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Where are they now?

The Institue for Practical Ethics is proud of all its researchers, from offical research staff and postdoctoral scholars to our UC San Diego Ph.D. fellows and visiting scholars. Since our inception, we have hosted seven research and postdoc scholars, 10 visiting scholars and 34 graduate student fellows.

As we enter our fifth year and begin preparation to host another set of scholars, we'll take a look back at where some of our promising researchers are today.

  • Amy Zhou (postdoc) is now an assistant professor in the sociology department at Barnard College
  • Daniel Callies (postdoc) began a clinical ethics fellowship with Health Ethics Center at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
  • Jacob Sparks (postdoc) is now assistant professor in the philosophy department at California Polytechnic State University
  • April Hovav (postdoc) has accepted another postdoctoral position at Occidental College
  • Athmeya Jayaram (postdoc) accepted a Hecht-Levi Postdoctoral Fellow at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University
  • Daniel Driscoll (Ph.D. fellow) was recently awarded a two-year postdoctoral scholar position at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
  • Riley Taitingfong (Ph.D. fellow) is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Cinnamon Bloss' lab in the UC San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science

Do you want to give an update on where you are now? Email us, we'd love to say congratulations!


Past Research Scholars

  • Ramya M. Rajagopalan

    Ramya M. Rajagopalan

    Ramya M. Rajagopalan earned her Ph.D. in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and completed postdoctoral fellowships in sociology and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Ramya’s work uses ethnographic and archival methods to examine the social impacts of genome technologies and big data in biomedicine. In one strand of her research, she has analyzed debates about the meaning and significance of genetic variation for social categories of identity like race.

Past Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Amy Zhou

    Amy Zhou

    2018 – 2019

    Amy Zhou earned her bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA and was a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute for Practical Ethics 2018 – 2019. She is a medical sociologist interested in health inequalities in the United States and global setting. She left the institute to become an assistant professor in the sociology department at Barnard College.

    At the institute, Amy conducted research on the social and ethical implications of gene drive technologies. She published the article “Therapeutic citizens and clients: diverging healthcare practices in Malawi's prenatal clinics,” in Sociology of Health & Illness (Wiley Online).

  • Daniel Callies

    Daniel Callies

    2018 – 2021

    Born and raised in Southern California, Daniel Edward Callies received his bachelor's degree in philosophy from San Diego State University, returning to be awarded a master's degree for his thesis “Equality, Responsibility, and Climate Policy.” In 2013, he began a Ph.D. at Goethe University Frankfurt under the supervision of Professor Darrel Moellendorf.

    Daniel defended his dissertation “On the Ethics and Politics of Climate Engineering,” then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Goethe University until joining the Institute for Practical Ethics in fall 2018. He left to pursue a clinical ethics fellowship with the Health Ethics Center at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

    His book "Climate Engineering: A Normative Perspective" was published in July 2019 and "takes as its subject a prospective policy response to the urgent problem of climate change, one previously considered taboo."

  • Jacob Sparks

    Jacob Sparks

    2019 – 2020

    Jacob Sparks earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in applied philosophy from Bowling Green State University. After his time with the institute, he became an assistant professor in the philosophy department at California Polytechnic State University.

    At the institute, Jacob worked on ethical issues surrounding privacy and automation. He’s especially interested in questions about the importance of privacy to agency, about what it would take for a machine to be capable of making moral distinctions, and about whether privacy rights should be understood as property rights in personal data.

  • April Hovav

    April Hovav

    2019 – 2021

    April Hovav earned a Ph.D. in sociology with a certificate in gender studies from the University of Southern California. After her time with the institute, she accepted a postdoc position at Occidental College. 

    In one line of research, she examines the relationship between developments in medical technologies and the emergence of new global markets through which women’s bodies are leveraged as a source of capital. Her article “Producing Moral Palatability in the Mexican Surrogacy Industry,” was published in Gender & Society.  

    At the institute for Practical Ethics, she conducted research on the social and ethical implications of using gene drive technologies to combat malaria.

  • Athmeya Jayaram

    Athmeya Jayaram

    2019 – 2021

    Athmeya Jayaram earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Amherst College and a Ph.D. in political theory at the University of California Berkeley. After his time with the institute, Jayaram accepted a Hecht-Levi Postdoctoral Fellow at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.

    Athmeya’s research concerns the justice and justification of emerging technologies. His doctoral dissertation “Public Reason and Private Bias” proposes a new way to justify laws and decision-making procedures to ordinary citizens, given their limited information and inevitable biases.

    One line of research concerns the relationship between corporations and democracy, including the duty of social-media companies to foster productive deliberation and the ethics of powerful companies pressuring local governments for concessions. A second line of research addresses the technologies themselves, such as the justification of genetic screening for disabilities and the ethics of gene drive technologies.

