Centre students receive recognition for outstanding work
November 10, 2011 By Elizabeth Trollinger
outstanding work: (clockwise from top left) Dustin Bishop '13,
Harry Chalmers '12, Ben Slone '13 and Lauren Mashburn '13.
Lately, Centre students have been receiving recognition for outstanding academic work in a variety of disciplines. Three philosophy students have had papers accepted for publication by prestigious journals, and a physics student has been invited to participate in a national symposium.
Ben Slone ’13 will act as an undergraduate reporter at an upcoming industrial symposium on alternative energy development. Slone learned about the opportunity to participate from assistant professor of physics Jason Neiser.
“Dr. Neiser forwarded me an email from the Society of Physics Students (SPS) saying that they wanted to have an undergraduate reporter give his or her perspective on the upcoming AVS symposium,” Slone says. “It was a great coincidence because I had just finished talking to Dr. Neiser about how alternative energy research is what I want to study in grad school. I decided to apply, and a few days later, I was accepted into the program.”
As an undergraduate reporter for the symposium, Slone will have his travel expenses covered by the SPS in exchange for writing a short paper sharing his perspective on the conference.
Centre students in the department of philosophy have also been making waves. A paper written by Dustin Bishop '13 was accepted at a major national conference at Pacific University, where it received third prize. Entitled “The Possibility of Group Ethics: A Defense and New Approach,” Bishop’s paper was also published in the university’s undergraduate journal, “Res Cogitans.”
Papers that Harry Chalmers '12 and Lauren Mashburn '13 wrote for assistant professor of philosophy Daniel Kirchner’s biomedical ethics course were accepted for publication in a special edition of the Princeton “Journal of Bioethics.”
“All of the past articles in the journal are from students at Princeton, Harvard, Yale, NYU and Georgetown, so they are in great and competitive company,” Kirchner says. “Both of their papers are of exceptional quality, and I’m very proud that their work is being recognized by a national conference of such high stature.”
The journal publication will coincide with the 2011 Princeton Bioethics Conference, which Chalmers and Mashburn were invited to attend. Chalmers will be one of only eight students to present a paper at the conference.
“My paper is about the ethics of eugenics, particularly positive eugenics — that is, eugenic practices aimed at increasing the incidence of desired genes and traits, as opposed to negative eugenics, or eugenic practices aimed at reducing the incidence of undesired genes and traits,” Chalmers explains. “Apart from trying to show that positive eugenics is morally obligatory in some important sense, I try to clarify the nature of eugenics itself and address some of the misconceptions surrounding it, such as the misconception that it is necessarily coercive.”
Kirchner is proud that his students will be representing the Centre community at a national level.
“These papers are impressive because they show the terrific ability of Centre students to take difficult theoretical arguments and apply them to the practical problems that arise with complicated medical advances,” says Kirchner. “Lauren and Harry should be proud — I’m very pleased in their achievement, and the way it raises awareness about the role ethics and philosophy play in practical problems.”
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Centre College, founded in 1819 and chosen to host its second Vice Presidential Debate in 2012, is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. The 2010 Open Doors Report, published by the Institute for International Education, ranks the College second in the nation for percentage of students who study abroad. For more, click here.