- October 18, 2011
Kate Hamilton, an intern at NAS this fall, has a master’s degree in History of Christianity from Wheaton College. Her undergraduate degree is from Houghton College, where she served as president, then as chaplain, of student government. She is a seasoned international traveler and has a special interest in the Middle East, where she has taught English and studied Arabic. Here’s what she has to say about her academic journey and decision to come to NAS:
I am proud to say that I am the product of a classically liberal education. Growing up, I benefited from a challenging public school system whose curriculum not only equipped me to pass tests, but also developed my critical thinking and writing skills. From an early age I sought to explore how the study of Western civilization could offer solutions to challenges posed by globalization. I spent my summers as a teenager working at a conference center in Iceland, building a granary for AIDS orphans in the Zambian bush, and touring Australia and New Zealand with a choir. My undergraduate education, animated by the books I studied, took me from the wooded trails of western New York to the deserts of Yemen, where I read War and Peace from a rooftop overlooking the city of Sana’a.
My involvement at Houghton as a student government leader exposed me to the harsher political realities and trends of modern academe that crop up on so many campuses across the country. This exposure to the ways that politically correct attitudes can silence reasoned debate ignited my passion for defending freedom of thought within academe, but I lacked the necessary philosophical foundation to articulate my intuitive concerns through scholarly debate. After a somewhat mangled attempt to pursue my studies amidst endless meetings with faculty, fellow students and college administrators, I decided to continue on in the academy by seeking a master’s degree in one of those “less-than-practical” - but tremendously formative - disciplines.
On the other side of this great odyssey of scholarship, I might be substantially poorer and less optimistic but there is little about my academic journey that I would change. I continue to seek knowledge and engage in the search for truth, just with less wide-eyed naiveté than when I boarded my first international flight at the age of thirteen.
I am excited to be working for the National Association of Scholars because I wholeheartedly believe in the value of free expression within academic discourse. It is only when scholars can openly voice all reasonable perspectives without fear that the sharpening purpose of academic discourse will be fulfilled. In the course of the next several weeks, I hope to learn more about the battles for civil liberty taking place within academia today and to use my time here to help secure the future integrity of the university.