Interview with Madison Gilbertson, Summer Session Participant

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This post is part of a series of interviews with our participants for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar.  Madison Gilbertson is earning her PhD in psychology at the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.


Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Madison Gilbertson: I am originally from Southern California, but I have just recently moved to London!

VW: Tell me about your research.

MG: My current research is focused on thriving and human flourishing as they relate to spirituality and religion. I am especially interested in the way that meaning and transcendent experience have an impact on well-being and the development of virtue. I am currently working on a wide variety of projects including virtue interventions for adolescents, virtue and character development in student athletes, the impact of self-transcendent purpose and religious affiliation in university environments, and intergroup contact in religious and university settings.


VW: What are you most looking forward to about this summer’s seminar?


MG: This seminar provides a unique opportunity to connect with an international group of colleagues from different disciplines. I am looking forward to discussing and learning about virtue, happiness, and self-transcendence from the viewpoints of philosophy and theology. I hope that these conversations will bring nuance and depth to my own psychological understanding of these concepts.
VW: What are your non-academic interests?
MG: I have always loved stories, and I spend much of my free time reading fiction and non-fiction. I am currently reading The Source by James Michener (an epic work of historical fiction about Israel) and I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (a book by the youngest Nobel laureate who advocates for the education for women and girls). Other interests include spending time with family and friends, writing, traveling to new places, music, and cooking with my husband.