Alumni Spotlight

Derek Brown

Derek Brown

Why did you choose to major in philosophy? 

I chose to major in philosophy because I wanted to better understand myself, and my place in the world. I wanted to know what it is that I value and, just as importantly, why it is that I value it. While I chose to major in philosophy because of a curiosity and attraction to the big questions, I soon learned that the reason I continued my education in philosophy was due to the universality of the skills that it develops. Instead of honing skills that are applicable only to a particular discipline, I wanted to learn about a number of different disciplines. I wanted the writing skills of an English major, the analytical skills offered by the sciences, and a background in logic that is found in mathematics — philosophy gave me the opportunity to experience all of these. I do not believe that any other major offers a more diverse education. 

How did NIU Philosophy prepare you for what you’re doing now? 

I use the skills acquired from my time in the NIU Philosophy program on a daily-basis in my role as a recruiter. I frequently have to articulate candidates’ responses to interview questions in a more accessible and concise manner. Having the ability to interpret, consolidate, and clarify the important aspects of a body of text is a direct result of the education I received from NIU Philosophy. Finally, when determining which potential candidates best satisfy a particular position’s criteria, I routinely employ the skills that NIU Philosophy helped me to develop by analyzing philosophical arguments. 

What do you feel is special about NIU Philosophy? 

There is no shortage of reasons that make NIU Philosophy special, but far and away the greatest element of the program consists in the people — namely the faculty. I cannot begin to explain how supportive, entertaining, and downright brilliant the entire NIU Philosophy staff is. Each member carries with her an expertise and passion for her field that permeates throughout her courses and reaches well beyond the classroom. 

Why would you recommend NIU Philosophy to other students? 

I would recommend NIU Philosophy to other students because I firmly believe that there is no better aggregate faculty at the university. My time in the NIU Philosophy program was invaluable. I learned analytical and critical thinking skills that can be utilized in every facet of my life; I learned how to articulate my thoughts into writing without losing anything in translation. Finally, through NIU Philosophy, I have found relationships with students and faculty alike that go far beyond the classroom.


Recruitment Specialist at Velocity Resource Group 

Mr. Brown seeks out potentially interested/qualified candidates for a number of available positions — ranging from entry-level positions to senior executives — with client organizations, many of which are Fortune 500 companies, then conducts preliminary screening of the candidates.


B.A., philosophy, Northern Illinois University, 2014

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Deans’ Award, 2014

Member, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Student Advisory Council, 2013-2014

Member, Committee on the Improvement of Undergraduate Education, 2013-2014