Graduating Philosophy Senior and Global Health Fellow Summer Claveau has added another feather to her cap: on Monday April 30th, she won the award for Best Overall Research & Scholarship Oral Presentation at the 10th annual College of Humanities and Social Studies Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Summer gave a presentation on her research project, “An Existential Approach to Healthcare Oppression,” which examines the burdens and constraints placed on those with chronic illness or debilitating disease. The project - which is funded by an Undergraduate Research Scholarship - draws on both her philosophical training and her experiences as a Global Health Fellow (GHF) taking specialist courses on the ethical questions that surround global health issues.
Completing the project has given Summer a chance to build on her GHF internship with local nonprofit Stillbrave, who provide non-medical support to children with cancer and their parents, and to expand on earlier work on this topic that she presented at an undergraduate Philosophy conference at Towson University in Spring 2017.
“I saw a need to recognize people affected by debilitating illness and disability as not only impacted by unjust financial burdens, but as existentially oppressed by the current healthcare system, which reduces their capacities for living a meaningful life,” Summer explains. “It felt like a calling of some sort to pursue those pathways of inquiry and address the situation inmy writing. I’m so pleased I got the opportunity to do so through the OSCAR grant and also the continuous support from my mentors.”
One of those mentors, Dr. Lisa Eckenwiler, adds: “Summer is the one of the best students I’ve had the opportunity to work with. She has so much philosophical ability: she absorbs and synthesizes ideas, analyzes them from multiple perspectives and links them to other philosophical ideas, and in the end pushes their boundaries and spins her own original arguments. She inspires and is a true joy to work with.”
Philosophy department chair, Dr. Rachel Jones, agreed: “We are often asked, ‘what can you do with a philosophy degree?’ Summer is one of many of our students who shows how philosophy can open up new ways of framing and analyzing some of the most pressing social issues we face today, and help us to formulate ethical responses. We’re very proud of her, and of all our graduating seniors!”
Summer presents her work at the May 2018 OSCAR Celebration of Research
For further information about the Global Health Fellows program, please visit this site: https://fellows.gmu.edu/global-health-fellows
For further information about Stillbrave, please visit their site here: https://www.stillbrave.org
May 12, 2018