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BIOETHICS ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT OF THE QUARTER

October 2014

Tennison_photoWith a desire to apply his interests and experience in philosophy to real-world problems, Michael Tennison (MA ’11) decided to pursue his Master of Arts in Bioethics at Wake Forest University. As he hoped to get involved in the policy world, the MA in Bioethics education granted Michael opportunities to explore new pathways and consider the integration of cutting-edge biotechnology with the human experience.
Reflecting on his time at Wake Forest University, Michael recognizes that his bioethics education familiarized him with the various fields and disciplines that intersect within bioethics. Some of these intersections include philosophy, science, law, policy, medicine and public health. Michael learned to take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding public health issues. He learned the value in an interdisciplinary approach to incorporating the analytical models of multiple fields and to seeing the big picture of such issues. Overall, the education that Michael received through the Bioethics program helped clarify a vocational path but his greatest enjoyment was in the completion of his thesis project. Michael found the faculty supervisors provided excellent support and encouragement as he explored the bioethical implications of a number of his own personal interests. For Michael, these interests ranged from philosophical “theories of everything” to biotechnological human enhancement to the resurgence of human subjects research on psychedelic substances. His thesis project and faculty mentors enabled him to make original connections and contribute to the academic discourse in a novel, meaningful way.
The Master of Arts in Bioethics from Wake Forest University continues to influence Michael’s education as a student at the University of Maryland School of Law. Because of his bioethics education, Michael is familiar with many standard topics in health care law and public health law, as well as issues that are just now entering the academic legal discourse, such as biomedical human enhancement. His MA gives him unique insight into what legal topics are currently of interest to various stakeholders, such as the public, industry, Congress, and regulatory bodies. Michael is in his final year of law school and has held a number of bioethics-related internships, fellowships, and research positions. Prior to law school he worked at the bioethics centers at both Wake Forest University and the University of Pennsylvania. Michael also worked at the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. As a law student, Michael has worked at University of Maryland’s Center for Health and Homeland Security, USDA’s Animal Care Office, U.S. Congress, and FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel.
Michael currently resides on the Maryland side of DC and hopes to settle down in a public health law career in the DC area after graduation. He recently got engaged to his fiancée, Jenn, during summer 2014. When not spending time with her or at school, Michael trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and just got his blue belt in September!

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The Alumni Directory is available from Gretchen Spars, Outreach Coordinator, sparsgm@wfu.edu.

To become a CBHS member please send your name, e-mail address, and relevant occupational information (e.g. organization, position, etc.) if any, to bioethics@wfu.edu.

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