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Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Spotlight


Maria Starck: Exploring All the Options

“I want to make sure that when I feel empowered to do something, I understand the complexities behind the issue.”

When Maria Starck ’14 arrived at Transylvania, she thought she might major in a number of areas: history or anthropology or sociology. She assumed she was preparing for law school. At one point, she thought she would settle on a Spanish major with a philosophy minor.

Then she learned about the new philosophy, politics, and economics major from her first-year advisor, philosophy professor Peter Fosl. She was already taking philosophy and political science courses, but she knew she needed to learn about economics. As Starck explains, “It’s not my everyday passion, but I thought I shouldn’t leave a liberal arts school without having more exposure, especially if I go into politics.”

The multidisciplinary approach obviously suits Starck. “My hope is that I come out really well-rounded and making all sorts of connections between disciplines.”

Maria Starck

Her PPE classes encourage her to examine modern institutions and current issues to understand how they are inextricably caught up in issues of economics, politics, and philosophy. She also believes the program's multidisciplinary approach will help her understand the multiple facets of any issue.

After discussing topics such as Marxism or the mass incarceration of the male African-American population in this country, she realizes there are no simplistic solutions to the problems facing us.

Starck is never in danger of developing a myopic view of the world, however. In addition to her vast academic interests, she has a taste for a wide variety of other pursuits.

At Transylvania, she’s active in her sorority and as an officer of the Panhellenic Association, as well as with student government. In high school, Starck initially focused on the performing arts, particularly music and theater. She is currently studying voice with Gregory Turay, Kenan visiting artist in music and internationally acclaimed tenor. That seems to be paying off. In fall 2012, Starck was second runner-up in Transylvania's concerto/aria competition. She also performs occasionally as a duo or with a band at campus events.

Starck was attracted to Transylvania by the opportunity to develop close relationships with the professors. She has been impressed with both their commitment to education and their standings in their fields. Soon, she’ll rely on their advice as she contemplates her steps after Transylvania. At this point, it’s only clear that she’ll pursue some sort of postgraduate study.

“As I’m forming who I am as a person, what do I think will be most in line with where I want to make an impact? Am I attracted to law because I’m really interested in contracts? Maybe not. I need to demystify the whole law school thing and determine if that’s the right choice for me. Right now I’m just exploring.”

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