Weston Jones, Outstanding CLA Grad of Spring 2021

student profileWeston Jones, a 2021 CLA Outstanding Grad, is graduating with a philosophy major and legal studies minor. Hailing from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Weston sees himself following in a long line of Lakota philosophers.

“My life is rooted in the traditional ways of the Lakota. I flow from a long line of Chiefs—Smoke, Bluehorse, Bigmouth. I have chosen to dedicate most of my life work to advocate for my people and the Native people across Turtle Island.”

At CSU, Weston has supported incoming Native students through the North Star peer mentorship program at the Native American Cultural Center. He has also been active in the pre-law and philosophy clubs.

Weston plans to attend the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota to study federal Indian and tribal law. “As I begin my journey to law school, I anticipate the day that I can help return the land to the ownership of the tribal nations, to whom it rightfully belongs.”

Weston thanks Dr. Idris Samawi Hamid whose courses have allowed him “to transcend in his philosophical journey,” as well as Roe Bubar and Ron Hall who have guided him in his study of Indian and tribal law.


Maeve Marley, Outstanding Philosophy Grad of Spring 2021

Maeve Marley graduates with a concentration in the philosophy of science and technology. Originally a biology major, Maeve felt “something was missing” and became hooked on philosophy after an introductory course in the history and philosophy of scientific thought. Her professor in that course, Dr. Jeff Kasser, was able to convince her to take more philosophy courses. Maeve recalls, “I was resistant at first, but I am so grateful now to have had a teacher who saw me in the way that he did.”

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Maeve is a Senior Associate for the Center for Public Deliberation where she facilitates events, analyzes research, and helps to design facilitation processes. She has been active in the Alternative Break Program at CSU, both as a participant and as a site leader. “It is an incredible program that has constantly challenged me to explore my social positionality.”

Maeve will continue to pursue philosophy in the Master’s program at Virginia Tech this fall. Maeve recognizes professors Jeff Kasser and Katie McShane for being incredibly supportive of her over the last few years.


Maxwell Clement, Outstanding Philosophy Grad of Spring 2021

student profileMax Clement graduates with a double major in philosophy and interdisciplinary studies. Like many students, he fell into philosophy after taking a course with the dynamic instructor Shawn Brady.

Max has been an active participant and organizer of the Philosophy Club at CSU. He has worked to “develop a community of undergrads delving into the myriad of topics running through our heads.” He has enjoyed the philosophical life in his 1970s camper: “During breaks, I would focus on traveling with the coast lines which put a lot into perspective and gave me time to think.”

Max had some “out-there life experiences” before college, including working on a sheep farm, moonlighting as a private pilot student, selling shoes, being a whitewater rafting guide, and then joining the Air Force and being stationed in North Dakota for five years. His current post-grad plan is to stay in Fort Collins and become a raft guide on the Poudre again.

Max “loves the department and will miss knocking on doors for irrelevant questions.”  He credits Shawn Brady, Domenica Romagni, Ashby Butnor, Katie McShane, and Eric Easley who have “all in different ways pushed me to think about the philosophical issues around me as well as helping with my own personal issues as I’ve worked my way through my education.”

Mia Sawaya

student profileAfter changing her major seven times, Mia Sawaya chose philosophy because it represented the “epitome of academia” in her mind and she was ready to commit. Mia appreciates how philosophy “shows you the potential of the world and how you are allowed to realize that the world is not just one way.” Mia loves the flexibility of philosophy and how it is malleable to many paths in life.

During her time at CSU, Mia worked at the campus radio station. She appreciated the opportunity to explore and get more involved in the Fort Collins community and with local bands. Mia is currently exploring job opportunities for the next couple years before diving back into academia.

Mia credits Dr. Beth Tropman for her academic advising and phenomenal teaching. She also appreciates professors Jeff Kasser and Ashby Butnor for highlighting the value of philosophy for her life and future career.

Franklin Harris

Franklin Harris is completing a dual degree program in forest biology with minors in plant pathology and botany, in addition to his philosophy degree.  Frank credits an introductory course with Dan Alverez for his interest in philosophy: “The way that class made me think was so drastically different from what I was used to and clicked so well that I knew I wanted to study more philosophy.”

Frank also recognizes the value of philosophy for the pursuit of science, “In addition to filling my void and allowing more meaning to my life, philosophy also makes me a better scientist by making me question the underlying assumptions of arguments.” Frank is planning to attend graduate school in Europe and study the effect of climate change on microbial function.

In addition to research in plant-soil-microbe interactions, Frank was vice president of CSU’s Dead Poet’s Society and a participant in student clubs like GAIA, Rams for Refugees, and the Friday Afternoon Club.

