2021 – 2022 Scholars

Meet the 2021 – 2022 Upper School Bioethics Scholars from The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School.

Sophia Builione, Class of 2024

Sophia Builione is a current sophomore at Kent Place School, and has been attending for 4 years. Her interest in the Bioethics Program was provoked through her participation in the National High School Ethics Bowl. Conversations surrounding topics crucial in the study of Bioethics sparked her interest in this program, and ultimately drove her to apply. Her topic “Planet Under Pressure: The Ethical Implications of the Hydraulic Fracturing Industry” encompasses important ideas of the protection of the environment and economy. It also reflects upon ideas of global security that are important to her. Especially as the Ukrainian Crisis brought to light the extremely important issue of weaponizing energy, she saw the true importance this topic could have on the broader society. Outside of ethics, Sophia enjoys playing on her club field hockey team, helping with the yearbook, and is grateful for all the knowledge this course has given her to apply to the next two years of high school.

Sophia Brandstaedter, Class of 2024

Sophia Brandstaedter is a sophomore at Kent Place and has been attending since sixth grade. Her interest in the Bioethics Project began after watching the Bioethics Symposium in middle school. This year, Sophia researched prioritization for organ allocation. Looking at organ allocation from a global perspective, she first looked at the United States, and then focused on organ donation in Israel, where registered organ donors are prioritized for transplant. She explored the ethical principles of utility and justice, and the impacts of religion on bioethical issues. Sophia is grateful for the perspective she has gained and the opportunities possible through the Bioethics Project. 

Alexandra Grushkin, Class of 2023

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Elizabeth Khidekel, Class of 2023

Elizabeth Khidekel is a current junior at Kent Place School and has been attending the school for three years. She became thoroughly interested in the Bioethics Project in her sophomore year after learning about her friends’ projects and developing a skill set in ethics. In addition, Liz has always expressed interest in law, government, and social behavior. These factors all led to her studying the Polish reproductive system and access to contraception and abortion as her project. Her questions about access, safety, and autonomy led her critical thinking in examining strict laws concerning reproductive rights. As the topic of reproductive rights continues and becomes one of the most prominent topics in current events, Liz is using her knowledge to ask and answer even more questions. Being a scholar of Bioethics, Liz has acquired extremely valuable traits that she finds herself using on an everyday basis. This program has made Liz a more intellectual, observant, and analytical individual.

Madeline Popolow, Class of 2024

Madeline Popolow is a current sophomore at Kent Place School, and has been a part of the community since eighth grade. Her interest in this Bioethics course was sparked in ninth grade after sitting in on a discussion held by the 2020-2021 bioethics class. After this, Madeline continued to talk about the issues that the class addressed with her friends and realized that she was passionate about dissecting bioethical dilemmas. Through consideration of a number of topics, Madeline chose to focus her research this year on “The Capacity to Choose” which considers the ethical implications of euthanasia for individuals with psychiatric illnesses. Especially in the time of COVID-19, mental health crises have been on the rise and many have looked to end suffering in any way possible, even euthanasia. Madeline recognized how important it is to discuss these issues as they present questions about autonomy, dignity, capacity, and paternalism. This class and the entire bioethics experience have been invaluable to Madeline and have taught her a plethora of skills that she will carry with her.

Olivia Santoro, Class of 2023

Olivia Santoro is a current junior at Kent Place School, and has been attending Kent Place for six years. She originally became interested in bioethics in eighth grade while watching a Bioethics Symposium on the ethics of new CRISPR technology. For her bioethics topic this year Olivia chose to focus on the ethics of aesthetic cosmetic surgery and women’s autonomy under the beauty industry. She originally became interested in this topic because of its relation to women’s bodily autonomy, a social justice issue she is passionate about. In her paper she discusses the ethical values of autonomy, responsibility, and safety, as well as the ethical principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence. In addition to bioethics, Olivia is a goalie on the field hockey team, a leader of the Girls Leading and Making a Difference club, and enjoys volunteering for women’s health organizations. This Bioethics course challenges its students to think in new ways, engage in meaningful discourse, and break down the complexities of ethical dilemmas, all skills that Olivia is incredibly grateful for learning will take with her to college and beyond.

