Transy Students Pursue Bioethics at Yale

by J.R. Enderle

What do a hospice; the research center for a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation; and the Hastings Center, a major bioethics think tank, have in common? All three were among places visited by Transylvania students this summer as a part of a summer program hosted by Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. Juniors Remy Miller and Viktoria Safarian spent two months as interns in the program, attending lectures and seminars on a variety of subjects and visiting relevant locations.

Miller said that the program sought students who had expressed an interest in bioethics and required an essay about why they had an interest in the subject, which deals with a broad range of subjects including ethics in the biological, environmental and medical fields. Safarian said she became interested in the field because of its combination of science and philosophy and her interest in global health inadequacies, while Miller said the book “Overdosed America” got her interested in the ethics of the Food and Drug Administration and large pharmaceutical companies.

Students in the program stayed in dormitories on Yale’s campus and got to hear lectures about subjects such as care for the dying and bioethics in pop culture, from individuals such as the president of the Humane Society of the U.S. There was also a film and discussion series centered on bioethics.
Safarian was inspired by an ophthalmologist who spoke during the program. She said the fact that he voluntarily travels to developing countries to help improve conditions was a reason for her decision to become pre-med.

Miller is also interested in medicine on a global level.

“The most interesting thing I learned was about the various ways health care systems work across the globe,” Miller said. “I am interested in going into medicine, so it was fascinating to learn about the ways in which we are different in our systems and to find things that have worked other places that we might adopt.”
Both Miller and Safarian said that Transylvania helped them to excel at and become interested in the program, and they hope to incorporate the program into their Transylvania experience.

Safarian said one of the most important things she was able to bring to the program she learned at Transylvania.

“I felt like I knew how to talk to professors,” Safarian said. “Transy really prepared me for asking good questions and knowing about what was being said.”
Miller said that she utilized a broader perspective that has been fostered while at Transy.

“My Transylvania experience got me interested in the way humans impact the environment and how everything we do impacts everything else,” Miller said.

“One of the most beneficial things was the relationships and connections, which is what will stay with us,” said Safarian.

Safarian said that 40 students from around the world lived together and participated in the program. She noted the benefits and connections that are possible because of the program.

“I hope to advocate for people to do this program,” Safarian said.

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