For Long Vinh '10, the opportunity to explore a subject of his choosing under the oversight of a preferred instructor ranks top among the privileges afforded students at the College. Hailing from nearby Yorktown, VA, Long decided to take advantage of his hometown's proximity to the College by doing an independent study with Professor Laura Ekstrom this summer.
A philosophy major with plans to attend medical school, Long's interest in philosophy focuses on applied ethics, particularly as relates to the field of medicine. Long's participation in several of Ekstrom's courses and his knowledge of her specialization in this area influenced his decision to work under her tutelage. Long and Ekstrom crafted a summer study on theories of agency as they relate to religious claims, ethics and moral responsibility.
For Long, a strong connection exists between studying theories of agency and devoting his life to medicine. Long hopes to use this summer's study to metaphysically understand the individuals he plans to physically treat. But an understanding of the nature of human agency will shape more than just his understanding of how people function. Indeed, the ties between theories of agency and applied ethics can provide a basis for a system of medical ethics.
Long's summer work will allow him to finish his undergraduate coursework in December 2009. Although he remains undecided on a particular medical school, Long would be happy in a career as an anesthesiologist, an OB/GYN or a family physician.