There is much work to be done.”

Sean has made the most of their time at CSU—hosting the Philosophy Movie Club with Jude Palomino and participating in the Minorities and Philosophy club and its undergraduate conference this spring. Sean found Paul DiRado’s Phenomenology and Existentialism course and Nefratiri Weeks’ Development of Sociological Thought to be immensely transformative and philosophically essential.  Sean will be continuing their philosophical studies at The New School for Social Research.

Cole Fisher graduates with a double major in philosophy and English literature.  He credits philosophy for giving his life direction: “Philosophy was introduced to me in a time of my life where everything I believed was becoming unclear, and it provided me a direction at my most uncertain.”  Cole appreciates his study with Jeff Kasser who taught the philosophical ideas closest to his own life and providing a new perspective on them.

Cole is a filmmaker. He’s made three short films during his undergraduate studies, including “Clipped Wings” that won Best Colorado Experimental Short at the Horsetooth International Film Fest. Cole is also an avid reader and Eagle Scout and has volunteered for several political campaigns.

Liv Hymowitz is graduating with a philosophy concentration in science and technology and a legal studies minor. Liv originally came to CSU to become a veterinarian. During her sophomore year, she changed her mind and decided to become a lawyer. Originally, she wanted to practice animal and environmental advocacy law. However, because of philosophy, her perspective has widened and she’s entering law school with an open mind.

Liv embodies the spirit of her philosophical training: “Philosophy is important because it broadens our minds and prompts us to think critically about the world around us. Studying philosophy has inspired me to reassess the way I think about reality, and I have learned that asking the right question will often teach me more than finding the right answer.”

In her spare time, Liv enjoys movies and television. Her taste ranges from the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to Loki to The Good Place. She also loves music and going to Red Rocks.

Aidan Loftis is graduating with a philosophy concentration in global philosophies and religions and a minor in sociology. He originally chose philosophy because it was the first course of study he really felt passionate about and credits it with his growth over the years. “Philosophy has helped me grow into a more well-rounded and rational person. I believe that critical thinking skills are one of the most important things a person can have, and there is nothing better than philosophy at developing them.”

Aidan feels lucky to have met some amazing professors that have fueled his passion for philosophy and exposed him to new ideas that he never would have encountered otherwise. He especially enjoyed studying feminist philosophy with Ashby Butnor, East Asian philosophies with Eirik Harris, and metaphysics with Idris Hamid.

Aidan advises new students to do what they love. “College is a time to find what you love doing, and to pursue it and enjoy your time doing so. Don’t worry so much about what the future holds, just enjoy life as it comes to you, in whatever way feels right.”

Colin MacCullough graduates with a philosophy, science, and technology concentration.  Colin chose philosophy because “I think the hard questions are the ones worth talking about.” Collin recognizes Professor Nathalie Morasch for the most honest debates he’s experienced in the classroom and the way she makes philosophy fun without missing out on its analytic aspects.

Outside of school, Colin has a passion for bikes and all things sports! Cycling and basketball are his favorites and he loves watching and playing in all sort of competitions.  After graduation, Colin plans to work and then apply to graduate school.  His advice for philosophy majors: “Don’t be afraid to say what you think or ask questions!”

First-generation college graduate Pierce Millyard is earning his philosophy degree with a concentration in global philosophies and religions. Pierce found philosophy after leaving the military. He explains, “I had a lot of questions about the world as well as my place in it. In searching for happiness, I found that the tools I grew up with were ineffective in providing me a good life.”

Pierce decided to study the brain and began with psychology.  However, “I realized every question I had about the brain was a philosophical question. In every course I took outside of philosophy, philosophy was the frequency I was tuned into so I stuck with it.”  Pierce also credits philosophy with shaping him into a better person. “I am more empathetic, I am a better friend, better family member, and a better part of my society. I am much more aware of my ignorance which helps me postulate better questions in life. Furthermore, my life is much more enjoyable.”

Pierce credits Professor Eirik Harris for his introduction to non-Western philosophies which “opened up a new world for me.” Pierce also thanks Eric Easley for his dedication in coaching the Ethics Bowl team. Eric “is an excellent moral philosopher who demonstrates how to apply ethics to the real world. Though the discussions can become quite abstract, he always demonstrated how to bring ethics back to the center.”

Dylan Mooney is excited to graduate as a philosophy major this spring. Dylan is eternally grateful to Shawn Brady for his introduction to philosophy.  “I never really knew anything about philosophy until I had to take it for an AUCC credit and from then on, I loved it and wanted to major in it, and it’s given me tools and ways of thinking that I can use for the rest of my life.” Dylan also enjoyed studying with Professor Eirik Harris, “one of my favorite professors ever.”

