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Gaulkin ’17 to Pursue Joint Degree at Penn Law


Like many Hamilton students, Sophie Gaulkin '17 started college with no career plans to speak of, not to mention any leaning toward a particular major.

In fact, what led her to Hamilton—its open curriculum, commitment to cross-disciplinary learning, and emphasis on critical thinking and communication—is precisely what led her to declare her concentration in philosophy, a discipline that she said “embodies these distinctive features of a Hamilton education.”

Throughout her time on the Hill, Gaulkin had no fear about starting a career. "I always viewed Hamilton as a meaningful experience in itself rather than a means to finding a job,” she explained. “I was confident that by attending Hamilton, I could focus on learning for the sake of learning and the rest would fall into place.”

Post-graduation plans indeed took shape in the fall of her senior year. “I had no desire to finish my education, but I felt ready to use what I had learned to make a difference in the world. Studying and then practicing law seemed like the fusion of abstract theories and practical effects I was looking for in a career.”

about sophie gaulkin '17

Major: Philosophy

High School: Kennebunk High School

Hometown: Kennebunk, Maine

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Gaulkin took the LSAT and applied to law schools, eventually choosing the University of Pennsylvania, a top-10 law school known for its cross-disciplinary opportunities, close-knit community, and open curriculum following the first year—sound familiar? There, she plans to complete a JD/MA (Philosophy) joint degree.

Before starting law school, Gaulkin will spend this summer working as the outreach coordinator for No One Left Behind, a non-profit organization founded by alumnus Matt Zeller ’04 to help Afghan and Iraqi combat interpreters with Special Immigrant Visas resettle in the U.S.

While at Hamilton, Gaulkin competed on the debate team, was a features editor for The Spectator, founded The Monitor, a political and social justice publication, and chaired the activism committee of the Sexual Misconduct and Assault Reform Taskforce. She studied in Paris during her junior year, and is a now member of the international foreign language society Phi Sigma Iota. Gaulkin spent her summers working as an intern for Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, a Levitt research fellow and most recently as an Emerson research grant recipient.

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