Double Major: Philosophy and Political Science
Kayla Elson is a good person to turn to if you need help with a tough decision. A 2015 graduate with a bachelor’s in philosophy and political science, Elson seems wise beyond her years. She has the ability to discuss philosophy and morality on an intellectual level and a sincere desire to apply her knowledge and values in practical ways to help resolve conflicts through mediation.
Her undergraduate thesis, "More than a Cause: Understanding the Purpose of War," looked at a political phenomenon through the philosophical perspective of moral theory. “In my research, I studied the principles of moral theory and analyzed several philosophers who focused on ‘purpose.’”
Elson is driven by purpose. For four years, she honed her conflict management skills working among adolescents at the Police Athletic League. A welcomed challenge, certainly, but Elson sought a broader experience. She found one in war-torn Uganda, interning at ChildVoice International, a nonprofit that provides focused intervention for young women and children affected by war.
“Being in Uganda for that much time and seeing the devastation and the restoration of the war solidified my desire to be a part of reconciliation and restoration.”
Recently, Elson took her global awareness and conflict management skills to Community Mediation Maryland where she serves as an AmeriCorps Mediation and Education Specialist. Naturally, she is looking ahead with purpose to graduate school.
Elson feels academically prepared for graduate school and beyond. She credits Anne Ashbaugh, her thesis adviser (and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies) with helping her maximize every opportunity.
“You’d be surprised how applicable philosophy is to any area of your life and career. Philosophy helps you learn to think critically – a skill that serves you well no matter what you do.” Elson should know. Look at what she’s done!