Jennifer Bulcock: One Philosopher’s Path to Cabrini

Meet one of our newest professors on campus: Jennifer Bulcock! An assistant professor of philosophy, Dr. Bulcock adds wisdom, passion and fun not only to the department but the entire school.

Bulcock studied English and philosophy at the University of New Hampshire, only 40 miles from her hometown. She continued her education at Rice University, where she received her master's and doctorate in philosophy. Although she is a very strong, intelligent woman, she did not get this far on her own.

From the beginning, her family showed her that there was no limit to what she could accomplish. Her mom was a welder and helped run the family die-cutting business, overseeing about 60 employees while her dad, a firefighter, stayed at home with her and her brother. Growing up in beautiful New Hampshire, she always had a love for adventures.

As if rappelling off a bridge at 10 wasn’t enough, she was certified to scuba dive at the age of 12. Her love for education was also developed very young, leading to her and her father creating a very special promise: “He would never say no when it came to buying a book,” Bulcock said, referring to her love for reading that has never ceased.

Bulcock had always known that philosophy was a male-dominated field, but it wasn’t until graduate school that she became aware of the true nature of the discipline. While the field is beginning to attract more women, only about 20 percent of philosophers today are female. Many scholarly events within the field feature only male speakers, so much so that there has been a movement to include female philosophers in all conference lineups.

“It’s not because they [women] are less qualified to speak, it’s just that most philosophers don’t consider the value of gender diversity when putting together a conference program,” Bulcock said, regarding the lack of representation.

She also spoke about the treatment of women within the profession, noting how comments on appearances seem to occur much more frequently towards females than male counterparts. “I noticed that after they would interview a female candidate, they would talk about how she looked. But never with a male.” Bulcock also highlighted the lack of recognition that could occur.

“Sometimes a woman would share an idea at a meeting and the men wouldn’t respond, but a second later when a man said it they would say ‘what a great idea!’” Although these inequalities still exist, Bulcock has been very happy working in philosophy and has been mentored and encouraged by many amazing peers and professors. Additionally, she noted, there have been many positive changes in the field over the last five or so years that are very encouraging.  

Despite the inequalities that exist too within the field, there exists a strong connection between the women in philosophy. Bulcock spoke in depth about female philosophers who had come before her, paving the way for an easier path for women to follow.

Her parents also helped her overcome this adversity, making sure she knew at a young age that her gender shouldn’t be a reason for not doing something. The environment at Cabrini is very supportive, Bulcock also noted, adding that small liberal arts colleges are often more friendly than large research universities.

While Bulcock’s path to Cabrini hasn’t been unscathed, her love for learning and the support of the women around her has helped guide her to where she is today.