Natalie Cisneros, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Seattle University

Natalie Cisneros joined the philosophy department faculty in 2015. She works at the intersection of feminist philosophy, critical philosophy of race, Latin American and Latina/o philosophy and continental philosophy. Within those disciplines, her teaching and research focus on philosophical questions about power: how and where it functions, when it operates to dominate, and how oppressive forms of it might be resisted. During her short time at Seattle University, Natalie has had the opportunity to teach a wide variety of philosophy courses that engage with interdisciplinary and broader political discussions, including Philosophy of the Human Person, Modern Philosophy, and Social and Political Philosophy. As an alumna of Seattle University, Natalie looks forward to enhancing her mission as a teacher and scholar through her collaboration with the Alfie Scholars Program. She is particularly enthusiastic about contributing to the program’s goals of increasing diversity and promoting diverse leadership on campus.


Nathan Colaner, Ph.D.

Professor of Management and Philosophy, Seattle University

Professor Colaner is an instructor in the Departments of Management and Philosophy, focusing on business ethics. His recent research is on the ethical issues involved in big data management and business use of artificial intelligence.

He has a special interest in working with transfer students. In 2011-2012, he developed philosophy courses that were taught exclusively to transfer students. He brings his expertise with transfer students to the two standard curriculum courses, "Philosophy of the Civil Person" and "Ethical Reasoning" that are tailored specifically for Alfie Scholars. Professor Colaner is excited to continue developing courses in this area and taking on mentoring roles with Alfie Scholars.

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Reilly Curran, M.A.

Research Services Librarian and Lead Librarian for User Outreach

Reilly Curran is an Assistant Librarian and the Lead for User Outreach at Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. Reilly grew up in the Pacific Northwest and received her BA from Seattle University. She spent 7 years working in the nonprofit sector before receiving her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. She was excited to return to Seattle University and has loved being able to work with a wide range of students on information literacy. Her areas of interest include student engagement, online learning, space planning and library programming.

Reilly loves working with the Alfie Scholars as they embrace their authentic selves, remain curious and open-minded, and move in harmony with the purpose of their life.

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Kevin C. Krycka, Psy.D.

Professor of Psychology, Seattle University

Kevin C. Krycka is director of the Master of Arts in Existential-Phenomenological Therapeutic Psychology at Seattle University and University Summer Programs.  Since joining the psychology faculty at Seattle University in 1989, he has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in the area of abnormal and clinical psychology. Kevin has taught academic courses and offered workshops to the public on what it means to be a leader in contemporary society, which seems to have lost touch with its capacity for civil discourse. Kevin’s volunteer experience and scholarship has focused on uncovering and giving voice to the underserved and marginalized in our communities. He utilizes a qualitative approach in his research, called the phenomenological research method, which he first came across in graduate school when studying with a mentor, philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin. 

Kevin has been further inspired by the works of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas’ insights have helped him to develop a deeper understanding of how human beings experience and respond to change by engaging in the world. He recently published a book for psychotherapists based on Levinas’ ideas called Psychotherapy for the Other: Levinas and the Face-to-Face Relationship.

Service to others, civility, and leadership are themes that intersect in Kevin’s work and inspire him in his work on the Alfie Scholars project.

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Jeff Philpott, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication, Seattle University

Dr. Jeff Philpott is a tenured faculty member in the Communication Department, where he teaches rhetoric. His academic interests focus on how individual speakers and marginalized groups can shape public discourse, and he teaches courses in rhetorical theory, persuasion, and advocacy for social change. He joined Seattle University in 1992, and in addition to his work in the classroom, he has served as a department chair and, more recently, Director of the University Core Curriculum from 2005-2015, helping to lead the effort to design and implement the new version of that curriculum. 

The goals of the Alfie Scholars program are near and dear to Jeff’s interests: he is a first-generation college student and transferred from a small rural community college to a challenging four-year liberal-arts university after his sophomore year. He is interested in helping students succeed in making those important transitions and in finding – and exercising – their voices to contribute to our world. 

He holds a MA in Communication Studies from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the University of Washington. Outside of his work at SU he likes to spend his time doing nature photography, traveling, and cooking.

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Brendon Taga, Ph.D., J.D.

Associate Dean, College of Education, Seattle University

Dr. Taga researches issues at the intersection of education, disability, and the law and completed his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences at the University of Washington. An attorney, he received his J.D. cum laude from Seattle University School of Law, where he was a Fellow for the Center for Global Justice and earned the Faculty Scholar award. Upon graduation, he served as the Associate Director of the Access Admission Program, under the direction of Professor Paula Lustbader. He also taught legal writing at Seattle University School of Law. Before coming to Seattle, he received a B.A. in Intellectual History from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as a Law Clerk for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and as a Trademark Specialist for a large corporate firm.

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Jason Wirth, Ph.D.

Professor of Philosophy and Associate Professor of Film Studies, Seattle University

Dr. Jason M. Wirth is professor of philosophy at Seattle University, and works and teaches in the areas of Continental Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Africana Philosophy. He is also a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen lineage. 

His recent books include a monograph on Milan Kundera (Commiserating with Devastated Things, Fordham, 2015), Schelling’s Practice of the Wild (SUNY, 2015), The Conspiracy of Life: Meditations on Schelling and His Time (SUNY, 2003), a translation of the third draft of The Ages of the World (SUNY, 2000), the edited volume Schelling Now (Indiana, 2004), Schelling’s Practice of the Wild (SUNY, 2015), the co-edited volume (with Bret Davis and Brian Schroeder), Japanese and Continental Philosophy: Conversations with the Kyoto School (Indiana, 2011), and The Barbarian Principle: Merleau-Ponty, Schelling, and the Question of Nature (SUNY, 2013). His forthcoming book, due in early 2017 with The SUNY Series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, is called Mountains, Rivers and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dōgen in an Age of Ecological Crisis. He is the associate editor and book review editor of the journal, Comparative and Continental Philosophy (and its attendant book series, published by Northwestern University Press). He is completing a manuscript called Zen and Zarathustra as well as a study of the cinema of Terrence Malick. 

He is a co-director of three philosophical societies: The Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle (CCPC), The Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT), and the North American Schelling Society (NASS).

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