PhD Students

Paul Berghaus

Ethics, History of Philosophy
BS United States Military Academy
MDiv  Mid-America Reformed Seminary
MA  Texas A&M University 

Paul began the doctoral program in the fall of 2016. His research interests include ethics, history of philosophy (ancient and early modern), and philosophy of religion. He comes to the study of philosophy by way of teaching professional ethics in the military. Before enrolling at Georgetown, he spent close to twenty years on active duty in the Army first as a combat arms officer and later a chaplain. Outside of his studies, Paul enjoys making the most of the time he has with his wife Mary and their five children.

MaryKate Gaurke (nee Brueck)

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Ethics, Bioethics, Phenomenology
BA Loyola University Chicago (new window)

MaryKate joined the Philosophy Department in the Fall of 2017. She works primarily in bioethics, with a focus in end-of-life care, and is currently developing a dissertation concerning care for patients with dementia that draws insights from the intersection of bioethics and phenomenology. Outside of her philosophical work, MaryKate enjoys traveling, playing intramural sports, and quality time with her peekapoo, Nyxie. 

Dominick Cooper

Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy
B.A. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
M.A. Virginia Tech (new window)

Dominick started the doctoral program in philosophy at Georgetown in August of 2019, and has interests in political philosophy, ethics, bioethics, animal ethics, and social ontology. Outside of philosophy, Dominick enjoys reading, DC’s music scene, cooking, biking, snowboarding, and nurturing his obsession with Karl Ove Knausgaard. 

Clark R. Donley

Clark Donley

Ethics, Metaethics, History of Ethics (Aristotle & Kant)
BSFS (Culture & Politics) Georgetown University
MA (Latin American Studies) Georgetown University
MA (Philosophy) Tufts University

Clark is a third-year student in the PhD program. His current work focuses on ethics and metaethics, with particular attention the significance of the social nature of agency. This involves looking at both the relevant contemporary literature as well as select perspectives from the history of philosophy, such as Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. Clark also maintains interests in Latin American philosophy, bioethics, and social and political philosophy. Outside of philosophy, he enjoys spending time in the outdoors, reading literature, and doing nerdy stuff with open source software.

Madeline Eller

Contemporary Feminist Philosophy (esp. Feminist Epistemology, Theories of Autonomy, and Embodiment)
MA Syracuse University

Madeline is a first-year doctoral student at Georgetown after previously completing her MPhil in philosophy at Syracuse University. She has a background in analytic metaphysics and philosophy of mind, but her current research interests are in contemporary feminist philosophy, particularly feminist epistemology, theories of autonomy, and embodiment, and has previously published work on body shape and oppression.

Madeline currently serves as a member of Georgetown’s MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) program, as well as working with PIKSI (Philosophy in an Inclusive Key) in the past. She enjoys exploring the DMV and can sometimes be found at the 9:30 Club or Black Cat on a Friday night when she isn’t working.

Jason Farr

Ethics, Philosophy of Language, Pragmatism
BA University of Virginia
MA Northern Illinois University

Jason is a second year PhD student with primary interests in pragmatist/expressivist/anti-representational approaches to understanding normativity, objectivity, and discursive practice. He swoons for works by Brandom, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Carnap, Dewey, Thomasson, Price, etc. Other philosophical interests of Jason’s include: truth (esp. prosententialism and other deflationary views), normative ethics, and environmental and animal ethics.

Outside of philosophy, Jason enjoys hiking, identifying plants and plant communities, playing music, pondering about various personalities and their corresponding motivational structures, and eating all of the bread.

Ashli Godfrey

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Feminist Philosophy, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy
BS, Ball State University

Ashli is interested in feminist philosophy, ethics, and social epistemology. Her dissertation seeks to develop an account of the epistemic, expressive, and motivational features of moral anger. Ashli grew up in small town Indiana and attended Ball State University, where she earned a double major in Philosophy and Psychology. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and snuggling with her three pets.

