A Preview of “Who Owns Your DNA?”

Taylor Burke and Shannon Myers
Honors sophomores, College of Arts and Sciences

Who owns your DNA? Is it you, someone else, or nobody?

DNA is like a blueprint that determines your unique qualities such as your eye color, your susceptibility to diseases, and even much of your personality. Until 2013, anyone who isolated a specific gene could apply to patent that unit of naturally occurring human DNA, a policy resulting in thousands of patents on human genes. Patent holders owned the rights to everything from research on the DNA to drug productions related to the DNA. Then the United States Supreme Court ruled against patenting isolated human genes. But did this ruling settle the question? Can someone still own your DNA?

Attend this Consider! Presentation on March 30th to hear the rest of their talk!

A Preview of “Maternal Mortality: Mothers, Medicine, and the Man-Midwife”

Mary Kate Wolken
Honors senior, College of Arts and Sciences

Every country wants to know where its strengths lie, where it surpasses other countries in its achievements.  Despite admirable rankings in other regards, the United States finds itself in the unpleasant first place slot for maternal mortality in the developed world. In fact, maternal mortality in the United States is still growing. Touching upon role of class, status, and race, “Maternal Mortality: Mothers, Medicine, and the Man-Midwife” jumps back to 18th century Scotland to start investigating how we have arrived at this crossroads today. Imagine how shocking it must have been to learn that your friend had hired a male doctor, and not a midwife like everybody else, for the birth of her child in 1780 Edinburgh. And if it was so shocking, then why did so many others start preferring these “man-midwives” over capable, traditional female midwives? Social trends and medical advancements are often interconnected, and those intersections in history might shed light on our own society and the role that medicine can play in shaping it.

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Attend Mary Kate’s Consider! Presentation on March 30th to hear the rest of her talk!

A Preview of “They Know. They Infer. Who Are They?: Reconsidering Data Privacy”

Jordan Freitas, BS’13, PhD candidate
in computer science, University of
California, Berkeley

What data about you circulates on the internet?  Perhaps you know what you have posted yourself to social media, and you have some degree of trust in companies that collect and manage the data stemming from your other online activity.  However, computer scientist Jordan Freitas invites us to look at this issue from a different perspective: Who collects data about us, what do they want to know, and what decisions are they making based not on what we share but on what they infer about us from seemingly harmless data points.  Is our privacy being invaded?  Is that privacy a resource, a luxury, or a human right?  How might technology advancements help put individuals back in control, and how might individuals reclaim some control?

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Attend this Consider! Presentation on March 30th to hear the rest of her talk!

A Preview of “The Dearest Freshness Deep Down Things: How Material Objects Shape Digital Scholarship”

Erin Kathleen Bahl, BS’12, Assistant
Professor of Applied and Professional
Writing, Kennesaw State University

Consider the things we live with, what they mean to us, how they influence our imaginations when we are creative, such as when we write or design.  I invite you to spend time with the material things that grab your attention and mean something to you, both intellectually and emotionally.  These things can shape the structure of creative projects at a fundamental level, as I will illustrate through examples of digital projects in development.  Our creative lives are inspired, as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, by the “dearest freshness” dwelling around us in everyday things.

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Attend this Consider! Presentation on March 30th to hear the rest of her talk!

Preview of “Perseverance and Proteins” By Molly Carrig

In her research, Molly functions as a protein marriage counselor. Instead of trying to uncover pieces of each person’s personality or experiences that fit together, she tries to pinpoint protein motifs that might be matches made in heaven. When her two proteins do not bind, the effects can be as disastrous for the human body as a nasty divorce is for a family. Attempting to answer this binding question so far has led to dozens more questions, and her lab is working to answer them with perseverance, patience, and occasional playfulness.

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Attend Molly’s Consider! Presentation on April 16th to hear the rest of her talk!

Preview of “Science: Of the People, For the People, By the People” By Mark May

Despite his minimal formal education, Michael Faraday’s curious spirit and passion for discovery led him to become one of the great experimental physicists of his day. His work changed the way we understood electricity and magnetism, and his story can change the way we understand science. Faraday’s life and his work show us that science is a fundamentally human process, one in which each of us can participate and one that belongs to us all.

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Come hear the rest of what Mark has to say on April 16th at the Consider! Presentation event.