Phoebe Wagoner

Phoebe Wagoner, ATA, Columbia College ‘25

Date Interviewed: 07/26/2023

Introduce yourself!

Hi, my name is Phoebe. My major is American Studies, and I'm from Kentucky.

What drew you to work at F&C?

I was drawn to F&C because I love teaching and because all of the students are either first generation or low income. At Columbia, it's very rare to be in a classroom with only other low income students, and experiencing that type of classroom at F&C has been pretty incredible.

What is your favorite part of the program?

Definitely the students that I work with (and I'm not just saying that because one of them is interviewing me). I'm saying that because I genuinely love the classroom that we have. Everyone's so engaged in discussions. I feel like we have a very dynamic and unique set of characters who all have interesting takes on the texts, which has been fun.

What is your favorite reading in the program and why?

That is hard. If I had to choose one, I might choose “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass because it's such a powerful document, and Douglass's writing style is so fiery and impassioned. I like reading things that are emotional because sometimes philosophy is thought of as disengaged, unemotional, and analytical. This reading is a good reminder that what we talk about in class is actually high stakes and you can get personally invested, passionate, and fiery about it. It's not just arbitrary thought experiments that don't mean anything.

What is one piece of advice that you would like to give to F&C students?

It can be really hard navigating the world as a first generation or low income student, especially if you're planning on going on to college. Sometimes the system isn't going to be set up in your favor, but even if it's difficult and frustrating, know that you have the capabilities of not just navigating systems in academia, but changing them and raising awareness about them. Be sure to advocate for yourselves and seek out resources or help if you need to. And a reminder that I and the F&C staff will always be there to help, even after you finish the program!

What is one fun fact about you?

I enjoy American folk music and I raised goats as a child on my family's farm. They're great pets-- really smart and really funny.