Past UC San Diego Ph.D. Fellows

  • Samantha Berthelette

    Samantha Berthelette

    2020 – 2021

  • Tarun Kalluri

    Tarun Kalluri

    2020 – 2021

  • Elizabeth Mayes

    Elizabeth Mayes

    2020 – 2021

  • Ke Nie

    Ke Nie

    2020 – 2021

  •  Eddie Yang

    Eddie Yang

    2020 – 2021

  • Keyao Yang

    Keyao Yang

    2020 – 2021

  • Jacob Zellmer

    Jacob Zellmer

    2020 – 2021

  • Colin M. Burke

    Colin M. Burke

    2019 – 2020

  • Davide Carpano

    Davide Carpano

    2019 – 2020
  • Eugene Chua

    Eugene Chua

    2019 – 2020
  • Daniel Driscoll

    Daniel Driscoll

    2019 – 2020
  • Ross Graham

    Ross Graham

    2019 – 2020
  • Mohammad Khamsya Bin Khidzer

    Mohammad Khamsya Bin Khidzer

    2019 – 2020
  • Cami Koepke

    Cami Koepke

    2019 – 2020
  • JiMin Kwon

    JiMin Kwon

    2018 – 2019

  • Chuncheng Liu

    Chuncheng Liu

    2019 – 2020

  • Edward Randolph

    Edward Randolph

    2019 – 2020
  • Sarah Stembridge

    Sarah Stembridge

    2019 – 2020
  • Riley I. Taitingfong

    Riley I. Taitingfong

    2018 – 2019

  • Ann Thresher

    Ann Thresher

    2019 – 2020
  • Jada Wiggleton-Little

    Jada Wiggleton-Little

    2019 – 2020
  • Bolun Zhang

    Bolun Zhang

    2019 – 2020

Past Visiting Scholars

  • Megan Blomfield

    Megan Blomfield

    March – April 2020

    Megan Blomfield is a professor in The University of Sheffield Department of Philosophy. Her research concerns global justice and the environment, focusing on the normative dimensions of climate change, and her book "Global Justice, Natural Resources, and Climate Change," was published in May 2019.
  • Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

    Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

    January 2020 – January 2021

    Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick is an author, educator and speaker. His work focuses on politics, culture, technology and social change. His recent books include "The Good Drone" (MIT Press, 2020) and "What Slaveholders Think" (Columbia, 2017), with shorter work appearing in Al Jazeera, the Guardian, Aeon, and Slate. Austin lives in California and holds academic appointments in the United States (University of San Diego) and England (University of Nottingham).
  • Bryan Cwik

    Bryan Cwik

    September – December 2019

    Bryan Cwik is an assistant professor in the Portland State University Department of Philosophy. He works on bioethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science, with recent work on intellectual property and climate change, and gene editing.
  • Sofia Efstathiou

    Sofia Efstathiou

    April – July 2018

    While a visiting scholar at the Institute for Practical Ethics, Sophia Efstathiou was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She works in philosophy of science, ethics of technology and art-based approaches to philosophy and responsible research and innovation.

  • Saveetha Meganathan

    Saveetha Meganathan

    October 2019 – September 2021

    While a visiting scholar at the Institute for Practical Ethics, Saveetha Meganathan is a research scientist at the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society in Bangalore, India. She has consulted for Give2Asia, a nonprofit helping communities meet philanthropic goals. At the institute, Saveetha will research the ethics of gene drives as it relates to India.

  • S. Andrew Schroeder

    S. Andrew Schroeder

    July 2020 – December 2021

    S. Andrew Schroeder an associate professor of philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. His research and teaching cover a range of topics in ethics, political philosophy, bioethics, the philosophy of disability and the philosophy of science. Schroeder was the recipient of the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars 2020, from the American Council of Learned Societies.

  • Elliott Sober

    Elliott Sober

    January – March 2020

    Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His most recent book, "Ockham's Razors - A User's Manual," was published in July 2015 by Cambridge University Press.

  • Thilo Hagendorff

    Thilo Hagendorff

    November – December 2021

    Thilo Hagendorff is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Tuebingen's Cluster of Excellence "Machine Learning" (Germany). He is an expert in applied ethics, especially technology and AI ethics. His research concerns methodological questions of AI ethics as well as specific subfields like industry involvement, publications norms, quality data, or privacy in AI research.

  •  Cedric Whitney

    Cedric Whitney

    September 2019 – May 2020

    Cedric Whitney earned a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Delaware, before working in process automation for Bloomberg and as a senior partnership manager for a leading health AI start-up, Owkin. His research interests are focused on digital inequalities, and specifically on how expertise and accountability play a role.
  • Eric Winsberg

    Eric Winsberg

    January – August 2020

    Eric Winsberg is a professor in the University of South Florida Philosophy Department. His principal interests are in the philosophy of science, climate science and physics. His work in the philosophy of climate science specifically relates to their application in science policy and ethics.