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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

  •  Connelly and Williams Win Markkula Prize

    Monday, Jun. 15, 2015 10:00 AM

    Each year, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics awards the Markkula Prize to a Santa Clara University Senior who has done outstanding work in applied ethics. Established by the Advisory Board of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics in honor of A. C. "Mike" Markkula Jr.'s leadership as chairman of the board, this award is given annually to a student in recognition of outstanding work in applied ethics. This year, the Center awarded Markkula Prizes to Elizabeth Connelly and Tony Williams.

    Elizabeth Connelly

    Building on her experience as a Health Care Ethics Intern last year, Connelly served as an invaluable member of the bioethics team in 2015 as the Honzel Fellow in Health Care Ethics. With her tireless efforts and accomplishments well beyond expectations, she played a vital role in piloting several new clinical rotations at Kaiser Santa Clara. Connelly also served as a peer mentor to the current class of interns, assisted with recruitment, worked on the Health Care Ethics Facebook Page, and presented at special events highlighting the work of the Ethics Center. Her career goal is to become a pediatrician.

    "My two years with the Ethics Center not only taught me how to be a critical thinker, but shaped how I view health care and what kind of participant in the health care system I want to become. Some of the most valuable gifts from my experience were the amazing people I met. From my mentors at the Center to the numerous physicians and medical professionals I shadowed, the lessons and support I received from these individuals have been invaluable as I look toward my future. I will be forever grateful for the Markkula Center and all it has brought to my Santa Clara University experience."

    Tony Williams

    Williams served as this year's Big Q intern, working on the Ethics Center's project to raise awareness of campus ethics issues. He organized a series of campus events on timely topics of concern to students such as sexual assault, eating disorders, climate change, and body image. He also sparked online conversations on these and other issues through a variety of social media platforms. Williams was a major force behind the launch of the Center’s newest effort in the dorms, "Elevator Pitch," a broadsheet on everyday ethical dilemmas posted in the elevators in Swig Hall. Williams was also awarded SCU's Inclusive Excellence Award. He will be traveling in Europe this fall, and looks forward to a future working to encourage social change.

    "Working with The Big Q allowed me the time to ponder ethical dilemmas crucial to students and campus life, and ask important questions about how we want our academic community to live and learn together. I will surely take the experience of organizing forums and amplifying ethical dialogues forward with me as I graduate."


  •  Profile of Jillian Gerrity

    Tuesday, May. 12, 2015 4:19 PM

    Jillian Gerrity (‘14) was a participant in the 2012-2013 Health Care Ethics Internship, and served as the 2013-2014 Honzel Fellow in Health Care Ethics. In honor of Nurses’ Week 2015, we are thrilled to highlight Jillian, her current activities, and how the health care internship has influenced her career decisions and aspirations.

    Q: What is your current profession?

    A: I work as the lab technician in the SCU Biology Department, focusing on molecular biology and public health related projects. I am also a private tutor in the evenings for middle and high school students. In early June, I leave for 14 months to work at Amigos de Jesus, an orphanage in Honduras. Afterwards, I hope to attend medical school.

    Q: How did the Health Care Ethics Internship influence your career path?

    A: My experience as both an intern and a fellow influenced my career significantly. These programs provided me with the unique opportunity to observe a variety of hospital roles, from social worker, to nurse, to physician, etc. Also, my class time with the other interns helped me develop my ethics sensibility with regard to health care issues, as well as my sense of compassion. As a result of the internship, I am confident about pursuing my dream to be a physician. Also, last summer I was accepted into a competitive prehealth undergraduate program at UCSF, and I attribute much of my success in the program to the internship.

    Q: What else did you gain or learn as an intern with regard to ethics?

    A:  When I look at an ethically challenging scenario, I immediately consider multiple perspectives, including those of the patients, their families, medical professionals, and socioeconomic and legal considerations, for example.   

    Q: Do you have any specific memories or rotations that stand out for you, and why?

