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Fr. Julian Okoroanyanwu, MA, MS

Fr. Julian Okoranyanqu is a Roman Catholic Priest in the Diocese of San Bernadino, and a graduate student of the LMU Bioethics Institute. He received his Bachelors in Philosophy and Bachelors in Theology from Seat of Wisdom, a Major Seminary in Owerri, Nigeria affiliated with Urban University in Rome. 

How did you become interested in Bioethics?

I first became interested in Bioethics due to my background in philosophy. Ethics as a branch of Philosophy interested me, and I wanted to study its practical aspects. Therefore Bioethics, because of its relevance in our contemporary world, became the best option. The encounters I have with many people make it an imperative for me to be knowledgeable about the advances in the medical sciences.


What is something about your personality that has contributed to your interest in bioethics?

My quest for more knowledge and the experiences I have in my pastoral ministry as I encounter many people in the different countries I have worked in, have both contributed to my interest in Bioethics. Bioethical questions continue to arise in my ministry, and I needed more than a peripheral knowledge of these issue, therefore I have to delve more deeply into the study of bioethics.

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What was one of your favorite memories as a child?

Being a child from a large family of ten, I enjoyed the times when all my siblings came back home, especially during a festive period like Christmas. Being the last child, I always got the best treatment and was doted on by everybody.

What is the scariest situation that you have found yourself in?

The scariest situation I found myself in was in the Caribbean in 2004 when I experienced a hurricane for the first time. Having heard about hurricanes in passing, I never knew it could be as scary as it was. I was praying for it to end. Thankfully, I survived.

Cara received her B.A. in Television Production with a minor in History from Loyola Marymount University. She is currently the Craves Scholar and helps to maintain the Bioethics Hub website with current news articles and thought-provoking topics. She has the most wonderful black pug in the whole world named Jac.


How did you become interested in Bioethics?
Bioethics entered my purview through direct experience with close family and friends who were facing tough medical decisions such as; cancer treatments, neurotrauma, neurological diseases, abortion, IVF, and other end-of-life questions. Through research, I realized that bioethics went further than merely studying how these situations might converge with rising technological advancements. Bioethicists were also philosophers who aim to provide guidance to persons grappling with ethical conduct. This mission ignited my exploration and decision to join LMU’s Bioethics Institute and community. During my tenure in the program, I have gravitated to bioethical issues surrounding mental health and addiction, and the subsequent medical and ethical treatment of individuals within these populations.

What is something about your personality that has contributed to your interest in bioethics?
I am motivated by the pursuit of solving injustices and giving back to those why cannot fight for themselves. By being both passionate and compassionate, I harness empathy and strength of will.

What are some of your hobbies?

Working out. I run and love to Peloton 😊

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
My grandfather was a pastor in Omaha, NE, and worked with Malcolm X teaching the ethics of race relations to the police. He was an early civil rights activist and advocate with the aim to dispel and eliminate racial disparities, discrimination, and prejudicial treatment.  

Cara Crew, MA

Shanice Mcleish, MA

Originally from Jamaica, Shanice immigrated to Canada where she graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University having studied Biology and Psychology. She is an alumnus of LMU's Bioethics Institute. 

What is something about your personality that has contributed to your interest in bioethics?

As a child I was always willing to help where I could, always curious about what someone else was doing and how I could do my part whether it was assisting my mom cooking in the kitchen or folding laundry. That spirit of selflessness has followed me until now. I donate periodically to organizations like 'Healing hugs'. which is  devoted to providing medical care to African children whose parents cannot afford healthcare due to the severity of their conditions. It is a dream of mine to be able to visit an African country and donate my time and effort to adding happiness to the lives of young people and their families in any way I can.  Being Jamaican, I hope to do the same for my own country one day. My experiences in life have shown me that we are all born into different circumstances, and personally, I feel that if it is possible to benefit the life of another human being I should do so. As such I hope to use my passions as well as my knowledge to do just that throughout my career as a bioethicist and in my personal life too. 

