Philosophy Profiles

Meet the philosophy graduate alumni. Read below to learn about their education experience and service as a Trinity Fellow at Marquette University. 

Benny Matis

Trinity Fellow Class of 2017
Graduate Program: MA, Applied Philosophy
Undergraduate Degree: Institution: B.A. in Philosophy, University Massachusetts Amherst
Trinity Nonprofit Agency: St. Joseph Academy, Trinity Fellow

More about Benny

Full-time Service Experience, Years Served, Location
Repair the World Detroit, 2014-2015; AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps, 2013-2014; Home Campus at North Central Region, served in Colorado, Texas and Washington D.C.

Service Experience
I was inspired to serve by stories I heard as a child of missionaries traveling around the world to spread the good news and help the underprivileged. I was an atheist by the time I finished college, but this kind of lifestyle still seemed very meaningful to me, and a year of service in AmeriCorps seemed to be meaningful in a similar way. My two years of service were challenging and humbling; I learned a lot about social (in)justice and how difficult it can be for people from different backgrounds to get along sometimes (especially while living in community). I also learned just how valuable the rewards are when such a goal is achieved.

Trinity Fellowship Experience
I found the Trinity Fellows Program on the list of schools that match the AmeriCorps Education Award. While applying to grad schools during my first year of service, I saw that the school and philosophy department were Jesuit and believed that it was not the best fit for me. One year later, when I was again applying to grad schools during my second year of service, I had rediscovered a more open mind to religious concepts. I was also more interested in continuing work in the social sector than in pursuing academic learning. When I came across the Trinity Fellows Program, I realized that I could have the best of both worlds if I got in. I could work at a nonprofit making the world a better place, and also seek to find and explain philosophical truths. Trinity was the only program I applied to that year, because I figured other programs would foreclose the option for me to continue working in nonprofits.

Trinity Fellows has helped me grow by allowing me to meet some very insightful and justice-oriented people, both in my Philosophy department and among my fellow Fellows. In my discussions and interactions with them, I have been and will be pushed further than I would have been otherwise to be a leader for social and economic justice.

Being a part of the Trinity Fellows community means that I have a particular freedom and responsibility to constructively deconstruct acts and structures of social and economic injustice in public and private. It means that I am not alone in this practice, but rather that I have a network of fellow Trinities to consult for advice and assistance as appropriate.

Plans After Graduation
I see myself sharing my experience and learning with others in my community. I see myself using my assets to spread awareness and set an example by listening to anyone who is typically ignored by society at large. I am looking into employment opportunities as an IRB compliance officer for hospitals or research facilities. 

Mike Quinn

Trinity Fellow Class of 2002
Graduate Program: MA, Applied Philosophy
Undergraduate Degree, Institution: Psychology and Philosophy, Boston College
Trinity Nonprofit Agency: Journey House, Associate Manager of Development for Capitol Campaign
Full-time Service Experience, Years Served, Location: Jesuit Volunteer Corps,1999-2000, Montana

More about Mike

Service Experience
I first heard of the Trinity Fellows Program when I saw an ad for it in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Northwest newsletter. It was March of 2000, and I reached the point in my JV year where one begins to think about "next year." I had been enjoying my ministry experience in the Montana homeless shelter where I worked, and I did not want to ruin the moment by thinking about the future. Nonetheless, the question lurked behind all of my thoughts, and it did not rest until I saw the ad for the Trinity Fellows Program.

The fellowship appealed to me for two reasons. As an erstwhile philosophy student contemplating an academic career, the master's curriculum of the fellowship promised a much needed glimpse of graduate study. As a young man concerned with social justice, the work experience at a Milwaukee nonprofit posed a captivating challenge. Taken together, these two dimensions of the fellowship laid claim to two important facets of my personality. Therefore, it made sense for me to make the move to Milwaukee as a new Trinity fellow.

Trinity Fellows Experience
My first year in the program was exciting at best, very difficult at worst. On one hand, I was experiencing both school and work at a whole new level. My ethics classes introduced me to new ways of approaching moral conflicts, while my fund-raising duties at a local nonprofit enhanced transferable skills I never knew I had. On the other hand, I found it very difficult to leave my Boston College and JVC friends behind and come to a new job, school and city. I struggled to process the Trinity fellows experience, and it really took awhile for me to get settled. Once I did, though, it became clear to me that I made the right choice.

The Trinity Fellows Program has brought me to a place in my life where I can effectively develop my interests and abilities. The multifaceted learning experience I have enjoyed thus far has convinced me of two very important things: (1) I have a place here in Milwaukee's nonprofit community and (2) I do not have one in any Ph.D. program! After learning to survive in nonprofit work, I have come to thrive as my agency's webmaster, grant writer and co-fundraiser. These realizations have sharpened my focus and clarified my goals. The professional opportunities I have discovered here are intriguing and diverse: it is high time I walked through these newly opened doors.

I am very pleased with the personal and professional growth I have experienced in the Trinity Fellows Program. Thanks to this experience, I have found a purpose, a job and a home here in Milwaukee.

Current Position
Writer, Donor Relations, Dana-Faber Cancer Institute