2020 – 2021 Scholars

Meet the 2020 – 2021 Upper School Bioethics Scholars from The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School.

Astrid Burns, Class of 2023

Astrid Burns is a current sophomore at Kent Place and has been attending Kent Place since seventh grade. Her first introduction to ethics was at a CTY Bioethics summer course. This course piqued her interest in ethics and inspired her to become involved in various ethics programs at Kent Place such as the middle school Ethics Bowl club and the inaugural middle school Ethics Bowl team. These experiences led Astrid to apply for the 2020-2021 Bioethics Project which followed the theme “The Vision of Justice: Preserving Human Dignity.” After working on a research project about the Guatemala Syphilis Study, Astrid became interested in human challenge trials. Throughout this year, she researched the ethics surrounding human testing and analyzed the risks and benefits of potentially dangerous trials while evaluating the place that autonomy has in medical decisions. This course has given her many invaluable experiences and lessons that she hopes to use in the future. Astrid plans to explore ethical issues relating to the topics of animals and veterinary medicine and work on independent research projects using the knowledge gained from this course.

Alana DeVirgilio, Class of 2022

Alana DeVirgilio is a current Junior, and has been attending Kent Place School since the fifth grade. She was drawn to the Bioethics Project out of a curiosity to learn more about social justice and ethical issues in the world around her, and what role she played in them. When choosing her topic, Alana decided to focus on social injustices that have been emphasized throughout the novel COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Alana researched ableism within the medical field and what impacts this has had on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine; this includes the methods of development of vaccine priority lists, the impacts that this distribution has on different groups, and how the development and allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine has directly impacted people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Alana is excited to take her newfound understanding of bioethics and apply it to her future studies.

Sophia Famular, Class of 2021

Sophia Famular is a senior at Kent Place and has been attending for 13 years. Her interest in ethics stems from her passionate curiosity about history, the world, and society and her interest in hearing all sides to a case. Her particular interest in applying for the Bioethics Project came from a desire to research one topic thoroughly and to learn how to think ethically, with scenarios involving two rights, not a right and a wrong. Sophia researched Pharmaceutical Detailing. She looked at doctor-patient relationships, the responsibilities of physicians and pharmaceutical companies, and the role the government plays in the issue. Her interest in this topic came from a want to research an unknown, but important issue, which pharmaceutical detailing is. Sophia is grateful to have been a part of this year’s Bioethics Project and to have gained a new perspective on the world. With this perspective, she will be able to navigate and make decisions in tough situations as she enters a new chapter of her life.

Giordan Ismael, Class of 2023

Giordan Ismael is a current sophomore at Kent Place and has been attending the school since 8th grade. With the Bioethics Program being her first introduction into the world of ethics, she at first found it very challenging to assimilate with ethical concepts such as using frameworks and values to craft ethical arguments. Part of the reason she applied for the program was her curiosity to learn more about ethics. She was also drawn to the program because of the timeliness of the topic, “Vision of Justice: Preserving Human Dignity”, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though she did not end up choosing a topic directly related to the pandemic, she sparked an interest in the ethics surrounding pharmaceutical pricing and its relation to patient access to prescription drugs. She is so grateful for being a part of this program as it has taught her how to push herself by working hard, thinking deeply, and exploring intricate topics she had little knowledge of before the class. Giordan has had a very successful year in learning more about the complicated world of the pharmaceutical industry and debating other topics concerning bioethics. In addition to ethics, she has retained many important life skills that she will carry with her throughout the rest of her learning career.

Anyra Kapoor, Class of 2022

Anyra Kapoor is a current junior at Kent Place School, and has been a part of this community for 12 years. Her interest to participate in the BioEthics Program was sparked due to her involvement in Ethics at Kent Place.  She is a member of the Ethics Bowl Team, and thoroughly enjoyed the examination of cases which discussed bioethical issues.  Her topic, “The Unspoken Dilemma of Inadequate Health Infrastructures in Developing Nations,” encompasses her passion for both economic inequalities and healthcare inequalities on a global scale.  Especially in a time of COVID-19, she saw health rights disparities and global health justice as an extremely important topic to research and study.  Anyra also loves to participate in her swim team, edit for the yearbook, along with doing diversity and equity work.  She had a wonderful time in Bioethics, and is profoundly grateful for all the insight and wisdom it has equipped her with for her future.

