’07 New Media Director and Bioethics researcher
Following graduation in July 2007, I started at The Hastings Center as a Research Assistant. In this position, I worked closely with the center's research scholars on many grant-supported interdisciplinary research projects exploring ethical issues in health, science, and the environment. Projects included pandemic influenza preparedness, synthetic biology, neuroimaging, philosophical appeals to nature, financial conflicts of interest, newborn genetic screening, and nanotechnology. I was also granted the opportunity to publish in journals and present at professional conferences.
Learning an interdisciplinary approach to studying issues in science and technology has allowed me to thrive at the Hastings Center. Much like the STS program at Vassar, the Center embraces multiple perspectives in its methodology. Beyond bestowing a generalized commitment to diversity of both ideas and methods, the STS program equipped me with many of the skills necessary for successful interdisciplinary collaboration. While these skills were reinforced in most of my STS courses, I felt that they converged in a profound way during my yearlong thesis. And of course, in keeping with the liberal arts tradition, the STS program introduced me to many contemporary issues that I now confront daily in my work at Hastings.
Engaging in thick explorations of issues in science and technology has sensitized me to the many complex factors that contribute to the creation, adoption, and evaluation of a technological artifact or scientific idea. Beyond serving as a useful tool for research, striving to critically examine the world has impacted the way I, myself view the world in a more general sense. In a society that seems increasingly dependent on science and technology for solutions, the ability to see and embrace the complexity, to understand how dominant explanations are generated, to connect events in the history of S&T with contemporary developments is as important for citizenship as it is for scholarship.