Genevieve Hayman

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Phenomenology, Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics (Temporality), Feminist Philosophy
MA University College Dublin
BA University of Redlands

Genevieve is a second-year doctoral student with interests in phenomenology, cognitive science, and temporality. She completed her M.A. in philosophy through the Consciousness and Embodiment Programme at University College Dublin. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Redlands where she designed her B.A. degree: The Tangible and Intangible Aspects of Personhood. Genevieve enjoys hiking, dancing, and playing music (drums and guitar), all of which influence her interest in embodied cognition.  She is happy to be geographically between her two families in Las Vegas and Dublin, Ireland.

McKay Holland


Moral Psychology, Social & Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind
B.A. Westminster College
M.A. Brandeis University (new window)

McKay is a fourth-year doctoral student sketching a dissertation about the social bases of agency and self-respect. He’s specifically interested in the interplay between relational conceptions of autonomy and social and environmental niche construction. He also has interests in environmental ethics, the relation between emotion and rationality, friendship, social ontology, and Spinoza.

Since 2014 McKay has served as Managing Editor of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (KIEJ), and will continue with the journal in a support role through 2016.

McKay is a native of Salt Lake City, where he worked in politics, public education, and doing finish carpentry before relocating to the east coast. He likes to bike, run, rock climb, and when he can, waterski.

Joey Jebari

Joey Jebari

Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, Moral Psychology, Metaethics
BA UMass Boston

Joey’s research is highly interdisciplinary. His primary focus is on figuring out how cognitive and neuroscientific research on cooperation and decision-making can inform issues in philosophy and, in particular, in ethics. As such, his research covers a relatively wide scope—ranging from the metaphysics of mind to our obligations to animals and from formal models of human evolution to experiments investigating the behavior of toddlers. Nevertheless, he swears it all hangs together somehow.

Joey also has a long-standing love of Kantian philosophy. For this reason, Kant’s insights are never far from his mind. Indeed, he considers it a win whenever he discovers that empirical research can plausibly be construed as corroborating a broadly Kantian picture, which happens surprisingly often.

Chris Kochevar

Bioethics, Legal Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind & Language, Critical Theory
BS Yale
Chris came to Georgetown after six years of living in D.C. and working at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel, where he focused on tobacco products, controlled substances, and drug safety. He holds a J.D. from New York University and a B.S. from Yale University. He is interested in linking his prior work in public health and law to bioethics and legal and political philosophy. He’s also interested in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and language, and critical theory. He moonlights as DJ JoAnn Fabrixx.

Sara Kolmes

 Bioethics, Ethics, Metaethics
BA Gonzaga University
MA Florida State University

Sara is working on both bioethics and epistemology. Her dissertation focuses on the ways in which epistemological differences between clinicians and patients can lead to bioethical dilemmas. Before coming to Georgetown, Sara did her masters coursework at Florida State University, and attended Gonzaga University as an undergraduate

Outside of philosophy, Sara enjoys science fiction, concerts, and running

Philipp Kremers

Metaethics, Normative Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Political Philosophy
BA University of Leipzig
MLitt St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Program in Philosophy
MSt University of Oxford (new window)

Philipp joined the doctoral program in 2019. His research interests include metaethics, normative ethics, philosophy of religion, and political philosophy. Previously, he completed an MSt in Philosophical Theology at the University of Oxford and an MLitt in Philosophy at the Universities of St Andrews and Stirling. Philipp hails from the German North Sea coast.

Sabrina Leeds

Philosophy of Technology, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law
BA Tulane University
MA Tulane University

Sabrina is a first-year doctoral student with interests in the philosophy of technology, ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of law as well as the intersections of these areas. She received both her MA in philosophy and her BA in philosophy and political economy from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Outside of philosophy, Sabrina enjoys practicing photography, reading dystopian science fiction novels, cooking, and hiking.

Penney Miyan

Penney is a first-year doctoral student with interests in philosophy of mind, philosophical psychology, phenomenology (esp. neurophenomenology), and feminist  theory. She also has interests in questions regarding social responsibility and accountability. Penney earned a double bachelors degree in Biological Anthropology and Philosophy from Stony Brook University in 2019. When not philosophizing, she enjoys baking and cooking, writing screenplays, and attending musical theater shows

Elisa Reverman

Clinical ethics, bioethics, and feminist philosophy

Elisa is interested in clinical ethics, bioethics, and feminist philosophy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, and worked in biomedical engineering until diverting her interests to philosophy. Outside of her academic interests, she spends her time rock climbing, drawing and painting, learning ballet, and reading.

