John Peña, B.A. 2009

CTO, Correlated Labs Inc – New York NY

2009 Major: Philosophy and Computer Science

How has being a Philosophy graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"I'm a software engineer, and while it may seem a million miles away from philosophy, I've found that skills I developed in pursuit of a philosophy degree have been invaluable for my career. I have to understand complex information, think about things from many perspectives, and clearly explain complicated ideas in a way that's logical to others - my philosophy degree prepared me for this more than my computer science degree did."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Philosophy programs? 

"Take advantage of seminars. My fondest academic memories from Duke are of philosophy seminars. I still think about some of the roundtable discussions I had in seminars, now 15 years later. Seminars are such a rich source of ideas that you can keep with you the rest of your life. They're also a great way to challenge yourself, to listen and synthesize ideas, and derive conclusions on your feet. If I could get my degree all over again, I'd take as many seminars as possible."

John Peña and girl