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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.

  •  2014 Hackworth Fellows in Engineering Ethics

    Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 2:58 PM

    The incoming Hackworth Engineering Ethics Fellows will develop case studies on engineering ethics based on the experience of Santa Clara University alumni in the engineering field. Their work will be a similar model to the business ethics case studies here. The fellowships are made possible by a gift from Joan and late Michael Hackworth.

    Clare Bartlett

    Clare Bartlett is a bioengineering major from Centennial, CO. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, concerts, and Irish Dancing.

    Nabilah Deen

    Nabilah Deen is a Civil Engineering Senior from Santa Clara. She lived in the city for most of her life. Nabilah participates in several engineering clubs, and she enjoys writing, reading, and modular origami.

    Jocelyn Tan

    Jocelyn Tan, from San Jose, California, studies Electrical Engineering. In her spare time, she loves to sing, dance and play the piano. She also loves to laugh and meet new friends.

  •  Tom Reese on Pope Francis and First 500 Days

    Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014 11:52 AM

    Father Thomas Reese, S.J., visiting scholar for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, will present on the first 500 days of Pope Francis during the Ethics Center's "Ethics At Noon" lecture on August 14, 12-noon, New location as of 8/13

    Register Here

    Reese is senior analyst for National Catholic Reporter. He entered the Jesuits in 1962, and was ordained in 1974. He was educated at St. Louis University, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and at the University of California Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in political science. He worked in Washington as a writer and lobbyist for tax reform from 1975 to 1978. He was an associate editor of America magazine, where he wrote on politics, economics and the Catholic church, from 1978 to 1985 and editor-in-chief from 1998 to 2005. He was a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center from 1985 to 1998 and 2006 to 2013.

    While at Woodstock, he wrote the trilogy on the organization and politics of the church: Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church (1989), A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1992), and Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (1996). He also edited The Universal Catechism Reader (1990), an analysis of the first draft of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Episcopal Conferences: Historical, Canonical and Theological Studies (1989).

    On May 14, 2014, Father Reese was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. His writings for the NCR do not necessarily reflect the views of the commission.

    Father Reese is based in Washington, DC.

    Follow Reese on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ .

    Event hashtag: @mcaenews  #reesepope Tweet with us!


  •  Building Character Through After-School Programs

    Monday, Jul. 28, 2014 4:47 PM
    Violent crimes committed by young people “occur most frequently in the hours immediately following the close of school on school days,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.  Calling the afterschool hours “prime time for juvenile crime,” the advocacy group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids reports that afterschool programs have been shown to:
    • Reduce juvenile crime and violence
    • Reduce drug use and addiction
    • Cut other risky behavior like smoking and alcohol abuse      
    • Reduce teen sex and teen pregnancies 
    • Boost school success and high school graduation. 
    A new program from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the East Side Union School District in San Jose is betting that afterschool programs can also help to form student character.
    With a grant from Goodwill Industries, teachers representing four East Side Union high schools spent four days at the Ethics Center.  Teachers offering activities from jujitsu to yearbook worked with Ethics Center character education staff to shape their afterschool activities into programs that can build character, engagement, community, and success.
    Tom Kostic, associate director of character education at the Center, gave the group a grounding in the basic principles of ethics, explaining that to be ethical is to be “the kind of person other people would choose as a study partner, friend, business partner, teammate, confidant, or even life partner.”  Kostic stressed that although people might differ on some thorny ethical issues, most would agree that society should foster the values of responsibility, respect, self-control, integrity, and effort among young people.
    How to instill those values became the focus on four days of workshops taught by Center Character Education Director Steve Johnson and a group of teachers and administrators who are alumni of the Center’s programs.  Johnson focused on the question, “What works?” urging participants to look at the research about what interventions are effective, whether those interventions are efficient, and whether they will meet the real-life needs of their particular students.
    Kristi Hofstetter Batiste, retired teacher, talked about using service learning to build character.  In service learning, teachers send students out into the community to participate in meaningful community service and also provide opportunities for students to reflect on and learn from these experiences. Exposure to community needs fosters compassion, and students develop responsibility as they address those needs.
    Another focus of the program was building a community to support character.  Wendell Brooks, founder of the BDK Foundation, outlined eight “Habits of the Heart,” which he uses in his work with at-risk youth in Orange County, Calif.   Drawn from a book by Clifton Taulbert, the eight habits are:
    •  Nurturing Attitude                 
    • Dependability
    • Responsibility                        
    • Friendship
    • Brotherhood              
    • High Expectations
    • Courage                      
    • Hope
    The Center’s work with East Side Union grew out of a concern on the part of Goodwill to find interventions that might work to impact bullying, according to Bruce Shimizu, director of Goodwill’s youth programs.  “We hope to start impacting kids and parents in a positive way so that we can make a dent—make kids more aware of their actions and more apt to change to positive behaviors.  If some of these kids go tell other kids, maybe that spreads.” 
  •  New Student Government Ethics Website

    Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014 2:37 PM

    The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is proud to sponsor Student Government Ethics, a new website developed by an SCU senior, Kori Lennon. Lennon, a member of Santa Clara University’s Class of 2014, developed this site during her time as a Hackworth Fellow with the Ethics Center. After spending three years on Santa Clara’s Associated Student Government, her goal was to encourage greater reflection and conversation about ethics among student government leaders.

    The site provides discussion guides and ethics cases for use in student government meetings, encouraging student leaders to consider ethical concerns and share their perspectives. Sections on Mission and Vision Statements, Codes of Ethics,and Values, encourage student leaders to develop documents that more clearly define the ethics of their organization.


  •  Welcome 2014 Hackworth Student Fellows

    Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014 2:12 PM

    The Hackworth Fellows are Santa Clara University undergraduates who provide ethics programming for students. They can be reached at 408-554-5319, or by sending an email to The Fellowships are made possible by a gift from Joan and late Michael Hackworth. For further information about the program, click here.

    Krishan Allen

    Krishan Allen is an economics major from Emerald Hills, Calif. He will research methods of integrating ethical goals into investment practice, and aims to explain how students can attain both social and financial returns within their investment portfolios. He enjoys playing basketball, reading biographies on social scientists, sailing in the San Francisco bay, and making the most of the California sun.

    Justin Fitzimmons

    Justin Fitzsimmons, a philosophy major and English minor from San Francisco, will be working on issues related to diversity and inclusion; his fellowship will be coordinated with the SCU Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Justin has studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the University of Cambridge in the U.K. He is interested in Bay Area sports, philosophy, playing basketball, watching films, and reading.

     Logan Peterson

    Logan Peterson, a finance major from Scottsdale, Ariz., will focus on the Big Q, the Center's social media campaign to involve undergraduates in discussion about the ethical issues in the everyday lives of undergraduates. Logan loves city life, traveling, yoga, art, and photography. This summer, she'll be interning in the finance department at Apple as a part of the Online Store Sales team.


  •  Ann Skeet New Director of Leadership Ethics

    Tuesday, Jul. 8, 2014 12:30 PM

    The Ethics Center welcomes Ann Skeet as new director of leadership ethics. Skeet will oversee the Center's work in business and nonprofit ethics. Having already served as a strategy consultant to the Ethics Center, she will continue to play a role as a strategic advisor to the executive director.

    Skeet previously served as president of Notre Dame High School of San Jose, CEO of American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley, and vice president of marketing for the San Jose Mercury News. She is a board member of the Children's Musical Theater of San Jose, and formerly served on the boards of the Nonprofit Development Center, the Children's Discovery Museum, and Partnership for School Readiness. She was also co-chair of the board at United Way of Silicon Valley. Skeet is a graduate of Bucknell University and the Harvard Business School.

    "Silicon Valley is like a crowded, super-charged, ever-changing town square for a global community of innovators," Skeet states. "It is also a place where many struggle to achieve their personal goals in spite of all the assets and opportunities our town square has to offer.  How people and organizations here grapple with issues raised by rapid rates of change, diverse populations and unparalleled creativity has intrigued me for the half of my life I have lived and worked here."

  •  Elizabeth Connely Selected as 2014-15 Honzel Fellow

    Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2014 9:00 AM

    Elizabeth “Liz” Connelly was a 2013-14 Health Care Ethics Intern, and returns this year as the Honzel Fellow in Health Care Ethics. The youngest of five, she grew up in Spokane, Washington. She will be a senior at Santa Clara University, majoring in Theater as a non-traditional pre-med major, and minoring in Biology. During her sophomore year, she served as a Community Facilitator on campus, and will be returning as an Assistant Resident Director this year.. As the Honzel Fellow, Liz will serve as a peer mentor for the 2014-15 interns, in addition to taking on a larger project at the Center. After completing her undergraduate education, she plans on attending medical school, and looks forward to  becoming a pediatrician.



  •  Fun Sprinksgiving Video Captures Donor Thanks

    Friday, Jun. 27, 2014 10:12 AM

    Santa Clara University held its second annual "Sprinksgiving," a day of gratitude and donor appreciation held in April, in which students signed a giant thank you card, enjoyed refreshments and camaraderie, and reflected on the meaning of philanthropy. Selected student staff and Fellows from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics are featured in the video, as they reflect on their appreciation of the Center and the importance of these donations in terms of their growth, education, and awareness of ethical issues, not only on college campuses, but nationwide and globally.

