Studying ethics and philosophy to prepare for law school

Rivky Bradwein

Rivky Brandwein

David A. Morse Endowed Scholarship

Class of 2019: Philosophy and History


How did you decide on your major?

One of the great things about college is that I had the opportunity to try different things. I changed my major a few times before I settled on philosophy. I knew I wanted to go to law school so I was able to major in anything I wanted, and when I took Intro to Philosophy, I felt like an entire world had opened up to me. I’d never realized how complicated the questions about free will, ethics, and how we know things are, and how exciting it is to try to discover the answers. Philosophy classes made me feel so alive.

What is it about your chosen field and the department that appeals to you?

Studying philosophy gives me the chance to reexamine all of my beliefs, down to the most basic, and try to reconstruct them on more solid ground. While at community college, I decided I wanted to be a philosophy major. When I looked into transferring to a four-year institution, I was so excited to discover that the Rutgers Philosophy Department is one of the best in the world. I couldn’t believe my luck! My experience with the department has been incredible. My professors are some of the most brilliant philosophers alive today, and it’s truly been an honor to learn from them.

What are your plans following graduation?

I am planning to attend law school next year. I don’t know yet exactly what kind of law I want to practice, but I do know that I want to use my education to give back in some way, especially to help people who don’t have easy access to education.

What are your dreams and aspirations?

I’ve already achieved my dream of going to college, and soon I’ll be achieving another dream of going to law school! My goal is to become a lawyer and to find a work-life balance that enables me to contribute meaningfully to a community.

What challenges or barriers did you feel were between you and your goals?

I grew up in a community where many people don't go to college. Growing up, I thought college was the coolest thing ever, but it wasn’t something I thought I could realistically do. I never dreamed of becoming a lawyer because that didn't feel like a feasible option for me. Over time, I began to realize that I wasn’t limited the way I had thought I was; I could do anything I wanted. College opened up a whole new world of ideas and opportunities.

What did this scholarship make possible?

Because of this scholarship, I’ve been able to eliminate a significant portion of the student loan debt I’ve incurred. I’m moving on to law school, where I expect I’ll have to take on a lot of additional debt, and the fact that I’ve been able to lower my undergraduate debt makes me feel more financially secure. The less debt I graduate with, the fewer years of my life I’ll need to spend paying it back. I feel much better about my financial position going forward.

What was it like the moment you found out you had the scholarship?

I was shocked and thrilled. I didn’t even know that this scholarship existed. I was really touched that the scholarship committee thought I deserved this award.

What did that mean to you?

It made me feel really seen and validated. This scholarship acknowledges that my education has value, so much so that people are willing to help me pay for it, and that really encourages and touches me deeply.

What would you like to say to the donor?

Thank you so much for believing in me. Thank you for helping to make my dream of a becoming a lawyer and giving back become a reality.

What has Rutgers made possible for you?

Rutgers is a place where diversity of ideas flourishes. That's incredible but can also be confusing, and for a while, exposure to many different views made me uncertain of where I stood on important issues. But over time, my education at Rutgers has helped me find my footing. Studying philosophy helped me learn to critically analyze ideas and incorporate my own experiences to eventually find my own perspectives. I feel like I’ve become a whole new person since I came to Rutgers.

What is your favorite thing about Rutgers?

I love everything about Rutgers: the campus, the people, the buildings, the classes, the activities and events. But if I had to pick one thing, I’d say the Rutgers libraries are absolutely incredible. Alexander Library is a philosophy student’s dream library. I’ll miss hanging out in the library and just browsing the incredible selections once I graduate.