By Eric Quiñones
Princeton NJ -- Lauren Turner will spend a year either in Singapore or Japan working on issues related to bioethics under a 2004-05 Luce Scholarship.
Turner, a senior from Berwyn, Pa., is an English major and a certificate candidate in American studies. Currently the president of Princeton's Student Bioethics Forum, she plans to use her Luce Scholarship to pursue research on "the legal, ethical and social implications of genetic technologies, especially embryonic stem cell research."
Turner said she will most likely choose from two possible assignments: to conduct research at a university in Singapore while also working with the Bioethics Advisory Committee of Singapore; or to work at a university in Japan with a leading expert on bioethics issues in Asia.
The Luce Scholars Program, administered by the Henry Luce Foundation, provides stipends and internships for 15 young Americans to live and work in Asia each year. Dating from 1974, the program's purpose is to increase awareness of Asia among future leaders in American society.
Turner was chair of the Student Bioethics Forum's 2003 national conference, "Redefining Life: What It Means to Be Human," and also helped organize the group's 2001 conference, "The Ethics and Politics of Reproductive Technologies." The conferences brought together students from around the country with leading scholars, scientists and policy experts to explore major issues related to genetic research.
Turner said she wanted to pursue a postgraduate project in Asia to study the global consequences of the huge investments in genetic research being made in countries such as Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea.
"By experimenting with genetics and reproductive technologies, and by approaching the margins of life differently than most countries, Asian countries force the world to ask important practical and ethical questions," she said.
As an undergraduate, Turner has taken graduate-level seminars on bioethics and biotechnology with professors Peter Singer and Lee Silver. Last summer, she worked as an intern at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. Turner eventually plans to go to law school to study genetic law and to possibly pursue a master's degree in bioethics.
"Lauren's interest in bioethics is strong, and she has the skills to play a leadership role in this increasingly important field," Singer said. "If we are to be able to navigate our way through the troubled waters of the new genetics, for example, we will need clear thinkers in the future with a talent for presenting issues to wide audiences, and I believe Lauren could, in a few years, be a real asset to such public debates."
Turner also has been a member of the Human Values Forum, Outdoor Action, Arts Alive and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. She has been a staff writer for the Princeton Alumni Weekly and The Princeton Spectator, and her writing also has been published in The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Princeton Journal of Bioethics.
Jana Rumminger, a member of Princeton's class of 1997 who is completing a law degree at Northeastern University, also is among the winners of the 2004-05 Luce Scholarships. Rumminger plans to pursue an anti-corruption project in Cambodia that is monitoring the proceedings of trials of serious crimes and human rights abuses or to work with a women's organization in Malaysia that is examining gender-equality issues.