Kate Girvin ‘23: A Philosophy Major Answering Humanitarian Questions
With the help of scholarship funding, Girvin is exploring her interests and turning her passions into a career.
By Mia Mercer ‘23
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but for Kate Girvin ‘23 curiosity launched an academic career.
Girvin is a junior philosophy major who has always loved the arts and humanities. She came to Texas A&M University with set values and opinions that she thought would guide her towards success. But after taking several philosophy courses through the College of Liberal Arts, Girvin gained new perspectives on the way we think.
“My education in the College of Liberal Arts, specifically the Department of Philosophy, has molded me into a more open-minded thinker,” Girvin shared. “Values and opinions are highly malleable and incoherent and while it is okay to hold strong opinions or beliefs, it is more important to recognize why one believes something, and how one’s opinion can influence one’s decisions. It is also important to view even the most ‘radical’ beliefs with an open mind, as there is so much to learn from differences of opinion and healthy discourse among peers and academics.”
After arriving in Aggieland, Girvin wasted no time getting involved on campus. She served as a counselor for Fish Council, a freshman leadership organization (FLO), and is still serving as a director for the development committee of Sophomores Leading, Impacting, Developing, and Educating (SLIDE) where she advocats for mental health and sexual assault awareness across campus. She is also a member of the programs committee in the Liberal Arts Student Council (LASC) and is a volunteer in the TAMU Big Event service project to assist families in the Bryan College Station area.
Girvin also serves as an editor for Texas A&M’s undergraduate journal of philosophy, Aletheia, where she publishes papers from national scholars that contribute to philosophical academia. She is currently working on a thesis project under the guidance of Omar Rivera through the LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) Thesis Program inspired by her hometown, El Paso.
“My undergraduate thesis will analyze how colonial determinations of gender affect the role of women in the family unit,” Girvin explained. “I was drawn to this project because a particular strain of decolonial theory has emerged from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, through the works of Gloria Anzaldúa and María Lugones. Thus, many of the observations and analyses of social structures are applicable to my own upbringing and I hope to bring more awareness to the different ways in which families can show love, and how families found within a non-dominant culture love one another differently.”
After being awarded a scholarship through her participation in the Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program, Girvin said she was able to fully immerse herself in her research. Since she was provided with funding to purchase research materials and engage in a 10-week summer program free of cost, Girvin’s love for reading and writing has been revitalized and her positive experience working on a thesis project has inspired her to pursue a career in academia where she hopes to broaden knowledge of the humanities and build connections to other disciplines.
“Anyone with a slight interest in applying to Texas A&M should apply,” Girvin said. “While I have only been here for three years, I have been able to observe an immense amount of personal spiritual growth and I have become a more well-rounded individual with a passion for selfless service. By pursuing an education in something you love, you will have the privilege of observing yourself and your friends flourish.”