Lindsay Brainard occasionally wonders what might have happened if she had gone somewhere other than The College of Wooster. “I would have missed out on a lot,” she says. “My education would have been much less rewarding.”
Fortunately, Brainard chose Wooster, and she has flourished in its rich liberal arts environment, which enabled her to sample a variety of courses before deciding where she would specialize. “I came here expecting to major in psychology, but after taking a course in philosophy (“Ethics, Justice, and Society” with Henry Kreuzman, professor of philosophy) I knew immediately that was what I wanted to pursue,” said Brainard, whose older brother Kyle graduated with a degree in English in 2008 and now attends law school at Case Western Reserve. “The (philosophy) department at Wooster is phenomenal. The professors are passionate and willing to go to great lengths to help you succeed.”
Brainard, who grew up in Gustavus, Ohio, a tiny town north of Youngstown, first learned about Wooster through her involvement in Power of the Pen, an advanced writing competition for gifted middle school students, which holds its state championship on Wooster’s campus each spring. “I really liked the campus,” she said. “I made sure I stopped by when I started looking at colleges several years later.”
Independent Study (Wooster’s nationally renowned undergraduate research program) was a major factor in her decision to attend Wooster. “I am very self-directed, and I liked the idea of developing my own senior project,” she said. “I also liked the fact that the curriculum supported the program.”
Since arriving on campus in the fall of 2006, Brainard has had a dynamic impact. In fact, Lee McBride, assistant professor of philosophy at Wooster, refers to her as a “shining star,” and with good reason. Academically, Brainard has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the liberal arts. She also has presented her research at several philosophy conferences and served as a T.A. (teaching assistant) for “Ancient Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle” with Elizabeth Schiltz, assistant professor of philosophy at Wooster, and “Individuals and Culture”, a first-year seminar taught by John Rudisill. She’s even spent time learning the Chinese language and lived in the Chinese suite.
Outside of class, Brainard has been equally prolific. She served as a student representative on the Educational Policy Committee and the New Student Orientation Committee, and helped to establish Sapere Aude (“Dare to Know”), an undergraduate philosophy journal for which she serves as co-editor in chief. In addition, she is a member of Wooster’s Model U.N. team, and has studied abroad on two occasions, first in China, and then in Scotland. She has also held several jobs on campus, including working as a peer tutor in The College of Wooster’s Writing Center.
What Brainard loves best, however, is studying and doing philosophy. “It’s my favorite thing,” she said. “I like being able to engage with brilliant thinkers, both contemporary and ancient. The ideas of philosophers like Plato are just as relevant today as ever. I see philosophy as an ongoing dialogue that transcends the boundaries of culture and time.”
After graduation, Brainard hopes to continue studying philosophy in a Ph.D. program and then become a professor, perhaps at a school just like Wooster.
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