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Philosophy & Education
In the Department of Arts & Humanities
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Claire Becerra holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Arizona. Before transferring to TC, she studied philosophy at the graduate level and served as a TA in undergraduate philosophy classes at the University of Washington. She also taught introductory philosophy lessons to both seventh and ninth grade classes through UW’s Center for the Philosophy for Children. A forever Quinean, (for better or worse), Claire is excited to take advantage of TC’s dynamic empirical community, and to engage her interests in philosophical psychology, particularly in how mathematical and logical reasoning can shed light on a priori reasoning and learning, in general. She is also passionate about increasing access to philosophy at the pre-college level, and especially in traditionally underserved communities. In her spare time, Claire enjoys horror movies and wandering the isles of Sephora.
Casey graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2017 with her B.S. in English Language Arts Education. While at UCF, she worked as a writing consultant at the University Writing Center, tutoring students in their writing across disciplines. In 2016, she completed and defended her thesis, "A Grounded Theory Study of the Impact of Florida School Report Cards on English Language Arts Teachers' Self-Efficacy and Perceptions of Student Writing," which explored how the rankings schools receive annually influence the way teachers think and feel about themselves, their students, and their work. Casey is now working on her M.A. in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, with research interests that include teacher education and the roles a teacher's individuality and "personhood" play in the work of education.
Saiki Lucy Cheah
Saiki earned her BSc in Geography with Economics (2003) from the London School of Economics, Master of Social Science with a Major in International & Comparative Education (2006) from Stockholm University and Ph.D in Political Theory (2011) from LUISS Guido Carlo University. A background in political economy of education, sustainable citizenship, track & field and volleyball training and fitness & nutrition coaching led to Saiki's interest in exploring what constitute leisure and wellness in the post-industrial age and how coaching plays a role in leisure and wellness education. Currently, Saiki is a Tier X Coach at Equinox and Guest Coach at Wellness In The Schools (WITS) Family Fitness Fun Nights Program.
Mitchell graduated from Skidmore College in 2008 with a degree in Theater. His work has been an interweaving of education and theater. At the BIRD Theatre in Tottori, Japan, among other productions, he collaborated with Korean group TUIDA to create The Poetry Class about the colonial period and Pacific war; he also directed students at Kei Ai High School in Romeo & Juliet. Using applied theatre, he performed with Village Playback Theatre creating improvisations from audience members’ personal stories, and, for a three month residency he taught embodied methods of community dialogue through the Colombo Americano in Medellin, Colombia. He has also taught theater to elementary school students at 82nd St. Academics and middle school students at Summer Institute for the Gifted. For a year, he taught at the English Immersion Program in Umphium Mai refugee camp on the Thailand-Myanmar border using a curriculum of literature, theater, and critical thinking. Currently, Mitchell works with New York Foundling as a tutor at Queens College.
Abram de Bruyn
Abram graduated from Victoria University, Australia, with a B.A. in Performance Studies. With no prior formal training in dance or theater, the driving interests were pedagogical: how do the performing arts affect us, teach us (as practitioners, as audiences)? The forms of interest were fringe and radical, could such theater bring about social change? Did it? Currently, Abram’s academic interests are in education models that rethink the traditional school with a view to restructuring society. The general framework is part socio-cultural ethnography, part philosophy.
Hannah's predominant area of philosophical interest is applied ethics, specifically as its leading questions intersect with and inform her work in urban education leadership. In her future studies, she hopes to tackle the question of how, if at all, the conditions that typically accompany inter-generational poverty have an impact on affected individuals' capacity to flourish. She is currently working on a number of pieces dealing with the question of how, if at all, neuroscience can / should inform philosophical theory.
Casey graduated from Kenyon College with a dual degree in American Studies (emphasis in education) and Theater (emphasis in directing). She is in her second year of the master's program in Philosophy and Education. Her academic interests are focused in the philosophical fields of pragmatism and anarchism as they relate to education. She is interested in radical alternative visions of what schooling can be.
John graduated from Colorado College in 2013 with a B.A. in Philosophy, and has since lived in New York City. He's worked in a range of positions in the field of education, from academic tutoring to instruction and project development for an afterschool program that teaches basic carpentry skills to elementary schoolers. He also worked for 7 summers as a counselor, manager and assistant director for a residential summer camp in the Appalachians of Western Maryland, his home state. He currently teaches high school mathematics and religious studies at Mary McDowell Friends School, an independent Quaker school in Brooklyn for students with learning disabilities, where he is excited to be coaching the school's first Ethics Bowl team. His current philosophical interests include 20th century Continental philosophy, philosophy for children, the pedagogy of religious studies education, and John Dewey's conceptions of geography and history.
