Thinking outside the box

by Tia Nearmyer

Allison Wolf, assistant professor of philosophy, pushes and pushes – and then keeps on pushing – until she knows her students are really thinking.

“I push hard because I know students can be incredible successes at life if they are pushed,” Wolf said.

Sophomore Lindsay Barrett said she always left Wolf’s Applied Ethics class thinking.

“She was a teacher that made you think outside the box,” Barrett said.

Wolf was hired last year to fill a second position in the philosophy department. She was born and raised in Los Angeles but decided L.A. wasn’t for her.

“It was too big, too crowded and had too many shallow people,” Wolf said.

Wolf attended Brandeis University in Boston for her bachelor’s degree, majoring in philosophy and pre-medicine. She decided to forgo medical school.

“I realized I was more interested in the ethical issues of medicine,” Wolf said.

After graduation, Wolf headed north. She attended Michigan State University where she received her doctorate in philosophy with concentrations in health care ethics, applied philosophy and political and feminist philosophy.

Wolf isn’t sure why she was drawn to philosophy.

“I think I just liked the idea that I was going to think about stuff,” Wolf said.

Since coming to Simpson, Wolf has realized she fits in well here.

“I learn a lot from the students and they learn a lot from me,” Wolf said.

Barrett agrees she has learned a lot from Wolf.

“Before taking the class I had a lot of views that I thought were good, but a lot of them changed after her class,” Barrett said.

Freshman Allison Mohlke’s views on feminism also changed after one day in Wolf’s class.

“She listed three questions on the board and if we agreed with them, then we were also a feminist,” Mohlke said. “Even some of the guys in the class were shocked to realize they were also feminist.”