    "We are without a doubt some of the most fortunate students in the world with all of the amazing opportunities we have, and that would not be possible without the wonderful people willing to invest in our education," comments Erin Callister, 2013-2014 Hackworth Fellow.

    Other Ethics Center students featured in the video are: Akshay Vyas, Christine Cate, Lauren Ellis, and Supriya Hoskeri.

  •  Markkula Prizes Awarded

    Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2014 1:30 PM

    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 two Markkula Prizes:

    Jillian Gerrity (pictured with Advisory Board Member Kristi Markkula Bowers and Center Executive Director Kirk Hanson) is graduating with a double major in Biology and Public Health. Building on her experience as a Health Care Ethics Intern last year, Jillian served as an invaluable member of the bioethics team as the Honzel Fellow in Health Care Ethics. In addition to serving as a peer mentor to the current interns, Jillian played a pivotal role in piloting a new clinical placement, assisted with recruitment, worked on our social networking sites, and researched ways for the bioethics and health care ethics programs to become better integrated with the larger Santa Clara community.

    Jillian also strengthened our ties with alumni and gathered stories of former interns to publish on the web and was responsible for all the communications, editing, and “publishing” of these write-ups. She also was of great help in editing a video of one former intern and without her the project could not have been completed. And now at the end of the year, Jillian is even helping in the planning of next year’s internship program. In addition to all her responsibilities at the Center, Jillian has also been working in a Santa Clara biology research lab.

    This summer, Jillian was selected to participate in the Pre-Health Undergraduate Program at UCSF and next year, will be managing Dr. Hess’s biology lab as she begins the process of applying to medical school.

    Allie Sibole, (pictured with Advisory Board Member Kristi Markkula Bowers and Center Executive Director Kirk Hanson) bioengineering major and 2013-14 Environmental Ethics Fellow at the Markkula Center, is from Eugene, Oregon. As an Environmental Ethics Fellow last year, Allie did groundbreaking original research on the ethical issues involved in designing the Solar Decathlon 2013 Radiant House. Allie practically wrote a book on the ethics of the Solar Decathlon competition, including critiquing the judging categories themselves. Last month she attended the first annual IEEE Engineering Ethics Symposium in Chicago and shared some of her research on the ethics of the building materials used in the Solar Decathlon House. More than once she was asked, “So, what do you teach?” to which she responded that she was an undergrad.

    She’s has already started an intensive year-long Master’s program in bioengineering at Johns Hopkins University, and no doubt will do very well in her future endeavors. Allie is also the recipient of the University's 2014 St. Clare Medal, which is "given to the female graduate judged outstanding in academic performance, personal character, school activities, and constructive contribution to the University."

  •  Biotech Poster Session on Ethical Issues

    Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2014 1:31 PM

    Thirty Santa Clara University Biology students presented an educational and informative Poster Session on June 3, sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the Bioengineering Department, and the University Honors Program. The event took place at the newly renamed Vari Hall, Arts and Sciences building. Their assignment, given by instructors Margaret McLean and Leilani Miller, was to select a biotech topic and present the ethical issues and concerns it raises. Topics with titles such as "Do Ask, Do Tell -- Guidelines for Incidental Findings Within Genetic Testing," "Recombinant DNA Enhanced Biofuel," and "Savior Siblings: Yours, Mine, and Ours," illustrated the scope and diversity of the projects. The Poster Session, now in its 12th year, drew a large crowd of faculty and students, and fulfills the Science, Technology, and Society core curriculum requirement at SCU.

    "What's most remarkable is how the projects change in ten weeks," stated McLean, associate director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and senior lecturer, Religious Studies, Santa Clara University.  "When they begin, they are fascinated by a problem but soon discover the scientific and ethical pitfalls along the way. The poster project is really a process of discovery for them--discovering their passion, building their competence, and asking questions about risk, benefit, and responsibility.  Each year, the students bring new technologies and new applications of existing technologies to our attention, and we learn so much from them. Imagine de-extincting giant sloths or creating biofuels by building a cell or growing a human pancreas in a pig! Many of these students are planning careers in medicine, research, and bioengineering, which will require thinking critically and ethically, and presenting ideas clearly.  This poster presentation process helps them hone the skills needed to think deeply and speak intelligently about cutting-edge biotechnology."

    A photo gallery from the event can be viewed on the Ethics Center's Facebook Page.