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Master of Arts in

Bioethics & Science Policy

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Rimsha Afzal

Rimsha Afzal

I am a MA student in the Bioethics and Science Policy Program with a focus on mental health policy. I graduated from Meredith College in 2015 with a dual major in Biological Sciences and Theatre Arts. After graduation, I traveled to London to work as as a research intern at King’s College, Department of Hematology. However, as a former theatre major and continuing artist, I noticed I was lacking a humanistic component by being unable to work directly with human subjects. I began working as a Clinical Research Specialist at the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development on the Phase II efficacy trial testing the cognitive effects umbilical cord stem cell blood has children with low to high level functioning of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I was able to appreciate the wide-standing impact research can potentially have on policy implementation. Bioethics, under the scope of mental health, serves as a compelling, complex, and evolving field. As we are entering a new era of biomedical technology, our society is faced with questioning bio-ethical topics we never knew would be part of our reality. Topics such as, genetic testing now being able to identify the best anti-depressants for individuals suffering from major depressive disorder, or the drastic increase in prescribing benzodiazepines to treat anxiety in the U.S are the forefront of just some of the challenges our country is facing. I am a part of the Bioethics and Science Policy program because I believe it will provide the competence I need to understand the interdisciplinary nature of medicine, as I continue her my education to become a mental health care provider.

 

Hira-Ahmed2

Hira Ahmed

I earned my BS in Biological Sciences – Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology with minors in Biotechnology and Microbiology in December of 2015 from North Carolina State University. After which I taught at-risk adolescents science and mathematics in Wake County, North Carolina. During my undergraduate experiences working in a neurobiology research lab at NC State College of Veterinary Medicine and at the alternative High School, I became interested in bridging collaborations between scientists and the lay public particularly in the field of digital health & technology. I decided to pursue MA in Bioethics & Science Policy in order to explore the ethical, social and legal implications surrounding the use of digital health platforms in health-related research both nationally and globally. After graduating from the MA program, I went on to work with Duke Digital Global Health Science Center integrating digital platforms in multiple of behavioral health research.

 

Nicole Angelica

Nicole Angelica

I earned a BA from Boston University in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in May of 2016. During my undergraduate career, I was fascinated by the innovation of science and its impact on the population. I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Bioethics and Science Policy in order to explore the ethical side of science. I am interested in mediating controversial issues in bioethics and investigating how scientific innovation gets translated into science policy. I hope to work for a federal regulatory agency like the FDA or NIH in the future.

 

Laura

Laura Appelt

I am a student in the joint JD/MA in Bioethics & Science Policy program. I have a BS in Environmental Science from Indiana University, where I performed research in atmospheric analytical chemistry. After college, I taught high school biology, chemistry, and anatomy for two years on the south side of Indianapolis as a Teach for America corps member. I am interested in exploring intersections of science and society, particularly as they relate to the environment. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in environmental law.

 

Aziz Towqir

Towqir Aziz

I am a graduate of UNC- Chapel Hill, where I received a B.S. in environmental science, concentrating on human health impacts and human health protection. My experiences as a researcher at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC, and the Joint Graduate School of Environment and Energy in Bangkok, Thailand, have all led me to this Master in Bioethics & Science Policy Program because it merges my interests in the environment, public health, scientific communication and justice. Through this graduate program I aim to gain a better understand the nuances of bioethics and science-related policy through, after which I plan to pursue a law degree. In my career, I hope to be able to participate in and influence the legislative process behind the policies that affect Americans at any level, from local to international, and in this process empower underrepresented and overlooked communities.

 

Shelby Baird

Shelby Baird

I am a joint-degree student pursuing a JD and MA in Bioethics & Science Policy at Duke. I graduated from Yale University in 2014 with a BA in political science. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I worked for Cooper & Kirk, PLLC in Washington, D.C. At Duke, I am involved with the Health Law Society, Cancer Pro Bono Project, and Federalist Society. I want to use my joint-degree to pursue a career in health care law and am interested in projects that improve patient access to quality care.

 

Zach Banov

Zach Banov

I graduated from the University of Georgia where I earned a B.S. in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. I became interested in science policy while working in regulatory affairs at Merck where I researched regulatory strategies for a breakthrough immunotherapy cancer treatment. I also worked as a legislative research fellow in Georgia’s House of Representatives with a focus on science and technology-related policy. Over time, my interest has shifted towards the regulation of emerging technologies within the sciences. I am pursuing my M.A. in bioethics and science policy to study the crossover between ethics, technology, and law.

 

Neha Batra

Neha Batra

I have always been interested in medicine and I was accepted into the Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP) at University of Alabama at Birmingham from high school. I graduated with a BS in Biology and a BA in Philosophy in 2016. That same year I started medical school at University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM) where I completed my first two years. In the summer following my second year of medical school, I decided to diversify and joined the Duke MA in Bioethics and Science Policy program. It’s important to me to be a well-rounded doctor that can advocate for my patients in more than one way. Duke has allowed me to expand my understanding of the law and policy that affect the healthcare field. I will return to UASOM after graduating from Duke to finish my last two years of medical school and look forward to applying what I’ve learned from this program in my career as a physician.

