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Graduate Student Profile: Denise Regina Percequillo Hossom, Philosophy

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Friday, January 4, 2019 (All day)

Meet UC Davis Graduate Student Denise Regina Percequillo Hossom

  • Department
  • Program and year of study 
    Ph.D., 2nd year 
  • Previous degrees and colleges
    BA, UC Davis
  • Where did you grow up?
    I moved around a fair bit growing up, so here are what I consider to be my main “hometowns”: Napa (California), Prosser (Washington), Sao Paulo (Brazil), and San Juan Bautista (California).
  • Where do you live now?
    Davis, CA. Currently downtown, which I love because everything is in walking distance.
  • What's your favorite spot in Davis?
    It’s a tie between the Davis Farmers Market and the Davis Food Co-op. There are people who’ve never been to Davis who hear about our amazing co-op, and same goes for our farmers market. We are really lucky to have such great fresh local food available to us year-round. Don’t know what I’d do without my fresh veggies!
  • How do you relax?
    I go horseback riding (mainly trail-riding out around the Bay Area), and try to keep up with my music practice; I play classical and bossa nova on guitar, and I’m working on my cavaquinho skills (sort of the Brazilian Ukulele) to play Chorinho (a Brazilian style of music). Basically, being outdoors with animals and playing music are my relaxation jam.
  • What was the last book you read for pleasure?
    Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, which is a pleasure to read but it also happens to be a book by an author that I conduct research on for my work in environmental ethics. 
  • What TV show are you currently binge-watching?
    I may occasionally watch two episodes in a row of the original 1970s Upstairs Downstairs show. But I don’t have a ton of patience for TV… I try to avoid screens when I can since I spend so much time in front of one already for work.
  • Research interests
    My interests span over various areas of philosophy; philosophy of science, history and philosophy of biology, environmental ethics, and bioethics. My interests in these areas has a lot to do with my overarching interest of looking at the interactions of science with social values. This also leads my research interests into the territory of Science and Technology Studies (STS). STS is an “interdisciplinary field that studies the relationships among science, technology, and society.” Davis has a fantastic Designated Emphasis for PhD students in STS, and I’ve enjoyed being a part of both philosophy and STS at UCD.
  • Dissertation title or topic
    I haven’t chosen my dissertation title/topic yet (I’m still finishing coursework), but I can tell you that it will most likely be focusing on environmental ethics and philosophy of ecology.
  • Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research
    When examining Aldo Leopold’s essay, “The Land Ethic” in A Sand County Almanac (1949), I argued for an interpretation of his view which would connect Leopold’s ethic with some of the tenets of the contemporary feminist ethical perspective of the Ethics of Care. I then was able to frame Leopold’s Land Ethic as an argument for an Ethic of Ecological Care.
  • Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?
    Dr. Roberta L. Millstein in our very own UC Davis Department of Philosophy. She introduced me to my current research areas of philosophy of biology and environmental ethics as an undergraduate (which was what solidified my interests in pursuing grad school), and continues to inspire me in that research through my graduate studies. Her own research on Aldo Leopold was what motivated me to contribute to the surprisingly limited body of Leopold research and literature in environmental ethics. I can’t say enough about how important she has been for both my interests in grad school, and my decision to pursue my PhD here at Davis.
  • Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?
    Donna Haraway’s The Companion Species Manifesto. I would have written it with a slightly different take – though a somewhat similar thesis – focusing on the “significant otherness” of horses and humans, instead of dogs and humans. 
  • What's the best thing about being a grad student?
    I get paid to read, write, learn, teach, explore ideas, and interact with a variety of research settings, individuals, and groups, across my own research institution, as well as being funded to travel and present my ideas at other institutions and professional settings (i.e. conferences, workshops, outside working/reading groups). Most of what it means to be a grad student is a serious privilege and honor. I really do love being a grad student, and take seriously the opportunity I have been given.  
  • What's the worst?
    Constant vulnerability and trying to keep imposter syndrome at bay. As a grad student, you are always putting yourself and your ideas out there to be critiqued and this involves a lot of intellectual/psychological/emotional vulnerability. And there really isn’t going to be much respite from it at any point, so I think grad school is where you learn to get comfortable with a very particular amalgamation of vulnerabilities. It’s probably one of the hardest things you have to learn.
  • If you weren't a grad student, what would you be doing?
    What I was doing before grad school—training horses and giving riding lessons. I loved teaching humans and nonhumans to communicate and understand each other better (I love teaching in general). I think horses (and mules and donkeys – which I also trained) are some of the most philosophical creatures I’ve ever met. They have fascinating minds, social behaviors and structures, and I believe they actually offer insight into what it means to be human; our evolutionary histories are incredibly intertwined and there is so much to be said on this idea of our co-evolution.
  • Finally, please ask yourself a question - "What is one of your most memorable moments of grad school so far?"
    I’ll never forget going to my first professional conference; I presented a talk in my first quarter as a graduate student at one of the biggest professional conferences for my area; The Philosophy of Science Association (PSA) 2016 conference. I thought a few unfamiliar names/people would attend my talk, but there were really important people from philosophy of biology there, and they even asked me questions in Q&A! It was such an awesome feeling. The whole conference felt like being on the academic red carpet; getting to see the faces of all these famous philosophers of science in one place, truly an amazing experience.

Graduate student profile courtesy of the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.