July 18th, 2011

Here’s the last of our Meet the Interns series.  Our Hess Fellow, David Olsen, interviewed Intern Alec Niedenthal, and here’s what they talked about:

You grew up in Mountain Brook, AL. What was your favorite part about growing up there?

My friends taught me that humility and doubt are virtues.

You study philosophy at New College of Florida. What about philosophy interests you so much?

I’m not sure. I know that no matter how hard I work at philosophy—and I’ve worked very hard—I don’t, for better or for worse, have talent enough to pursue it. But at every turn, it’s a deeply rewarding discipline. I read Kant’s Critique of Judgment in January and thought, “This is the most exciting thing I could be doing right now. This book alone could save the world. “  And I still think it could. Who knows, maybe it will.

Have you had any part in service-learning or advocacy programs in college?

No, stupidly and to my detriment. APP is my first experience with anything involving service-learning or advocacy.

Is there a favorite class or professor that has really made an impact on you?

I’ve taken nine classes with one professor, which is a lot even at my small school. Those classes gave me a conscience.

What led you to intern at the Alabama Poverty Project?

A seminar on Hegel and Marx and a newfound concern for my home state. I’ve been vaguely troubled by the fact of poverty and its systematic side, and perhaps this class led me to concrete activism through my internship at APP.

If you could be on any reality television show, what would it be and why?

I don’t really know. It’s a shame that I can’t choose a sitcom because that’s what I watch. Roseanne is a hero, and I’d trade her whatever I have to give—which isn’t much—for a chance to have a beer together.

If you were a candy bar which would you be?

Snickers, but the ice cream version.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Doop from X-Force has always been my favorite comic book character. He’s a small green clump of something who is apparently the strongest and most dynamic character in the Marvel Universe.  So I’d be whatever he is. In our age of iPads, calisthenics and excess, who can be content with a single super power?