Ella Schestag, Class of 2023

Ella Schestag is a current junior at Kent Place School (KPS) and has been attending KPS for three years. Her interest in bioethics stems from her curiosity and passion for problem solving and the sciences. Her particular interest in the ethics of involuntary forced treatment for patients with anorexia nervosa came from a specific case study which was presented to the class during the summer of 2022. The prevalence of eating disorders in today’s society made this topic very relevant for her. Ella, despite her exposure to eating disorders, found it surprising that patients, who were clearly ill, could refuse treatment. The complex war between personal autonomy and paternalism as it pertains to patients with psychiatric disorders is a rising controversy, and one which Ella is excited to continue to explore. This course has been a truly invaluable experience, challenging her to become a stronger speaker, listener, and thinker. Besides ethics, Ella is also a member of the Asian and Pacific Islander Club, a leader of the Fashion club, a dancer of 13 years, and strong advocate for women’s rights.

Emily Shewchuk, Class of 2023

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Katherine Tan, Class of 2024

Katherine Tan is a sophomore at Kent Place school, and has been attending Kent Place since fifth grade. She became interested in bioethics after watching a previous symposium presentation when she was in eighth grade. Her interest continued after taking the introductory course to ethics in ninth grade. She pursued her topic, “Defying Death: The Ethical Implications of “Curing” Aging” after a conversation with her mom about the healthcare options presented to her grandfather. Besides ethics, Katie enjoys participating in the school book club, model UN, and investment club. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music as well as reading in her free time.

Lily Tan, Class of 2024

Lily Tan is a sophomore at Kent Place School and has been a student there for six years. Her interest in ethics began after hearing the Trolley Problem in sixth grade, and has taken off since then. Lily’s research, “Sterile and Sinister: The Ethics of Plastics in Healthcare,” combines her passion for public health, the environment and ethics. She has enjoyed exploring how consequentialism, beneficence, responsibility, fairness and safety play into the ethical implications of using plastics in the healthcare industry. From the Bioethics Project, Lily has been able to apply the content and skills she has learned throughout the year, to analyze and make sense of the complex issues facing the world today.

Ishani Wadhwa, Class of 2023

Ishani Wadhwa is a junior at Kent Place and has been attending since fifth grade. Her interest in ethics began in middle school, when she attended the 2018 bioethics symposium. Ishani continued her interest in her current bioethics project “Brain Organoids: Revolutionizing the Future of Neuro Experimentation” where she examines the ethicality of creating, experimenting on, and applying brain organoids to modern contexts. She uses the values of respect, autonomy, and identity, along with the frameworks of utilitarianism, consequentialism, and deontology. Ishani combines her passion for ethics and critical thinking, along with her interests in science and technology. Ishani concludes her time in The Bioethics Project with a more advanced knowledge on the most pressing medical issues facing the present and future world.

Abigail Wall, Class of 2023

Abigail Wall is a junior at Kent Place School and has attended since second grade. The Bioethics Project allowed Abby to develop a critical worldview and learn through her passions of justice, law, culture, and community. Through her experience in the Ethics Institute throughout her time in middle school and high school, she began to focus her interests on the harm in creating perfection and the slippery slopes created through seemingly benevolent policies. These subjects, as well as her work with Georgetown mentors and disability rights activists led her to focus on the ways in which society creates hazardous patterns through policy; specifically the ways in which patterns of the results of prenatal screening and euthanasia rates have represented the likes of modern day eugenics, with respect to the disability rights movement. Her project: The World’s Canaries in the Eugenics Coal Mine: The Ethics Behind the Patterns Following Belgium and Denmark’s Acts of Legal Determination of the Privilege to Live and Die. Abby is proud of the ways in which the Bioethics Project allowed her to think globally and gain perspective. She is excited to share what she accomplishes next as a Bioethics scholar.