To say Brandie Jefferson couldn’t wait to live the college life is an understatement.
After all, the 2001 philosophy grad remembers thinking, “college was where people got to think. Full-time. Not only as a means to solving an immediate, real-life problem, but simply as an exercise. For fun.
“When I arrived at the U of I, however, I didn’t feel as if I had time to think,” says Jefferson, now the senior news director at Washington University in St. Louis. “Instead, I was learning equations, reading a monstrous amount of work that I found uninteresting and, maybe, doing a little socializing at Mike & Molly’s.
“Until I wound up in Everitt Lab. Not as an engineer, but as a philosophy student in Philip Phillips’ Philosophy of Science course. We discussed the history and inner-workings of the scientific method and learned about cutting-edge theories.
“In Patrick Maher’s classes on the fourth floor of Lincoln Hall, we took a historical approach. A half-dozen students sat around a circular wooden table asking if Galileo could have used his pulse to make measurements as accurate as he professed, or did our most celebrated scientists stray — sometimes wildly — from the scientific method textbooks ascribe them?
“And why was he such a jerk to Kepler?
“In any event, those classes molded the way I think, not just as a science writer but in everyday situations — probably to the annoyance of those who have to deal with me — as I try to communicate with precision and logic in mind.”