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Kent Place School students visit the KIE

Students from Kent Place School outside Healy Hall.

Twelve students and 3 teachers from The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, visited the Kennedy Institute of Ethics on November 18 and 19, 2019, to conduct research and learn more about bioethics.

The students applied and were selected by Kent Place School for their year-long program, led by Karen Rezach, PhD, the director of The Ethics Institute; Lisa Goldman, JD, a practicing attorney; and Maura Crowe, a Kent Place School science teacher. 

The students will spend the year studying the principles of biomedical ethics and ultimately produce an original research paper. This year’s theme is “Being Human in a Brave New World.”  

On the students’ research, Dr. Rezach said, “What we want to know [from the students] is, ‘What do you think?’”

Ethical Dilemmas

Prior to visiting the KIE, the students had already heard from experts in bioethics on artificial intelligence, reproductive technologies, and utopias and dystopias.

While at the KIE, the students were introduced to ethical dilemmas in reproductive medicine through a lecture by Aisha Lewis, DPS, a Visiting Researcher at KIE from Albany Medical College who works at the California Cryobank.

“I practice what I love because in my job, I influence policy for the fertility industry. I help clinics develop and formulate policy that will fully empower them to act ethically,” Dr. Lewis said.

The students also had sessions with librarians from the Bioethics Research Library, Roxie France-Nuriddin and Patty Martin, to learn searching tips to find bioethics literature in the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database. 

They later met with Georgetown University Department of Philosophy graduate students and an adjunct professor who will serve as ongoing mentors to help them develop their research projects.

The students will present their research at a Kent Place School symposium in April 2020 that is open to the public.

“One of the main goals of this bioethics project is to educate the community about bioethics —  not just the school community, but the general community,” Dr. Rezach said.

This is the program’s third year at KIE. Laura Bishop, PhD, Associate Teaching Professor at Georgetown University and Academic Program Director at the KIE, said that her goal for the Kent Place School students was, “to grow their interest and experience in bioethics and ethics.”