    A: My hospice rotations stand out to me the most. I was inspired by the way caregivers in this specialty care  not only for the patient, but their loved ones as well. And I observed patients receiving the type of compassionate care that I aspire to provide.


  •  Compassion and the Challenge of Caregiving

    Monday, May. 4, 2015 2:42 PM


    Event Date: May 12, 2015
    noon - 1:00 p.m.

    Sobrato Residence Hall, Sobrato Hall B

    Speaker: Dale G. Larson, Ph.D.,  Professor Counseling Psychology, Santa Clara University, Fellow, American Psychological Association, and conference chairperson for the Compassion in Action conference on end-of-life issues held annually at Santa Clara University.

    This event is part of Health & Science Horizons in association with the DeNardo Lectureship.

    Our lives change dramatically when illness or disability strikes those we love most, and we are suddenly cast in the role of caregiver, a growing challenge in this country. This crisis in caregiving presents enormous ethical and policy implications. Larson, long active in research and educational efforts in the end-of-life arena, will present recent findings on caregiving and their relevance to the psychology of compassion, both for ourselves and others.
    Larson is a recognized national leader in end-of-life care, and is the author of the award-winning book, The Helper's Journey: Working With People Facing Grief, Loss, and Life-Threatening Illness.

    Follow this event on Twitter: @scuethics  #endoflife

  •  Second Annual Levy Ethics Challenge

    Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2015 2:43 PM
    Since the Levy Challenge was launched on March 18th, 74 donors have given $29,331 to help us meet our goal. Here, Ethics Center staff and students celebrate during Sprinksgiving, SCU's annual donor appreciation day.

    The Ethics Center is  thrilled to announce our 2nd Annual Levy Ethics Challenge. Dick and Sue Levy, longtime friends of the Ethics Center, have made a $100,000 Challenge to match -- dollar for dollar -- all gifts to the Ethics Center through June 30th 2015 until the challenge is met.

    Since the challenge was launched on March 18th, 75 donors have given $43,936 to help us meet our goal. We hope you’ll join them and leverage the maximum impact from your gift.


    "Susie and I believe in promoting ethical behavior in every aspect of life, from the classroom to the boardroom to the hospital room," Dick said. "That's why I serve as Advisory Board chair at the Ethics Center, and that's why we decided to do this challenge. We believe that, by leveraging support from like-minded people, our gifts will have a much greater impact."

    How can you help? Your gift will empower the Ethics Center to:

    • Provide students with unique opportunities to study ethics in a wide variety of settings by offering internships and fellowships in health care ethics, environmental ethics, business ethics, engineering ethics and more. We have over 260 alumni of these programs, who tell us that their experience with the Ethics Center inspired them to understand complex dilemmas and make ethical decisions in all aspects of their lives.
    • Host distinguished speakers from around the globe to illuminate current issues in ethics. Last year, we presented over 30 speakers and panelists and captured their presentations in podcasts and blog posts. By doing so, we extended the reach of these presentations beyond our local attendees to an international audience.
    • Develop new tools for helping people make ethical decisions. Our Ethics App has been downloaded by over 6,000 users, our CBL Newsworthy is in use in hundreds of classrooms, and our online business ethics courses have been attended by students across the globe.

    Now is the time! Invest in ethics through your support for the Ethics Center, and make a difference in the lives not only of Santa Clara University students and faculty, but our larger communities nationally and globally. 


    HAVE FUN AND GET SOCIAL! #MarkkulaChallenge

    After you’ve made your online donation, follow @scuethics on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. Tweet or Share on Facebook a photo of you and/or your friends with the tag: #markkulachallenge, and you become part of the campaign. Your photo will be included in our grand finale “social” thank-you collage, a perfect souvenir to keep and share, and a cool surprise for Dick and Sue Levy to show our thanks.


  •  Compassion and Our Food Choices

    Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2015 2:24 PM

    Jointly sponsored with the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SIVIC), this panel brings to campus local faith leaders and activists from three traditions for a panel discussion on how compassion in their traditions leads to approaches to food that include veganism, vegetarianism, animal rights, etc. Panelists will represent the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions.

