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Gloria Bennett ’10

Affecting policy with her knowledge of emotion’s critical role in ethics.

The senior project experience left Gloria Bennett ’10 (philosophy major, women’s studies minor) feeling empowered as she embarked on her career.

Bennett discovered philosophy at Purchase after she missed the deadline to audition for the conservatories. She took one course and was hooked.

Emotion in Ethics

But discontented with how emotion was unfairly gendered and characterized as a disadvantage in philosophical schools of thought, she sought to argue that emotion played a critical role in ethics in her senior project, Feeling Good: The Role of Emotions in Ethical Life.

She believes the lasting impact from her senior project stems not only from the knowledge acquired from its content, but from the process, which sharpened her critical-thinking skills, her writing skills, and her self-confidence.

“Whatever field you go into in the future, you have this huge thing that you accomplished on your own that is a standing testament to your knowledge and your skills and your abilities,” she says.

Putting Ideas in Practice

While working as a program officer at the Institute of International Education in the Foreign Fulbright Program and previously in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, she drew upon the ideas from her research—in particular that compassion and empathy should act as a compass for moral action—and was able to contribute thoroughly and thoughtfully when given the opportunity to develop program policies with the Brazilian government and nongovernmental agencies.

“Most people don’t think about emotions or empathy specifically when they’re writing legal policy. So to think about compassion and the way the policies will affect the international community impacted by our programs has given me a unique and important perspective for me to bring to the table,” she explains.

Stepping Stone

She earned her MSc in International Relations and Affairs from the University of Edinburgh in 2016. Her application’s personal statement was all about her senior project.

She’s now working at the University of St. Andrew’s as the International Opportunities Manager, North America and Middle East.