 

David Bearl

David Bearl

Every day, adults and children are faced with difficult choices regarding their health. Some of those choices hinge on their values, while others hinge on the policies that shape their available options. I have a BS in Neuroscience and then went on to earn an M.D. both from the University of Minnesota. I completed residency training in general pediatrics at the University of Nebraska. I completed fellowship training at Duke University in pediatric cardiology. After I completed my MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, I have joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University in Pediatric Cardiology, with a focus on heart failure and heart transplants in children, as well as the ethical challenges posed by this fragile group. This group of patients and their families can often struggle to make important life-altering decisions, and my aim is to advocate for them as individual patients as well as for the group as a whole at the policy level.

 

Kirsten Bleiweiss

Kirsten Bleiweiss

I earned a BS in Neuroscience and a BA in Political Science from the University of Southern California in 2016. During my undergraduate career, I discovered my interests lie in the intersection of these dynamic fields. Dealing with issues of international policy and global health, I spent time researching parasitic diseases in developing nations at Oxford University – specifically focusing on schistosomiasis and onchocerciasis. Through my research, I naturally questioned topics such as the accessibility of medicine, the ethical implications of research, and the policies involved in handling health issues on both national and international levels. My curiosity in the regulation and use of science in society led me to the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy program. During my time at Duke, I plan to examine the intersection of neuroscience and the law – how neuroscience is used as evidence, what advances in neuroscience technology might mean for the future of the legal system, and the ethical implications of these topics. After Duke, I intend to pursue a JD and focus my work on intellectual property, science, and health with potential international applications.

 

Johnathan

Johnathan Bowes

I started my Stanford undergraduate career planning to major in bioengineering. Over time, though, I felt drawn more towards the bigger questions of ethics and policy that surrounded the growth of genetic technology. I’ve been particularly intrigued by how those questions affect everyday patients, research participants, and consumers. So, after majoring instead in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), I felt that the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy would help me to continue exploring that interest. Through the MA Practicum, I interned at Helix, a personal genomics startup, where I put that interest into practice. Now that I’ve graduated, I’ve gone back to work at Helix as a Policy Analyst.

 

Esko Brummel

Esko Brummel

While advocating for investment in research, scientists need to articulate why their work deserves to be funded and how it might benefit society. Policymakers, on the other hand, need to interpret these claims to inform their policy making while upholding what society deems ethical. It is in translating the merits of one to the use of the other where I hope to thrive.

As a Bioethics and Science Policy Masters student at Duke, I am constantly learning ways to mediate between the scientific, policy, and public communities. Continuing this work of making the world a better place by increasing access to the insights of good science requires a community of like-minded scholars with whom I can further integrate and inform and challenge my experience. I couldn’t ask for a more diverse, insightful, and inspiring community than what I’ve found in this program.

 

Emily Bullis

Emily Bullis

After completing my undergraduate studies in California, I began designing and teaching S.T.E.M. courses for the Orange County chapter of Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides research-based and compensatory programming for girls. It was through both this experience and my personal exposure to genetic testing that I discovered my love for taking the inaccessible and esoteric and turning it into something digestible and relatable. While my involvement in teaching S.T.E.M. taught me the raw skills necessary to contextualize and translate big ideas, I am hoping to fine-tune these skills in the MA in Bioethics and Science Policy program. I hope to apply what I learn at Duke towards the public knowledge and appreciation of the policies and ethical quandaries that will inevitably arise out of the intersection between genetics and technology.

 

Melany

Melany Cruz Burgos

I attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, where I obtained my BA in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies. I currently attend Duke University School of Law and am pursuing the joint JD/MA in Bioethics & Science Policy. At Duke, I am involved with the Hispanic Law Students Association, the Women Law Students Association, the Duke Bar Association, and LEAD, an orientation program for first year law students. As a law student, I am eagerly learning the language of law and hope to one day translate rules, regulations, and strategies into options my clients will understand. I also hope to explore health care and life sciences litigation.

 

Christian Capobianco

Christian Capobianco

I graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Nanoscience and a minor in Science, Technology, & Law, where my primary interests were nanomedicine and the development of nanotechnology from an intellectual property point of view. These interests led me to opportunities in which I was fortunate enough to help to develop a relatively novel course, Cell and Molecular Biology for Engineers, while also pursuing research in polymer science. Additionally, I recently completed an externship at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, wherein my art unit focused on examination of semiconductor-related patent applications. Going forward at Duke, my studies will be focused on the application of risk analysis towards nanotechnology and nanomaterials in policy development, as well as how resulting policies influence the commercialization process.

 

Rosa

Rosa Castro

I have always been fascinated by science and technology and in particular by health issues. After studying law, I enrolled in an MD program and completed the first two years of training. Finally, I decided to pursue my career in law and got an LLM and a dual PhD degree in law and economics with a dissertation on patent law. Since then, I have been researching and teaching in the areas of law and economics, intellectual property, and international health law, exploring issues at the intersection of public health, pharma, and biotech patents. The MA at Duke seemed a perfect way for me to combine my previous experience and research interests. I was specially attracted by the unique combination of bioethics and science policy and by the quality of the faculty. I plan to get the most out of this experience by taking interdisciplinary courses that address the most compelling challenges for science & health law and policy. After the MA, I plan to work in an academic or research institution and contribute with an enhanced and forward-looking view to address current and future challenges in these areas.

