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Illuminating Humanities: Kate Girvin

Highlighting Humanities Research and its Impact
Kate Girvin | Philosophy & Humanities
by Jennifer Wells '10

Kate Girvin '23, Glasscock Center Program Aide, 2021-22 Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholar, Department of Philosophy & Humanities, Texas A&M



The Glasscock Center is excited to continue its series which highlights humanities research at Texas A&M, and the vital role played by the humanities at the university and in the world beyond the academy.

For this highlight, we invite Kate Girvin '23, to tell us about her experience as a 2021-22 Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholar and role on the Glasscock team.


This May, Kate Girvin crossed the threshold from Texas A&M student to former student, earning her B.A. in Philosophy & Humanities. In a moment that represented the culmination of years of intensive study, Kate strode across the stage at Reed Arena, shaking hands with college deans and university higher-ups before accepting her diploma amid the cheers and applause of her elated family and friends.

Kate's journey in Aggieland began after she moved from her hometown of El Paso, TX, during the fall of 2019. She quickly took on various leadership roles in and around campus, becoming a counselor for Fish Council and a director for SLIDE, where she advocated for mental health and sexual assault awareness. In addition, Kate helped edit the university's undergraduate philosophy journal, Aletheia and co-organized the second annual International Virtual Conference for Undergraduate Philosophy with St. Francis Xavier University (Canada). And most recently, the College of Arts and Sciences named Kate an Outstanding Graduating Senior, a prestigious award given to only ten seniors. She feels "deeply honored to represent the Department of Philosophy & Humanities." 

Kate considers her connection with the Glasscock Center as a particularly significant element of her undergraduate career. Kate's ties to the Center started when she participated as a Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholar following her sophomore year. The ten-week program offered Kate and other undergraduates the opportunity to immerse themselves in a research topic of their choosing. Under the guidance of her faculty mentor, Dr. Omar Rivera, Kate honed her scholastic know-how, including exploring potential research questions, employing various methodologies, attending writing workshops, and formulating a comprehensive plan for broader research endeavors. 

Over the course of a year, Kate transformed her initial findings into a thoughtful paper that became her honors capstone project. Using theories first presented by philosophers Maria Lugones and Silvia Federici, Kate's essay investigates "how Western attitudes toward gender and race reinforce motherhood reproductive imperatives for women of the U.S./Mexico Borderlands." Specifically, it traces how the borderland, with its colliding cultures and ideologies, empowers women to mold their own belief systems and shape a distinctive culture for themselves. Within these in-between places, diverse perspectives can thrive unimpeded by the influence of any dominant culture.

Kate reflects that her participation as a Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholar "changed the trajectory of my undergraduate education in the best possible way," elucidating the sometimes murky ins and outs of academia and inspiring her to consider it as a potential career. Kate states, "My experiences in the Center have been incredibly enriching, as they have allowed me to explore new ideas and expand my perspectives on the field of philosophy, which has always been a passion of mine." She encourages other undergraduates to take advantage of the Center's opportunities. Kate urges, "If you are an undergraduate student considering applying to the Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program, this is an excellent opportunity for you to engage in advanced research, expand your academic horizons, and gain valuable experience that will prepare you for future academic pursuits and careers." 

As the Program Aide at Glasscock Center, Kate also helps with the Center's day-to-day functioning. Her position entails numerous responsibilities, such as coordinating logistics during conferences, creating appealing layouts for annual reports and promotional flyers, and overseeing the Center's social media presence on platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Drawing from her experience as a former Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholar, Kate also developed an Undergraduate Summer Scholars Research Guide to aid current and future summer scholars in their research pursuits. According to Amanda Dusek, Assistant Director of the Center, Kate has been an "invaluable asset to our team, leveraging her varied skill set and impeccable professionalism to improve our programs – most notably, the Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program, in which she previously participated. Her dedication and pursuit of learning are emblematic of an exceptionally bright and motivated young scholar."

As Kate contemplates her next steps, whether it be graduate school, law school, or both, she feels confident that the mindset she has cultivated while at Texas A&M will benefit her in her future pursuits. She states, "My philosophical studies have broadened my perspectives on life and have exposed me to different ways of thinking. For example, the philosophy of amor fati, which means 'love of fate,' has taught me to take responsibility for my life and to embrace the present moment. This philosophy has guided me throughout college and reminded me to find joy and meaning in my struggles and to view every experience as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement."