Phoebe Scarborough Shares Valuable Experience at PPEL Summer School

PPE major, Phoebe Scarborough, shares her experience about attending the first Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law Undergraduate Summer School hosted at the University of San Diego.

Phoebe, can you tell us about your experience at the PPEL summer school?

I attended the PPEL summer school at the University of San Diego from June 5, 2023, to June 9, 2023. This was the inaugural PPEL summer school. This program was such a formative experience for me despite the short time frame because I was exposed to so many different perspectives along the way. This opportunity strengthened my abilities in my major as it allowed me to gain foundational knowledge on a number of new PPE topics that I had yet to be exposed to. 

I was the only student from Virginia Tech, and one of three from the east coast, so I didn’t know anyone going into it, which was pretty intimidating. I was the youngest of thirty other undergraduate students from all around the country and twelve faculty members with a wide variety of different expertise. 

Each faculty member lectured about a topic they were researching or something they were passionate about. Some of these topics included Universal Basic Income, Social Justice, Evolution and Cooperation, and Corporate Activism. While each different lecture had its own strengths, I was especially excited about Suzi Dovi’s lecture titled Rethinking the Justice Argument. I found her to be an incredible public speaker and her topic to be very interesting and socially relevant.

A great aspect of this program was that the professors really wanted to get to know us on a deeper level. They watched their counterparts’ presentations and ate breakfast and lunch with us. This is a really special opportunity to get to know faculty on a deeper level, one that can be hard to come across at a big university. 

My favorite part of the program was the Big Question project, in which we researched a social issue that was important to us. We explored our respective topics in depth with our chosen groups and then presented our findings on the final day. My two partners and I (Kennedy and Dom) researched the question “What are the necessary conditions to make work meaningful?” A topic that we all found to be greatly relevant and important to us. We ended up getting second place in this competition and winning five hundred dollars to share. 

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the PPEL summer school from an email circulated by the Kellogg Center! I would strongly recommend keeping an eye out for those PPE update emails. They have a lot of cool information about upcoming events and opportunities. 

Do you have any final remarks for other students who may be interested in exploring similar opportunities?

I know that opportunities like this may seem really intimidating,  but if you are able to, I strongly recommend trying it out. This experience challenged me socially and academically, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I really miss all the awesome people the PPEL summer school brought into my life and I am so excited to see all that they are going to do in the world!

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