 

Matthew

Matthew Colin

I am a joint-degree student and am pursuing a degree from Duke Law School while also working towards an MA in Bioethics and Science Policy. I graduated from Indiana University in 2013 with a BS in chemistry and a BA in philosophy. Following my undergraduate career, I spent two years teaching biology and chemistry at Emmerich Manual High School in Indianapolis through Teach for America. While I am unsure about what I would like to do after graduation, I plan to pursue a career that combines science and law.

 

Blair Coppage

Blair Coppage

I entered the MA program after graduating from St. John’s College, a small liberal arts school focused on the study of original sources in mathematics, science, literature, music, and a variety of other subjects. During my time there, I became very interested in the history and philosophy of science — specifically in the way it has shaped how we as a species regard ourselves, our well-being, and the relation of those things to the world around us. At Duke, I hope to get a chance to better understand these considerations with the plan of pursuing a PhD in Bioethics or Global Health Policy.

 

Andrew

Andrew Darnell

I began my Masters studies after completing an undergraduate major in Health: Science, Society, and Policy at Brandeis University. While enrolled in the MA, I participated in a practicum at the National Institutes of Health, which focused my developing interests in public policy, public engagement, and advocacy for research participants. After graduating in December, I have continued to work with the Duke Science & Society team as an associate in research. I will be enrolling in Duke Law School this fall to further study the legal and regulatory policies surrounding emerging biotechnologies.

 

Bahar

Bahar Emily Esmaili

As a pediatrician working in the developing world, I found that while we have become quite good at saving the lives of children, we have not addressed the ethical implications of our life-saving measures. Global health practitioners often face difficult end-of-life situations with no policies, guidelines, or board of ethics to influence their decisions. Through the MA at Duke, I wish to address this gap—both through gaining a critical understanding of bioethical dilemmas, and through gaining skills needed to influence legislative and policy changes around the largely neglected issue of life-sustaining treatment in pediatric medicine. Beyond this program, I hope to remain active in academic pediatrics and continue to teach medical students and residents on issues of global bioethics in pediatric practice, contribute to research and policy-making in this field, and work as a pediatrician and clinical ethicist in the developing world.

 

Daniel Feingold

Daniel Feingold

I completed my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in 2013. After graduation, I did research in Dr. Ethan Goldberg’s lab at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where we studied cortical circuits implicated in epilepsy in order to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the disease. I had originally planned to apply to PhD programs in neuroscience after graduating from college, but during my time in lab I became interested in how governmental policy affects scientific research and how scientific research can change public policy. As soon as I discovered the MA in Bioethics and Science Policy at Duke I knew that it was the type of interdisciplinary program that I was looking for. I hope to use my degree to work in or with the federal government to promote policy that improves the relationship between science and government.

 

Cameron Fox

Cameron Fox

I graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2017 with a BA in neuroscience and a minor in philosophy. Throughout my education, I felt that the gap between the “hard” and “soft” sciences was far too difficult to bridge; I would split my time between working in a neuroscience lab and writing philosophy papers without finding much interest in where these two cultures overlapped. Duke’s MA in Bioethics and Science Policy struck me as the perfect balance between my fields of study. As neuroscience rapidly advances, questions about how to ethically implement emerging technologies are quietly percolating into both legislation and the courtroom; I believe Duke has the resources to help me better understand how we can best translate scientific discoveries into just, equitable, and informed regulations and judicial decisions.

 

Elena Ghanaim

Elena Ghanaim

Ever since high school, I have been fascinated by the moral, social, and ethical issues that emerging genetic technologies pose to society. I began to explore this interest at Rutgers University, where I earned my B.A. in Genetics with minors in Philosophy and Psychology. For the past two years, I have worked in basic science research at the NIH as a post-baccalaureate IRTA fellow. At the NIH, I also shadowed a weekly pediatric genetics clinic and gained insight into how genetic disorders pose unique ethical dilemmas to physicians and the affected families. The MA program in Bioethics and Science Policy will deepen my understanding of various bioethical issues as well as how scientists and policymakers effectively communicate and regulate science. I hope to pursue a career in medical genetics and believe that the knowledge and tools learned at Duke will improve my ability to participate in discussions and decisions made on bioethical topics.

 

Stefanija

Stefanija Giric

I graduated from Duke in 2010 with a degree in Public Policy Studies. After working for several years in direct advocacy roles and becoming fascinated with new innovations in healthcare (such as direct-to-consumer genetic testing), I realized that I wanted to empower healthcare consumers to become more engaged in their healthcare treatment and outcomes. My career goals involve working with public and private entities to implement policies that would ensure individuals meaningful, useful, and affordable access to their health information. I chose to attend the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy in order to learn more about the legal, ethical, and social implications in making those goals a reality for as many people as possible.

