A-typical Aquinas Student

April 19, 2013
Aaron Urbanczyk

Aaron Urbanczyk, Ph.D.

Kelsey (Christa) Nipper has not lived a conventional life. Born in California, she spent many of her formative years—age six through twelve—in Iraq with her parents, missionaries who devoted a part of their lives to founding a Christian school for Kurdish children.

She returned with her family to the United States to pursue high school and eventually enrolled at Aquinas College with the intention of becoming a nurse practitioner. Yet within her first semester of study, she switched her major to Philosophy. Through one of the core classes in Philosophy, Ethics, Kelsey was exposed to the Socratic love for wisdom, truth, and free inquiry. For her, philosophy has become a type of calling, a vocation. “I study philosophy because I am compelled to do so,” says Kelsey, “compelled by love.”

After graduation, Kelsey intends to pursue a career practicing law. She is quick to point out how her studies in Philosophy provide both a moral and practical training for this career path: “I plan to use the tools which I have accumulated to come to truth to engage in law; I love to debate and to research, skills which I believe will assist me in a legal profession.”

Kelsey is active in the campus Philosophy circle, the Socratic Club, and the Student Activities Board. As a freshman she placed a winning essay reflecting on her childhood in Iraq in the Aquinas College Writers’ Night Contest, an annual contest honoring outstanding student writing. When asked about what she values most about Aquinas College, she says the following: “The Dominican Sisters on campus are good company. They all know my name and I know each of theirs: Sister. I know my teachers, every one of them, and they know me; I am surrounded by fellow students and friends. The Philosophy major always gives me more questions about reality than it answers; it both expands my hunger for knowledge and feeds my intellect. I am happy to have come here; this is a good place, the right place. I call it home.”