Outside the classroom, Dylan loves music and going to concerts: “I think it’s one of the best things in this world because of the feelings and thoughts that it can provoke and how music can bring everyone together.”  His advice to future philosophy students: “Don’t be afraid to speak your mind in class. It makes discussions a lot better.”

Eliza Moore graduates this spring as a philosophy major and a dance minor.  Eliza has been training in classical dance since she was in preschool and was teaching dance in South Carolina before transferring to CSU to finish her degree.  She chose to study philosophy to improve her teaching in the future. “I wanted to have a better understanding of different backgrounds, values and ways of thinking.”

Eliza has enjoyed her time in the philosophy department. She especially enjoyed studying epistemology, social metaphysics, and philosophy of language with Professor Nathalie Morasch.  “I felt that the material in her classes resonated with me on a personal level and she is also an incredibly kind and supportive professor.”  Eliza also loved spending time with her classmates in the Philosophy Movie Club.

New grad Ryan Nordsiek studied widely at CSU before landing on philosophy. “I chose philosophy after majoring in computer engineering, computer science, health and exercise science, and business. Philosophy was clearly not my first choice but it ended up as my best one. I chose philosophy because the professors taught with more vigor than any other major I had participated in.  I was also learning how to critically think more than I ever did in the other majors. Philosophy has allowed me to craft worldviews that have shaped how I think and how I act. This major has completely changed my life.”

Ryan especially enjoyed studying with Dr. Beth Tropman. “She taught my first philosophy class ever and she was the reason why I stayed in the major. Her enthusiasm for teaching and her ability to explain difficult concepts allowed me to get my start in philosophy.”

Ryan’s advice to future majors: “Don’t be afraid to make friends with others in your classes. Philosophy is a small major and some of those people in your early classes will be with you all the way through your capstone. Become friends and work together. Philosophy is hard and philosophy majors are usually good people!”

Jude Palomino graduates this summer as a first-generation and independent student. Jude began as a psychology major, then switched to art (painting) but didn’t find the depth they were looking for in each. After an intro course with Shawn Brady, they got very excited about philosophy: “I fell in love with it in ways which I felt enhanced my ability to be creative (to paint and make more art) as well as allowed me to understand my experience as a human being embedded within a society on a spot in history on a fundamental level.”

Jude loved studying with “extraordinary professor” Paul DiRado. “He is extremely passionate about what he teaches and allows anyone who is taking his courses, even those who aren’t philosophy majors, the ability to deeply understand difficult philosophical topics. Philosophy of Science Fiction was my favorite class I have ever taken.”

Jude has made the most of their time at CSU. Jude is an artist who especially loves painting, collages, embroidery, and textiles. Apart from art, Jude engaged regularly with Philosophy Club as well as Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) at CSU. They worked at the Pride Resource Center for two semesters providing resources and planning events for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, faculty, and community members. In addition, Jude founded the weekly Philosophy Film Club with friends and developed incredibly close relationships with everyone who attended. “I have met so many incredible people here at CSU who I will dearly miss!”  Jude will be attending The New School for Social Research for an MA in Philosophy with a concentration in psychoanalysis.

Philosophy graduate Grace Popalardo understands the value of her degree: “I love that philosophy gives students the opportunity to develop how to think, not what to think. It gave me the skills to develop my own positions and speak concisely. Instead of memorizing content, we were taught to critically think, to think before we speak, and to be open to others’ ideas. More importantly, it taught me that being wrong is not a bad thing, but instead a chance for further development and learning. Overall, it taught me how to advocate for myself and my ideas while still being willing to hear others’ ideas and thoughts in an open way.”

Grace especially appreciated her study with Dr. Andre Archie and recommends him to those who really love philosophy. “You can tell he loves what he does and is a great professor who really wants to see you succeed. Having Archie as my capstone professor was a great way to finish my educational journey at CSU.” Grace also enjoyed studying with Dr. Ashby Butnor: “A lot of philosophy is surrounded around the ancients and classics, but Butnor actively works to find some really current material that matters a great deal to our contemporary moment.”

Grace has gotten some practical work experience while finishing her degree.  At age 19, she was hired as the manager of Intermissions—a campus coffee shop. “Having a team that you have created and watching them thrive and grow is incredibly gratifying. Although it was incredibly difficult work at times, I feel like my major helped me navigate the professional world. Philosophy has made me a great advocate for my employees by allowing me to reason rationally with others in ways that I was not able to before.” Grace plans to pursue a project management certification and work in that field after graduation this summer.

