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Seniors to Remember: Philip McHarris

05/08/14
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Philip McHarris (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff

Published: May 8, 2014

Hometown: Bronx, NY (long-time New Jersey resident)

Major: Sociology

Notable Activities: United Front; DIOP (Dedicated Intellectuals of the People); Honduras Education and Leadership Project; Bystander Intervention; AHANA Leadership Academy; Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Award; McGillycuddy-Logue Travel Grant; Amanda V. Houston Traveling Fellowship; Ronald E. McNair Scholar; research assistant, Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture; research assistant, Assoc. Prof. C. Shawn McGuffey (Sociology); marshal, Order of the Cross and Crown.

Post-graduation Plans: Combined PhD. program in sociology and African American studies at Yale University.

Overview: Called a “natural leader” by his mentors, McHarris embarked on an educational journey that has taken him, thus far, from Newark, NJ, to Chestnut Hill, then India and South Africa for research. His experience at BC has led him to a vocation and also a commitment to service. A senior leader on campus, McHarris is well respected for his work ethic, leadership by example and ability to foster challenging conversations around power, privilege and identity.

What advice would you give to students who will arrive at BC in the fall?

Take advantage of all the opportunities and resources that BC provides its students while you’re here; four years may seem like a long time, but it flies by. Also, throughout your four years you will frequently hear that the aim of BC is to produce “men and women for others.” Figuring out what that truly means can, and should, be a complicated process. The first step in that process for me was learning about intersectionality theory.

How have your activities influenced your four years at BC?

The activities that I have participated in over my four years at Boston College have been extremely influential. Most notably, being involved in various activities on and off campus helped me discover what it is that I want to do in the future. All in all, the people that I have met, the experiences that I have had, and the lessons that I learned through the activities that I have been involved with have played a major role in shaping my voice and who I am today.

Has BC made a difference in your life? In what ways?

My past four years at BC has definitely made a profound difference in my life. The friendships that I have made here and the support I have received from mentors, coupled with the rich intellectual environment and the various institutional resources that BC has offered me, have all been incredibly important factors in the development of who I am today. For these reasons, I will always remember my time at BC as one of constant growth.

Who have been some of your most influential professors?


While there are many professors who have been influential to me, my most influential professor has been Dr. C. Shawn McGuffey. Dr. Kalpana Seshadri has also been an extremely influential professor as well as Dr. Stephen Pfohl and Dr. Eve Spangler. Additionally, Dan Bunch, Rossanna Contreras-Godfrey, Andy Petigny, and Karl Bell have all also been important mentors over the years.

Meet our next 'Senior to Remember,' Matthew Alonsozana