Do you have any particular areas of interest in bioethics?

I am passionate about all things social justice related, and hope to effect change throughout my career as a bioethicist. Although I do not know exactly what that looks like at this time, I am sure throughout my time at LMU I will be able to define my goals and achieve them. 

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

After my studies at LMU I hope to pursue a career in clinical ethics, either here in the states or back in Canada. My final destination has not been set in stone, but I do hope to one day give back to my home, Jamaica, in a meaningful way as it relates to my life's work.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

During my down time I enjoy traveling, sports, spending time with loved ones and exploring new foods and places. I have always loved traveling, and based on my childhood of moving from one country to the next I have an interest in seeing the rest of the world. Having lived in three different countries throughout my lifetime certainly speaks to the nomadic soul I have, which is in part responsible for my moving to Los Angeles to attend LMU.


Jared Howes, MA

Jared Howes Spotlight

Hailing from Montana, Jared Howes, received an M.Sc. in Bioethics from KU Leuven (2020), an M.A. in Bioethics from Loyola Marymount University (2019), and a B.A. in Theology from Carroll College (2015). He is currently a doctoral student at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law at KU Leuven in Belgium. His research focuses on the ethics of electronic tracking devices in dementia care.

Highlight of Post LMU Academic Life:

These three academic experiences form points where my interest in technology solidified around specific topics—society, the human person, and clinical care—but throughout the program I had insightful conversations with the entire Bioethics Institute faculty. With Dr. Brown, in particular, I recall conversations on human enhancement and justice within healthcare. Leading me to take a step back and really examine the context technology arises within. Throughout my entire time at LMU, Dr. McMillan was a constant source of inspiration and reflection. I would often find myself in her office trying to tie together seemingly disparate elements to form my own opinion on topics. Dr. McMillan would push me to view issues from different perspectives, not only from a scholarly standpoint, but also from the standpoint of imagination. How can we envision novel solutions to existing problems? I mention all of these examples not merely to reminisce about my time at LMU, but to try and articulate how important this community was to the formation of my interests.


Knowing these past experiences, I think it comes as no surprise that my current academic interests center broadly on technology within healthcare, and more specifically on emerging technologies used in dementia care. My current PhD project focuses on the ethics of electronic tracking devices in dementia care. Electronic tracking devices (ETDs) are technological tools that allow for a range of real-time monitoring, tracking, or locating capabilities. There are different technologies that form the substructure of various ETDs. For example, global positioning systems [GPS] can be found in smartphones, watches, pendants, and bracelets. Another example is radio-frequency identification [RFID], which can show up in tags that are sewn into clothes, put into a wrist bracelet or piece of jewelry. These devices are being used to help manage wandering in dementia patients. Wandering is a behavioral symptom of dementia that involves a person with dementia eloping from their home or institutional care facility, subsequently being placed into situations with a high risk for injury or death. The hope is that a wandering person with dementia will be quickly located if they wear or use an ETD.


Understandably, the ability for ETDs to track and record a person’s temporal-location raises serious ethical questions in regard to their use on a vulnerable population. How do we protect a person with dementia’s privacy? Do they even have a right to privacy? What should we do with the data form these devices? Who owns it and who should have access to it? Ethical questions also extend to the physical design of devices. Should ETDs be removable, or should they be lockable? Only able to be removed by a special key that a caretaker or family member possesses. There are also questions stemming from clinical ethics. For instance, do persons with dementia need to give their informed consent to the use of these devices? What about continued consent? These are some of the issues that are brought up in both the qualitative and normative literature. My interest is in taking a step back and recognizing that many of these questions arise within the context of product design. A clear example of this is the question about whether these devices should be removable or not. This is only answerable when a device is being designed. The ultimate goal of my research, therefore, is to work towards a framework that can guide the design, development, and use of tracking devices.



How your interest evolved or how it prepared you for your current academic work?

