UMaine Sophomore Wins Ethics Essay Contest

Gwendolyn Beacham didn’t have much of a break during the University of Maine winter and spring recesses.

During the three-week respite between semesters in December and January, the sophomore molecular and cellular biology major researched and wrote her entry for the 2013 John M. Rezendes Annual Ethics Essay Competition.

Each night during the two-week March vacation, the Farmington, Maine resident rewrote, revised and tweaked her draft. Her days were otherwise occupied; she and other UMaine students worked on a sanitation system in Dulce Nombre in Honduras for an Engineers Without Borders project.

Her thoroughness paid off. In April, Beacham won first prize, which included $2,800 and an engraved sculpture, for her essay “Ethics of the United States’ Clinical Trials in India.”

“Writing isn’t my main focus of study,” says Beacham, an Honors College student recently accepted for a 10-week summer internship at Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University.

“But I thought it was important that I do something outside of my comfort zone. This forced me to look at an issue from all sides.”

All UMaine undergraduates were invited to submit an 8- to 10-page essay for the annual competition. The 2013 theme was “The Ethics of Globalization.”