Matt Schnell graduates with a degree in philosophy and a minor in German. Matt fell in love with philosophy and sees it as fundamental to his approach to life: “I chose philosophy because I just couldn’t turn away from the big questions of life, meaning, and reality, no matter how hard I tried. Studying philosophy has given me countless tools, ideas, and skills in understanding and appreciating life. The most important thing for me is it has taught me how to constantly expand my horizons of curiosity and exploration about the world around me. The most exciting aspect is finding the next, new questions to ponder.”

Matt would like to give a special thank you to Shawn Brady, Dr. Ashby Butnor, and Dr. Paul DiRado for being the most passionate, considerate, and dedicated philosophical guides he could have asked for. “They helped me through my own philosophical journey with both energy and grace.”

Matt loves spending time in nature and engaging with music as both a listener and a guitar player. More than anything, he simply enjoys spending quality time with his friends. He has a deep passion for justice and community, and spending his winter break in Ghana and stepping outside of the western world has left him with a desire to continue learning about society and cultures around the world. Matt’s long-term goal: “to discover a meaningful way to apply myself in the service of those who face systemic, cultural, or spiritual hardship. I would like to dedicate my life to serving others in fundamentally disruptive and transformative capacities.”

First generation student Braydon Shearer graduates with a philosophy degree and a minor in legal studies. Braydon chose philosophy because he knew it would teach him the skills necessary for success in law school, including critical analysis and careful reasoning. “I’ve enjoyed learning about logic and metaphysical topics. I’d say philosophy has taught me not only how to argue correctly, but also to listen and respond.”

Braydon especially appreciates “amazing professor” Andre Archie. “Archie helped me a lot when I needed it and was always a very understanding professor.” Braydon is currently applying to law school and hopes to get some practical experience in the legal field prior to matriculation.

Braydon plays guitar and piano and has a deep love for music. He loves to camp and play sports, especially football and basketball. Braydon is recently engaged and is excitingly planning his wedding. Braydon’s advice for future philosophy students: “Buckle down, make sure to do your readings, and you’ll crush it!”

Tad Thornton graduates with a concentration in philosophy, science, and technology. He credits philosophy for changing his view of the world: “Philosophy—the love of wisdom—allowed me to gain insight and knowledge from every field. I believe we can gain knowledge from everything; philosophy allowed me to view the world in that way.”

Tad feels fortunate to have had many incredible teachers to help guide and teach him. He especially appreciates Professor Ashby Butnor who helped spark his philosophic curiosity and continues to be someone he looks up to. He also thanks Professors Romagni, Archie, Hamid, Kasser, and Rice for being excellent teachers: “I would not be the student I am without them.”

Tad plans to take some time off after graduation to reflect on life and what he would like to do next. In the meantime, he plans to play games and spend quality time with his cat. Tad’s advice to future philosophy students: “Stay true to yourself but always be open to change. Philosophy is all about arguments and reasoning, it is important to be able to change and accept different ways of looking at things.”

Michael Zamani graduates with his philosophy degree this spring. He appreciates his philosophical training on many levels. “Philosophy provided an access to knowledge I had never previously explored. Philosophy caught the attention of my curiosity and dramatically changed my world views. I believe philosophy has humbled me and above all, made me a better person.”

Michael is especially appreciative of Dr. Caleb Cohoe at MSU Denver for introducing him to academic philosophy and eliciting his passion for philosophy—the motivation he needed to re-enroll in college. and complete his degree.

Outside of the classroom, Michael represents CSU as an intramural e-sports athlete for the Counterstrike: Global Offensive team under the alias Chad Ryan.  Michael’s advice to philosophy students: “Question your own beliefs and ideas. Never stop challenging yourself.”

Alyse Zokal is graduating as a first-generation student with a concentration in philosophy, science, and technology and a minor in English. Alyse chose philosophy because she wants to work in the non-profit field and desired a deeper background in ethics. “I love Philosophy as a major because it encourages deeper thinking in topics that we most often take as fact or sometimes don’t even think about.”

Alyse loved studying ethical theory with Dr. Beth Tropman.  “While it was a challenging course, the material was engaging and motivating. I still use the material I have learned from this class on a near everyday basis. This was also one of my first Philosophy classes that talked about women in philosophy. Since I transferred from a small town, this was a huge deal to me.”

Alyse is so happy she chose CSU for her undergraduate degree. “I chose Colorado because I figured this would be the perfect spot to go on hikes and ponder the meaning of life. And that’s exactly what I did!” Alyse has become interested in poetry and its integration with philosophy. She has enjoyed going to poetry readings and philosophy talks, including her favorite—the recent epistemology of science workshop. Alyse will be pursuing an MA in Political Science at the University of Illinois, Springfield with a focus in political philosophy. She hopes to get a job with the Human Rights Campaign one day.


The Department of Philosophy would also like to congratulate graduates Paul Brull, Sean Jarchow, Paul Trembley, and Peter Wilson!