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A headshot of Delaney Thull at the Old Well.

Delaney Thull’s interest in philosophy began with encouragement from her family. 

“I grew up in Mobile, Alabama, on the diverse and beautiful Gulf Coast,” said Thull, a fourth-year philosophy Ph.D. student. Her parents “modeled a strong commitment to caring for people” in her community and to “taking care of the natural world we share and the civic institutions we build together.” 

In her undergraduate program at Princeton University, her studies dove deep into moral and political philosophy. When it came time to choose a Ph.D. program, Thull knew she wanted to be immersed in the full breadth of philosophy. 

“I was ultimately drawn to Carolina because of the broad strengths of the faculty and the generalist approach to training graduate students,” she said. Her graduate studies have “covered everything from Hume and Nietzsche to symbolic logic and philosophy of math.” 

A recipient of UNC’s Maynard Adams Fellowship for the Public Humanities, Thull is researching the value of emotion in our lives for her dissertation, especially as it relates to how we navigate public life and political exchange.

In tandem with her studies, Thull is a graduate assistant at the Parr Center for Ethics. Her primary responsibilities involve work with the National High School Ethics Bowl, a competition hosted annually at Carolina that invites students from across the U.S. to engage in thoughtful discussion of moral issues.

The NHSEB program is celebrating its 10th anniversary later this month. Thull is an editor and writer for the case set of morally complex scenarios, a favorite part of her role with the program.

“These are deeply nuanced topics in ethics,” she said. “It is gratifying to see high school students unpack the cases using rigorous moral analysis and respectful deliberation.” 

By Jess Abel ’19

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