Sofia Keri, Class of 2023

Sofia Keri is currently a sophomore and has been attending Kent Place School since sixth grade. She has always been interested in science and began questioning the ethics behind medical devices and clinical trials. When the opportunity arose to apply for the Bioethics Project, Sofia immediately knew this was a class she wanted to be in. Throughout the 2020-2021 Bioethics Project, Vision of Justice, her project entitled “Justice and CRISPR: Diving Deeper into Issues and Inequalities Perpetuated by CRISPR” researched the ethics of CRISPR gene editing and the racial and socioeconomic disparities around CRISPR. This past year, Sofia has grown a passion for the ethics of science, and now she does not go a day without thinking about ethics. 

Kate Lowry, Class of 2022

Kate Lowry is a current Junior at Kent Place and has been a part of the community since 9th grade. She was drawn to the bioethics project because of her interest in ethics and medicine and wanted to learn more about the intersections between these two areas of study. Kate chose to focus on the hospital triage during the Covid-19 pandemic because the debate over the allocation of scarce resources has been a pressing issue in our society during the pandemic. The bioethics project was an invaluable experience for Kate as she explored complex  issues of justice, learned how to identify key stakeholders, and weighed personal autonomy in the Covid-19 public health crisis. She is grateful for this opportunity and for the support of her teachers and classmates and hopes to continue exploring the field of bioethics in her final year at Kent Place and beyond.

Cece Reali, Class of 2023

Cece Reali is a current sophomore and has been a student at Kent Place School since second grade. She joined the Bioethics program after electives and class discussions had sparked her interest. Cece decided to research the student mental health crisis and a school’s responsibility to provide support. In her project, she researched the current systems as well as the unresolved concerns of privacy, duty, and funding. Over the past year, she has developed her discussion and decision-making skills while gaining interest in bioethical topics around the world. She is grateful for the opportunity to participate in this class and will continue to use these skills, even beyond high school.

Clara Schreibman, Class of 2023

Clara Schreibman is currently a sophomore at Kent Place School and joined the community in ninth grade. She joined this year’s Bioethics Project on the topic of Vision of Justice: Preserving Human Dignity. In an effort to incorporate her interests in women’s health, government, and racial justice, Clara focused her project on the ethics of In Vitro Fertilization in a time where reproductive technologies are not equally assessed. She worked to analyze why disparities exist, what can be done to mend the inaccessibility, and the long term implications of these remedies. She is grateful for the opportunity to explore this unique topic of study and she intends to bring the research and formal presentation skills she gained from the course through her final years at Kent Place and beyond.

Alex Sinins, Class of 2022

Alex Sinins is a current Junior at Kent Place School and joined the community as a Freshman. She was inspired to join the Bioethics Project 2020-2021 because of her passion for ethics and interest in law and government policies and agencies, and how they have been affected by COVID-19. While looking at the theme of the 2020-2021 Bioethics Project “The Vision of Justice”, she was intrigued about the changing definition, role, and“vision” justice has had during 2020. This year, she studied the changing role of the CDC during the COVID-19 Pandemic and the responsibility to which CDC holds. She focused on the values of autonomy, responsibility, and safety while looking through the ethical lens of consequentialism. Alex loved the engaging discussions with her peers and gaining new perspectives on controversial topics. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunities that this project has provided her with and to her teachers, peers, and those at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. She looks forward to bringing her ethical-decision making skills to her future discussions and education to continue to look at the ethics of her everyday life.

Lizzy Washburn, Class of 2023

Lizzy Washburn is currently a sophomore at Kent Place School and has been there since sixth grade. After viewing previous Bioethics Symposiums, she decided to participate in the program as well. Lizzy’s project entitled “Vulnerable and Valuable: Ageism and Covid-19” explored the rise in ageism during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to scarce resource allocation. She delved into topics such as priority in a time of crisis and youth vs elder centered countries to broaden her perspective of this prevalent issue. Lizzy is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside incredible teachers, mentors, and scholars throughout this school year. The Bioethics Project has been an incredible experience for her, and she knows the skills she developed will help her in her everyday life throughout adulthood!

Serena Zheng, Class of 2023

Serena Zheng is a current sophomore at Kent Place and has attended since 5th grade. She was interested in the Bioethics Project because she wanted to merge her interests in science and ethics into one final product. When choosing her topic, Serena started off wanting to focus on historical Human Challenge Trials rather than the current Covid-19 HCTs. However, when she started writing her final paper, she decided to focus on the fascinating parallels between past and present HCTs. In the end, Serena’s paper started with a summary of two HCTs and then went further into the ethics of unethical experimentation for the sake of a better future. After reflecting on her year in Bioethics, she is grateful to have worked with like-minded students and many knowledgeable professionals in the field of ethics.