EWU McNair Scholar Irie Browning Receives the Frances B. Huston Medallion Award

Congratulations to EWU McNair Scholar Irie Browning! Irie has been selected to receive a 2024 Frances B. Huston Medallion Award.

Recipients of the Frances B. Huston medallion award must have established themselves as exceptionally capable individuals in both academic and extracurricular activities. The faculty and the administration of Eastern Washington University acknowledge their great pride in the accomplishments of these students during their college experience and expect even greater accomplishments in the years that lie ahead. The Frances B. Huston Medallion is presented to just 20 graduating students per year.

Irie will soon complete her major in Philosophy and a minor in English Literature. Though she finds nearly every aspect of philosophy fascinating, her areas of special interest are literary ethics, action theory, American pragmatism, and ancient Greek philosophy (particularly the works of Aristotle). She is a past president and current active member of EWU’s Philosophy Club and has worked for the Program Leading to University Success both as an academic coach and a tutor. She recently presented, "The Soul of an Egret: A Cultural and Ethical Analysis of “Gibbons Raiding an Egret’s Nest” at the EWU Creative Works and Research Symposium. When finished with this detailed philosophical and historical inquiry into this 12th century Song dynasty painting, her McNair faculty mentor, Dr. Christopher Kirby, praised it as one of the most creative papers he's seen. Irie’s first McNair Summer Research Internship, under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher C. Kirby, examined John Dewey’s Pattern of Inquiry and how it could be applied to inspire a greater passion for learning in college freshmen. In Summer 2023, Irie and Dr. Kirby diversified their inquiries, this time in virtue ethics as it applies to friendship. Her project proposes a philosophy of hope and love as a path forward in our hyper-individualized modern culture.


In addition to her academic pursuits, Irie also is involved in community and volunteer efforts. She's been involved in various roles in EWU's Philosophy Club and was a founding member of the Japanese Language and Culture Club in 2021. She also was a part of the Eastern Mentor Collective for the 2022-23 school year where she met regularly with first year students to advise and support them transition to EWU. In the summer of 2022, she volunteered with the Satori Camp for middle and high school students, facilitating a round of dungeons and dragons as a way to learn about philosophy. That summer and a prior summer she also volunteered at English Camp in the Czech Republic. And on top of all of this, she has written a first draft of a novel and other stories in poems, both through classes and in her spare time!


Irie was accepted by Oregon State University's Masters in Applied Ethics program, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Masters of Philosophy program, and the University of Oregon's PhD in Philosophy program. She'll be attending the University of Oregon starting Fall 2024! Congratulations Irie!