Philosophy MA Student Teaches Critical Thinking in the Classroom
“Well how so?”
Mallory Hrehor, MA student in the Department of Philosophy, asks her students at Augustine Classical Academy this simple question to encourage deeper thinking. It’s a question that Associate Professor of Philosophy Marco Nathan often asks in his philosophy classes at DU as well.
“One of things I really like about philosophy is teaching with the Socratic method of asking questions and trying to get the students to think for themselves,” says Hrehor. “Marco would ask the question ‘well how so?’ as a follow up to an answer or claim because students shouldn’t just say that something IS that way, but should be able to explain WHY it is that way.”
When Hrehor began searching for master’s programs, she was torn between pursing her interest in religious studies or philosophy. The University of Denver’s dual master’s has allowed her to pursue both an MA in religious studies and an MA in philosophy, simultaneously.
One of the first classes Hrehor took at DU was a class she had no intention in enjoying — Marco Nathan’s Logic, Language and Metaphysics. However, this class shifted Hrehor’s focus within the world of philosophy.
“I definitely had many meetings with Marco to help nail down my interests. After a month or two, I felt very confident about the direction I wanted to take,” says Hrehor. “I ended up with a bizarre combo, where in religious studies, I’m specializing in philosophy of religion and in philosophy, I’m specializing in philosophy of science.”
Hrehor’s time at DU has been full of more growth and learning than she ever expected. Through forming relationships with the faculty in her department, she’s found genuine connections with her DU community.
“Marco Nathan and Naomi Reshotko have been in my corner since day one. They both have taken a lot of time out of their schedules to help me,” says Hrehor. “Like the hours that Marco has spent explaining to me the steps I need to take to apply to a PhD program, helping me build my CV, and letting me borrow his philosophy of science books when I couldn’t read enough of the stuff.”
Hrehor is grateful for the time the faculty in the philosophy department have taken outside of the classroom to engage with the students. Sarah Pessin has also impacted Hrehor’s experience by going above and beyond to answer her questions, meet outside of class, and mentor her along with the other faculty members.
“Some friends and I started a philosophy reading group and Marco and Naomi and two retired professors from the department joined in. I felt super honored and grateful that these professors would take the time out of their schedules every week to meet with us and talk about books and philosophy,” says Hrehor. “Sarah Pessin also took the time and effort to rip apart my final paper and help me put it back together better. So the three of them are the main people in the philosophy department that I really appreciate everything they’ve done.”
Now, Hrehor will continue to teach and challenge her students as the faculty at DU have challenged her. After graduating next year, Hrehor plans to apply for PhD programs in the philosophy of science, where she can continue learning, researching and writing.
“I think with any educational pursuit, of course there are really hard weeks or months or times where you wonder why you chose to do this to yourself. But my experience has been really good overall,” says Hrehor. “I’m really grateful that I’m at DU, in the philosophy department, and for my professors and the experiences I’ve had.”