Renae Lesser graduated with a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and worked as an editor and writer for several publications and publishers before arriving at Teachers College. Renae’s philosophical interests are centered around ‘human freedom’ in all of its various conceptions. She is interested in investigating what meaningful education might look like in the context of rapid political, technological, and environmental change.
Timothy comes to the Philosophy and Education program with a Master of Music Education degree from Teachers College. His undergraduate degree was in music performance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a minor in Music Education. Timothy also has a PreK-12 Music Education Certification. He was a full-time PreK-12 teacher at PS. 007 Samuel Stern in East Harlem, and a student teacher at Berkley Carroll in Brooklyn, and Blue School in Manhattan. As a freelance bass player, he has also performed at many venues in NYC. Timothy’s interests in philosophy and education originate from his experience teaching in the public school domain. His general focus is on moral and political philosophy and pragmatism. More specifically, Tim is dedicated to exploring how policy affects the moral ends of education and how teachers can make a difference within the heteronomy they face.
Clayton Rains earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the School of General Studies, Columbia University’s undergraduate school for non-traditional students. Clayton describes his early encounter with education as vexatious, and it consequently led to education itself becoming a focus of his studies: its sociological, philosophical, and practical aspects. He is presently pursuing an M.A. in Philosophy and Education with an aim to make education more welcoming to students with non-traditional backgrounds.
John is pursuing an M.A. in Philosophy and Education, a degree which allows him to combine two of his favorite disciplines. After graduating from The King’s College, John developed a deep appreciation for philosophy, especially—though certainly not exclusively—20th century European philosophy. Prior to beginning at Columbia, John taught chess at a middle school in Harlem; now he teaches after-school debate at a classical Christian school. John lives with his wife, Lucy, on the Upper West Side.
Rob graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx, NY with a B.S. from the Gabelli School of Business and a minor in philosophy. Unable to ignore the "call to teach," Rob left the world of business in order to work as an Assistant Teacher in a kindergarten classroom last year. He currently works as a 6th grade teacher at a middle school in Harlem while pursuing an M.A. in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College. He hopes to enhance both his knowledge of educational philosophy and pedagogical skill to push his teaching practices inside and outside of the classroom.
Master of Education (Ed.M.)
Karl Joyner earned his B.A. in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago. A background in early childhood psychology, public policy, and community and cultural psychology led to an interest in promoting critical thinking and communication skills for young children. Throughout his studies, he taught pre-collegiate philosophy classes and coached Ethics Bowl teams with the Civic Knowledge Project's Winning Words program. As a student in the Philosophy and Education program, he focuses on the intersection of literacy skills and identity development. He currently teaches debate and literacy skills at several schools in Harlem.
Chloe Eunbee Song
Prior to TC, Chloe received her M.A. in TESOL from New York University. While teaching English as a foreign language in Seoul for many years, she had encountered consistent problems with the instruction, which led to her decision to study TESOL. She thought that the landscape could be gradually improved if English teachers in Korea are better equipped with phonetic and phonological English abilities. However, as she learned more in the field, she realized that these issues were not rooted in teachers’ failure to learn the mechanics of the target language, but with profound differences between Korean and American cultures.
That is what brought her to Teachers College; her interest mainly lies in how values and beliefs differ in various cultures and how they affect teaching and learning. She received her B.A. in Philosophy from Kyung Hee University in Seoul where she graduated with the thesis on Sartre’s view of responsibility and freedom. In addition to her teaching experience in Seoul, Chloe also worked as a language coach as part of NYU Speaking Freely program; a language tutor and grader at the department of East Asian Studies at NYU.
Sage Weber graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2016 with a B.A. in Philosophy and a certification in Early Childhood Education. Her undergraduate thesis centered on integrating philosophy into a preschool classroom using principles of emergent curriculum. Before coming to Teachers College, Sage completed her teaching certification internship at Orchid Garden School in Kathmandu, Nepal, and worked as an instructor at the Outdoor School in Texas. She is interested in teacher practice in diverse educational and cultural settings, culturally responsive curriculum development, outdoor and experiential education, and philosophy for children.
Alexander Wojcik graduated from the University of Southern California in 2015 where he earned his B.A in Philosophy, Politics, and Law. Prior to coming to Teachers College, Alexander worked as an instructor for the University of Southern California Trial Advocacy program from 2015-2017 where he taught undergraduate students courtroom procedure, trial technique, and legal theory. During his time with the program, he also served as the UNLV/USC Rebel-Trojan Mock Trial Tournament Director where he worked with universities around the United States to coordinate and manage one of the many pre-regional mock trial tournaments on the west coast. Currently, Alexander serves as the Vice President of QueerTC, the LGBTQ+ Advocacy and Educational student organization at Teachers College. Alexander’s philosophical and educational interests focus on interdisciplinary studies in higher education and on how different disciplines in academia interact with one another. He is interested in finding how the world of higher education adapts when faced with political and social change.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Juan Antonio Casas
Juan Antonio Casas is a Ph.D. student at the Philosophy and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. He obtained his Law degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, and an Ed.M. in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College.
