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Philosophy | Selected Student Profiles

Chase de Saint-Felix

Philosophy and Social Policy
Chase received a BA in religion and philosophy from Christian Brothers University in 2011, where he focused on issues of gender and sexuality. His research at AU still involves these topics, but contextualizes them in more broad discussions of self-knowledge and subject formation. He tends to situate these discussions within the arena of social and political philosophy, as well as the larger history of the continental tradition, reading thinkers such as Kant, Rawls, Nietzsche, and Foucault. This fall, Chase completed an internship with the Public Defender Service of D.C. studying the mental health system, where he saw first-hand how patients are enticed to know themselves and how institutional structures form our understanding of the mentally ill. At present, he is applying to doctoral programs at various institutions around the country.

Jessica Mailander

Jessica is originally from South Bend, IN and attended American University for her undergraduate degrees. She graduated with Honors in May 2012 with a BS in economics and a BA in philosophy and continued on in the Philosophy Department as a BA/MA candidate in Philosophy and Social Policy, which she will be completing in the spring of 2013. This program has offered her the opportunity to continue to deepen her education in and understanding of philosophy. Jessica has been interning with the U.S. Department of Agriculture since the summer of 2011 as a program assistant in the Rural Development Telecommunications Program. In addition, Jessica trains at a martial arts school in Shady Grove and is a first degree black belt. After graduation, Jessica plans to stay in the area and get a job with the Federal government.

Emily Thrush

Emily grew up in Southern California and then traveled back to the east to attend college about 50 miles from where she was born. She graduated with a BA in English literature with a minor in religious studies from Messiah College outside of Harrisburg, PA. Emily moved to D.C. for an internship at a peace and social justice organization, and fell in love with the city. She spent the last four years as a Job Counselor at a local non-profit, assisting low-income people into entry level jobs. Her experience working with ex-offenders in job-seeking prompted her to apply to the Ethics, Peace, & Global Affairs Program at AU. The EPGA program has served as a bridge between her interest in macro- and micro-justice issues. She has interned at the Public Defender Service for D.C. during her second year at AU, and she hopes after graduation to continue to work with ex-offenders in the re-entry field, participating in models of restorative justice and rehabilitation after incarceration.


Lauren Zahn

Born and raised in Upstate New York, Lauren earned her BA in philosophy from Purchase College in 2008. Currently in her final semester at AU, she is set to receive her master's degree in philosophy and social policy this May. During her time at AU, Lauren served as an intern at the ARC of D.C., the nation’s largest organization promoting the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her two qualifying papers centered on, first, the ethics of antidepressant medications in relation to Nietzsche, and second, the use of the concept of “the animal” in the deployment and perpetuation of racism. Lauren’s main research interests include animal rights, the psychology/philosophy of religion, and 19th century German philosophy. She is now applying to PhD programs, and if accepted, hopes to continue her studies.