About Samantha

I grew up in southern New Hampshire, and for a very long time I planned to attend law school. I loved trying to solve complicated problems, I cared deeply about criminal justice reform, and I revered the art of argumentation (for which I had programs like mock trial and We the People to thank). It wasn't until midway through college that I began to change my mind.

I earned my B.A. from the University of Vermont. I entered as a Political Science major, but ended up adding a second major after I took my first philosophy class. During my sophomore year, I received my first research grant; I was given some money to do independent research full-time over the summer. My project focused on the impact (or lack thereof) of neuroscientific advances on debates concerning free will and punishment. That's when I started to realize: philosophy would be an even better fit for my interests than a legal career would be.

After I graduated, I spent a year working for the Honors College at the University of Arizona. I spent much of my time in Tucson camping, hiking, and playing with my brother's dog—but I also took the time to send out applications to philosophy Ph.D. programs. Eventually, I decided to attend Florida State University to work with Al Mele. At FSU, I participated in the X-Phi Research Lab, the Philosophical Psychology Group, and MAP. I also worked as the Political Action Committee Chair for FSU's graduate assistant union and co-founded the FSU West Coast Swing Dance Club. After I finished the M.A. portion of my degree, I realized that FSU was not the best fit for my particular research interests. With the help of my faculty mentors from FSU, I decided to transfer to UC San Diego in 2019.