To describe my current interests and academic work in bioethics, I first need to highlight some experiences from my time as a master’s student at the Bioethics Institute that I view as fundamental to my academic trajectory and where I am today. At LMU I was given the space and support to really explore and dive deeply into the way technology impacts various areas of humanity.


I think here of the opportunity afforded by the O’Malley chair to work with and learn from Dr. James Giordano of Georgetown. His 2018 course, Neuroethics: Issues at the intersection of brain science and society, not only introduced me to ethical issues at the forefront of neuroscience, but also opened my eyes to the wider impact that emerging technology could have on society if ethical questions are left unaddressed during their development and initial use. For example, how the introduction of brain implants could lead to widening inequality between those who can and cannot afford such devices—particularly when implants could give a cognitive edge in academic, business, and other lucrative endeavors. In a similar fashion, the following year I was able to dedicate two final papers towards technology. First, in my course with Dr. Dell’Oro, I studied artificial reproductive technologies in light of human anthropology, in what I view as a study on technology’s impact on the human person. Second, during bioethics at the end of life with Dr. Raho, I turned towards technology and clinical ethics by examining how artificial intelligence programs used to predict in-patient outcomes could possibly be integrated into end-of-life care.



What are some differences you have noticed between American and European bioethics?

Well, I think bioethics in general is becoming very globalized. It is becoming more and more clear that certain issues transcend borders, oceans, and continents. For example, the discussions stemming from Crispr-cas9 recognized that what happens in one place, perhaps lack of regulations, can have unintended effects on the rest of the world. Another example is that developing nations do and will experience a larger burden from climate change than developed nations, despite developed nations playing a larger role in causing the climate to change. In this way, there is a lot of overlap between the two.

The differences are found in the particular context in which many bioethical questions arise. For one, the system of medicine is obviously very different. In Western Europe most nations

have some form of publicly funded healthcare that guarantees access to adequate care. So bioethical questions can often return to issues of public health, public expenditure, etc. For example, when discussing expansion of private genetic testing, an important factor to consider is that a “boomerang” effect can occur. When an individual receives their genetic results from a private company, if health questions emerge that person will return to the public health care system for answers. Thus, questions of regulating private DNA testing must be cognizant of this potential burden on the health care system. In the U.S., this might not be as important of an issue given the more privatized healthcare system.

Another example would be the ethos, virtue, or values of the culture. In the U.S., obviously individual autonomy and liberty is an incredibly important value. So much so, that debates in bioethics often become reduced to the principle of autonomy. Debate on healthcare systems is likewise reduced to the language of rights, obligations, and duties. My experience in Belgium, and I think to a larger extent Western Europe, is that while individual autonomy is likewise highly valued (look at euthanasia laws for one example), the principle of solidarity comes into play more often. The same questions about healthcare systems are framed in terms of solidarity more often than rights. Of course, these observations are generalizations, but I think they do bear some truth. Thus, while global bioethics is becoming more prominent, it isn’t that there is “one” bioethics. For example, bioethics in Europe is not merely an import of American bioethics, but rather that in each place a unique bioethical tradition emerges as part of a dialogue.


Jared's Current Work:


The Use of Tracking Devices in Dementia Care: A systematic review of argument-based ethics literature.



Background: Wandering is a behavioral symptom of dementia that often results in dementia patients eloping from homes and care facilities, leading to situations of high risk for their injury or death. Caregivers have turned to the use of electronic tracking devices for management of wandering. The capability of these devices to track, record, and monitor daily life raises profound ethical questions related to their use on a vulnerable population. The objective of this review was to identify the ethical arguments and concepts used in the normative literature focusing on electronic tracking devices in dementia care.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review for normative literature focusing on electronic tracking devices in dementia care. Twenty-two publications met the requirements for inclusion.


Results: An analysis of normative arguments and concepts described in included literature revealed that the majority of publications utilize a principlist approach. Accordingly, arguments concerning electronic tracking devices largely fall under the four principles of biomedical ethics: autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. A particular emphasis is given to privacy and informed consent. The normative literature recognizes that electronic tracking devices have a dual effect, being capable of either bolstering or eroding the values connected to each principle.

