On June 18th, 2014, the Bioethics Research Library hosted a small group of honors students from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (Olney, MD). The students, part of the St. Mary’s Scholars program, visit the BRL each year for a capstone discussion to their Frankenstein Seminar, which uses the classic novel as the basis for ethical issues from theological/religious, scientific, and literary perspectives.
As Jose “Dino” Remedios of Our Lady of Good Counsel puts it:
“The novel provokes certain fundamental questions such as:
- What is it that makes us human?
- When exactly does a life begin?
- Where does self-awareness come from?
- What is the main, basic goal of our existence?
- What is the ultimate goal of science?
- Just because we can do something in science, should we do it?
- In response to these questions that emerge from the text, our reflection, and our experience, we will:
- Investigate the novel as literature
- Investigate connections to mythology
- Investigate the nature of “man”
- Investigate crime and punishment
- Investigate the ethics of science”
Students were treated to a bioethics research primer from BRL Deputy Director for Reference, Martina Darragh, followed by student presentations on various topics in bioethics drawn from the Frankenstein novel and auxiliary bioethics literature, such as genetic manipulation, assisted reproduction, and more.
It’s always a learning experience for students, as well as a chance to discuss their own work, due to the work of Library staff in structuring the visit. Martina says, “Every year I give the class a brief introduction to the library and explain the materials we’ve generated for them,” which involve a number of search tools.
“They are excited to be in the library,” she continues. “We always enjoy their visit because it gives us a window into how the BRL can serve different audiences.”