What I Did with my Philosophy Degree

Our department's thriving alumni network demonstrates that a major in philosophy continues to make an impact on students well after they have graduated. The philosophy department has compiled a database of graduates of our department from the past 20 years who are interested in talking and networking with current undergraduates. To request access to the alumni database, please contact Michelle Brown. Please read on to learn about the experiences of some Philosophy alumni, and what they are doing with their degrees.



Rachel Crowl

I graduated from OSU in the Spring of 2020 with a double major in Philosophy and International Studies. I entered my Freshman year with the intention to double major in Economics and International Studies, but after taking an Introduction to Philosophy lecture in my first semester, I was so excited by Philosophy that I decided to change majors. Studying Philosophy taught me new ways of thinking, reading, and writing that were challenging and stimulating. I genuinely enjoyed all of my classes.

After graduating, I began a service year as an Americorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) in Portland, Oregon. I’m serving with a research network at Oregon Health and Science University, on a study focused on measuring the social needs (housing, food, transportation, etc.) of Medicaid and Medicare patients. My work focuses primarily on community integration and making sure that health care providers, insurance companies, and community organizations are communicating with each other and with community members to make sure that patients are able to access the resources they need. My International Studies major prepared me well for the quantitative, data-focused aspects of my work, but my background in Philosophy has also had an impact on the way I do my work. It especially prepared me to address difficult moral questions about community engagement and health equity.

This upcoming fall, I will begin pursing a J.D. at Yale Law School. Studying Philosophy was a major aid in helping me decide that law school was the right path for my future and in preparing for law school. I took and enjoyed many Logic courses, which taught me to think in ways that prepared me well for the LSAT and that will be beneficial during law school. Philosophy has also helped me to consider the ethical implications of my work and solidify my goal of beginning a career in Public Interest Law.


Adam Levine

Adam Levine

I graduated from Ohio State in 2017 after studying Philosophy and Economics, and decided to move to Chicago to pursue stand-up comedy without having a day job lined up. I eventually found a flexible job at BallotReady, a voting and elections software start-up where I work on sales strategy. Courses I took in Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and Symbolic Logic help me analyze lots of data points to build financial models and business strategies. As far as my comedy career has gone, I’ve performed at the Laugh Factory, Zanies, Second City, Flappers and a couple of festivals too. Now I am moving to NYC to further my career. My typical day is long, filled with work from 10-6 and then nights telling jokes in bars, clubs and theaters to mostly great audiences and sometimes the unfortunate lone audience member. The most important aspect in my comedy and day job is being able to make connections between seemingly disparate ideas to create novel solutions that hold up analytically. 

Studying philosophy is not a requirement for writing jokes but I learned how to quickly get to the point (i.e., joke) and I also learned that there’s some logic to every joke that isn’t just a funny story or impression. I hear people say that stand-up comics are the modern day philosophers and I think that’s not fair. Telling jokes is actually much harder. We can make all the same points but also have to add jokes. Imagine writing a paper but every tenth word needs to get a laugh. Jokes work because the comic has a new angle on an idea that logically flows from set up to punchline, just as philosophers draw new conclusions that logically follow from their premises.

The most common question I got when I told people of my philosophy major was “What are you going to do with that degree?”, as if the only reason to go to college is to get a job. I certainly understand that sentiment, but philosophy prepared me for a job the way a major should while also providing the benefits of studying humanities that make you a well-rounded and adjusted person outside of your job—in what is also known as your life. Philosophy has been so helpful to me in figuring out what news sources are best to digest, assigning meaning to relationships and life's path, navigating faith, solving trolls' riddles to cross bridges, and my personal favorite: defending LeBron in the “who is the best basketball player” conversations at my barbershop. 


Kailum Ijaz

Kailum Ijaz

My name is Kailum Ijaz and I am a 2014 graduate from The Ohio State University where I majored in Philosophy, Classics, and Economics. Immediately after graduating, I worked for a company in Cleveland as a Business Development Coordinator. There, I was able to use the critical thinking skill I developed in Philosophy to understand client problems and develop creative best practices. My Philosophy education was key to this because it provided me with the training to approach issues from holistic, and high-level perspective which empowered me to find solutions more quickly.