Conclusions: The number publications using principlism indicate a need to pursue new ethical approaches and expand upon the few non-principlist approaches already in use. In addition, many of the ethical issues raised concerning the use of electronic tracking devices involve value questions present during the design of these devices. Therefore, future ethical orientations or frameworks should account for ethical questions that exist on the continuum of design to use of electronic tracking devices.


Fr. Diego Menniti, MA

Fr. Diego Menniti, a priest of the Archdiocese of Catanzaro-Squillace in Calabria, Italy, was ordained on June 27, 2015. In 2016, he obtained his licentiate in Moral-Social Theology (S. Th. L. M.A. equiv.) from the Istituto Teologico Calabro, where he studied under Prof. Antonio G. Spagnolo. Fr. Menniti was appointed head of the preparatory year at the Pontifical Regional Seminary, "St Pius X" of Catanzaro, for the 2017-2018 academic year. He started post-graduate studies (M.A. in Bioethics) at Loyola Marymount University at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.

How did you become interested in Bioethics?

Ever since I was a child I have always had different visions of my future. My father’s numerous National Geographic magazines and films, such as Indiana Jones, along with my “Academic” high school diploma and humanities education, made me daydream of a possible career as an Egyptologist (a milieu that still fascinates me). Having been born in a family of orthopaedists (my grandfather, my father and my uncle), I fell in love with medicine, and especially with the idea of being in an operating room. But, not everything in life is equal in certainty. Although, in the end the desire to become a doctor prevailed over the desire to be a scholar of ancient Egypt, the encounter with faith led me to accept, instead, a vocation to the priesthood. Thereafter, I fell in love with Bioethics because it is a subject that combines all my passions. Bioethics as a discipline, I think, is a synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, Ethics, Medicine and Law, which aims at one thing alone, the custody of man and creation.

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What is your favorite kind of food?

As a good Italian, I love pizza. It is always a good time for pizza. Even though I have to admit that I love any kind of food, and I enjoy trying new cuisines from different cultures. 

What is your favorite destination and why?

My favorite destination is Rome. Every time it is possible to discover something new. One life time would not be enough to explore it completely physically and historically. 

Who is your favorite sports team and why?

AC Milan! I grew up watching their games with my Dad and brother. I grew to love the sport of football (soccer) for the passion on the field and in the stands. At that time all the best champions were on the team, so it was easy to love AC Milan. 

Fr. Chidi Chileke, MA

Fr. Chidi Chileke is a Roman Catholic Priest in the Diocese of San Bernadino, and a graduate student of the LMU Bioethics Institute. He received his Bachelors in Philosophy and Bachelors in Theology from Seat of Wisdom, a Major Seminary in Owerri, Nigeria affiliated with Urban University in Rome. 

How did you become interested in Bioethics?

My interest in Bioethics started during my philosophy classes in the seminary, and grew even more when I was taking classes in Moral Theology. Learning various topics, such as medical ethics, I knew I would one day pursue studies in Bioethics.


What are some of your favorite memories?

From the time I was little, I wanted to be a priest. I got interested in this profession as a result of the influence of some good priests in my parish when I was an altar server. 

Tell us about your time in the Caribbean!

My profession took me to the Island of Grenada to do a missionary work. My most cherished accomplishment has been my part in rebuilding the Diocese of St. George, Grenada after the Hurricane Ivan struck and devastated the island in 2004. The mission has not been without trials. In March, 2009, I was attacked by bandits and nearly lost my life in the process. God’s graces have been sufficient ever since.


Robbie Sian, SJ, MD, MA

Why did you choose LMU’s Bioethics graduate program?

I was attracted to LMU’s program because it didn’t limit itself to medical ethics but also addressed related topics social justice and feminist bioethics. I was looking for a program that would embrace a Catholic outlook rooted in the "faith and reason" tradition.

