The Duke Initiative for Science & Society announced the 2018 recipients of the Science & Society Leadership Award. Deniz Ariturk and Cameron Fox are incoming students in Duke’s Master of Arts in Bioethics & Science Policy program, which is heading into its fifth year.
Deniz studied cognitive neuroscience at Washington University. While volunteering in multiple community engagement programs, she shared life alongside incarcerated women and low-income immigrant children while organizing campus-wide events centered around body image and eating disorders.
Deniz quickly recognized the potential for her research in moral psychology to inform policy and alleviate the systemic inequalities effecting these groups, but became frustrated at an inability to connect what she was doing in the lab to a practical application in the world.
In her statement of purpose, Deniz explains, “The discrepancy between the clarity of the conclusions that I reached in my polished university classrooms and laboratories, and the suffering felt by people only miles from campus, prompted me to question the broader impacts I wanted my research to have.”
Unsatisfied with having such an isolated effect, Deniz sought out the Duke Master of Arts in Bioethics & Science policy in order to further explore the unique methods, needs, and limitations of professionals working at each step of law and policy creation. She would like to eventually design research that benefits not merely other researchers, but policy and law makers as well.
Cameron studied neuroscience and philosophy at Vanderbilt. While there he served as an intermediary between undergraduates and faculty as a member of the neuroscience executive board, and in 2016 he helped establish the Association of Neuroscience & Law.
As an ardent communicator, his passion to connect disparate audiences is rousing. Where in debate one might seek satisfaction in winning an audience to their point, Cameron finds fulfillment in the “resonance” and resulting “feedback loop” he cultivates in effective dialogue. The feedback loop, he explains, is only possible by first learning how to carefully listen to others in earnest.
While debates are important, he goes on to differentiate his approach: “I’ve always enjoyed eclectic explanations, discovering associates between far-flung disciplines. There’s the initial eureka moment that occurs in my mind, and then there’s the pleasure of watching someone else’s face light up when what I’m saying clicks.”
Uncertain of confining his gregarious nature to pure benchwork and unwilling to abandon his empirical mind for the amorphous discussions in the humanities, he found a path at Duke that allows him to straddle the space between.
“I want to help bring disciplines together and take science to those outside of academia,” he states in an essay, “and show them how important and compelling it can be, and I have found no better path to this goal than Duke’s MA in Bioethics and Science Policy.”
Cameron looks forward to taking advantage of the many resources and programs available in the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, where he can further hone skills that will enable him to bring real change to the world. More specifically, Cameron will deepen his understanding of the ethical, legal, and scientific issues underlying the use of brain scans in the courtroom – a growing trend in criminal defense strategies with uncertain and potentially overstated application.
Excerpted from Announcing the 2018 Science & Society Leadership Award Recipients on the Duke Initiative for Science & Society website