Nanette Ryan

Moral and political philosophy, Metaethics
BA(Honors) Monash University
MA University of Western Ontario

Nanette is primarily interested in moral and political philosophy, and metaethics. Before coming to Georgetown she earned a Masters in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and a Bachelor of Arts, graduating with first-class honours, from Monash University, Australia. When not consumed by philosophy Nanette enjoys exploring the world, eating good food (especially if it is made by Lorraine Ryan), and sleeping in.

Karen Rice

karen rice profile photo

Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Moral Psychology, Bioethics
BA (summa cum laude) William Jewell College

Karen began her graduate studies at Georgetown in 2014 and has developed interests in ethics, social and political philosophy, 20th Century European philosophy, and bioethics. She is currently shaping a dissertation project, attempting to get a critical grasp on the exit conditions of relationships, in particular focusing on the ends of conversations as a microcosm of their larger dynamics. It is important to her that her work be only, say, four steps away from affecting people’s lives, rather than 15, and she especially cares about the ways that group social identity and oppression condition the personal dimensions and interactions in our lives.

She participates with the Georgetown Philosophy MAP group, the Pedagogy Group, the Twentieth Century Europhil Workshop, and the Grad Student Coalition for Gender Diversity in Philosophy. She is also the ​editorial assistant for Faith and Philosophy, which is housed at Georgetown.

Outside of philosophy, Karen is very involved in community organizing with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), watches a lot of TV, overthinks everything, and tries to keep her co-parented plant babies alive.

Melayna Schiff

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Philosophy of Psychiatry/Psychology, Phenomenology, Bioethics, Anti-Oppressive Philosophy, and Clinical/Counseling Psychology
MA Georgetown University
BA New College of Florida

Melayna conducts research bridging philosophy and psychology with a social justice orientation. Her dissertation develops conceptual frameworks for theorizing anorexia nervosa and identity by centralizing the experience and behavior of individuals with anorexia.

Keyvan Shafiei

Social Ontology, Philosophy of Culture, Social Epistemology, Social and Political Philosophy
BA University of California, San Diego
MA Georgetown University

Keyvan (they/them) are a student whose interests primarily lie at the intersection of philosophy of culture, social ontology, and political philosophy. Within this framework, Keyvan is interested in a host of issues surrounding the culture of criminal justice in the United States. They are currently developing a dissertation project that explores the cultural underpinnings of mass incarceration, and the ways in which cultures and persons epistemically and ontologically interact. More specifically, this project tackles questions about how persons are interpellated into cultures, are fundamentally made (qua persons) therein, and are possibly unmade in cases of systemic and culturally-produced disenfranchisement.

In addition to these interests, Keyvan firmly believes that hip-hop and R&B are treasure troves of philosophical insights, and they often listen to rap for philosophical clarity and inspiration. In line with these interests, they taught a course called Hip-Hop and Philosophy in 2017 at Georgetown.

Keyvan is also an International Organizer for Minorities and Philosophy (MAP), which currently has over 120 chapters worldwide, and the producer and host of the new MAP Podcast, Mapping the Gap.

Melanie Spurling

Bioethics, Feminist Philosophy, Social & Political Philosophy
BSc (Biology) & BA (Philosophy) University of British Columbia

Melanie is a first-year doctoral student with interdisciplinary interests in philosophy, policy and public health. Her philosophical research interests include bioethics, feminist philosophy, and social & political philosophy. Before coming to Georgetown she received her BSc and BA from the University of British Columbia. Melanie enjoys hiking, learning languages, exploring bakeries, knitting things and fun facts about animal physiology.

Andrew Sullivan

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Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, Ethics, History of Philosophy
BS (Neuroscience & Philosophy) Ohio State University

Andy entered the doctoral program in the Fall of 2019. He has interests in metaphysics, philosophical problems in the behavioral and social sciences, philosophy of psychiatry, metaphilosophy, ethics, and the history of philosophy (especially Kant and post-Kantian German philosophy). Outside of philosophy, Andy enjoys listening to music as well as writing and recording it sometimes (typically folk or electronic). He also likes to walk or run around outside, and to consume baked goods.