What did you like best about the program?

As a Catholic priest, I have to promote the Catholic viewpoint in a rational manner — but I also need the intellectual background to carry out a meaningful dialogue with the faithful and the differ-ent socio-cultural and religious "sectors" of society. After all, we are united by our common search for truth, individual fulfillment, and the common good. The LMU program provided me with the tools and training to participate, with open-mindedness and confidence, in these conversations —without giving up the reality that the human person is both body and soul.

Have you developed a special interest in the field?

My special interest is with medical ethics because I used to practice medicine. But, I still continue to face these questions when the faithful seek counseling which includes medical life-and-death questions from their priests. There are also questions regarding the application of modern technology to the human body. Providing counsel involves not only advising based on Church teaching or doctrine but also empowering the counselee to reach her or his best rational decision possible. This requires a union of both faith and reason.

What do you plan to do/are you doing after you graduate?

I am teaching a Bioethics course at the Jesuit run seminary for diocesan seminarians, St. John Vian-ney Theological Seminary, at Cagayan de Oro City in the island of Mindanao. But I will also teach this to lay persons who are interested in getting a degree from the seminary. I am also an instructor at the medical school of the Ateneo de Cagayan University, also known as Xavier University. I make myself available to the archbishop of CDO with regard to bioethical matters.

How do you think your Bioethics studies has informed your work?

It has taught me to be faithful to the truth, the common good, and the dignity of the individual hu-man person while espousing a just and compassionate attitude and decision-making process. Although the truth is non-negotiable, the common good and the dignity of the individual human person have to be carefully balanced when they might come in conflict with one other.

Robbie Sian received his basic education in Negros Island in the Philippines.  He earned a B.S. in Zoology from University of the Philippines Dilman, graduating cum laude and then graduated from University of the Philippines College of Medicine.  After passing his boards, he began his residency in Pediatrics at UP-Philippine General Hospital in 1995.  Robbie entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1997 and has served as a Christian Life Education teacher in Manilla, a physician to Montagnard refugees, and a school doctor and pastoral caregiver to handicapped students in Cambodia before graduating magna cum laude in his Theological studies.  He was ordained in 2009.  Robbie plans to teach Bioethics to medicals students in medical schools and serve on bioethics committees in hospitals in which the Society of Jesus is affiliated.  His desire is to contribute to a compassionate & reasonable Catholic position in debates & discourses regarding controversial bioethical issues in his country.

Andres Elviras, MA


What did you like best about the program?

The best part of the program was the openness and diversity of the students and professors them-selves. A field may be cutting edge by nature, but is impotent in the face of outmoded traditional-ism and ridged-mindedness. The Bioethics Institute encouraged an atmosphere of scholarship which pays homage to continental philosophy, while never stifling new ideas from a wide variety of worldviews and faiths.

Have you developed a special interest in the field?

I have enjoyed interdisciplinary studies all my life, especially those relating to science, society, technology, and medicine. Early on, this was theoretical, relegated to the speculation of science fiction. Now, it is a quickly unfolding reality which humanity must be prepared for.

What do you plan to do/are you doing after you graduate?

My hope is to apply for a doctoral degree in a related field of study. If not bioethics directly, then another branch of philosophy closely related and applicable to my bioethical study: the philosophy or sociology of science, for example.

How do you think your Bioethics studies has informed your work?

It has given me the formal tools for constructing and structuring the rationale of my arguments. Anyone can speculate, but a student of bioethics can understand the ethical background which governs the formation and application of moral theories to novel situations. Knowing those basics has strengthened my ability to formulate my own theories and provided an avenue whereby my own philosophy may be made stronger and less prone to bias.

Andres Elvira is a 2016 graduate the LMU Bioethics Institute’s Master’s Degree Program.  He began his undergraduate studies in physics, and then graduated with a degree in Philosophy, minor in Anthropology.  Andres plans to apply for a PhD program in either philosophy or sociology, and study ethics, and the philosophy and sociology of science.


