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Studying "Nothing" Leads Mike Ardoline '10 to Ph.D. Programs
10.03.12 |
When Mike Ardoline ’10 first enrolled at LVC, he had no intention of studying “Nothing.” After expressing an interest in physics and engineering, Ardoline’s high school physics teacher, Dave Todd ’97, convinced him to attend Lebanon Valley College, though he was also accepted to Drexel.

Ardoline soon took some classes in philosophy and attended a conference in Pittsburgh with classmates and several professors, including Drs. Jeff Robbins, Noelle Vahanian, and Bob Valgenti. He really enjoyed the stimulating academic atmosphere and started sending out his own papers in the hopes of presenting at future conferences.

“I came to LVC expecting to do something in physics, either becoming a professor or engineer, but planning on pursuing a Ph.D. However, the philosophy professors at the College helped guide me toward philosophy by letting me know exactly what was expected, what I would need to do to keep up in academia, and the level of work I would need to accomplish,” Ardoline said.

His first paper to be accepted, “Calculus, Generative Metaphysics and the Nothing,” a project completed for one of Dr. Valgenti’s classes, was presented at West Chester University’s 4th Annual Philosophy Conference in 2009. By the time he graduated with a double major in physics and philosophy, Ardoline had also presented on “Multiple World’s Theodicy” at the Raritan Valley Community College Philosophy Conference. Since, Ardoline has presented at several conferences including at Syracuse University and in Louisiana at an international conference on the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, and was invited to present at Oxford Brookes University, in Oxford, UK..

Months away from completing his master’s degree in philosophy at West Chester, Ardoline is in the process of applying to graduate schools for his Ph.D. with the intent of becoming a college professor. He is already thinking about how his master’s thesis, “On the Excess of Necessity,” can be advanced into a dissertation. “Defending my thesis was fun because I intentionally researched a topic that I knew would be a little controversial in the history of philosophy.”

He keeps up on the latest philosophy news, saying “I constantly listen to podcasts and read online courses from Oxford University and other schools that are part of the Open University Project on iTunes.”

Ardoline offers this advice to current and prospective LVC students: “Spend as much time with the faculty as you can. They are fantastic and always willing to give advice. They will let you know what you should be reading outside of class requirements, which conferences you should be attending, and what you should be doing above and beyond to reach your goals.”

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