Born and raised in Bogotá, he moved from the practice of law to education as a middle and high school Social Sciences teacher at Gimnasio Campestre, a nationally-recognized K-12 boys school, where he taught for five years and served as Head of School from 2006 to 2017. His experience as a school leader and classroom teacher inform his research interests in moral development, curriculum design and school improvement.
Jessica is working on her dissertation on Jacques Rancière and K-12 Philosophy. She currently lives in San Diego—where she grew up, and where she completed her BA and MA in Philosophy (San Diego State University). She coordinates the Faculty Mentor Program at UC San Diego, teaches philosophy online for Southern New Hampshire University, and enjoys long-distance running.
Before starting his PhD in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Stefan earned his MA from the same program. He is primarily interested in American Pragmatism, particularly the work of Richard Rorty and John Dewey. Stefan is also interested in the teaching of ethics, and he regularly serves as a judge at the annual Long Island High School Ethics Bowl.
Nicholas J. Fortier
Nick teaches first year courses, philosophy, and humanities courses at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY. His research looks at how public school teachers' critical relationship to the apparatus of teaching can facilitate a more open learning environment for their students. He enjoys the outdoors and lives in Brooklyn.
Sara Hardman is in her second year of the doctoral program, where her research interests largely revolve around philosophy of language and literature, as well as feminist philosophy. She received her B.A. from Washington and Lee University, where she studied English Literature and Math. Currently, she is interested in the different forms philosophy can take, from academic writing to poetry to fiction, and is experimenting with a mixture of forms.
Saori Hori is a fourth year PhD student interested in the connection between epistemology and ethics in the philosophy of education. In her doctoral research, she focuses on the role of "not-knowing" in the cultivation of personhood, reading Rousseau in dialogue with contemporary philosophers. She also works on related issues in moral psychology, social epistemology, and liberal education.
MA in Philosophy and Education (Teachers College, Columbia University); MA in Philosophy (Kyoto University); BA in Philosophy (University of Tokyo).
Rachel Longa is a PhD student in the Philosophy and Education program at Teachers College, where her research focuses on philosophical hermeneutics and the practice of reading. Prior to coming to TC, Rachel earned an MA in the Humanities at University of Chicago and a BA in English Literature at Kenyon college. Over the last decade, she has been a dedicated reader, writer, editor, and teacher to students of all ages.
Rashad Raymond Moore
Rashad Raymond Moore is a Ph.D. student in the Philosophy and Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Rashad is a graduate of Morehouse College with a B.A. in Philosophy, as well as Union Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. His master thesis was titled, "Beating Back the Demons: The Role of Narratives, Rituals, and Sites of Memory in The Spelman College Experience.”
Rashad enjoys researching and writing on the philosophy of historically Black education, as well as concepts pertaining to joy, becoming, and imagination.
An ordained Baptist preacher, Rashad currently as Assistant Minister at The Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
Buddy B. North
As an Alaskan Athabaskan, Buddy has a deep connection to philosophy and education as a means to thrive. His work in virtue epistemology has lead him to philosophy of education, and to questions like: how is epistemic value related to moral and eudaimonic value? He has a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Alaska, and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Victoria. Along with studying the love of wisdom, Buddy has worked as an outdoor educator in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, China, and throughout Alaska. He is an avid snowboarder, skateboarder, surfer, chess player, student of life, and is at Columbia University in the City of New York to study the axiology of education.
Eileen Reuter graduated from Ave Maria University with a Bachelor's degree in Politics. She finished her Master's degree in Education from Rhode Island College while spending two years teaching with the Teach for America. She is currently a third year doctoral student in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Throughout her time there she has tutored middle school students and worked in administration at a charter school in the Bronx. She and her husband Chris are looking forward to the birth of their first child this spring.
Tomas Rocha is a PhD student in the Philosophy and Education program at Teachers College, where his major research interests include the philosophy of friendship, Latin American philosophy, and the foundations of ethics in education. Prior to coming to TC, Tomas earned an MPhil in Politics, Development, and Democratic Education from the University of Cambridge, and a BA in Education Studies from Brown University. He currently teaches an introduction to philosophical ethics at Fordham University, enjoys serving as a judge and moderator in the annual NYC High School Ethics Bowl, and participates actively in the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society.