    Panelists: Madhulika Singh, Co-Founder of PreetiRang Sanctuar, Dixon, CA; Diane Fisher, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council; and Venerable JianYing, Abbot of Chung Tai Zen Center, Sunnyvale.

    Event Date: May 7, 2015
    Time: noon - 1:00 p.m.
    Location: Learning Commons and Library

    Follow this event on Twitter: @scuethics  #foodethics

  •  BroncoHack Second Annual Hackathon

    Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2015 2:22 PM

    The Ethics Center is pleased to be a proud sponsor of BroncoHack, the OMIS Student Network’s second annual hackathon, a competition where teams of students use their computer programming and business application skills to create a program or application in 24 hours. At the end of the competition, teams will present their solutions to a panel of judges and can win prizes recognizing their work.  BroncoHack is held May 2- 3 2015 in Lucas Hall on the Santa Clara University campus. About 220 participants from local high schools, universities, and graduate programs are expected. The event fosters teamwork, entrepreneurship, creativity, and networking among Santa Clara University students, and makes them viable contenters for the Stanford and Berkeley hackathons. Show your support and join us in attending, spreading the news, and celebrating this event. Registration is free.

    Important Links

EventBright Registration


  •  Welcome Oscar Bulaong Visiting Scholar

    Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2015 2:53 PM

    The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University is pleased to welcome Oscar Bulaong Jr. as its first Global Jesuit Network Visiting Scholar. Bulaong is a philosophy professor at Ateneo de Manila, the major Jesuit university in the Philippines.  He is also the executive director of the Gov. Jose B. Fernandez Jr. Ethics Center and teaches in Ateneo's Graduate School of Business. 

    Bulaong’s residency, which runs through mid-June and is his first visit to the United States, involves working with staff to adapt and promote teaching materials for use by Jesuit universities worldwide. He will be learning as much as possible about the Ethics Center’s approach to teaching this topic.

    Bulaong earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitat in Frankfurt, Germany, and a B.S. Management degree from Ateneo de Manila University. In addition to lecturing on topics from business ethics, to modern philosophers and the Enlightenment, to Filipino identity, he has authored and edited numerous academic articles and books, including most recently editing Business Ethics in Asia (Manila: Ateneo de Manila Press, 2014.)

    “As a Visiting Scholar, I’m looking forward to the exchange of ideas and insights with the staff on making ethics relevant in the real world. Although I only just arrived here, I attended a Jesuit university very similar to SCU, so my adjustment so far has been easy. Thank you in advance to the staff of the Ethics Center. I look forward to a productive and exciting experience here,” he said. Bulaong, who is married and has a eleven-year-old son, also enjoys sailing and cooking global cuisine, and has competed in Olympic-distance triathlons.

  •  Religious Liberty and the Culture Wars

    Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2015 4:33 PM

    Event Date: April 29, 2015
    12 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Lucas Hall, Forbes Family Conference Center
    Guest speaker Douglas Laycock, Robert E. Scott distinguished professor of law and professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia, is one of the nation's leading constitutional experts on religious freedom. He has supported the Hobby Lobby decision of the United States Supreme Court, opposed the efforts of religious nonprofits to be exempt from the contraceptive requirements of federal health law, and extensively considered gay marriage in terms of religious freedom. He argues that we "can and should protect the liberty of both sides in the culture wars." He has also expressed that conservative churches would do well to concede the liberty of the other side (including on same-sex marriage), and concentrate on defending their own liberty as conscientious objectors; and similarly, that supporters of rights to abortion, contraception, gay rights, and same-sex marriage, would do well to concentrate on securing their own rights and to concede that conscientious objectors should rarely be required to support or facilitate practices they view as evil.
    Join us for this fascinating and timely presentation.

