Last month, seven Georgetown undergraduates traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to compete in a debate-style bioethics bowl at the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference (NUBC). After a very closely contested final round against Loyola Chicago, Georgetown’s Bioethics Bowl team took second place overall.
Hosted annually, The Bioethics Bowl is a debate-style competition for undergraduate students focused on ethical issues within medicine and public health policy. Universities and colleges from all over the country participate. These events provide opportunities for students to learn more about contentious cases and moral quandaries, and to stake and defend positions on them.
This year’s roster included several students new to both the field of Ethics and the Bioethics Bowl, many of them not philosophy majors but rather from a varied background of many different minors. Congrats to: Emma Cammann, Sarah Jaklitsch, Jenny Sullivan, Matt Soens, Aine Boyle, Nell Birch, and Arista Jhanjee.
Jaklitsch, a student in the School of Foreign Service, perhaps best exemplifies the varied background of the group. She found the team while working to fulfill a philosophy course requirement and continued with it following her sophomore year. She had this to say about the experience:
The reason I love it so much is because it has provided me this opportunity to be involved with something that completely steps outside of my major but still greatly interests me. It has opened conversations about bioethics, and ethics in general, that I have continued with my roommates and friends outside of club meetings. It has challenged some of my deepest held beliefs and given me the opportunity to delve into current bioethical issues while also delving into my friends beliefs and my own ethical foundation. I genuinely believe it has helped me improve my confidence in public speaking and my critical thinking skills when developing the cases. I am planning on teaching after school and this experience has taught me the benefit of having students develop skills in critical thinking and exploring ideas that stretch beyond their value systems.
The team was coached this year by Paul Cudney, a philosophy PhD student, who said, “I am very proud of our team members for their stellar performance at the competition and all their hard work this year…it was very exciting seeing them rise to the occasion.”
Started in 2011, the GU Bioethics Bowl has consistently placed in the national competition, with other 2nd place wins in 2011, 2012, and 2014, and a 1st place win in 2013.