After working for 9 months, I decided take a risk and do something I'd always wanted to do: I quit my job and dedicated a year of my life to service. Thus, I began working as a full-time member of the Alumni Volunteer Program at my High School Alma Mater--St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. For one year, I ran different outreach programs at the High School. From organizing logistics for the St. Joseph of Aramathea Pallbearer Society (an organization that provides free Pallbearer services for persons who pass away with no one to act as pallbearers), to running three after school programs for at risk inner city students in the area, to helping out with the St. Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry for the homeless (a ministry that provides food and friendships for the homeless in Cleveland). It has been a joy to give back to my community and reconnect with my Catholic Faith. Since the dedicated year of service ended, I have been working as a project manager at a software company in Cleveland.

I would give four pieces of advice to students: (i) Study what you love: as long as you work hard, have confidence, and are prepared, you'll be able to get a job. (ii) Develop relationships with your professors. This is one of the best parts of the college experiences. I developed wonderful relationships with Professor Rudavsky and Professor Shabel--I still keep in touch with them.  (iii) Be willing to jump out into the unknown. It was hard for me to leave the salary and security of my job in order to do a full year of service, but it has been such a wonderful and formative decision. (iv) Never lose your love of learning. The world after college can be less exciting than you may have thought. Yet, from studying Philosophy, I've developed a love of learning that keeps me interested in everything. I still read Philosophy everyday (Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Wittgenstein), and it has brought deep joy to my life.


D. Tuttle

Dylan Tuttle

I graduated in May 2019 with a double major in Public Policy Analysis and Philosophy, as well as an Economics minor. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at OSU and within the Philosophy Department. Some of my favorite classes were Symbolic Logic, Political and Social Philosophy, and Morality and the Mind. What I appreciated most about my experience in the Philosophy Department was the classroom environment that the Philosophy professors fostered. In every single class, professors strongly encouraged each student to express their thoughts and engage with the readings and other classmates’ thoughts. 

After graduating, I started working as a Consultant for BerryDunn’s Government Consulting Group—primarily supporting State Medicaid Agency clients with their efforts to modernize their Medicaid Enterprise Systems (MES). The Philosophy major really helped me during this transition. My job requires a great deal of critical thinking, analysis, and communicating complex ideas to a range of audiences—technical folks, policy folks, business folks, etc. The Philosophy major’s emphasis on critical thinking, clear writing, and respectful discourse directly translate to my daily job responsibilities.

Beyond my job, my experience as a Philosophy major fundamentally impacted my overall worldview and beliefs about notions of justice, equality, morality, fairness, and logic. I cherish the type of thinking and skill sets that the philosophy department fosters in its students, because I genuinely believe my experience helped me become a better, more informed human being. 

From my experience both interviewing for jobs and then being on the other side of the table, I have a little more perspective now about this process. One piece of advice I’d offer to students who are making the transition to the working world is to be sure to explain how their training has prepared them. Philosophy can seem out of grasp for some people, so it’s often better to for a job applicant to elaborate on the value of their degree by saying “My experience as a Philosophy major required me to analyze and interpret complex texts, present the strengths and weaknesses of the authors’ arguments, and argue for my own conclusions,” rather than simply saying “My Philosophy major strengthened my writing.” 


Amanda Kaczmarek

Amanda Kaczmarek

I earned two degrees at Ohio State: a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience. Immediately after graduating in May 2014 I took a lab manager position in the Neurolinguistics Laboratory at New York University. I’m now a graduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara in the Social Psychology area of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. I work in the Social Perception Lab under my advisor, Dr. Kyle Ratner, working on studies related to both the visual and social perception of others.
My own research focuses on questions related to moral decision-making, moral motivations, and the social influences on how we form and express moral principles. My research interests are a direct outgrowth of my philosophical studies at Ohio State, where I took several classes in morality and philosophy of mind.
I feel very strongly that the Philosophy of Science course should be part of the requirements for all research-oriented STEM majors…taking [Philosophy of Biology] in particular helped me to think more clearly about the underlying logic and assumptions of scientific inquiry. It helped me to be able to articulate my own original hypothesis for a study, and to pull together information from multiple sources in multiple disciplines in order to fully support my idea.
Being a philosopher has also made me able to read scientific papers with a more critical eye, and to raise questions in presentations of research that others may not have thought of, particularly about the scientists' own biases or assumptions that were made during the generation of the original hypothesis. 
All research scientists must also eventually become science writers in some capacity, and be able to articulate their ideas clearly and in logical sequence, to define their jargon, and to anticipate objections and next steps…Basically: a STEM major can teach you about a science, but a philosophy degree can teach you how to be a scientist.



