Loyola University Chicago

Arrupe College

Minerva Ahumada


Title: Philosophy, Lecturer
Hometown: Edgewater
Courses taught: ACPHI130 Philosophy and Persons, ACPHI 205 The Person and Society, and ACPHI 281 Ethics

What attracted you to Arrupe College?

Many things attracted me to Arrupe: as a Loyola alumna, I was immediately excited about the way in which Arrupe would embody social justice by establishing a new way for students to earn a college degree while accumulating little to no debt. I remember talking to Fr. Katsouros about the environment in which these students would take their classes, and the fact that they would have several advisors working with them in order to guarantee their success inside and outside the college. When I first interviewed for my position, Arrupe seemed like an onerous project, yet a worthy one.

Talk a little about the classes you teach.

I aim to make of my classroom a collaborative and democratic environment in which students see themselves as subjects of knowledge—i.e. they bring prior and valuable knowledge to the classroom. I think this is especially important in an area such as Philosophy—and even more important at the community college—where the students’ reality takes precedent over trying to figure out an answer to perennial questions, such as what does it mean to be a person or whether we have freedom of the will.

How did you get involved in teaching philosophy?

When I graduated from college, I wanted to leave my town. Teaching high school was my way to achieve this goal; the joys of part-time work got me to teach Ethics. Little by little I fell in love with the area and when I was given the opportunity to come to the US to study a Masters in Philosophy, I decided to pack my bags and give it my all. Once in the US, I decided to pursue a PhD in the area. Philosophy—especially social and political philosophy—makes me as happy as it leaves me flummoxed.

What’s your favorite part about teaching? And the biggest challenge?

I consider myself shy and a bit quirky, yet that has never seemed to matter when I am teaching a class. Sharing and constructing knowledge with students engages my whole being: their responses, questions, and objections are fascinating; they make me wish I were reading Plato for the very first time and I feel myself in a state of flow when I am teaching. Getting to that state might be hard sometimes: how do you make Descartes relatable and understandable? Finding ways to always make philosophy relevant—and even enjoyable—in an environment that does not put my students off is one of my biggest challenges.