Sonya
Sonya

Master of Arts in

Bioethics & Science Policy

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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.

 

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 am currently pursuing fellowship training at Duke University in pediatric cardiology with plans for sub-specialization in pediatric heart failure and transplant medicine. This group of patients and their families can often struggle to make important life-altering decisions, and my aim is to be prepared to advocate for them as individual patients as well as for the group as a whole at the policy level.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Charles Hedges

Charles Hedges

I graduated from Rollins College in December 2015 with a BA in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. 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. I will be applying to medical school for admission in fall of 2018. I plan on using this program to help me become the best physician and leader in the medical community that I can.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

Before coming to Duke, I received my BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, where I fostered my interest in the political impacts of science on society. At Duke, I focused on pharmaceutical regulation, health policy, and the ethics surrounding the administration of death, whether that be voluntary (physician-assisted suicide) or state-sponsored (capital punishment via lethal injection.)

My M.A. practicum involved work with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation where I explored the recent issues over drug supply and FDA regulation with lethal injection. This led me to my current research into the role of lethal medications and efficacy of current reporting and monitoring mechanisms involved in physician-assisted suicide in the United States. Since graduation, I’ve worked with the Duke Program in Education on an NSF grant in an effort to attract more highly-qualified STEM professionals to teaching. I’ll be starting an M.S. in Health Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam in Fall 2017, where I’ll be getting more public health research experience with end-of-life issues in the Netherland’s unique legal environment, before returning to the states for a PhD in Health Policy.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.