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General Education Elective Reflection

Economics 355: International Trade and Finance

Economics 355: International Trade and Finance was a general education credit I took in the Fall of my Junior year. I chose to take this class because I felt like it was becoming increasingly important to understand how interconnected economies and trade relations play into the way societies function. After finishing this course, I can safely say that I learned everything I hoped for and more. The most important takeaway I got from this experience was the importance of global supply chains to the current world. This understanding will help me make reasonable decisions when taking in a problem scope that requires global considerations.

Phil 201: Intro to Philosophy

Phil 201: Intro to Philosophy was the first general education course I took during the fall semester of my freshman year. Beyond my tentative plans to graduate with a minor in philosophy, I also wanted to establish a solid foundation for logical reasoning. When it comes to making decisions in an engineering environment, I want to ensure that I’m consistent and logical decisions when it relates to my work. Intro to philosophy indirectly gave me this knowledge by forcing me to understand formal philosophical arguments. By being graded on my understanding of these different historical arguments and common logical fallacies that ancient philosophers fell into, I was able to develop my own grounded approach to formal decision-making and argumentation.

Phil 230: Moral Theory & Practice

Phil 230: Moral Theory & Practice was my second philosophy general education course, and I took it during the Fall semester of my sophomore year. My reasons for choosing this gen-ed course were that I wanted to understand how people make decisions and how disagreements on the “correct” course of action can vary wildly from person to person. I was happy to find that this course gave me ample opportunities to understand different viewpoints and how those different perspectives can lead to conflict in interpersonal discussions. One of the most helpful features of this course was the weekly discussion posts. Normally I brush these types of assignments off as busy work for students during a slow week of assignments. However, this class’s discussion topics were deep and incredibly complex moral and ethical questions. It allowed for a lot of nuances and critical thinking on the student’s part. It’s from these discussions that I gained one of the most important skills for going forward in my engineering career. I learned how to disagree with someone without making it personal or starting emotionally charged arguments. I’ve worked on enough teams in my time at Iowa State to know that these sorts of disagreements can start from almost anything, and having a strong foundation in philosophy and moral reasoning will be one of the important skills I will use as a professional engineer

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