Audrey Haley is a senior at Lee University where she studies political science with an emphasis in political theory and constitutional law, and is minoring in humanities, pre-law, and theology. She is co-founder and president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) Politeia Society at Lee, and is the current president of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Patristics Reading Group on her campus. Audrey is also an active member of Lee’s Kairos Scholars honors society, where interdisciplinary studies and conversation are highly encouraged, resulting in a wide variety of academic and social interests. Audrey was a 2016 Honors Scholar with ISI and has been an active participant in both ISI and Liberty Fund events since then. Audrey is most passionate about studying Platonic Metaphysics through the lens of Modernity. After graduating, Audrey hopes to pursue her masters and doctorate in political philosophy.
- How did you find out about ISI? What drew you to get involved in ISI's programming?
My academic advisor told me about the ISI honors program in the spring of 2016 and suggested that I apply, as he felt that it would be something I would deeply enjoy. While at the honors conference, I had the opportunity to experience a world where both students and professors were genuinely interested in discussing and debating the core ideas of our country, along with the broader implications of what it means to be both an individual and a part of a broader society.
- If you had to choose one highlight of your undergraduate experience, what would it be?
In the fall of 2016, I had the opportunity to help coordinate Lee University’s first annual two-day undergraduate intercollegiate symposium on politics and philosophy. The theme of the symposium was Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. The symposium included students from five different regional schools and included both discussion seminars and a keynote lecture. Being able to help organize the event was important to me because I enjoy being able to help bring together people who are excited about learning and debating ideas with students from other schools of thought.
- What have you valued most about your ISI experience?
What I love most about ISI are their numerous opportunities to learn and grow through readings and conferences. Additionally, I enjoy the genuine human interactions with other passionate students as well as excellent professors who truly care about encouraging students to grow. Because of my appreciation for ISI, I wanted to share what I had been given with my fellow Lee students by fostering a community to promote discussion about the fundamental ideas of liberty and what it means to be human as a part of a larger society.
- How have you spent your summers while in college?
I have attempted to use my summers to shape who I want to be as a human being. During my first summer at Lee University, I began a study on the human condition through literature, philosophy, and theology and have continued it every summer since then. I also had the opportunity to participate in the 2016 ISI Honors Conference, and this furthered my study of what it means to be human. In the following summers, I have begun a deeper study of Orthodox patristics and iconography. I have also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant for my advisor in political science for the last two summers. Most recently, I studied Japanese culture and language during a month-long stay in Japan with Lee’s cross-cultural studies program, followed by a visit to New Zealand to learn about its culture and political systems.
- Whom do you admire most, and why?
The person that I admire most in my life is my advisor, Dr. Thomas Pope. Unfortunately, words cannot explain my admiration for this human and I "cannot thrust my heart into my mouth." Dr. Pope is one of the few people I know who lives his philosophy to the best of his abilities. He taught me to be a charitable reader and student, and to demonstrate academic humility in light of broader conversations. Most of all, I admire his approach to life and other human beings: Dr. Pope has taught me that becoming a flourishing human being is the true purpose of education, and that this is not possible without a community that seeks to help one another live the good life.
- What advice would you give to other students who want to preserve the principles of liberty?
I would foremost encourage an honest reflection and study of what it is that you believe about liberty—you cannot truly defend what you do not know. Additionally, I highly encourage dialectic and a liberal education as a means of discovery. There are two forms of dialectic available to us—conversation with the dead and the living. A good liberal education will include a study of the great books of those that have gone before us and will allow us to become their students. It will also include careful conversation with the living—developing friendships and then asking important and thoughtful questions. This last option can be pursued on campus as well as through excellent forums such as ISI, which offers both books and conversation with fellow ISI students and professors. Once you have established an understanding of liberty, you will be better prepared to defend it.