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We’ve all had that one professor.

The one who paved the way to a new school of thought, and whose words of wisdom led you to where you are today.

Those such professors are Howard University Assistant Professor of Philosophy Brandon Hogan and Professor of Journalism Tia Tyree.

For years, students at Howard have turned to them for worldly wisdom and answers to some of life’s toughest questions like: Who am I? and What do I really want?

Our new series, Master Class, will tap into the wealth of knowledge professors like Hogan and Tyree share with their students each day.

Meet Brandon Hogan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Howard University

Professor Hogan graduated from Howard University in 2003 with a bachelor’s in political science and the intention of becoming a lawyer.

But upon attending Harvard law school, Hogan realized his passion was philosophy, as he found his interest was in the big questions. He feels that while the law has the restriction of rules and regulations, philosophy is only limited by logic.

“Be honest with yourself”

Hogan believes people will often look to others for approval rather than dedicate themselves to their own ambitions.


“It’s easy to go four years saying you want to be a doctor and have a plan laid out, but not recognize the answer sounds good because it sounds good to other people, not because it’s actually what you want to do.”

“Look at your actions, not your words to determine what you want”

According to Hogan, sometimes our actions will tell a story we don’t tell ourselves. If you spend every weekend at a museum looking at exhibits while telling yourself you want to go to law school, you may be better suited as a museum curator.

“If you have to look for motivation you’re in the wrong field”

When Hogan was in law school, he described how he would often find himself trying to find a legal career he could feel excited about. But in doing so, he realized the ideal job is one where you’re motivated every day. “If you’re not motivated consistently you’re in the wrong profession. If you’re in the wrong profession, you’re on the wrong track.”

Dr. Tia Tyree, Professor and Scholar, Howard University Department of Journalism

For 10 years, Professor Tia Tyree has taught her students at Howard University how to play to win by knocking down every door. A former Public Relations Manager for the DC Housing Finance Agency and creator of Howard’s Social Media Tech Conference, Dr. Tyree credits her own success to a former professor who had a major impact on her life.


“Don’t Tell Yourself No, Dare Someone Else To”

Never tell yourself no, dare someone else to do it,” she says. Tyree describes how often people are faced with a challenge or obstacle and will immediately say they can’t do it.

But, part of the culture at Howard explains Tyree, is to always go for the yes. “You need to say, I’m going to find the person who tells me yes. One no doesn’t mean it’s the end. It means I’m going to go to five more people until I get that yes.”

Photography by Jonathan Williams