An Aspiring Scholar
Blake Kyler is not the type who gets bored with life. As a model student of philosophy, Blake’s quest for knowledge has, in his words, changed him for the better—and it was a long time coming from what some might say was an unlikely starting point.
Growing up in Groves, a small town in Southeast Texas, the world of philosophical diversity was fairly inaccessible to Blake.
“In Texas, the expectations didn’t fit my aspirations. That’s largely what spurned me on -- I wanted to get away for a pretty long time. There was something very appealing and idyllic about Vermont,” he said.
Vermont -- a long 1800 miles away from home -- would provide Blake with more than the lush scenery he had seen in postcards and calendars; it would offer him the chance to attend a school where he was encouraged to think freely and embrace himself—something that never came as easy for him in Texas.
“The fulfillment I derive out of writing a sentence and trying to take some of the raw experience that we have in life and say it in such a way that actually gets at what’s happening in that experience, at trying to truly articulate an experience -- that’s what makes me passionate about philosophy,” he explained.
Another interesting thing about studying philosophy, Blake noted, was that academic accomplishments come in a subtle and internalized ways. “Philosophical growth doesn’t necessarily come in particular academic projects, but, rather, in special, academic moments,” he says.
Over the course of the semester, Blake served as an undergraduate research assistant (URA) to Prof. Fesmire—who is working on his second book about John Dewey as a part of a series on major philosophers. The upcoming book is meant to be accessible by undergraduates studying philosophy, so part of Blake’s job is to see what approaches work best in communicating Dewey’s ideas to other young students.
Blake has set the bar high for himself as he considers his future, as he would like to eventually get his Ph. D. in philosophy. That may not come as much of a surprise if you know Blake -- he has some of the iconic traits of a philosopher in the way he carries and expresses himself. But perhaps beyond a playful presupposition, there is a more poignant and compelling realization to be made. Philosophy literally means “love of wisdom.” Given where Blake’s been and where he seems to be headed, you can’t help but think that he fits the bill rather well.
By Chad Skiles ‘12