Merlin Student Scholar Fellow: Julianna Breit – Onto the Next Chapter

Learn more about Julianna and the philosophical work she did in the community over the course of her 2-year fellowship with us!

Merlin Student Scholar Fellow:

Onto the next chapter…

About Julianna

Two-year Merlin Student Scholar Fellow, Julianna Breit, graduated Carroll College in Spring of 2023, double-majoring in Biochemistry and Philosophy and minoring in Neuroscience. Initially, Julianna encountered philosophy as an innovative think-space between Pre-Med classrooms and STEM labs. Little did she anticipate it becoming her primary approach and disposition toward the world and its problem-solving dojos. By her upperclassman years, philosophical ideas permeated into more and more of her clinical aspirations and neuroscience proposals. And now — in this next chapter of her life — she hopes to utilize the wisdom of philosophy to inform clinical practices, particularly within the realm of psychiatry.

Read more about Julianna...

Julianna’s research interests include the phenomenology of emotion, trauma, and empathy. (She also loves to grapple in ethics arenas frequently.) During the first semester of her 2021-2022 fellowship, Julianna wrote about the underpinnings and consequences of philosophical vs. psychological approaches to “The Good Life.” She was also a regular participant in our community philosophy activities. During her second and third semesters, she was involved in the philosophical critique and analysis of several of our philosophy in the community activities, designed and led philosophy workshops on grief and empathy, and headed up the first installment of our new “How Did We Get Here?” series program.  In her final year as our fellow, Julianna headed up our Spring symposia series on Loss & Legacy, helping both to design both events in the program and facilitate them.  


Julianna Breit

(Merlin Student Scholar Fellow, 2021-2023)


In addition to helping expand and sharpen my academic philosophical skills, my Merlin Fellowship taught me what it looks like to live a philosophical life beyond scholarly settings.  I’m so thankful to bring some philosophical sparkles to whatever it is that I’m doing – whether that’s talking to a customer at the bar about my empathy project or integrating Husserlian terminology into my yoga-teacher certification exam. 

Since my graduation earlier this year, I’ve been on many adventures – from volunteering at an Ecuadorian wildlife reservation to road-tripping around continental Europe. Skydiving and a yoga instructor’s license were completed before I even realized they were on my bucket list, and Salsa dancing has become my favorite weekly activity.

A friend recently teased me for approaching all of my non-academic activities in such a scholarly way. To be honest, my (over)-analysis was an aspect of my personality I was insecure about until Merlin gave me the experience and community to understand how playful, creative, and pragmatic approaching every-day questions philosophically can be.

In 2024, I will be embarking on yet another adventure, this time at Wake Forest University in pursuit of a Masters in Counseling (Clinical Mental Health).  As I move into the next chapter of my life, I’m grateful for the unique opportunity Merlin gave me to cultivate my philosophical skills, and I am excited to incorporate my grief and empathy research into a therapeutic setting. Julianna Breit

Julianna’s 2022-2023 Fellowship Projects

Symposium: How Do We Think About Grief?

Film & Community Conversation: The Business of Death

Julianna’s 2021-2022 Fellowship Projects

Research & Writing

Philosophy Workshop: Grief

Philosophy Workshop: Empathy

How Did We Get Here?: Empathy

Fun Post-Graduation Experiences in 2023


A kind, bright, hard-working, and delightfully funny and playful individual, Julianna is a remarkable human being and beloved member of the Merlin family. We will miss having her here with us in Helena but are excited to witness the next chapters in her life.  What a gift it was to be part of Julianna’s journey & to have had the opportunity to see her blossom in such spectacular ways.  You have our utmost love, admiration, and support…and always have a third home here with us, young blood!  — Marisa Diaz-Waian

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