Alumni Update: Michael Poljak

Image of Michael Poljak

Michael J. Poljak: Bethel Park, PA

Dr. Bruce Waller has received more good news about one of our graduates.

Michael Poljak graduated with a degree in philosophy and a minor in psychology in 2013. He was also a YSU hockey player, and national rookie of the year. He would eventually hold the poistion of head coach for 2 years.

Michael recently completed a Masters of Science in Education, Counseling/Student Affairs and Leadership. While pursuing his masters’s degree he worked for 3 years in the Center for Student Progress as a Graduate Assistant Intern and Peer Mentor.

Michael informed us that he has recently been hired as the Academic Counseling Coordinator in the Office of Academic Development at Carnegie Mellon University. He will be responsible for supervising, guiding, training, managing, and hiring 15 to 20 Academic Counselors. These counselors will meet one on one and occasionally in small groups with CMU students in order to support their academic, social, and emotional needs. He will also be responsible for assisting student led tutoring and supplemental instruction sessions along with creating educational workshops.

The department wishes Michael the best of luck in his new position.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alumni Update: Sean Geizer

Recent graduate Sean Geizer is currently working at an after school academy on the south side of Seoul, South Korea. He teaches approximately 7 classes per day of 40–50 minutes each with a 5 minute break between classes. He works with elementary and middle school students after their public school lets out.

In a recent email to Bruce Waller, Sean had some very nice things to say about his experiences in our department:

My time with the department was to brief but still the cornerstone of my time at YSU. I didn’t know anything about it [philosophy] when I enrolled at YSU, but I eventually got sucked in and am glad I did. It changed my life and I am eternally grateful. Even if I weren’t preparing for graduate studies in philosophy, it has helped me teach logical fallacies in debate class for ESL Korean children, and get annoyed every time someone on TV says, “that begs the question. ..” incorrectly. If there’s ever something I can do for the department or you personally, please please please let me know.

The department wishes Sean the best of luck with his teaching in Korea and with his future graduate studies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Alumni Update: Sean Geizer

Letter from Peace Corps Volunteer Terry Walters (UPDATE)

[Terry Walters is a graduate of our department, and was inducted into the Peace Corps in August 2014. He recently sent the following letter to us updating his work in Moscovei, Moldova.]

Hello to All,

I hope this email finds you in good health and high spirits. I wanted to give you an update on my work’s progress here in Moldova. On May 29th, I finished up my first school year and on June 4th, I celebrated my one year anniversary in country. Hard to believe a year has gone by already. It’s truly been a whirlwind of an experience.

My partner teachers and I finished the first year’s worth of Health Education Curricula, Long Term Plans, and Daily Lesson Plans. We also organized our first 6 week long Health Campaign on the negative effects of smoking cigarettes. The students developed posters and decorated their homeroom doors. While the teachers developed information bulletin boards and power point presentations that were presented to the student body throughout the campaign period. It was a great success and something they will continue to develop in the upcoming years. This coming fall, we plan to implement an after school Health Club made up of 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students. The plan is to develop leadership skills of the club members so they can, in turn, help influence their peers in making healthy life decisions.

Lastly, I am in the the process of filling out a Peace Corps Project Partnership (PCPP) application. The PCPP gives family, friends, and organizations back in America, and abroad the opportunity to donate to a project headed by the volunteer, specifically. I will be personally responsible for the allocation and distribution of all funds and ensure that monies are being used appropriately. The school principal would like to purchase and install a Smart Board in the health education classroom for this upcoming school year. This technology will not only benefit the health education students but can also be used for special presentations for the entire student body, utilized by the local Mayor’s office, healthcare facility, and social organizations. This technology not only has the potential of enhancing the education of the students, but also, providing greater access to information for the entire community.

If you would like to have your name and mailing address added to my list of potential donors, please feel free to reply to this email with your information. Then, in the near future you can expect to be contacted by Peace Corps directly. You will be given directions on how to donate. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO SEND ME MONEY DIRECTLY. All funds must go through Peace Corps and then will be distributed to me.

Again, I want to say how thankful I am for all your support and tutelage throughout the years. I am truly blessed to have you as my friends, mentors, and colleagues.


Terry Walters, MA

Peace Corp Moldova

M29, Health Education

r. Cahul s. Moscovei

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Letter from Peace Corps Volunteer Terry Walters (UPDATE)

2015 Shipka Speaker: Susan Jacoby

Susan Jacoby, an independent scholar who now focuses on American intellectual history, presents “The Culture of Distraction: Why the Young Need to Fight It,”

2015 Shipka Speaker: Susan Jacoby from YSU Phil and Rel Studies on Vimeo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2015 Shipka Speaker: Susan Jacoby

More on the Value of a Liberal Arts Education: Fareed Zakaria


“In his new book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, Zakaria writes that America’s success was built on a liberal arts education – on multidisciplinary study for the sake of learning rather than vocational study for the sake of a set career path. Liberal arts subjects – such as English, philosophy and political science – teach people how to think, write and communicate; those skills remain useful through the many twists and turns of a career in today’s ever-changing digital economy, he argues. And, he says, it is dangerous to overemphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as separate from or more important than the liberal arts.”

Fareed Zakaria on the Liberal Arts

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on More on the Value of a Liberal Arts Education: Fareed Zakaria

Long Term Success of Liberal Arts Majors

“New Report Documents That Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success: Analysis of Census Data Tracks Long-Term Earnings and Employment Rates of Liberal Arts Graduates; Counters Stereotypes about Value of Liberal Education”

Liberal Arts Majors and Professional Success via the Association of American Colleges & Universities

The thinker by rodin

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Long Term Success of Liberal Arts Majors

Dr. Eric Roark Visits YSU

On Thursday, November 19, Dr. Eric Roark of Millikan University spent the day talking with classes about his new book Removing the Commons: A Lockean Left-Libertarianism to the Just Use and Appropriation of Natural Resources.

He also gave a talk on the subject of left-libertarianism that evening to the YSU Philosophy and Religious Studies Club at the MVR. The department would like to thank Dr. Roark for taking the time to share his ideas with us, and we hope to see him back at YSU soon.



Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dr. Eric Roark Visits YSU

William Deresiewicz’ Excellent Sheep Fall 2014

An excellent talk from the author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Eliter & The Way to a Meaningful Life. The book is based on an article that appeared in the American Scholar in 2008. The article and book is a wake-up call for all those that have embraced a neo-liberal view of education.

The following is a talk Dr. Deresiewicz gave at Stanford’s McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on William Deresiewicz’ Excellent Sheep Fall 2014

Faith and Family | Harvard Divinity School

Our own Cary Dabney has been featured in an article on the Harvard Divinity School webpage:

Faith and Family | Harvard Divinity School

2014 11 07 at 11 56 AM

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Faith and Family | Harvard Divinity School

Violence and the Categorizing of Religion

2014 11 05 at 5 58 PM

[From the Religious Freedom Project: Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University.]

Violence and the Categorizing of Religion

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Violence and the Categorizing of Religion