 

Sean

Sean Harrold

I studied both biology and philosophy as an undergraduate Evans Scholar at the University of Illinois. For a number of years after graduation, I worked in Chicago for a global pharmaceutical company doing research and development. During that time, I developed a professional ambition to contribute to the planning process of cutting edge research–and to ensure its ethical practice. I have had the opportunities to help develop seminars at the University of Chicago on the history and philosophy of science, to shadow the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) of Northwestern University’s medical campus, and to serve on a committee in industry to help improve and refine science methodology. I am excited about the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy and hope to learn how I may best contribute to advancing scientific practice.

 

Jenna Hayes

Jenna Hayes

I received my BA in Psychology from IDC Herzliya (Israel) in 2015. Throughout my studies, I learned about mental health disparities, which prompted my interest in the ethics and processes behind health policy formation and research.  At Duke, I plan to examine Health Law and policy and their influences on research and clinical care concerning women.

 

Charles Hedges

Charles Hedges

I graduated from Rollins College in December 2015 with a BA in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry and before going on to complete the Duke Master of Arts in Bioethics & Science Policy in 2018. As the chair of the Rollins College Honor Council, I was faced with numerous ethical decisions and examples of ethical misconduct. Combined with my interest in medicine, clinical care, and research, I was naturally interested in furthering my knowledge of bioethics and how to make effective, practical progress. After graduating Duke I joined Syneos Health as an SSU & Regulatory Specialist.

 

Miaraha Humayun

Miaraha Humayun

Ever since I was little, I have believed I came out the womb with a stethoscope in hand. In pursuit of becoming a doctor, I attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a B.A in biology. During my undergraduate career, I traveled to Panama with a medical brigade. There, I saw the ethical dilemmas that arose from my own misconceptions of trying to “save people”.

I began to question traditional paths for helping others and how I wanted to give back to marginalized communities. Following that trip, I saw the importance of research and how it can be used to understand phenomena that trouble people around the world. I started working in a cell and molecular biology lab, where my projects focused on HeLa cells, an ovarian cancer cell line, and understanding their unique response to current cancer therapeutics. My research inspired me to create solutions that went beyond just thinking about the next experiment and sparked my interest in developing precision medicine technologies. These new technologies are revolutionizing medicine, but patients and health care providers are mostly unaware of what the technology does. These questions showed me how much I didn’t know about the intersections of science and society.

I want to build off these experiences and my science background to further question the application of these innovations on a global scale. Through the Bioethics and Science Policy program, I will gain policy-making and critical thinking skills give more permanent help to marginalized/stigmatized communities, whether in the States or internationally. Duke will help me reach my eventual goal of becoming a surgeon who travels to countries in need, and will push me always to be informed and insightful on levels that a traditional path never would.

 

Sonya

Sonya Jooma

In May 2014, I completed my BS in Biology, a certificate in Genome Sciences and Policy, and a minor in music at Duke University. As an undergrad, my love of biology and genetics led me to pursue diverse lab research experiences in plant genetics, human genomics to understand rare disorders, and ovarian cancer. For a long time, I thought that I would move on to a PhD program to become a scientist, but my experience with the Genome Sciences and Policy program piqued my interest in bigger questions about how to enable the translation of research discoveries into medical care and how to ensure that scientific research is conducted ethically and addresses societal concerns. When my longtime mentor Misha Angrist told me about this new MA program, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it aligned perfectly with my evolving interests. And it did—I’ve never enjoyed a group of classes more than I did during the first semester of the program. I had the opportunity to do a summer practicum at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and address policy issues for the Precision Medicine Initiative. Having enjoyed this experience, I now am pursuing a career in science policy so that I can shape and guide scientific research.

 

Lydia Kwong

Lydia Kwong

One of my favorite undergraduate experiences at The Ohio State University was having the opportunity to be involved in neuroscience research. It was here that I first stumbled upon bioethics when I was asked to complete a required ethical training course. I expected to learn more about ethical regulations as I became more involved in research. However, this did not prove true.
By happenstance, I signed up for a course on case studies in health care ethics and I discovered bioethics as its own field of study. I’m ecstatic that I did. I immediately became intrigued with bioethics and explored many topics such as access to health care, genetic privacy and neuroethics. The more I learned about the moral controversies which arise in biomedical research and health care, the more I pondered how ethical regulations are derived to reduce detrimental consequences. As a graduate student at Duke University studying Bioethics and Science Policy, I strive to understand the philosophical underpinnings of bioethical issues to develop policy solutions to extend access to health care and tackle issues in biotechnology regulation.

 

Rachel Landrum

Rachel Landrum

I graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in May of 2017, majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and business. As I am in pursuit of a medical education and a career as a physician, I chose to participate in the MA in Bioethics & Science Policy program to further my knowledge base of the expanding set of ethical questions being raised today, in and outside of the realm of healthcare. I believe it to be of extreme importance, now more than ever, to be equipped with the tools and varying perspectives to understand and navigate ethical concerns.

 

Marcia Lindsey

Marcia Lindsey

I graduated with a B.S. in Biology (Pre-Medicine) from North Carolina A&T State University in May of 2017. During my undergraduate career, I developed interests in health disparities, and the impact of scientific innovation on the lives of underrepresented populations. I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Bioethics & Science Policy, in order to better understand the relationship between science, policy, and patients. In the future I plan to become a physician. I hope to improve access to quality care for under-served populations, through health law and policy.

