Meet a Colleague: Angela Sun Angela Sun is an assistant professor of philosophy.
Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
The fall was my first term at W&L! I moved to Lexington after completing my doctorate in philosophy at the University of Michigan last spring.
Q. What courses are you teaching this term?
Last term, I taught introduction to moral and political philosophy. During Winter Term, I’ll be teaching philosophy of race and decision theory.
Q. What is the most satisfying aspect of teaching?
I love seeing students realize that ethics isn’t theoretical – that they can apply the ideas we talk about in class to become better friends, citizens and professionals. For instance, today we talked about whether performing a role well requires considering what our ideal conception of that role is. We used the role of a professor as a starting point, discussing what the ideal professor would care about and how they would act. I could tell my students were also thinking about the roles that they occupy and what their ideal conceptions of those roles are, which was awesome.
Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
This may be a bit egocentric, but I love my office. I’ve never had a place to work that was entirely my own before, and it’s lovely to be able to close the door and get lost in my thoughts. Virginia Woolf was right when she said that a “room of one’s own” is invaluable for writing. (I’m also obsessed with the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with the rolling ladder. They’re so cool.)
Q. What advice do you have for students (or parents)?
Use as many of the resources at W&L that you can! When I was in college, I took for granted the amazing speakers who visited every week, the cultural events, the funding opportunities to do my own research and do internships abroad, etc. There are so many opportunities to learn outside the classroom at a place like W&L.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I consume A LOT of media. I’m always watching TV or a movie, reading, or listening to music or a podcast when I’m alone and not working. Sometimes I wish I was more comfortable with silence!
Q. Where did you grow up?
Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I went through phases of wanting to be an architect or a lawyer. But I think I always most wanted to be a teacher, and I always wanted to teach the grade I was in at the time. I suppose I became a college professor because “college” was the last “grade” I was ever in!
Q. Who inspired you to teach? What about them inspired you?
I was inspired by my very first philosophy teacher when I was an undergraduate at Wellesley, Erich Matthes. In high school, I often felt invisible; Erich was the first teacher I’d had who saw potential in me and tried to foster it. I often think about his mentorship and teaching when interacting with my students at W&L. There’s something magical about the connections professors and students can make at liberal arts colleges!
Q. If you could have coffee with one person (living or deceased), who would it be?
I would love to meet Lin-Manuel Miranda. I really want to know how one person can write so many bangers.
Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
Somewhere warm and sunny, where my friends and family could all join me.
Q. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
When I was asked this question as a kid, I always responded with Lucy Liu because she was the only Asian American actress I (or anyone else) could name. There’s been so much progress in Asian representation in Hollywood since then – now, I feel pretty spoiled with casting options! I think Awkwafina would make a great Angela.
Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I grew up playing ice hockey and played a little during college! I also have secret musical theater ambitions.
Q. What is your secret talent?
I type really quickly (~125 wpm). While I’ve never verified this, I’m pretty sure I could recite “Legally Blonde” from start to finish.