Omar Talhouk

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19th Century German Philosophy, Classical American Pragmatism, Epistemology, and Metaphysics
BA/MA American University of Beirut

Omar is a first-year PhD student with primary interests in 19th century German philosophy, classical American pragmatism, Epistemology, and Metaphysics. He also has a budding interest in the philosophy of law and social philosophy. Before coming to Georgetown, Omar was a part-time lecturer at his alma mater, the American University of Beirut, from which he has received both a B.A. and an M.A. in philosophy. Academic pursuits aside, Omar insists on maintaining a pseudo-career in acting, writing, and directing (for both theatre and film).

Gerald Taylor

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Philosophy of Action (esp. free will, moral responsibility, and reasons),
Moral Psychology, Ethics

BA Ohio State University
MA Georgia State University

Gerald is a fourth-year doctoral student, and his current research interests lie in the philosophy of action. He hopes to write a dissertation exploring the pragmatic underpinnings of action, agency, and reasons. He has secondary interests in free will, moral psychology, ethics, and social & political philosophy.

When he isn’t philosophizing, Gerald enjoys exercising, playing and listening to music, playing a good game of chess, dancing, trying new craft beers, getting the most out of his Netflix subscription, and eating tacos.

Christopher Torres

Metaethics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Biology
B.S. University of Notre Dame, Physics
M.A. Columbia University, Philosophy (new window)

Chris began his doctoral studies in philosophy at Georgetown in August of 2020. He is interested in how we gain and transmit moral knowledge, in the properties that ground moral facts, as well as in the relationship between practical rationality and moral obligation. Towards these ends, he draws upon the resources of virtue and social epistemology, natural law theory, the metaphysics of powers and capacities, neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism, as well as evolutionary biology. In addition to philosophy, Chris enjoys dancing, surfing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and learning the guitar.

Chun Hin (Jeffrey) Tsoi

Political Philosophy, Bioethics, Normative Ethics, Metaethics, Philosophy of Law
B.A. Philosophy, Chinese University of Hong Kong (new window)

Jeffrey Tsoi is a first-year student in the J.D./Ph.D. joint program. He has broad academic interests in normative fields of Philosophy – in particular, topics of legal and political philosophy such as democracy and civil disobedience. He is also interested in some non-normative topics such as free will, epistemology and philosophy of mind, and the intersection of these fields with normative ones. Derek Parfit and G.A. Cohen are his favorite philosophers – other than the wonderful faculties of Georgetown. 

Born and grew up in Hong Kong, he got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (First-Class Honors) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he also minored in Politics. In the past years, he played an active role in the field of social welfare and served various minority populations in Hong Kong, and he has continued to participate in different advocacy work as an activist in Washington D.C.

In his free time, Jeffrey enjoys playing his violin and attending classical music concerts that he can afford. He also loves watching various cartoon shows by Disney and Cartoon Network, reading well-constructed short stories, and engaging in graphic design projects.

Ari Watson

Ethics, Mental Illness, Gender Philosophy, Philosophy of Race
BA Dickinson College, Philosophy
Ari’s central interest is currently in social philosophy. Ari has a passion for ethics and is specifically interested in de facto moral status in the United States as it relates to identity markers. This interest spans various aspects of identity including mental illness and gender.

They have a sustained interest in the philosophy of race and blossoming interests in metaphysics, bioethics, and social epistemology.

Molly Wilder

Molly Wilder2

Philosophy of Law, Ethics, Social & Political Philosophy
BA  Swarthmore College, Linguistics
MA Tufts University, Philosophy
JD Georgetown University Law Center

Molly received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2016 and is currently working on a dissertation that brings together the professional ethics of lawyers, neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics, and feminist theories of relational autonomy. She wants to know, how can lawyers promote the autonomy of their clients, and what does autonomy mean in that context? Beyond her dissertation, Molly has varied philosophical interests, mostly in the intersection between law and ethics, including: philosophy of tort law, children’s rights, privacy law, and ethical communication. When not philosophizing, Molly enjoys reading and writing children’s fantasy, finding places to eat great vegan food, and bad puns.