 

Carson

Carson Martinez

Before joining the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy I earned a BS in Neural Science from New York University (NYU) in May 2016, with minors in philosophy and psychology. During my time at NYU, I worked with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Data-Pop Alliance, and the International Neuroethics Society (INS), exploring the ethical and policy implications of novel data sources and technologies. My studies at Duke concentrated on technology and data policy, with a focus in the health sector. My Capstone project was completed with Intel Corporation in Portland, OR. The output of my project was an Intel White Paper exploring the how government entities and cloud service providers can take active steps to promote use, enhance trust, and foster innovation in cloud storage technologies for medical imaging data. I now work as a Policy Fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) in Washington, DC, working on cutting-edge issues in health data privacy.

 

Ashley Miller-Dykeman portrait

Ashley Miller-Dykeman

I earned my BA in biology from Boston University in May of 2016. During my final year as an undergraduate, I began to develop a passion for science policy and communication. I decided to nurture these interests at Duke by pursuing my MA in Bioethics and Science Policy. My MA experience was focused around developing creative new ways to communicate science to a variety of audiences including policy-makers, students, and the non-scientists. After graduating from the MA program, I began putting my new skills to use with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Chemical Safety for Sustainability National Research Program (CSS). My primary focus within CSS is communicating the value and implications of cutting-edge chemistry research to Agency stakeholders and the general public.

 

Melissa Morales

Melissa Morales

When different fields collaborate with different people from diverse backgrounds and integrate different concepts, we can achieve something that’s greater than what anyone of us can do alone. I believe that the chance for discoveries and major breakthroughs lie at the intersection of different fields. I am a firm believer in integrating hard sciences with social sciences. I received my B.A. in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience from the University of South Florida. Thus, with a background in behavioral neuroscience, I grew a distinct interest in applying my educational groundwork with criminal law. My goal is to produce empirical work to discern how or when neuroscience can be applied in legal context and, ultimately, how it can be best understood by the legal system. Therefore, I decided to pursue my M.A. in Bioethics & Science Policy at Duke University—a program that allows me to study the fundamental issues surrounding neuroscience, technology, and its prospective concerns within the justice system. After this program, I plan to continue my education and use my knowledge on brain and behavior to teach and inform judges, lawyers, jurors, and any personnel involved in legal decision-making on how to make methodical inferences in given circumstances. Additionally, I intent to contribute to the mediation between science and policy, by generating research that aims to understand how science can improve policy and legal decision-making.

 

Jamal Moss

Jamal Moss

Two years after graduating from NC State University with a BS in Biological Sciences, I found my way to the Bioethics and Science Policy program at Duke after exploring clinical research with NC Heart and Vascular Research in Raleigh, NC. Throughout those two years, bioethics became a bigger part of the conversations I was having every day with both patients and clinical staff. As a Clinical Research Coordinator, I was responsible for communicating the rights of human research subjects to patients and doctors, while also collaborating with other clinical staff to coordinate patient care. Most importantly, I was responsible for keeping the rights of each patient at the forefront of every conversation dealing with their health. Those conversations and that experience pushed me to analyze the ethical issues we face currently regarding science and medicine, and what tools and resources we use to solve them.
During my undergrad career, my professors emphasized the importance of knowing the policy that affected our communities; policy affecting farming, water, and even energy. In conjunction, they also fostered the desire to seek out and spread good, ethical science. I enrolled in the Bioethics and Science Policy program because I want to learn about the ways in which bioethics is used as a lens to explore science topics and as a tool to create effective science policy. My study interest includes health care policy and population health inequities. After graduation, I plan to attend medical school and use my background in bioethics and science policy to support involvement with science at all levels of life and give me a seat at the table when it’s time create the policy for the future.

 

Jessica

Jessica Ordax

I entered the MA after graduating from Duke University with a BS in biomedical engineering. I planned to work in genetics or drug development but wanted to make sure I fully understood how to address the social, legal, and ethical issues that often arise in these fields. The Duke MA program was a great way to learn about the impact of technological advances on research, medical decisions, and policies. I loved being at Duke and having the opportunity to tap into the research and clinical aspects of the University. I even stayed at Duke for my practicum and worked with the Duke IRB (Institutional Review Board). During my time as an intern I was tasked with revising and updating the IRB member Evaluations before the AAHRPP accreditation. After graduating from the program I was offered a permanent position at the IRB and am currently an IRB Specialist and Science Writer. I plan on staying within the realm of regulatory affairs for the next few years as I decide on a PhD program to pursue.

 

Ashle Page

Ashle Page

Ashle Page graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a B.S. in Polymer and Color Chemistry, with a Minor in English. During college, she performed research at NASA Langley Research Center and numerous on-campus labs. She also served as a mentor for the NASA GIRLS AND BOYS program to promote STEM education. Her current research interests include the intersection of science, technology, law, policy, and ethics within space exploration.

