This post is part of a series of interviews with our incoming class for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. Andrew Christy is a graduate student in social and personality psychology at Texas A&M University. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.
Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?
Andrew Christy: I am from the small town of Greenwich in upstate New York. I lived in Greenwich all my life until going to college at SUNY Geneseo in western New York, and I am now doing my graduate work at Texas A&M University.
VW: Tell me about your research.
AC: My research broadly deals with existential psychology and the psychology of well-being, with a particular focus on self- and identity-related processes by which people deal with existential concerns and experience well-being. I study these topics using the methods of social and personality psychology. I ended up in this research area because I was very excited by the questions of meaning and the good life that I encountered in my undergraduate philosophy minor, but I was not optimistic about my ability to provide substantive philosophical answers to these questions. Instead, I study how laypeople answer these questions for themselves, and I have found this to be a very satisfying union of my interests in philosophy and psychology.
VW: What are you looking forward to for the upcoming seminar?
AC: This summer, I am most looking forward to meeting other scholars who take different approaches to studying the same topics that interest me. I think I will learn a lot and I hope to come away from the seminar with some new friends in addition to new knowledge!
VW: What are your interests outside of academia?
AC: My non-academic interests include cats, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities, and playing blues and folk music on the lap steel guitar.