Bioethics interest, college goals lead to College Prep
Jonah Lindblad has always been philosophical and “ethics oriented,” and he enjoys the intellectual challenge of social and bio-medical questions — particularly when it comes to personal autonomy and choice. His passions fuel his budding activism: during high school in his native St. Louis he served as president of the Gay-Straight Alliance and also volunteered for Planned Parenthood.
His interests — and a desire to boost his college applications — led him to the IN FOCUS seminar on bioethics at Northwestern University’s College Preparation Program (CPP). The program lets high school students, if accepted, explore a topic within a real Northwestern seminar or credit course while living on campus.
“We studied bioethical problems and dilemmas in depth,” he says. “A very cool, really interesting assignment was the case studies. We had to do research, develop solutions and present our work. There was a lot of critical thinking and good discussion on a variety of topics.”
Lindblad believes that access to his professor, Mark Sheldon, was key to the value he received from the seminar. Professor Sheldon is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Northwestern and also in the Medical Ethics and Humanities Program at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Professor Sheldon also teaches at other Chicago-area medical schools.
“Professor Sheldon is exceptionally well qualified in his field,” he says. “He knew so much, about every aspect of every situation. He had a way of leading discussion that helps you understand the issues without imposing his own opinion.”
Lindblad believes that CPP also helped his college applications stand out. He is now a freshman at Webster University in St. Louis, majoring in journalism and gender studies. His experience in CPP continues to impact his thinking.
“I have a much broader sense of bioethical issues,” he says. “Overall, it was a really positive experience.”