 

Stefan

Stefan Pienkowski

In May of 2014, I earned a B.A. in philosophy and a B.S. in biology from Emory University in Atlanta. During my undergraduate years, I was most interested in areas of thought in which these two disciplines intersected. To me, biology studied alone was missing fundamental concepts which philosophy provided. On the flip side, philosophy was too sterile without real-world applications. After college I worked as a medical assistant in both an academic hospital and a small private practice for about two years. Now at Duke, I am focusing my studies on issues surrounding healthcare law, policy, research, practice, and ethics. I am particularly interested in addressing healthcare disparities between rich and poor, rural and urban areas. I hope to continue studying and addressing these issues on a state wide level by working with the Department of Health and Human Services in Raleigh.

 

Chelsey Pitts

Chelsey Pitts

After completing college, I was able to take the following two years to work in the bio-pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, gaining valuable, hands-on experience evaluating the efficacy, quality, and purity of therapeutics manufactured via living organisms. Through my understanding of the drug industry, I have realized that the healthcare process is much more complex than a physician-patient relationship, but involves several aspects that must align to ensure that the healthcare system works. Initially hooked by a genuine interest in the sciences, I became increasing intrigued by biotechnology as I found that the field had an ethical dimension. This led me to Duke’s program. I am particularly interested in studying bioethics and healthcare policy as it relates to healthcare disparities in gender, religious and ethnic minority communities, and socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
My background, diverse both ethnically and socio-economically, allows for a unique perspective when analyzing these issues. I would like to use the unique lens that my background provides to examine how well equipped physicians are to adequately treat and create wellness plans that diverse patients can take ownership of and commit to. Changing the dynamics of the physician-patient relationship to more closely resemble a partnership better positions the physician to accurately diagnose and provide optimal treatment recommendations—I believe this will empower patients to take control of their wellness in the future. For me, becoming a physician means much more than suiting up in scrubs with holstered pagers and badges that permit entry past the personnel only thresholds. Being a physician means embracing the notion that I have an ethical responsibility to both myself and others to treat patients with humility and integrity, all the while gaining rewards that are meaningful. Fueled by curiosity and a dedication to improvement, I plan to become a physician who empowers and liberates patients to take control of their lives.

 

Anna

Anna Quian

Throughout my Duke undergraduate career, I was always searching for courses and activities that would merge my interests of law and medicine. Ultimately I graduated with a double major in Neuroscience and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies with a Concentration in Chinese. I was very excited to hear about the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, as the program really fits my interdisciplinary pursuits. During the program, I found myself becoming interested in Global Health and how ethical values might differ across cultures. For my practicum, I had the opportunity to learn about attitudes towards abortion in China where policy limits the amount of children a couple may have. After the program, I hope eventually to attend medical school and continue to use the knowledge I’ve gained from this program.

 

Samir

Samir Rahman

I enrolled in the MA program after graduating from Rice University and then engaging in clinical/ laboratory research training in the Department of Medicine/ Division of Infectious Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. I wanted to explore how policies—from governments, public sector organizations, and private sector entities—affect clinical or pharmaceutical research and development activity that can give rise to new treatment options for diseases. Through coursework in ethics and law, and through policy research activity in the Duke Innovation & Technology Policy Lab, this program equipped me to better understand the legal, regulatory, and policy environments in which such activity takes place. Now that I have finished the MA with a thesis on pharmaceutical innovation for neglected diseases, I aim to engage in further research activity on similar topics before pursuing doctoral studies in the field.

 

Sean

Sean Riley

My research revolves around understanding the policy mechanisms involved in implementing proper end-of-life care, specifically regarding euthanasia and/or assisted dying. During my MA at Duke, I investigated the lethal medication supply controversy at play in executions in the United States. This led me to explore the ripple effects in lethal medication supplies for aid-in-dying. In order to expand my empirical research skills and garner critical international experience in the field, I next moved to the Netherlands to conduct a study into Dutch euthanasia policy at Erasmus Medical Centre. I have since returned to a research position at the Duke-Robert J. Margolis Center for Health Policy, where I work with a medical decision making team on issues involving end-of-life in neonates as well as state Medicaid policy. I have sustained involvement in Science & Society through the program’s SciPol site and other academic avenues. My eventual next step is a PhD in either Health Policy or Population Health Sciences.

With any questions about my personal research in euthanasia and aid-in-dying, my professional research at Margolis, or any perspectives on Science & Society and the MA in Bioethics & Science Policy program, please feel free to reach out at sean.riley@duke.edu.

Research Areas: End-of-Life care, Dying & Death, Lethal Medications, Medical Decision Making, Empirical Bioethics, Biopolitics, Qualitative Analysis & Research Design, Clinician and Patient Interviews, Behavioral Economics, Mixed Methods

 

Natalie

Natalie Salmanowitz

I came to the Master in Bioethics & Science Policy program after completing my undergraduate major in neuroscience at Dartmouth. I am specifically interested in how new neuroscientific knowledge, imaging, and interventions can or should be applied to the courtroom to improve the effectiveness of our justice system. This program enabled me to investigate this area in depth through bioethics, neuroscience and law coursework, research in a philosophy/neuroscience lab on campus, and a master’s thesis directly on this topic. After the program, I am continuing in this field through a research fellowship at the Stanford Program in Neuroscience and Society (SPINS) before entering law school.

