Aaron Xiao Sobel

Woodrow Wilson School, Class of 2019

I’m a Woodrow Wilson School major with a certificates in Values and Public Life as well as History and Practice of Diplomacy.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Behrman Society

Activities on campus:

Mock Trial, Model UN, Peer Representative to the Honor Committee, USG (Student Groups Recognition Committee)


SINSI (Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative) Intern Scholar, R.W. Van de Velde Award for Outstanding Junior Independent Work

Why I decided to study the humanities:

Back in high school, I had a real passion for understanding the interrelations between philosophy, English, history and culture. I love and am deeply fascinated by what I study in the Woodrow Wilson School — but I missed being in touch with my humanistic side. The Behrman Society allowed me to reconnect myself with the humanities in an interdisciplinary context.

What I have gained from the humanities:

Coursework in analytic philosophy has deeply influenced the way I approach problems. It has pushed me to become a clear, logical thinker — something that has proven invaluable in my policy studies. History has also proven crucial as a source of inspiration to many pressing policy problems. Discussing and studying the humanities all together, meanwhile, has broadened my interests and made me a much more lateral thinker. Through studying the humanities, I am better able to see manifestations of and interconnections between literature, history, philosophy, art and more in everyday life. This has shaped my optimism and curiosity in significant ways.

Independent work:

My first junior paper examined how to improve rule of law accountability in Lesotho’s garment industry. My second junior paper focused on how Supreme Court decisions influenced changing public opinion on gay marriage.

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