Jeff Manghillis

When I told my parents that I was going to major in philosophy, they were concerned about what I would do after graduation.  But majoring in Philosophy was, without a doubt, the right choice for me.  My philosophy classes at Ohio State engaged, challenged, and even impassioned me in ways other classes did not,  That motivation drove me to do my very best at school and helped me get into law school.  What I learned was invaluable both during law school and my career path.  In the end, my parents were proud that I followed my passions.

After graduation in 1997, I received my law degree from Harvard Law School, clerked for a federal judge, and practiced corporate litigation at Jones Day, an international law firm.  At Jones Day, I successfully argued twice before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (one court below the Supreme Court), pioneered a new defense to fraud claims, and was part of team that freed a client who was on death row (pro bono).  After several years, I decided to make a career change and got an MBA from Ohio State.  After graduation, I went to work for McKinsey and Company as a management consultant and helped tackle some of the biggest issues for several Fortune 500 companies.  Currently, I work in internal strategy for Huntington Bank, have taught an MBA class at Fisher College of Business, and volunteer on the Customer Excellence Committee at the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.    

My career has taken some unexpected turns since I graduated from Ohio State. Through it all, my Philosophy degree has helped me ask the right questions, methodically tackle those questions, develop and support a hypothesis, and respect others' hypotheses, especially when they differ from my own.  As a bonus, it helps provide a perspective with everything going on in the world today (John Rawls' veil of ignorance has been raised by others in numerous conversations over the last few months).  I look back at my time as a philosophy major at Ohio State with great fondness and am very grateful for everything I learned and experienced.



Jason Kwon

One of my favorite parts of studying philosophy at OSU was the relationships that I formed with my professors. Even though philosophy offers such complex and tough subjects, you never feel too intimidated because the vast majority of your professors patiently guide you through the material right until you get it. Beyond the material, they care for your well-being. They are very understanding that there is life outside of school, and they treat you like an adult. They also make it fun to come to class. Discussions are always engaging, not just regurgitating the material we read about but thinking about how it applies to concrete things.

I graduated from OSU in Spring of 2018. While in school, I got interested in football player personnel and scouting at the college ranks. I started off as an intern for Ohio State University under the direction of my mentor, Mark Pantoni. I made great relationships there and I guess I performed well. I was hired by then Defensive Coordinator Jeff Hafley to come to Boston College with him to help him build up the culture, roster, and team. Philosophy prepared me well for this job. Beyond the evaluation standpoint, the job requires a lot of thinking and expressing in writing, and my philosophy degree prepared me well for these duties.

Currently, I serve as the Director of Scouting for Boston College Football. At first, it did not seem like philosophy directly applied to the position. However, when I consistently got comments on my writing and how I was able to explain complex things in written form, I realized my philosophy degree really made a difference. Writing in the “real world” is just like how our papers and exams were. You have to convey very complex material that seems easy to discuss orally (like we did in office hours) but you need to know how to express it carefully in writing, or else people will be confused!


Henry Wu

Henry Wu

Henry Wu graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Political Science in Spring 2020. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. Read about his time as a philosophy major and his future plans in this interview





Katie Petro

Katie Petro

After graduating from OSU in December 2014, I took some time off from school and participated in a teaching assistantship program in France. My experience in France was both difficult and wonderful, as I learned a lot about myself and my goals while immersing myself in new situations everyday and acquiring important language skills. I came back to Columbus in May 2016, having decided to apply to graduate programs in dietetics. As of 2018, I am in the second year of the Coordinated Graduate Program for Medical Dietetics at OSU.
Although I will not be pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy, I will be forever grateful to the philosophy department at OSU, which taught me how to read well, write analytically, and think logically, all of which are skills that transcend career choice. Having these skills in graduate school is vital to success, and I am confident that my philosophical training will serve me well as a dietician. Furthermore, philosophy has opened my mind to different worldviews and has instilled in me a passion for questioning what is and what could be. Philosophy is about much more than abstract arguments; it is about how the world works and how people function within it and with each other. Being able to understand people on this level is immensely important in every aspect of life, and I would not have developed that skill without philosophical training.