 

Ashlyn

Ashlyn Sanders

While an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill, I focused my studies in mathematics. At the same time, I have always had an interest in problem solving in the clinical setting as it relates to challenging cases involving patients and healthcare professionals. This interest sparked my desire to pursue the MA in Bioethics & Science Policy at Duke. I wanted to explore the unique complexities of healthcare and how those operated within the larger medicolegal and sociopolitical contexts. While enrolled in the program, I am focusing on the intersection between medical ethics and science policy. My thesis work will explore risk communication in the clinical setting, which is an integral part of bioethics and policy. After graduation, I plan to serve as an analyst for a presidential campaign and then to continue my pre-medical studies.

 

Navneet

Navneet Sandhu

After graduating with a BA in Zoology, I wanted to enter a program that viewed science through a different lens. I became interested in the intersection of bioethics, law, and policy and how it shapes food policy. The Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy was the perfect program for me because it addressed each of these topics. In particular, I really liked that I could select an individualized concentration within the program based on my interests. I fulfilled my concentration by accessing Duke’s wide range of classes pertaining to food policy and law and by conducting my practicum at the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Biotechnology Project. During my last semester, I had the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant for a new World Food Policy Center at Sanford School of Public Policy. After graduation, I spent some time working for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign as a Field Organizer. Recently, I returned to food policy and am working at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service as a Program Specialist.

 

Kevin

Kevin Simmons

I graduated in 2013 from the University of Dallas with a BA in Philosophy and Classics and since then have taught Latin at an all-boys high school in Houston, Texas. While in college, I spent a year as a volunteer chaplain at UT Southwestern Hospital. That experience piqued my interest in bioethics, which solidified into degree aspirations; when I was teaching, I realized that I wanted to return to school and work more directly in the intersection of morals and difficult decisions. Thus, I am enrolled in the joint-degree program for bioethics and law, so that I can join hospitals or insurance companies to serve the interests of patients and their providers, perhaps especially in the development and implementation of hospital ethics policy.

 

Ryan

Ryan Simpson

I entered the MA program after graduating from the Honors College of Charleston with a BS in Biology and a BA in Classical Studies. I love looking at the world from many different angles, and I have always been extremely fascinated by the intersection of science and society. This program provides the academic framework to apply that interest professionally, as well as to explore a diverse array of subjects such as regulation in the emerging bio-economy, advances in genome science, and the rapidly evolving role of the physician. While enrolled in this program, I hope to build a deeper understanding of how new technologies in both medicine and science shape the world around us. Specifically, I will be taking classes related to advances in genome sciences and how they can be most effectively applied, as well as courses that explore the various ethical issues that may arise in the near future of medicine. I plan on applying to medical school upon completion of the masters program, and I intend to use my experience to ensure the ethical use and propagation of developing medical technologies.

 

Eun Young

Eun Young Song

After I earned my PhD in neuroscience, I have worked as a postdoctoral associate in neuroscience laboratories. I can see that unprecedented technological advances in neuroscience research are giving us powerful new tools for altering and creating living entities and promoting selective behaviors beyond the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. At the same time, these advances raise ethical issues about the conduct and implications of neuroscience research. In order to maximize the benefits of neuroscience research to individuals and society, we need to ensure that experiments are performed ethically and that we clarify misunderstandings and misconceptions about the research implications and impact. In the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, I am interested in the study of policy development in the areas of performance and application of neuroscience research, and in designing education systems for neuroscience researchers, medical doctors, and the public on bioethics for responsible and ethical application of neuroscience research.

 

Naina

Naina Soni

I am a third-year joint-degree JD/MA in Bioethics & Science Policy candidate and will graduate in May 2016. For the MA, I am concentrating in intellectual property, as I plan to begin my legal career as an associate with Cooley in the law firm’s intellectual property litigation group in Washington, D.C. I am involved with the Law School’s Health Justice Clinic and am a Lead Articles and Publications Editor on the executive editing board of Law and Contemporary Problems, the Law School’s oldest published journal. In February 2015, I published “New science, old convictions − Texas Senate Bill 344: identifying further necessary reform in forensic science,” in Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Prior to attending Duke, I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a BS in Biology, concentrating in Cell Biology and Genetics, and a BA in Government and Politics with High Honors. Outside of school, my hobbies include playing the guitar, learning and teaching Indian Classical Dance, and exploring Durham’s restaurants with friends.

 

Troy

Troy Spindler

When I chose to pursue biology as a career, I hoped to become a researcher who would expand on new medical knowledge and technology. While I enjoy performing research, I’ve learned through the years that the need for new treatments is not the only obstacle to adequate health care for many people. With the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, I am turning my focus toward the policies that dictate people’s access to health and food resources. Duke’s interdisciplinary and critical approach to modern biology will be a great foundation as I enter a career in health advocacy, during which I hope to educate people about the science behind their health and connect them to resources they may need.

