Philosophy & World Religions Student Spotlight - Corey Cooling

In addition to balancing two majors, senior Corey Cooling is passionately involved in multiple campus organizations. His interests include environmental preservation, higher education, global politics, student activism, electronic dance music, and fantasy football. When he is able to make time, he enjoys listening to Iowa Public Radio, going to speakers and lectures on campus, spending time with friends, and eating spicy food. He is currently working towards a BA in Philosophy and a BS in physics. He also pursues his interests through his participation in campus organizations. 

“My involvement with student organizations has been a highlight of my time at UNI and something that I am most passionate about. My work with several student organization have afforded me unique opportunities like spending time with campus speakers and attending regional conferences. The friendships I’ve formed in addition to the organizational and leadership skills I’ve developed are things I will never forget. I highly encourage all future and current students to get as involved as you can, and there is a group out there for everybody,” Cooling said.

Cooling’s involvement with student organizations has included working with UNI Freethinkers and Inquirer’s, a freethought group on campus; One Iowa at UNI, a LGBT political advocacy/activism organization; and Physics Club. He has also held several positions in student government, including Election Commissioner; and is currently the Vice President of the UNI Philosophy Club.

Cooling’s involvement with these organizations has given him the opportunity to meet many interesting people. As Field Director of One Iowa, he had an amusing encounter with LGBT activist, Zach Wahls, in which he caught him dancing and singing along to “Thrift Shop,” backstage, before his talk. These interactions have been some of the most memorable moments of his college career.

“[Another] highlight was when the Philosophy Club brought in Massimo Pigliucci, a renowned philosopher of science in the CUNY system. As a club, we got to give him a tour of campus and in general interact with him before his lecture and at dinner afterwards. In light of my double major, it was rewarding to hear about his career progression from biologist to philosopher and his perspective of the world.”

These educational experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, have helped Cooling to develop his own perspective. 

“In my mind, college is about expanding your horizons and becoming a well-rounded educated member of society. When it comes to really sharpening your mind and asking the ‘big’ questions, the study of philosophy is really rewarding. While I can’t talk from experience about the study of World Religions, I’ll repeat a saying by a UNI Philosophy and Accounting graduate Joel Anderson, ‘While my other degree will get me hired, my Philosophy degree will get me promoted.’ My study of philosophy has really given me a nuanced understanding of the world, and understanding and taking ownership of my role in that world.”

The study of both philosophy and physics have helped Cooling to develop a wide range of skills.

“UNI has been really good to me. In my study of physics I’ve engaged in some undergraduate research, which has been really interesting and will be a bonus for me while I pursue graduate school. Beyond that, classes I’ve taken in the Philosophy dept. have prepared me by honing my critical thinking and writing skills,” he said. “I’ve also developed a knack for analyzing arguments and debates, which is essential in sifting through the sea of media sources and bias. The skills I’ve developed through my student organization work and other projects will hopefully make me an attractive candidate to whatever endeavor I choose to pursue.”

If he could do anything with no limitations, Cooling would be installing solar panels on every house in America, building an efficient public transportation system, doing research to solve the energy crisis, and spreading awareness of the causes and effects of climate change. 

“I also think I’d enjoy being a coconut farmer in Sri Lanka,” he added.

After graduation, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in physics while researching alternative energy technologies.

“It is my hope to utilize both of my degrees to make a positive impact on those around me and in society at large,” he said.