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Helen Zhao '16: Vaccination Wars

The Research

A double major in philosophy and biophysics, Helen Zhao is using philosophy to explore the controversial topic of vaccines. She is interviewing members of the anti-vaccine movement and vaccine advocates to contrast the anti-vaxxers’ reasons for rejecting vaccines with the advocates’ reasons for accepting them. Zhao also hopes to determine why efforts by medical professionals to settle the issue have failed to convince a sizable portion of the American public.

In Her Own Words

“I’m excited to have an opportunity to apply philosophy to an important and pernicious problem in today’s society: distrust of scientific/medical authorities and the tempered​ ability of physicians to assuage public concerns about vaccines. I also want to show that philosophical inquiry is very much alive and of relevance to many issues today.”

Adviser: Meredith Williams, Professor, Philosophy