Why did you choose LMU’s Bioethics graduate program?

I had originally applied for a Philosophy M.A. at Loyola Marymount while I was still at Cal Poly Pomona. During that time, I took two bioethics courses in my final two quarters of undergraduate studies: an introductory class, and a seminar for end-of-life issues. Always having had a keen interest in interdisciplinary study, the idea of synthesizing my major in philosophy and my minor in anthropology with my love of science and theology seemed an opportunity too good to be true. It proved the ideal arena for understanding ethics applied to issues within the scientific and medical communities for-merly considered the domain of science fiction, but now more relevant than ever before.

Nita Millstein, MBA, MA

Nita Millstein comes to bioethics from a background combining conflict resolution, (in corporations, nonprofit organizations and communities) and leadership consulting for healthcare and other organizations. She has business experience in for profit segments, such as healthcare, as well as a long history of work with nonprofit community organizations throughout Los Angeles. She received her MBA from Loyola Marymount University and graduated from the Master’s in Bioethics program in May of 2017.

Why did you choose LMU’s Bioethics graduate program?

I was interested in marrying my business and healthcare background with education that would focus on the values and goals of healthcare, and the patient's perspective. I found the program to be very thorough in terms of providing both theories and realities of bioethics issues today.

My business background includes many years of business consulting, much of it within the healthcare field. Most recently, I returned to mediation work on a community level and found myself drawn to bioethics from a vision of bioethics mediation work.

What do you like best about the program?

The diversity of the students in the program and the courses that specifically touch the areas of interest noted above. In our cohort we had a nurse, a social worker, a priest, an attorney, a psychologist, a recent undergrad with a strong philosophy background and me! So, just in our cohort we had medicine, religion, law and philosophy - four key pillars of bioethics practice.

Have you developed a special interest in the field?

Neonatal issues, end of life issues, bioethics mediation and conflict resolution. The field of medicine has grown increasingly technological and many practitioners receive training and direction that focuses on that. However, the communication skills and conflict resolution skills, which are critical to the human elements in medicine, seem to be more neglected. I believe that provides me an opportunity to be of service in the field.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I am unsure, although it will involve being of service to some nonprofit, healthcare organization.

How do you think your Bioethics studies will inform your work?

My view of healthcare dilemmas, and the people caught within them, will always be enriched by the discussions, readings, and instruction I've received in the program.

Alex Duvoisin, MA

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Off to law school! After that I hope to find a job in which I can help enact policies that make the way people access healthcare more just.

How do you think your Bioethics studies will inform your work?

My bioethics studies have not only expanded my knowledge, but also improved my critical thinking and writing skills as well. I now can defend the positions I hold on key issues like abortion and the death penalty, but I can also recognize the flaws and strengths in arguments on any variety of topics. It is this analytical training that I believe will help me in my future work most of all

Alex Duvoisin earned his Master’s in Bioethics in May 2017. He is currently attending Loyola Law School. 

Why did you choose LMU’s Bioethics graduate program?

As an undergraduate I majored in Philosophy and was fascinated by the ways in which normative arguments formed the foundations of the rules that govern our societies. I was drawn to bioethics because it applies these ethical theories to real world situations in which the “right” thing to do isn’t immediately clear. I was drawn to this program specifically because of its emphasis on teaching bioethics as an academic discipline opposed to the more clinical approaches other programs offer.

What do you like best about the program?

The professors are the best part of the program. They are able to offer their expertise while not eliminating the opportunity for engaging discussion. They lead the classes, but provide a space in which we can learn from one another as well as from them.

Have you developed a special interest in the field?

I am most interested in the struggles the most vulnerable populations face when navigating through our healthcare system. I have written papers on prisoners’ access to healthcare and on elderly patients’ access to potentially life-saving treatments that have yet to be approved by the FDA. The critical thinking skills I have honed during this program have helped me argue more powerfully and strengthened my claims in these papers.