Kok-Hin Ooi

Kok-Hin Ooi 

After graduation in 2015, I began work with a research institute in my hometown, Penang (a state in Malaysia). It's a state think-tank. I work as a research analyst in the Political and Social Analysis department.

Philosophy generally makes me a better and humbler person. Recently I appeared on a local radio station to talk about Plato! It feels good to introduce philosophy to the people here. It's a privilege to be able to read philosophy as Malaysian universities don't offer a degree in philosophy...I enjoy the opportunity to pass on what I have learned to my people.
All said and done, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Ohio State University studying Philosophy and Political Science. The professors who taught me, the courses I have taken, the people I met, directly and indirectly shaped who I am, and more importantly, gave me the tools to think for myself. I guess Philosophy is like a sort of knowledge best described as 'What is seen, cannot be unseen'. I can no longer pretend to live the unexamined life e.g. working mechanically 9-5, rushing to get a job just because everyone else has one. On top of that, Philosophy managed to instill a love of wisdom in me. I'm reading Marx and Adam Smith on my own out of pure interest and curiosity. Hopefully I will keep on learning, forever.

Chris Tavenor

Chris Tavenor

I graduated from Ohio State in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Minor in English. I immediately entered law school at Ohio State the following semester, graduating with my Juris Doctorate May 2017. After law school, I became the Ohio Environmental Council’s first Law Fellow, where I use my legal writing skills to protect Ohio’s air, land and water. In addition to my legal pursuits, I am an independent science fiction and fantasy author and freelance editor.

Philosophy differs from other degrees because it changes how you think, as opposed to requiring you to regurgitate information onto a test. My philosophical studies directly impacted my choice to pursue a career in Environmental Law. In assessing what 'career' I chose to pursue, I thought not about what I wanted to do, but what I could do that could maximize well-being for the most people around me. Climate change poses the greatest threat to our planet and our species, so a career in environmental law was the only option in my mind.

It also informed my secondary career. As an independent author, I strive to inject provocative thought into everything I write. Good stories entertain, while great stories both entertain and make their readers contemplate profound questions. I like to think I achieved that goal, though that’s a question for my readers!
When I think back to my undergraduate career, it’s not about what I learned, but how I learned. I can remember seeing new ways to think about theism in Professor Rudavsky's Philosophy of Religion classes; new methods of moral analysis in Professors D'Arm's classes; and new techniques for understanding difficult texts in Professor Shabel's classes. In fact, my first novel is inspired by topics in Professor Samuels' Cognitive Science class. Every day, I see Philosophy impacting my life, and I hope future students seriously consider philosophy at Ohio State so they can have similar experiences.


Brad Griggs

Brad Griggs


After graduating from OSU’s undergraduate philosophy program in 2015, I took some much needed time off to pursue endeavors that were out of my reach as a full-time student. Most notably, I used this time to travel both domestically and abroad in order to see what life is like outside of campus borders. However, I have not abandoned academia. Shortly after graduating, I participated in OSU’s Center for Cognitive and Brain Science’s inaugural Undergraduate Summer Institute. I also spent a semester back at OSU as a guest in a few courses that I never had a chance to take while I was a student. And as of 2018, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati.

I want to continue studying philosophy not only because I find it incredibly interesting; I have also found it to be remarkably useful. Philosophy has helped me become more effective at clearly communicating my own ideas to others. It has also made it easier for me to understand and critically engage with others’ views. More generally, studying philosophy has made me a better, more analytical thinker – and this is a reward that I have found to be immensely valuable in nearly all aspects of my life. From pondering the 'big questions' in life to overcoming the small ones, the skills that I learned through studying philosophy have helped me every step of the way.