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Top Philosophy Grad Uses Gifts to Spread Faith

A mandatory class in ancient philosophy was the first to snag Melissa Prazak’s attention.

Prazak (Philosophy, ’16), a transfer student had no intention, initially, of majoring in the subject. But as her classmates groaned over Material Monism and the metaphysic of Artistotle, Prazak quickly discovered she “had a knack” for the material.

Melissa Prazak

The “knack” turned into a passion, then into a degree. And another. This semester, Prazak graduates from UST with both a bachelor’s and Master’s in philosophy, having earned the department’s “outstanding major” award for the highest GPA.

Her Catholic faith and her passion for truth, inquiry and evangelization have also landed her a competitive position as Director of Events with Array of Hope, a teen evangelization initiative of Te Deum Ministries.

Array of Hope uses film and music events to “create an opportunity for God to work” in the lives of young people and families, and to “encourage people to live out their faith daily and actively,” Prazak explained.

“I’m really excited,” she said, days before leaving for the new job, which is based in New Jersey. “I have a spirit of adventure, and I think I’ll fit right in.”

Studying philosophy at UST taught her “how to think,” Prazak said, and prepared her exceptionally well for her upcoming role.

“I learned how to dissect arguments, but also how to interact with my peers and dialogue, not just argue,” she said. With its small classes, dedicated professors, and liberal arts curriculum, “this University trains you so well.”

UST’s philosophy department and faculty are internationally renowned, Prazak noted (the University’s Center for Thomistic Studies is the only graduate philosophy program uniquely focused on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas in the U.S.), and “it was such an amazing experience to be there working with these brilliant minds.”

“I don’t think the average student understands how revered these minds are,” she said.

“Whenever you say you studied under one of these philosophy professors, it catches [people’s] attention. We would go present at conferences, and people would say, “Oh, you’re from St. Thomas—that’s why your paper was so good!”

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