Book Prize Winners

2014 Prize Winner -- Scott McCollam (Major-Philosophy & Biology)

"Concerning Life, Normativity, and Moral Considerability"

"Moral considerability is concerned with what is relevant to ethics. I make the argument that determining moral considerability based on anthropocentric or sentience-based criteria is arbitrary and fails to account for all possibilities of harm. Harm is the result of a frustrated pursuit of an ideal state of affairs. All biological organisms have an intrinsic, genetically determined, ideal state of affairs and therefore all living things are capable of being harmed. Because all living things are capable of being harmed, all living things are morally considerable."

Bio: Scott McCollam is from Eden Prairie, MN and is a recent graduate from UMD. He studied Biology and Philosophy and intends to pursue a PhD in Philosophy. His interests include ethics and metaphysics.

2013 Prize Winner -- Michael DuVall   (Major-Philosophy & Accounting /Minor: English)

"Transitional Foster Youth and Post-Secondary Education Mentor Programs"

Abstract: "This paper is a case study and personal experience statement that recommends and argues for the importance of transitioning former foster youth into post-secondary education programs. The target audience ranges between state and federal policy makers and while recommending the benefits of transitioning foster youth into post-secondary education, there is also an argument displaying economic viability. This paper is also a partner document that was submitted as more crude list of policy recommendations concerning adopted and fostered youth that was given to Senator Amy Klobuchar during my internship in Washington D.C."

Michael DuVall is currently a writing tutor for the UMD tutoring center and a peer educator for UMD Career Services. He is completing a philosophy degree (Fall 2013) before continuing education towards the remainder of an accounting degree in LSBE. His interests are in law and ethics, particularly in the business and political field.

2012 Prize Winner -- Kristin Reed   (Major-Biology/ Minor-Philosophy)

"Tragedy of the Commons"
Abstract: "Garret Harding poses an interesting problem, which he calls the Tragedy of the Commons. The main premise of this problem is each person individually will reap benefits (e.g. profits from having more cows on a shared pasture), while the losses are shared equally among all of society (e.g. too many cows means overgrazing). Since this reasoning leads to a net increase of utility for each person, he/she will conclude to have more cows. This will eventually lead to a barren pasture that has become useless. In this paper, I first analyze and discuss this problem as it relates to population growth. Second, solutions to this problem, such as privatizing property, international laws, and limiting the freedom to breed, are proposed and defended. Finally, common criticisms and objections to the problem itself and some solutions are discussed."

Bio: Kristin Reed is from Oakdale, MN. She is a senior at UMD. After graduation, Reed intends to go to medical school. She wants to specialize in either pediatrics or obstetrics. Reed is involved in intramural sports (softball, broomball, soccer), the pre-med club, and University Christian Fellowship. She is also an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Julie Etterson in the biology department and will have her own UROP this summer.
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