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Renaissance Woman

Nov 11, 2010

Marie-Clare TresederSenior Marie-Clare Treseder decided to major in Philosophy because she appreciates an intellectual challenge—and a cute guy. 

She was drawn in to the Philosophy Department by alumnus Drew Gorham '10, who triple majored in Philosophy, Economics and Math and was active in the Philosophy Club, The Think Tank.

Professor Ray Rennard

Professor Ray Rennard

On Drew's recommendation, Marie-Clare took a course from Philosophy Professor Ray Rennard. After that, she was hooked on philosophy. "Under the direction of Dr. Rennard, I developed beyond existential angst and instead through logic and verifiable evidence," said Marie-Clare.  

A Singular Institute

Marie-Clare's subsequent association with Drew led to her working for the past two summers at a unique educational institution in Silicon Valley called Singularity University. Drew was hired by Singularity in 2009 in part because he had triple majored at Pacific, which demonstrated his breadth of interests and knowledge.

Located on the NASA-Ames campus in Mountain View, Singularity University was founded by entrepreneurial giants Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis (see box below). Singularity's mission is "to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity's grand challenges."

The institute offers a selective 10-week Graduate Studies Program and a several-day Executive Program in which entrepreneurial and intellectual powerhouses present on ways that emerging and advancing technology can impact a variety of fields and issues.

Marie-Clare Treseder and Drew Gorham at Pacific's Gender, Race and Space Conference
Marie-Clare Treseder and Drew Gorham at Pacific's Gender, Race and Space Conference

From Logic to Logistics

At Singularity, Marie-Clare has focused Media and Logistics: She helps organize the class presentations and other events, and also serves as photographer and photo editor for publicity and marketing purposes. Because she takes photos of the classes, she has the opportunity to sit in and observe the presentations first-hand.

"They encourage me to attend all the lectures being presented by the leaders in their respective fields, such as neuroscience, quantum computing, policy, law, ethics, nanotechnology, bioengineering, and so forth," said Marie-Clare. "It has been an absolute honor to work there."

She says her background in philosophy has been essential to her work. "We often have a discussion after a class and we talk about ethical issues related to the topic. We ask ourselves things like 'Is this important? Is this right?' because the mission is to do good for humanity."

"Being versed in philosophy has prepared me to participate competently in these discussions, and I feel that it has helped to expand my intellect."

Most of her work is during the summer, where she is immersed in Singularity University from morning to midnight, often 7 days a week. But she stays involved in projects during the academic year as well.

Art in Her Blood

After meeting Dr. Rennard's wife, Dr. Bett Schumacher, who was a professor in the Visual Arts Department and now works in the Office of the President, Marie-Clare felt inspired to pursue her original love of art by adding a self-designed major in Art History. Dr. Merrill Schleier is her current advisor in the Visual Arts Department. Marie-Clare is also minoring in Gender Studies.

For her senior Art History project, she will curate a show this spring at Pacific's Reynolds Gallery on the artist William S. Rice, a prominent California painter and printmaker who happens to be her great-grandfather. Marie-Clare was awarded a Pacific Fund grant to support the exhibition.

"His stirring artistic portrait scenes of California flora in and around the San Joaquin valley, I believe, will make this show an interesting retrospective not only of his work but of the Stockton community itself."

Photo from:

Marie-Clare recently participated in Pacific's Gender, Race and Space Conference—further testimony of her multifaceted interests and academic pursuits.

Singularity University Founders

Dr. Ray Kurzweil is one of the world's leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists; he was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which describes him as the "rightful heir to Thomas Edison." He is a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments.

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis is Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, which awarded the $10,000,000 Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight. The Foundation is focused on developing large incentive prizes to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity in fields such as genomics, automotive, education, medicine, energy, and social arenas.

Singularity University website

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