Major: Philosophy, Politics & Economics
Minor: Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
What is your IIM about?
My IIM focuses on bridging the gap between political philosophy and the social sciences. I study the normative question of what ends public policy ought to achieve along with the science of how best to achieve those ends. I believe this interdisciplinary approach is the best way to understand the complex and multifaceted task of achieving human flourishing in the context of political society.
When and how did you begin the IIM process?
I entered Brandeis planning to major in International & Global Studies, but I soon found that my interests were more diverse than I had expected. By the beginning of sophomore year, I had ended up with majors and minors declared in philosophy, Judaic studies, legal studies and economics. Soon enough, a minor crisis of self ensued, as I struggled over how I could integrate all my disparate interests without stretching myself to thin and while remaining employable after graduation.
I had heard of interdisciplinary programs in PPE at other schools, and, one day, I found myself browsing through PPE curricula online. At first, I was simply jealous, and regretted having not gone to a school with this single major that seemed to capture precisely what it was I wanted to study. Though I had heard of the IIM program, it had never occurred to me to design my own major. However, with help and encouragement my several professors, the IIM UDRs and some good friends, I put together my own PPE major. Using other schools’ curricula as models, I was able to draw on the best Brandeis has to offer in order to create what has truly been the best major I could wish for.
How are you pursuing the IIM outside of the classroom?
The truth is that I find my IIM incredibly helpful any time I pick up a newspaper, talk philosophy over dinner or get into a heated debate with friends. My major has provided me with the requisite knowledge and integrated mental framework I need to have a good understanding of current events and discuss them intelligently.
This past summer, I interned in Washington, D.C. at the Heritage Foundation, one of the most prominent conservative think tanks in the country. I worked in their Center for Policy Innovation, which seeks to develop breakthrough ideas in public policy. While there, I found myself using the skills I am learning through my IIM every day. In so many of my assignments that summer, I found myself thinking about how to integrate the abstract principles of political theory and the empirical facts of the social sciences. Through helping Heritage’s policy experts craft policy that is both effective and principled, I saw the ideas and struggles I study an Brandeis play out in the real world.