Manus Joseph Donahue, B.A. 2003

Professor of Neurology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Nashville, TN

2003 Major: Philosophy and Physics

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

"While I work mostly in computational sciences and medicine, I consider my training in philosophy to be one of the more important aspects of my background. Training in philosophy has helped me to organize my thoughts more clearly, both verbally and in writing. One component that separates successful scientists from less successful scientists is an ability to communicate well, both through presentations and in manuscript and grant preparations, and I believe four years of writing philosophy essays helped tremendously to develop this skill. On a separate note, I particularly enjoyed my ancient philosophy and philosophy of religion classes at Duke; I generally think that studying philosophy doesn't always give you answers, but it helps you to understand problems better."

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

"Don't let anyone talk you into not majoring in philosophy because it's not relevant. While none of the big philosophy firms may be hiring when you graduate, the skills you develop will translate to many different disciplines."

Manus Joseph Donahue