 

Disha Subramaniam

Disha Subramaniam

I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with double majors in Economics and Molecular & Cell Biology in May 2017. I also have a strong interest in public policy and international development, stemming from my years growing up in Bangkok, Thailand during a politically turbulent time and later honed by my undergraduate years on a highly politically active campus. During my time as an undergraduate, I always sought to find interfaces between my two seemingly different areas of study, which was the primary catalyst for my decision to pursue the MA in Bioethics and Science Policy. Broadly, my interests lie in Health Economics & Policy and I hope to pursue a career or further study in the field.

 

Juliet Taylor

Juliet Taylor

I earned my B.S. in Environmental Science with a Biology concentration and a minor in English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2016. My undergraduate interests were primarily science writing, science education, and public perceptions of science and science policy. My undergraduate Honors thesis research focused on defining the public’s role in North Carolina coastal management policies, identifying gaps in public understanding of coastal science, and exploring ways to increase public knowledge of state and local-level developments related to these issues. I am coming to the M.A. program in Bioethics and Science Policy to further develop my skills as a communicator of science and to better understand the complex relationship between policymakers, scientists, and the public stakeholders in science policy issues.

 

Stephanie Vereb

Stephanie Vereb

In 2016, I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Social and Political History. At Carnegie Mellon, I developed strong interests in end of life healthcare and theology in medicine. As a MA student at Duke, I hope to connect these two interests by studying how ethics and policy influence how the whole person- physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional- is treated at the end of life. With an aspiration to attend medical school and practice as a palliative care clinician in the future, I hope to utilize my training in ethics and policy to improve the way I care for patients and inform ways I could influence the healthcare system.

 

Isaac

Isaac Weitzhandler

I am a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering and an MA student in Bioethics & Science Policy. Before coming to Duke, I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Southern California. I am an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and my doctoral research focuses on the material properties of self-assembling proteins. In addition to my research in Biomedical Engineering, I am interested in healthcare and science policy.

 

Darrell

Darrell White II

The MA in Bioethics & Science Policy is a pivot point for my emerging career. While an undergrad, I developed a passion for writing and for conducting interdisciplinary research projects; I designed, published, and presented interdisciplinary projects that examined juror judgment & decision-making, obesity stigma, empathy, cognitive neuroscience, and the philosophy of psychology. Although I planned on a career in psychology research, when I saw the MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, my plan shifted. I saw bioethics as a dynamic field that integrated my interests in research with another passion of mine—policy and law. While at Duke, I plan to continue my research and explore how that research materializes into law and policy. After Duke, I want to focus on the transformation from research to policy and/or pursue a JD/PhD program.

 

Kirk

Kirk Willmarth

I transitioned to the Duke MA from a PhD program in biology after realizing I was more interested in the societal applications of science than in conducting bench research. Through this program, I have been able to explore both the mechanisms and ethical, legal, and social implications of translating new technologies into the marketplace. My MA in Bioethics & Science Policy allowed me to tap into resources across the Duke academic ecosystem in pursuit of this goal, granting me access to bioethics, law, policy, and business school courses. I conducted my practicum at a consumer genetics startup where I assisted with creating policies to handle emerging privacy, consent, and other ethical concerns, and I received an offer to stay after completing the MA.

 

Ishaq Winters

Ishaq Winters

I am pursing a M.D. at Duke University School of Medicine with a prior B.S. in Biochemistry and minor in Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis. While immersing myself within medicine, I began to realize how much more there is beyond the biomedical aspects to everyday clinical decisions. I have become more aware of the significance of social, political, economic, and legal components that are necessary to consider in the choices physicians make. Oftentimes, these are the issues that we struggle with the most but have the greatest impact on our patients’ health and well-being. By pursing the MA in Bioethics and Science Policy, I hope to not only become familiar with these topics but also become a proponent of change within our healthcare system.

 

Janet Yang

Janet Yang

I am a student in the MA Bioethics & Science Policy program. I have a BS in Life Science from National Taiwan University (NTU), where I performed research in climate warming and species interaction. After college, I earned my MS degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in NTU, where I focused studies in landscape ecology and environmental conservation. I am interested in scientific education and hope to explore the interaction between science and human society, especially their relation with environment. After graduate, I plan to pursue a PhD in science or environmental education. In the future, i hope to pursue a career combines science education and law.

 

Nana

Nana Young

Early childhood experiences sparked my interest in the intersection of culture and health. Ultimately, I intend to forge a career as a medical professional, examining the ties between socio-cultural circumstance and psychosomatic expression. The MA in Bioethics & Science Policy seemed to be the perfect vehicle for these interests, allowing me to engage in relevant coursework across a range of disciplines. I experienced tremendous growth as a scholar during this program, fine-tuning my writing voice and taking on new academic challenges. Beyond that, the program equipped me with valuable competencies that have merit in the policy, legal, and medical fields. My post-graduation plans revolve around pursuing a medical education.

 

Bob

Bob Zhao

I am simultaneously pursuing both an MA in Bioethics & Science Policy and a JD at the Duke University School of Law. With my interest in the legal implication of technological advancements, I am very excited to explore the intersection of the law and a variety of subjects, including privacy & data protection, biotechnology, healthcare, and technology corporations. Upon graduation, I hope that the insight I gain from my joint degree will give me an unique perspective as a corporate transactional attorney.