    Follow on Twitter: @scuethics #culturewars

  •  Donor Profile: Waldemar "Wally" Wenner

    Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2015 4:08 PM

    Waldemar "Wally" Wenner brings compassion and ethics to his work as a pediatric hospitalist at O'Connor Hospital and at the Pediatric Center for Life. Wenner originally became interested in the Ethics Center back in 1994, when he heard about the Center’s Health Care Ethics Internship program.  The internship is a year-long program which places students in local hospitals and other health care facilities, where they shadow and learn from nurses, physicians, chaplains, social workers, and many other health care professionals. This provides the opportunity to witness, first hand, the ethical issues that arise in the health care setting on a daily basis. The students deepen their understanding of these ethical issues by attending lectures and participating in group reflection sessions.  

    This past year, Wenner became an integral part of this internship program when he agreed to host health care ethics interns during his pediatric rounds.  Anna Kozas, who manages the clinical rotations, says, "When our interns shadow Dr. Wenner, they get an up-close look at some of the ethical issues that come up as he examines his young patients and counsels their parents. We encourage them to find a moment when he is between patients to ask questions and delve into the issues they observed that day. The results have been incredible. Dr. Wenner is so incredibly patient and informative - a natural mentor!"

    Wenner credits his undergraduate degree in philosophy at St. John's University in Minnesota with equipping him to see his work through an "ethics lens." This perspective remained with him as he earned his medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School, as he worked in his residency at UC San Francisco, and during the time he taught at UC Los Angeles and the University of Washington.

    "I've been blessed to have some great experiences, and to receive some thoughtful guidance along the way," Wenner adds. "My own mentors, Mary Olne at UCSF and Moses Grossman at SF General Hospital, showed such great patience and answered all of my questions when I was in my residency. Now I have a chance to give back. By providing these undergraduate students with the opportunity to follow me during my rounds at O’Connor Hospital. I can help them understand the context in which ethical decisions are made. They get to see first-hand that ethics is a part of a healthcare professional's everyday life. This prepares them for decisions they'll make in graduate school and in their future jobs."

"These students come back from their rotations with him filled with ideas and energy, and ask us to send them back even after their required internship hours have been completed," says Kozas. "We are truly grateful to Dr. Wenner for enriching these students’ lives!"

    In his free time, Wenner enjoys attending the Ethics Center's lectures and receptions, which provide fresh perspectives on ethics in health care and a broad range of other topics. His generous support each year ensures that the Center can continue to present these programs and help a new crop of interns develop their moral compass.

    Donors like Wally help the Ethics Center provide valuable programs it's your turn to show your support! Are you “ALL IN FOR SCU?” Wednesay March 18 is a special day of giving when you can donate to the Ethics Center through SCU’s 24-hour challenge. Our goal is #100 Donorsin1 Day. Thank you in advance for your contribution, and stay tuned for updates on the SCU Donate Page. To donate to the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, choose the Center on the drop down menu, and send an optional tweet using #100Donorsin1Day so we can track your support. That’s it! You can also follow the day of giving via social media through #allinforSCU.

  •  Enhancing Resiliency and Cultivating Compassion in Youth

    Monday, Mar. 16, 2015 3:51 PM

    Featured speaker: Professor Rony Berger, Tel-Aviv and Ben-Gurion Universities, Israel

    Co-sponsored by the SCU Liberal Studies Program, the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences,
    and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Date: Wednesday April 22, 2015, 5 p.m
Location: Benson Center, Williman Room

    The first "Compassion in Action for Children Lecture in Liberal Studies" features Dr. Rony Berger, a world-renowned psychologist who has worked extensively with children in high conflict areas worldwide to help them develop resiliency and foster compassion. Professor Berger is leading a large international study to identify underlying processes that transform former political extremists and gang members from anti-social violence into peaceful pro-social activities. He serves on the advisory board of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, and has helped design their compassion cultivation programs. He will also discuss his research with youth to enhance resiliency and increase compassion with school-based programs, done in partnership with the Dalai Lama and MindLife Institute.

    This video of interest illustrates one of Dr. Berger's programs that uses art and music to promote nonviolence and
    reduce stereotypes.

    A reception follows, sponsored by the Santa Clara University Future Teachers Program.

    Follow the event on Twitter: @scuethics #youth