Meet Ashley!

Hello Everyone!   Sorry for the delayed posting.  I’d meant to get this up two days ago from Minneapolis but had some difficulty figuring out WordPress.  Below are my thoughts from before my flight (some words on my first day in London are to come soon):

This marks my first blog post as the new Jones Fellow, taking over from Allison and her studies in Germany.  I’m super excited to finally get going after a long summer of vicious over planning (note the two copies of a fifteen page arrival itinerary currently in my carry-on bags).  I can’t wait to get to Europe and to start sharing my journey with you!  As far as this blog goes, through advice I’ve received from Allison I’m going to try to post frequent, shorter blog posts with a few long posts here and there to try to send a constant flow of information from me to you without things becoming overwhelming for either of us.

About myself: I grew up in Maple Grove, Minnesota and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan after high school to get my Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering with a Minor in History.  I know I have to thank my history minor for its large role in my receiving this fellowship (as it led me to pursuing a more varied array of interests at Michigan), and I know I have to thank my accidentally taking a course on Scottish politics for my getting a history minor.  My sophomore year, having signed up for a history course on jazz music to fulfill my Michigan Engineering humanities requirement with a course I was told by classmates would be an “easy-A” (and this was to be my ONLY humanities course in college, I’d assured myself), I arrived to class to find I’d accidentally chosen a course on the Scottish referendum!  Realizing that a last minute change to my schedule would only further complicate things, I decided to stick with the course.  During that semester I read more books than I had in the collective two years since high school, but I also realized how much I missed the subjectivity of the humanities, where, according to Nietzsche, 2+2 equals whatever best suits your purposes (not something you’d hear in an engineering classroom).  Two years, six more humanities courses, and a history minor later I graduated from the University of Michigan with a much fuller education than I could have expected my sophomore year.  My minor reunited me with my love of philosophy and literature.  I learned to consider the reasoning and the consequences of what I’d in the past considered to be purely mathematical problems, and I think I’m a better person for it.

This fall I’ll be starting a one-year Master’s program in Philosophy of Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science (generally referred to as LSE).  I applied to the Roger M. Jones fellowship as means of creating a gap year between my bachelor’s degree and the start of a doctorate program.  This time in London will allow me to further consider my motivations for obtaining a Ph.D. and to choose how I want to focus my efforts as a researcher in engineering.  I plan to focus my Master’s studies on the influences and consequences of modern technology, especially as they are influenced by politics.  I hope to get a clearer picture of my Master’s dissertation in the coming months and will surely keep you updated as that evolves.  Following my fellowship I’ll be starting a doctorate program at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

As a shortened form of my September schedule, here’s what I’ll be up to in the coming weeks:

  • I arrived in London September 7 and spent today seeing the city, spending a couple hours at The British Museum (but more on that next time)
  • This weekend through the end of next week I will be traveling through Ireland; mainly Dublin, Galway, and Belfast
  • The week of September 19 I’ll be attending my program orientation at LSE, and classes begin the week of September 26.

 

I hope that my penchant for run-on sentences is decipherable to you, and I look forward to including you in my program this year!  As I don’t have many quality, recent pictures of myself, I’ve included here the picture taken for my LSE student ID card.

picture

All the best,

Ashley

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