Sulki Song is a Ph.D. Student in the Philosophy and Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned a B.A. in Education and M.A. in Philosophy of Education, both from Seoul National University, South Korea. Her master thesis was titled, “Education for the Formation of Self-Identity: Drawing upon Charles Taylor’s Concept of Authenticity.” She is deeply interested in answering the question philosophically: what does the education look like as a way of supporting human beings to live their own lives fully and freely? Her current research interests include identity formation, value education, character education, and the concept of understanding, especially during the school-ages years.
Rebecca Sullivan is a PhD student in the Philosophy and Education program. She earned her B.A. in Philosophy and English Literature from the University of Notre Dame. After working for a few years in the human service professions, she has returned to the formal study of philosophy to deepen her understanding of personhood and the intersection of philosophy and education that happens through everyday actions and encounters.
The title of her masters thesis was: "Bearing Witness to a Knowledge of Encounter: The Power of Perspective in Babette's Feast."
Nick Tanchuk is a PhD student in the Philosophy and Education program at Teachers College, where his research focuses on what counts as social justice and how we measure it in education. Prior to coming to TC, Nick earned an MA in Philosophy at the University of Manitoba and has taught a variety of subjects in public schools in Winnipeg, Canada. Nick is the co-founder of a Summer Indigenous Math Leadership program at the University of Winnipeg and has over a decade of experience working on grassroots social justice projects in a variety of roles.
Prior to his arrival in New York City, Rory worked as a teacher at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, a Great Books-based liberal arts school in Arizona. Before that, Rory earned a B.A. in American History and an M.A. in Political Theory, both from Arizona State University. Rory's time in the Sonoran was preceded by a deeply cherished period of immiseration, commonly called ‘youth,’ in the Appalachian backwoods of Western Pennsylvania.
Rory’s most salient philosophical, moral, and political commitments are to critical theory, integral theory, cosmopolitanism, and direct deliberative democracy. These commitments shape his feelings, thoughts, and actions in two important ways. First, these commitments mean that he seeks always to unite theory with practice, as beautifully summed up by Marx: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it." Second, these commitments mean that the end to which this union of theory and practice is directed, always, is human liberation—from hierarchy, oppression, injustice, false consciousness, and the illusion of the self, among other things. Through such emancipation can arise autonomy, actualization, and transcendence, and Rory believes that helping to realize these potentials for all persons, including oneself, should be the purpose of any compassionate life. This way of being is exemplified, in Rory’s opinion, by Nietzsche’s figure of Zarathustra, whom he therefore denies accordingly.
Safiye Yigit graduated from the University of Houston in 2007, where she majored in Sociology and minored in Psychology. She also holds a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. For her Master's thesis, she has written on “Curiosity as an Intellectual and Ethical Virtue” and has given numerous lectures and talks in Turkey, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, US, UK, and Poland on curiosity. From 2012 to 2015, she worked as a Researcher at Bogazici University as part of a research project entitled “Curiosity: Epistemics, Semantics, and Ethics” directed by Ilhan Inan. As part of the project, she organized an international conference gathering various notable philosophers working on curiosity and is the co-editor and a contributor of the book Moral Psychology of Curiosity (forthcoming in 2018, Rowman and Littlefield) that came out of a series of curiosity conferences that took place in Istanbul, Slovenia, and Washington. She is also contributing a chapter entitled “The Curious Case of Curiosity: A Virtue or a Vice?” to the forthcoming book Just Curious About Curiosity: Toward New Philosophical Explorations of the Epistemic Desire to Know. She has published articles in the Parmenideum Journal of Philosophy and the Croation Journal of Philosophy.
After studying virtue epistemology and intellectual virtues, she then became interested in the philosophy of education, and educating for intellectual virtues and wisdom. Currently, Safiye is continuing her studies as a doctoral candidate in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Last but not least, she is married and the mother of two boys: Selim and Halim.
Qifan Zhang is a second year PhD student in the Philosophy and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned an MA in Education Policy at TC and a BA in Philosophy at the University of Rochester. Currently, she wants to explore how communication affects human being. Her research interests include cosmopolitanism, phenomenalism, philosophy of arts and philosophy of language.
Ting Zhao received her B.E. in Materials of Science and Engineering from Zhengzhou University, China. During her undergraduate period, she realized her love and passion for education. So after graduation, she went to Beijing Normal University to study the Foundation of Education and got a M.A. in education. There she developed a more systematical understanding of education as well as love for philosophy of education. Before coming to Teachers College, Columbia University, she went to the Ohio State University to study philosophy of education and got her second M.A. in education. She was enrolled in Philosophy and Education program in Fall 2017. Her current research interests include teacher education, Chinese traditional philosophy and education, the aesthetic education, and cosmopolitanism.
Xiaochen Zhao is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also has an Ed.M. from this program. Before joining TC, she earned her B.A. in English from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Her research interests include enchantment, thingness, temporality, affect theory, and how the related issues are discussed in the broader study of aesthetics, literature and education.