Theresa Helke

Lecturer in Philosophy

Smith College

Contact & Office Hours

Fall 2021
Monday, 3 p.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, 11 a.m.–noon
Or by appointment 

Henshaw B1 207



Ph.D., National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS College

B.A., Smith College


Theresa Helke is a lecturer in The Logic Program and the Department of Philosophy.

Her mission is twofold: (1) to ensure that the next generation can differentiate between a soundbite and a sound argument; and (2) to challenge the idea that a specific group of people—with a specific skin color and specific reproductive organs – has the monopoly on good ideas.

Before joining the faculty at Smith, Helke taught philosophy and logic in Singapore (to undergraduates at NUS and Yale-NUS, secondary school children through LogicMills and primary school children through The Knowledge Exchange, an education business she co-founded); English as a foreign language in Switzerland (to professionals at their workplaces); and literacy in Papua New Guinea (to school-aged children who had yet to go to school).

She also worked with Narxoz Business School (NBS) in Kazakhstan in various capacities: as branding and curriculum development consultant and as researcher and video producer. In May and June 2019, she traveled around Central Asia, collecting data and shooting footage in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan for the NBS x Big Talk "New Silk Road" case studies project.

Helke's dissertation, On Conditionals, builds on a subject she first came across during her junior year, as an undergraduate visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. She has published on M.C. Escher’s impossible images. Smith’s Praxis Program allowed her to work, as a rising junior, with her co-authors at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

She is currently working on a manuscript in the field of ethnomathematics. She became interested in the intersection of culture and mathematics while serving as a Rural Community Health Coordinator in the Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa.