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MA Program Provides Student with Practical Experience, Scholarly Chops

By Anne Bentzel

A chance class in college altered Jim Ambury’s life. “I took the class simply because it fit my schedule. I didn’t expect much from it. Then I discovered this amazing professor who introduced me to philosophy. I knew that someday I wanted to be a professor like him and inspire others.”

After graduating from NYU, Ambury enrolled in AU’s MA in philosophy and social policy program. “I was attracted to the program because it intersects both theory and practice,” he recalls. As part of his program, he completed an internship at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he conducted research on how urban federal policy and funding effect the homeless. He built upon this experience to form a basis for his final project which explores the idea of homelessness.

Ambury found inspiring professors at AU, but his work with Andrea Tschemplik, assistant professor of philosophy, truly stands out. “Working as a teaching assistant for Andrea gave me a good understanding of pedagogy,” he says. “I began to see why she chose a certain text and how students responded to it.”

Ambury also helped Tschemplik research a book on self knowledge in the dialogues of Plato: “I’d read something and then we would bounce ideas off each other. I felt I was really able to contribute to her writing.”


Igniting Passion in Others

“I envision myself standing before a bunch of students with no idea of what’s in store,” Ambury says. “And then boom, I open up the world of philosophy to them.”

Ambury’s dreams are now reality. He is in his third year at Stony Brook and doing the teaching he was so excited about. Additionally, in May Ambury will be defending his dissertation proposal on the very same topic he worked on with professor Tschemplik: self knowledge in Plato.