Alumni Spotlight

Katja Kaelin

Katja Kaelin

Why did you choose to major in philosophy?

Throughout my life, I had always been good with the analytic nature of math and the sciences. But, I felt like a career in those fields would not allow me to express my creativity. When I took my first philosophy class, I realized I had found a field that was a happy medium between the rigor of the hard sciences and the expression of the arts. I have loved it ever since.

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

The time I spent at NIU was what helped me transition from someone who was merely interested in philosophy to someone I could rightfully call a philosopher. Professors did not just teach me how they interpret the material; they gave me the skills to reason with high-level ideas on my own. I am currently working on my Ph.D in philosophy at Indiana University, and I never would have gotten here without the faculty at NIU. 

What do you feel is special about NIU Philosophy? 

NIU Philosophy is wonderful for so many reasons. The professors really do care about their students, both graduate and undergraduate. They are always willing to make time for you if you need a little help, whether with writing a paper, or with understanding a topic gone over in class a little better. You will not find a more dedicated group of educators in the field. 

Why would you recommend NIU Philosophy to other students?

NIU Philosophy is a great program, and not just for those planning on majoring in philosophy. I have had so many non-majors tell me that taking a philosophy course has helped them in their own fields. The critical thinking you learn in philosophy is the ultimate transfer skill, and will be important no matter what you study. 

Is there anything else you’d like to tell prospective students about NIU Philosophy? 

Taking a philosophy class at NIU will be one of the best decisions you make in your college career. You will not get this sort of experience anywhere else.


Doctoral student in philosophy at Indiana University at Bloomington


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

B.A., philosophy, Northern Illinois University, 2012