MA in Philosophy

Matthew Hawkins, 2015

What work are you doing now?

I serve as Coalitions Director for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the ethics and public policy entity of the Southern Baptist Convention (a network of Protestant Christian churches). I work with other groups in Washington, D.C., to achieve common objectives. Daily work includes coalition meetings, one-on-one meetings, writing, and keeping communication open among coalition partners.

What do you like about it?

My daily work fills my interest in the application of Christian theology, philosophy, and ethics to issues in the public square, among an audience which doesn't necessarily share my worldview. My current job description allows me to look for opportunities to further these exchanges with existing and new friends. It provides me endless opportunities to meet new people from a broad variety of backgrounds and policy fields. I also contribute behind the scenes and publicly to conversations about issues in the public square.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

The history of philosophy credits in the Ethics and Public Affairs concentration in Mason’s philosophy MA program increased my appreciation for reading and interacting with original sources. The program refined my writing skills, particularly in crafting arguments. The collection of electives delivered even greater exposure to a diversity of thought across multiple disciplines and allowed me to customize my course work toward issues I commonly engage in my daily work. As desired, the program provided challenging and respectful interaction with philosophies different and often contrary to my own Christian worldview.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

A job search is different than building a career. There is time to research job descriptions and submit electronic applications, but that should be a very late stage in the job hunt. Long prior to seeking a first or new job, you should be actively looking for opportunities to build relationships with a variety of people in your desired and related disciplines. You need to be developing a network of people who are interested in seeing you succeed (as you genuinely are for them). Look for opportunities to convey your career interests (even if they are distant) to people you trust. Ideally, you want a network of people who, upon hearing of an open position, think of you and make that connection.