Bioethics provides internship – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Bioethics provides internship

Hannah Zale ’09 is interning at the Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y., the site at which bioethics was founded in 1969. “It’s the place for bioethics,” Zale says. Her internship was made possible by the Charles H. Salisbury Jr. ’63, P’94 Endowed Internship award from Career Services and the Emily H. Murray stipend from the Hastings Center.

This summer, she is working with Hastings Center President Thomas Murray and Deputy Director Nancy Berlinger. Zale’s work involves the Center’s Guidelines on end-of-life care, which health care professionals use as a reference. She will also be working with Berlinger on a project about cancer survivorship.

Her biggest challenge is the Guidelines project. “The Guidelines go beyond discussions of what we ought to do theoretically, or what may or may not be morally equivalent–I have had to take into account the practical implications of these clinical decisions at the end of life, the context of the current state of healthcare, and of course, the law,” she explains. “Nonetheless, it’s incredibly exciting to be able to put my philosophy into practice.”

Zale is also taking advantage of the opportunity to discuss issues with the senior research staff, visiting scholars and other interns.

“It’s wonderful being exposed to such different, interesting and talented people who are so eager to discuss,” says Zale. “So far, I’ve given two ‘lunch talks’ on what I have been working on, which has been a great opportunity to get feedback and suggestions from the Center’s research associates–not to mention a chance to lead fun and lively discussions and debates.”

A philosophy major with a public policy minor, Zale is also in the pre-med program. She has worked as a teaching fellow for the philosophy department and will be president of both the debate team and William Smith Congress next semester. She will also serve as manager of the Pathways House, member of Hai Timiai and organizer of The Circle, a multidisciplinary philosophical group.

She was inspired to pursue bioethics after taking “Ethical Inquiry: A Multicultural Approach” with Assistant Professor of Philosophy Carol Oberbrunner and “Biomedical Ethics” with Assistant Professor of Philosophy Eric Barnes.

Last summer, Zale interned at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities, and this fall, she will begin working on an honors project in philosophy with Professor Scott Brophy. Her project will focus on the ethics of human enhancement, and specifically on the use of emerging reproductive technologies such as human germ-line genetic engineering.

“My work in bioethics dovetails with my courses in ethics and philosophy. I love how interdisciplinary it is,” she says. “It’s the perfect intersection between medicine and philosophy.”