Philosophy graduate discusses changing course, a future in law
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.
Colleen Price was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and always enjoyed learning. So earning a degree was always part of her plan. She loved reading, chemistry and math and found it hard to decide on a major at first.
“I originally started at ASU back in 2014 as a double major in English literature and journalism, hoping to be a book editor. However, after only one semester, I didn’t feel that I would be able to make a meaningful impact in the world through that role.”
She took a hiatus from school for a couple of years and focused on trying to figure out what she wanted to do. Ultimately, she decided she wanted to pursue a career in the legal field and chose to earn her bachelor’s in philosophy with a concentration in morality, politics and law from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.
While earning her degree, Price joined the Undergraduate Philosophy Club and took on a leadership role in the club.
“It was great to be able to foster an environment that allows students to come together and discuss fascinating topics in a philosophical context,” Price said. “It was also so much fun putting together a conference highlighting undergraduate work and hosting esteemed UCLA Professor Tyler Burge for his keynote address on the lower representational mind.”
She recommends for other students to participate in the club either as a member or in a leadership position.
“As an officer of the Undergraduate Philosophy Club, Price is talented at summarizing various points made by other students,” said philosphy Professor Joan McGregor. “She is also good at bringing in interesting points at various stages in conversations during club meetings.”
Price will be graduating this semester and was asked to share her experience at ASU and had the following to say:
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? (Might be while you were at ASU or earlier.)
Answer: While I was on a hiatus from school, after deciding an English literature and journalism double major was not for me, I watched a Netflix documentary called “When They See Us.” It is based on a true story, and the atrocities that were performed under the guise of the “law” are hard to stomach. I was disturbed but compelled, and it lit a fire inside me to pursue a career as a criminal defense attorney and hopefully ultimately work on criminal policy reform. I thought that majoring in philosophy with a concentration in morality, politics and law would be the best way to prepare myself for a career in that field.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: I think the thing that surprised me the most, especially studying philosophy, was how many different viewpoints can be expressed on a single issue or topic of discussion. It was really interesting to interact with people who hold drastically different viewpoints but are willing to analyze and provide support for those viewpoints in a logical and thoughtful way. I think this experience was great preparation for law school and work as an attorney.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I honestly chose ASU because it was convenient and affordable and I really wanted to stay in the Valley.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: I think my time as a research intern with Professor Michelle Saint provided the most important lessons during my time at ASU. Working throughout the semester on gathering and synthesizing complex information in a digestible way was extraordinarily impactful and provided a great foundation for future legal research projects I will encounter.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: The best piece of advice I would give to those still in school is to believe in yourself and persevere. There are times where it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just persevere, and take care of yourself along the way, you can achieve anything you set your sights on.
Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?
A: I was online for most of my time at ASU and my favorite place to study was my office at the law firm I work at. The views are exceptional and I really enjoyed attending virtual classes in that office and studying there on my lunch breaks or when there was down time.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation, I will be attending ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law as part of the JD class of 2025.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: If I had $40 million to try to solve one problem, I would bail out as many people as possible that are awaiting trial on non-violent offenses. I strongly believe that the cash bail system undermines equal protection and due process and should be subjected to much higher scrutiny.