Jonathan Hecht was a recipient of a President's Award during the 2010 Student Research Symposium. His research mentor, J. Angelo Corlett, was profiled for 7 Things last week. For more information on the 2011 SRS, click here.
Name: Jonathan Hecht
Campus affiliations (clubs, sorority/fraternity, AS, etc.): Philosophy Club
- Why did you choose SDSU?
At the time, I was planning on being a business major (one of the dozen majors that I considered during my tenure at SDSU) and it seemed to be a wise option. As well, I did not know much about the process when I applied to universities and only applied to four — I did not get accepted to my top choice, McGill, and thought that San Diego would be a nice place to settle for four years.
- What inspired you to declare your major?
The first semester of freshman year, I took Philosophy 101 with Professor Mark Wheeler. This class engaged me in a way that no other class could; indeed, it was so engaging that I attended it. After many conversations with Mark, he convinced me to switch majors to philosophy. Since then, I have been in three more classes with him: two graduate seminars and one special study. Given his brilliance, passion and active role in the SDSU community (as well as a variety of X-factors concerning what would catch my interest in the class), I could not have been luckier with a 101 class.
- Which faculty member has made the biggest impact on you and why?
It is really hard to decide here between Prof. Wheeler, without whom I would not be where I am, and Prof. Corlett, without whom I would not be the scholar I am. I have tried not to limit myself by working with a single professor as there are many fine professors in the department who specialize in different fields that are of interest to me. I have been working with Corlett since my sophomore year and my philosophical acumen has developed greatly under his guidance. He is the editor-in-chief of a well-known journal and, conveniently for me, many of his interests coincide with my own. Though we disagree on nearly every point under the sun, this disagreement has fostered wonderful growth.
- What are your future goals?
Next year I will hopefully either be in Finland on a research Fulbright or starting a Ph.D. program. I have been notified that I have made it past the first stage of the Fulbright commission’s decisions and my future will be unveiled to me in a few months, which may as well be a few years.
- What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you (like a hidden talent, where you’re from or a special hobby)?
Before I started studying philosophy, I wanted to be a professional chess player. At the time, I was consistently playing at a master level in tournaments after improving rapidly. I dropped it as soon as I decided to take philosophy seriously.
- Who is your biggest inspiration (example: scientist, professor, family member, civil rights leader, etc.)?
For a while I did not know how to answer this, but I was recently considering not doing philosophy anymore and I read the preface to All the Power in the World by Peter Unger, a brilliant philosopher with whom I already wanted to work at NYU (one of my other favorite books is his Ignorance). This encapsulated all my feelings about the profession and his response to the problems both gave me the drive to continue in the field and dramatically increased my already present desire to work with him.
- What city would you like to visit or visit again?
I would like to go to Noordwijk again. If you go, then stay at the Flying Pig Beach Hostel.
More 7 Things Profiles
- What music do you listen to the most often?
Robyn Hitchcock, EELs, Paul Simon, showtunes.
- What was the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or down?
Tangled. Thumbs up.
- What is your favorite restaurant?
In San Diego, my favorite restaurant is Sushi Ota. In the world, however, my favorite restaurant is a fantastic pizza joint in Montreal called Il Focolaio.
- What is your favorite book?
Stranger in a Strange Land or Don Quixote.
- What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?
My favorite athlete is Ryan Hofmeister, a linebacker who will be starting at UCLA next year (and my girlfriend’s brother). If chess is included as a sport, then Magnus Carlsen is pretty amazing.
- What’s the first website you look at every day?
- What experience at SDSU has changed your life the most (example: research opportunities, study abroad, leadership opportunities, volunteering/service-learning, etc.)?
Well, I met my girlfriend at SDSU, and I could not be happier about it. As far as personal success is concerned, I would rather sacrifice other accomplishments for that.