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First-Year Student Competes in Virtual Bioethics Bowl

Irene Amalaraj is a first-year intended Neuroscience and Philosophy double-major on the Pre-Medicine track. One of her extracurricular involvements this Spring semester consisted of Bioethics Bowl, an intercollegiate academics competition focused on the ethical implications and applications of biological and medicinal sciences. DePauw’s Bioethics Bowl is affiliated with the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. Led by Professor Marcia McKelligan and Dr. Ted Bitner, DePauw University’s Bioethics Bowl has competed nationally for several years. However, due to COVID-19, this year’s competition was completely virtual. I asked Irene Amalaraj (‘24) about her experience with Bioethics Bowl.


Her Campus: Why did you join Bioethics Bowl?

Irene Amalaraj: I took Bioethics, the class, with Professor Marcia McKelligan and she encouraged me to join. Also, I wanted to stay involved with the Prindle Institute. 


HC: How was your experience, since this year’s Bioethics Bowl was completely virtual instead of in-person like usual?

IA: Well, I’ve never done Bioethics Bowl when it was not virtual [as I am a first-year], so I didn’t really have anything to compare it to. 


HC: How different do you think your experience with Bioethics Bowl was this year, compared to a usual year? 

IA: Going off of what Professor McKelligan said, I felt that this year’s Bioethics Bowl experience was different since we didn’t really get to travel this year to any other colleges or institutions. We didn’t really get to experience the in-person motion of an entire two-day competition. 


HC: Would you have still joined Bioethics Bowl, had you known that the competition this year would be completely virtual?

IA: Yes. The experience was worth it, even if it was different. 


HC: Do you plan on doing Bioethics Bowl again next year?IA: Yes, and I look forward to it being in-person.


HC: What are some things you’ve gained from your Bioethics Bowl experience?

IA: I gained a lot of memorable experiences with some new friends. Some of them are upperclassmen, so seeing their perspective on things was really helpful. I also learned how to make better arguments and back up my arguments with a sort-of ‘debate’ stance, which I’ve never really done before.


HC: What advice would you give to those interested in engaging with Bioethics Bowl?

IA: Even if you haven’t done anything like this before–– that’s okay. The experience is totally worth it and putting yourself in a spot of discomfort will ultimately pay off. 


Zaheen is a sophomore Neuroscience and Global Health double major on the pre-med track. She is passionate about healthcare equity, mental health, writing, and the arts.
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