I’m currently a McDonnell Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. I’m engaged in a major research project on the “Science and Ethics of Empathy,” which I use as a vehicle for pursuing my other wide-ranging interests in the philosophy of science, cognitive science of morality, and biomedical ethics. I take a highly interdisciplinary approach in my research and teaching, often drawing on my background doing empirical research in cognitive science.
From 2018-2020, I was a Teaching and Research Associate in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) at the University of Cambridge. I taught on a wide-ranging set of material in general philosophy of science, philosophy of psychology and cognitive science, and philosophy of medicine at both undergraduate and graduate (Master’s) levels. In particular, I developed courses on “The Science and Ethics of Empathy” (based on my research) and “Philosophy of Psychiatry.” I continue to be involved in academic life at Cambridge through my work with the CRASSH “Talking as Cure?” Network: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/programmes/talking-as-cure-contemporary-understandings-of-mental-health-and-its-treatment-2020-21.
From 2016-2018, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Klosterneuburg, Austria (near Vienna), where I worked on a project on “Genealogical Approaches and the Origins of Empathy.” I also spent time in psychology labs at the University of Vienna, getting to know the process of empirical research on empathy firsthand.
I completed my MPhil (2012) and PhD (2017) at HPS Cambridge, which provided a wonderfully supportive and beautiful environment within which to grow and think. Tim Lewens supervised my PhD, which was generously funded through his ERC grant on the ‘Science of Human Nature.’ During my MPhil, I dabbled in both history and philosophy of science, but found that most of my questions were on the more philosophical end of the spectrum. Anna Alexandrova supervised my MPhil dissertation on mechanistic explanation.
I did my undergraduate degree in psychology at Yale University (2010), where I spent a lot of time in the lab doing research on auditory and visual perception in human adults, Rhesus macaque monkeys, and capuchin monkeys. My main research project then was about ‘statistical learning,’ a thesis about how we parse continuous elements of our world (speech, visual input) into segments. This project inspired some of my MPhil work.
I’ve also had a longstanding interest in psychiatry and mental health. While I was at Yale, I was heavily involved in mental health advocacy and counselling projects. Now, I run a reading group about Philosophy of Psychology and Psychiatry at Cambridge.
After Yale, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I moved to Berlin and spent a year at the European College of Liberal Arts (now Bard College Berlin) reading books and figuring out how to find a path that combined my love of literature and the humanities with my love of science.
I’m originally from New York and I now live in St. Louis. I love reading, writing, running, swimming, and going for long walks. I used to do a lot of rowing. These days, I am trying to re-learn piano (this captures the experience perfectly: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/20/magazine/quarantine-covid-learning-piano.html) and motivate myself to pick up my German books again!