2024 PPE Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award Winner

The Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics is proud to feature Erin McAndrews, a Spring 2024 PPE graduate, as the 2024 PPE Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award winner.

Erin, can you tell us a little about yourself, academically?

I am a senior graduating in 2024 with a major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a minor in Economics. It took me a few major changes to decide on PPE, as I started in Neuroscience, but exploring different courses and majors helped me to be more sure about what I ultimately wanted to study. In terms of my academic approach and style, I have always believed that if you ask enough questions, then you can solve any problem, complete any assignment, or understand any concept. I have used this technique regularly throughout my collegiate and high school courses, and I think it has served me well. Being able to understand what I don’t know is always the first step for me when it comes to studying or preparing for larger assignments and it makes asking questions a lot easier.

What has your experience with the PPE program been like, and what are some of your favorite aspects of the program?

Throughout my time as a PPE major, I have attended several talks hosted by the Kellogg Center, which have enlightened me about different careers and new research in the field. These lectures have exposed me to areas of study that I would otherwise not have discovered, which has helped me in narrowing down my career ambitions. Seeing the concepts that we discussed in the introductory and capstone classes applied in real-life and research settings motivated me to pursue careers in research and analytics. One of my other favorite aspects of the program is the weekly updates and frequent communication from advisors and PPE staff. These reminders make it a lot easier to stay on top of university deadlines and other important information. Additionally, the advising staff are so easy to talk to and make planning coursework and signing up for classes very straightforward.

How do you think PPE has set you up for success?

PPE explores the intersectionality of three disciplines that most people would not think are as intertwined as they are. By understanding the commonalities of the three disciplines I have been able to learn about humanities and social sciences more holistically and identify patterns of human thought and behavior in a wide variety of contexts. PPE has enabled me to hone my skills in critical thinking, analytical writing, logical reasoning, and research methods, all of which will aid my performance in professional settings moving forward. Being a PPE major has also allowed me the flexibility to conduct independent research in several semester-long projects, which allowed me to explore areas of study I am passionate about. My experience with these research projects will also set me up for success in the research positions I hope to pursue.

If you could give other students in the program advice, what would it be?

I highly recommend attending the lectures and taking advantage of the independent research projects that you will have to complete. The lectures are a good way to explore topics more in-depth and gain exposure to research that may spark your interest. In the PPE Capstone course, and other upper-level courses, there are opportunities to select a semester-long research project, which I highly recommend using as an opportunity to explore something related to a career aspiration you may have. If you have a problem you want to solve, look at it from different PPE perspectives and discover ways in which you can tailor your career to that area of interest. Also, I would recommend asking as many questions as you can and utilizing office hours. It can be very helpful to get to know your professors more and discuss your interests and career ambitions.

Do you have any final words or remarks?

Thank you so much to the Kellogg Center faculty and staff for the recognition and support! This award means so much to me and I am so honored to have been selected. I hope that the Kellogg Center continues to grow, and other social sciences and humanities majors will consider selecting PPE, as it is a really great opportunity to explore more than just one set of ideas and perspectives.

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