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Off campus, Frank, a black belt in Kyokushin karate, teaches marital arts. He also climbs, camps, explores abandoned mining towns, hosts D&D campaigns, smokes a pipe, and memorizes Stan Hugill sea shanties. In Frank’s own words, he is a “goofball, dork, and a white salamander with a sterling silver-tongued charisma looking to live life to the fullest.”

Frank gives huge accolades to Dr. Paul DiRado: “What makes Paul a mentor versus just an excellent teacher is his willingness to engage outside of the classroom.” Frank is especially appreciative of their extracurricular discussions of Being and Time.


George Laird

student profileGeorge Laird graduates with a double major in philosophy and statistics and a minor in Mandarin Chinese. The focus of George’s study of philosophy has been on ethics—both in and out of the classroom.

George would like to thank Dr. Beth Tropman for her meta-ethics and contemporary ethics courses and he credits both courses “for shaping my ethical thinking significantly.”  He also appreciates Eric Easley for leading the Ethics Bowl Team, including their path to the national competition this year. Coach Easley describes George as a “confident and honest leader who stays very positive and focused.” He is impressed by the way George “genuinely tries to apply lessons from ethics and philosophy to himself and the world.”

Currently, George has no post-graduation plans, but will continue to read and spend time with his family. George bids farewell: “Thank you to all of my professors! I never took a bad philosophy class and am grateful for my time at CSU.”


Zachary Craig

Zachary Craig is graduating with a philosophy degree and a keen interest in religion, history, and metaphysics. To him, “philosophy is figuring out how the world is as much as it is figuring out how I am within it.”

Zachary would like to recognize Dr. Idris Hamid as being the most influential figure in his time at CSU. “Dr. Hamid has opened my eyes to worlds which I would have been slow to discover myself, and he has imparted a genuine love of eloquence and accuracy in philosophical writing to me.”

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Beyond spending time with his wonderful fiancé, Zachary invests his time in reading history (all things Indo-European), reading Tolkien, and practicing jiujitsu. His post-grad plan is to pursue a career in EMS and firefighting while developing a nonprofit organization which helps men pursue a more meaningful life by developing themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Zachary sends out a “final thank you to all of those who made my education possible!”


Anna Ruybal

student profile Anna Ruybal is graduating with a philosophy major and a minor in business administration. Anna admits that philosophy was not on her radar when she started college: “I had no interest in philosophy when I began my journey at CSU. Over time, I could feel that I was drawn to philosophical concepts and knew I had to make the switch.”

Anna is currently torn between attending law school and settling a homestead where she can raise goats and do pottery and yoga in the garden. She feels prepared for the former: “If I decide on law school, I believe philosophy has prepared me by strengthening my reading, writing, and critical thinking abilities. I’m hoping my time spent with Dr. Dustin Tucker has provided me with all the skills needed to easily ace the LSAT.”

Outside of philosophy, Anna enjoys pottery, yoga, fly fishing, and camping. As for Anna’s plans after graduation: “I plan to indulge in these activities, living as freely as possible until it’s time to focus on the future.”


Eric Lyons

student profileEric Lyons is graduating with a philosophy of science and technology concentration along with a minor in geographic information systems. He loves philosophy and feels “equipped with critical thinking tools which I feel are very necessary yet lacking in today’s world.”

Eric began his philosophy career back in 2010 with a course by now-retired philosopher Bernie Rollin. He credits Dr. Rollins for pulling him away from engineering and having a major impact on his life. Eric stepped away from CSU for eight years. During this time, he managed a comedy club and performed standup all over the west. Eric acknowledges philosophy as a source for some of his comedy material and has connected with the way his professors have often used satire as an example of good philosophy.

Despite his comedic and philosophical skills, Eric plans to pursue a science degree after graduation and will be attending St. Mary’s University of Minnesota to study data intelligence and geoanalytics. He will also work at GeoSpatial Services mapping wetlands in Alaska in addition to actively pursuing standup comedy.

Eric thanks Dr. Jeff Kasser for getting him to think about his scientific pursuits and interests in different ways, and Dr. Domenica Romagni for her capstone seminar that, he explains, “got me excited about philosophy again after being away from the University for eight years.” Eric bids farewell to his long-standing relationship: “I can’t say how happy I am to come back after eight years away to finish a degree I started in 2009. I am very proud to be a CSU Ram!”


The Department of Philosophy would also like to congratulate graduates Kieren Daley Laursen, Kyle Foy, Matt Lawrence, Matthew Martillo, Mallory Kimberlin, and Emery Jenkins!