Fellows Society Alumnus: Nick Byrd

750(w)x600(h), preferred ratio 5:4

Nick Byrd

Fall 2014 - Summer 2020

Currently Resides In: Pittsburgh (2020-2021), Hoboken (2021-)

PhD in Philosophy

Graduate Student Cross-training Fellowship

Adelaide Wilson Fellowship


Personal website: byrdnick.com

Google Scholar: scholar.google.com/citations?user=d3prs2YAAAAJ

Facebook: facebook.com/byrdnick/

Twitter: twitter.com/byrd_nick

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/nickbyrd/


Current Job/Occupation

Nick has worked with the Intelligence Community conducting research at Carnegie Mellon University to develop and test effective, easy-to-use techniques for reducing belief-biased thinking—that is, thinking that can lead to an exaggerated sense of the support for our cherished beliefs, failure to consider or appreciate counter-evidence, and misinterpretation of evidence. After this research, Nick joined Stevens Institute of Technology as Assistant Professor where they study reasoning, well-being, and technology and teach philosophy of mind, history and philosophy of science, and ethics.


Educational/Professional Background

Nick Byrd is a philosopher-scientist studying who received an B.A. from Palm Beach Atlantic University, a M.A. from the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. from Florida State University in 2020. Their research combines philosophy of cognitive science and cognitive science of philosophy. Existing projects examine—among other things—what we can (and cannot) infer from social scientific research, how psychological factors predict philosophical dispositions, and how network effects predict human welfare. Funding for this and other research has come from the Society of Christian Philosophers, the John Templeton Foundation, Duke University, Florida State University, and the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence.


Experience as A Member of The Fellows Society

My network has grown exponentially thanks to the Fellows Society. The society has introduced me to graduate students and faculty in art history, dance, economics, education, sociology, and statistics. Further, the society has connected me with powerful people at Florida State University such as trustees like Mark Hillis and University President John Thrasher. As I learned from Dr. Greg Erickson and Dr. Anette Schwabe at a Distinguished Faculty Luncheon hosted by the Fellows Society, networking can have many unexpected career benefits.


The Fellows Society has provided a few opportunities for me to practice soft skills such as starting conversations with new people, asking clear, purposeful questions, and explaining my research without jargon. I have already found that these skills can make otherwise mundane conversations turn into career-changing opportunities. Indeed, the genesis of many of my interdisciplinary projects and at least one job was the result of conversations with strangers in academia.


Also, new ideas occurred to me while I participated in events provided by the Fellows Society. For instance, by presenting at the Fellows Forum in Spring 2018, Dr. Paul Beaumont became aware of my research and introduced me to some colleagues in the Department of Economics. As a result, I was invited to a workshop hosted by some of Paul's colleagues about economic reasoning. During that workshop, I thought of a new research project studying how differences in reasoning styles relate to different economic judgments. This lead to an international research project about how philosophical beliefs about liberty predict compliance (or lack thereof) with public health recommendations during the COVID19 pandemic.


Finally, new audiences learned about my research thanks to events sponsored by Fellows Society. For example, the Fellows Society's events repeatedly offered opportunities to share research that would have otherwise been read by a few colleagues working in my areas.


Future Plans/Aspirations

I aim to better understand human psychology in order to improve human flourishing.


Advice to Share with Current Fellows

Personally, I was most productive and happy when I imposed more structure on my week—e.g., working Monday through Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm—than the academic schedule forced upon me. Colleagues have reported a similar experience.



Thanks for all the support from the Fellows Society, its workers, its volunteers, and its members. You all have were a highlight of my FSU experience!


Unique Awards/Achievements

2021 Summer Seminar in Neuroscience and Philosophy Fellowship (Travel, lodging, $1000 honorarium, and up to $30,000 grant for neuroimaging study).*

2020 Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Materials Grant ($250). Florida State University’s Center for Undergraduate Research & Academic Engagement.*

2019  – 2020 Adelaide Wilson Fellowship ($32k), Florida State University’s Graduate School*

2019 1st Place in Poster Competition ($150), Conference of Florida Graduate Schools*

2019 Graduate Student Research and Creativity Award ($1,000), Florida State University*

2018 – 2019 Grad. Student Cross-Training Fellowship ($32k), Society of Christian Philosophers*

2017 Dissertation Research Grant ($1000), Florida State University Graduate School*

2013 Research funding ($300), Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado*

2009 Outstanding Graduate of Philosophy, Palm Beach Atlantic University*

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