Humans of SymSys: David Shacklette


David Shacklette is a new master’s student in Symbolic Systems. He previously studied a B.A. in philosophy at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Where are you from?

I’m from Des Plaines, Illinois.

What's something cool you've worked on? 

During my Junior year abroad at Pembroke College, Oxford, a professor that I worked closely with asked me to be an intern for the Ordered Universe Summer Access program, which focused on the interdisciplinary works of the medieval polymath, Robert Grosseteste. During this week-long experience, I was responsible for holding mock-tutorials for gifted high school students who were interested in applying to Oxford in the following year. It was a highly rewarding experience, and it was so cool to see how a group of bright young minds interpreted such an interdisciplinary topic.  

What drew you to the SymSys MS program? 

I have always been interested in the philosophical interpretation of traditionally non-philosophical disciplines, which led to a strong interest in philosophy of neuroscience. What drew me to the SymSys MS program was the unique opportunity to approach the philosophy of neuroscience in a highly interdisciplinary fashion, surrounded by an incredible community of faculty and students. 

What are some of your initial impressions of Stanford? 

I’m from around Chicago, so my initial impression of Stanford has to do mainly with the weather here-- it’s absolutely gorgeous. 

What's one piece of advice you'd like to offer to younger students?

Take advantage of ALL of the resources that are available to you here. Don’t just be buried in your books 24/7. Go to that talk that you’re interested in, go to the beach for a weekend, join a band, do whatever you can do to become the best person you can be, not just the best academic (but also don’t fail out). 

What (loosely) SymSys-related topic are you excited about right now?

The ethical and practical consequences of optogenetics.