Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Field Notes

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Field Notes

Article excerpt

Oh, the places I've been: A valediction. In August 2009, when I joined The Hastings Center as a research assistant, I was an ambitious recent graduate of Davidson College with a thirst to learn more about bioethics and its role in the policy-making process. Nearly two years later, as I approach my last day at The Hastings Center, I am reminded of my first day, one that alone might make aspiring bioethicists envious. At the conclusion of lunch, Dan Callahan, the Center's cofounder, invited me to his office to discuss my academic and professional interests. Although I understand why I may have been so nervous walking into his office that day, I quickly learned that he was as genuinely interested to hear what I, a wide-eyed twenty-two-year-old, had to say as I was to learn from someone with decades of experience in rich intellectual thought. Just hours later, I was given the offer to coauthor a book chapter with Tom Murray, the Center's president, on the role of national bioethics commissions in public discourse and policy-making. That first day would set the stage for what would be an intellectually rigorous and transformative period of my life.

Over the course of my time at The Hastings Center I've had the opportunity to delve into topics for which I had some academic background--health care policy, personalized medicine, end-of-life care--and topics that were completely new to me--synthetic biology, child psychopharmacology, neuroimaging. Perhaps what strikes me most about my time at the Center is the way in which I have been so deeply embedded in the substantive work conducted by the scholars. …

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