Uma Nicole, MA

Uma received her B.A. in Mathematics and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She is also a Yoga and Mindfulness instructor, a singer with the LMU Women’s Chorus and Consort Singers, a fellow for LMU’s Center for Student Action, and she is on LMU’s Committee for Criminal and Restorative Justice. 

How did you first become interested in Bioethics?

I found Neuroscience to be a fascinating concept earlier on in my undergrad and wondered about the advances it was making as a scientific field of study. My interest was further heightened when I learned of a DARPA project that involved a disabled woman, probes that were inserted into her brain and her being able to fly an F-16 flight simulator with her mind. That lit a fire in me to investigate into the probity in that project.


What is something about your personality that has contributed to your interest in bioethics?

My quest for truth, the logical and yet passionate nature of how I see the world and my dedication to social justice are personal qualities that have spurred my desire to dive into this field.

What is your favorite destination and why?

So far, my favorite destination has been the village of Nungwi on the island of Unguja (Zanzibar Archipelago), in East Africa. 

What qualities in another person do you value and why?

I value, radial self-truthfulness, unconditional love, self-motivation, a rich sense of humor and kindness.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I think people would be surprised to know that I have despised text-messaging since 2008 and I do not watch television.

Astrid Floegel-Shetty, MA

Astrid is a recent UCLA graduate with Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Biomedical Research minor. Half German and Indian, she grew up in Los Angeles and Germany speaking German, Spanish, and English.     

Astrid is passionately committed to developing the skill sets for a career that lies at the intersection of bioethics, biostatistics, reproductive health, and teaching. Hardworking, meticulous, balanced leader and follower, big picture thinking, and versatile would best describe he. Astrid presently working at the UCLA  Department of Medicine Statistics Core, in the UCLA Bioethics Lab, and as a graduate student at LMU.


How did you first become interested in Bioethics?

My UCLA professor formally introduced me to bioethics through her introductory biomedical ethics class. The intersectional, thought provoking, and practically relevant subject matter of the course    captivated me. Under my professor's guidance over the years, I continued to grow my fledgling passion in bioethics and marry it with my interests in biostatistics, teaching, and reproductive health.

What is something about your personality that has contributed to your interest in bioethics?

Growing up in a multi-cultural environment, I engaged with a diverse array of audiences, each with their own values and ideas around which they structured their lives. This early exposure to human    nature’s diversity nurtured my curiosity about the principles by which we do and should conduct ourselves. This curiosity underpins my bioethics interest today.

Please describe one of the best times you had as a child?

Spending time with my grandparents in Germany over the summers was one of the best times I had    as a child. Especially walking the dogs through the fields with the extended family. 

What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

I wanted to be a vet or a teacher because I loved working with animals and children (sorry  W.C. Fields). Also, teachers were (and still are) some of the best people I knew in my life. 

What qualities in another person do you value and why?

I appreciate when people are self-aware of and can articulate about their boundaries. People like this tend to be the best persons with which to engage in reflective and honest conversation.

Mia Loucks, MA

Mia is a graduate of Occidental College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. After graduating from Occidental, Mia spent two years working for various artists, musicians, and playing music of her own. When she began to suffer from complications with lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease, she became interested in understanding the ethical dimensions of medicine and the patient-physician relationship. She is currently a student of the Master of Arts in Bioethics at Loyola Marymount University and hopes to pursue a PhD in religious studies following completion of the program. 

How did you first become interested in Bioethics?

While I have always been interested in ethics and philosophy, my interests in the "bio" aspects of the field emerged more recently through my experiences living with several autoimmune diseases. The medical care that I have received has often left me wondering about the ethical obligations of physicians, the transmission of information between physicians and patients, and the often changing role of patient autonomy within clinical settings. I am interested in exploring these topics more deeply with particular focus on alternative healthcare practices, holistic healing, and the mind-body relationship. 

