Main content

Emily Fitzgerald ’10

Scholar-in-training for embodied teaching and learning

Emily FitzGerald (’10) is a PhD candidate at Columbia University in philosophy of religion. She holds several part-time jobs that all involve teaching and learning. She is currently Adjunct Instructor in the Purchase philosophy department.

Emily was raised in part in the Visual Arts building at Purchase, where her father was the woodworking teacher for almost 40 years. Her senior project combined ideas from Kierkegaard, Camus, and aspects of Zen Buddhism to address the ways we make meaning in our worlds, which have no inherent meaning of their own, in order to embrace the potential of meaning making in the first place.

After completing her BA, she lived abroad for three years, teaching English and backpacking, before returning for graduate school. In many ways, her work has not diverged from her interests as an undergrad, though the meaning-making she engages with is now primarily through embodiment. For her Masters thesis, she wrote and bound the complete draft by hand, employing a meta-method to demonstrate her point that physically interacting with intellectual material changes our approach to thinking. Despite or because of the shift to virtual learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is even more focused on the crucial fact of material reality and its effects.