From the November 2019 Desktop News | This past summer, UA senior Jordan Taylor and junior Caroline Krieger spent their time in the labs and lecture halls of Yale University discussing ethical dilemmas in the sciences at the Sherwin B. Nuland Bioethics Institute, a prestigious seven-week program housed in the university’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut.
The program allows participants to wrestle with some of the most difficult decisions they might face in their fields, exploring real-life scenarios with a lens of interdisciplinary ethics. These include human rights, animal ethics, environmental ethics, and many more fields that come together to help scientists make the groundbreaking choices that they make every day. Krieger, a chemistry major, and Taylor, a psychology major, learned through this experience that not all situations are clear-cut and, as individuals pursuing medical careers, they may have to make hard decisions in the future.
“I think this program made me realize that we have to constantly be looking at the way that we engage in science and medicine,” Krieger said. “We need to constantly ask ourselves questions about whether procedures and research and practices are right and moral.”
The pair attended 30 lectures surrounding these topics, as well as participated in discussion-based classes where they explored topics at a more in-depth level. Here, they heard from many different perspectives, engaging with people from all parts of the world, including Pakistan, Argentina, England, China, and Egypt, as well as people in different stages of life. Of the 60 people in this year’s cohort of participants, 50 percent were undergraduate students, the largest group of undergraduates the institute had seen.
“It’s not just undergraduate students, which is cool,” Taylor said. “They had a large undergraduate population this year, but there were also several practicing doctors, practicing physicians, lawyers, researchers—it was really great to get the perspectives of a lot of professionals there.”
As they met new people from all over the world, they also got to know new faces from a bit closer to home—each other. Prior to being accepted to the institution, the two had never met. However, once they started getting to know each other before heading to New Haven, they realized they had several things in common—career aspirations, interests, and even their birthdays.
While getting to know each other and debate over some of the most difficult dilemmas that medical professionals face, participants were also required to write a paper and create a poster on their choice of topics pertaining to bioethics. Both Taylor and Krieger have used their research from this summer to present in classrooms and conferences, where they’ve received positive feedback from their peers and professionals alike. They have both been accepted to present at UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in Portugal next year, and plan on applying to several other international conferences.
The Sherwin B. Nuland Bioethics Institute is accepting applications now through the spring until the class is full, and both Krieger and Jordan encourage anyone interested to apply. From learning how to ethically approach problems to receiving different perspectives to making both personal and professional connections that will last a lifetime, they say that the experience is unparalleled to anything either had done before.