The Craves Fellowship

Mia is working as this year’s Craves Fellow at LMU’s Bioethics Institute. The Craves Fellowship is awarded to one student each year and aims to facilitate scholarly discourse of topics in Bioethics via the Institute website. Through careful curation of original work and other philosophical reflections on bioethical topics, the Craves Fellow is responsible for generating a platform of content that synthesizes sources both within and outside of the field. 

Alan Flores, MA

Qualities in another person do you value, and why?

If I had to pick three qualities that I look for in another person, they would have to be: honesty, kindness, and authentic. First, honesty lays the foundation for any relationship that one may build. Second, kindness gives insight into who the individual is. Third, authenticity provides a person with that exceptional quality that makes them unique and knowable. I always look for these three qualities in another person, regardless of the type of relationship I have with them.

What is something that you are proud of, and why?

I am proud of how far I have come in my education because of all the challenges I have faced: poor public school education, lack of access to learning materials, low socioeconomic status, bad lucks, etc. However, I am glad that I had to face these challenges because it made me into who I am today. I never imagined I would be pursuing a master’s degree in bioethics at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Even my own family is surprised I have made it this far (in a good way). Thus, being at LMU is something I am incredibly proud of in my life.


alan F.jpg

Born and raised in Southern California, Alan received a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Psychology from California State University Dominguez Hills. Currently, Alan is a master’s candidate in his first year at the LMU Bioethics Institute. Additionally, he works as the Bioethics Institute’s graduate assistant, primarily supporting professors and maintaining and updating the LMU Bioethics homepage.

What is something about your personality that has contributed to your interest in bioethics?

If I had to isolate one part of my personality that has contributed to my interest in bioethics, it would be this: curiosity. I don’t know why I am such a curious person, and at times it has gotten me into a fair amount of trouble, but I have a desire to know. When something doesn’t make sense to me, it lingers in my head until I can finally make sense of it. Curiosity led me to philosophy when I was younger, and now it has led me to bioethics.

What is the scariest situation that you have faced?

About five years ago, I went hiking with my family in Yosemite National Park, when someone had the bright idea to venture off the path. After five minutes of venturing into the wilderness, we lost track of our route back home. Even though it was only five minutes, we were entirely lost because everything looked the same. Things began to look bleak when we found the remains of a fox, but after about one hour of hiking, we finally managed to find a road that led us back to our campsite. Although I kept a calm demeanor as a result of everyone else freaking out, I have to admit that I was afraid too.

Anne-Marie Zamora


Describe one of the best times you had as a child:  

I was born on an island in Michigan, a mile from Canada, population 500 in the winter and 1000 in the summer. House doors were never locked, neighbors took care of neighbors, and children ran around wild and barefoot like packs of wolves. We built forts in the woods, swam and sailed in the lake in the summer, and ice skated and built igloos in the winter.  My three siblings and I created our own world on that island. This idyllic outdoor freedom I experienced in my early years encouraged me to be curious about the beauty of the natural world; something I still treasure as an adult.

What are some of your hobbies?  

I enjoy hiking and trail running with my cattle dog and going to the beach and camping with my daughters.  I am a backward beekeeper, a lazy gardener, and I like watching good movies, eating good food, and drinking good beer.

What is my most significant accomplishment? 

Being Mom to my two daughters-- the best job I’ve ever had!


What is your favorite kind of food?  

It’s a draw between Asian dumplings, Korean bbq, and really good pizza.

How did you become interested in bioethics? 

I started thinking about bioethics over twenty years ago when I was in nursing school, although at that time in my life I didn’t know it was bioethics I was thinking about.  As I interacted with patients I wondered and worried about excessive medical treatments, or undertreatment, informed consent, and equitable care. I grew to see the challenges held in the intricate balancing act of the benefits and burdens of care. Over the past twenty years I have grown to respect advancing biotechnologies that increase a patient’s quality of care in the hospital and improve their quality of life and dignity at home. Clinicians are faced with ethical issues every day, and the answers are not always crystal clear. Human beings are complicated. Diverse perspectives are beneficial for examining bioethical issues in patient care and in our global community.

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