A native of Tarrytown, N.Y., Markowitz believes the intellectual discipline required in philosophy translates to success in the legal profession. Philosophy helped her to think, write and speak clearly, and it helped her develop compelling arguments to back up her positions. “Practically speaking, philosophy prepares students for LSATS and helps them succeed in law school. More broadly, it provides the big conceptual frameworks, and training in logical thinking, that can apply to many different legal and policy situations.”

Markowitz also sees her background in philosophy as a key to her leadership success. “It is easy to get stuck looking at a problem through our own narrow points of view.  When we step into the shoes of others, we can find solutions that work effectively for everybody. My philosophical training taught me to look at a problem from several different perspectives, not just my own.”

As the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Markowitz’s role required her to find creative ways to solve problems. “For example, there were times when agency rules resulted in the denial of a permit to develop a particular project. But that prompts the next question: ‘What is it you really want to accomplish with your project?’ That conversation can lead to a new understanding of the problem, and a route to a solution. These problem-solving skills are directly related to my training in philosophy and the law.”