Jen Leigh


I graduated in 2002 with majors in Biology and Biomedical Ethics. I was drawn into the Bioethics program by the unique and interesting courses, the scope, the intimacy of the program, and the amazing and approachable faculty. My studies and interests soon led me to Soweto, South Africa, where a fellowship enabled me to engage in a project concerned with learning and sharing the stories of individuals affected by HIV, to try and make real lives often considered distant and referred to as statistics. My project focused on children, and after returning I have shared their personal narratives and photographs in numerous forums, including the Bioethics Society and as a speaker for the Global AIDS Alliance.

After graduating, I interned in the Office of Bioethics at a community hospital near D.C. conducting patient ethics consultations, discussing issues such as advance directives, cultural conflicts and questions of consent, sitting in on the hospital ethics board, and weighing in on discussions of hospital policy. I was grateful for the prolific readings and culture of never-ending debate of the Bioethics program, as I regularly reached back into both. Following, I worked for the Virginia Department of Health, as an Epidemiologist Specialist, in the Division of HIV/STD. I worked as a member of an Outbreak Response Team, helping to formulate and engaging in disease intervention strategies. My ethics background gave me a unique and useful perspective as we sought to balance the rights of individual patients with infected populations and the community as a whole, and to address sensitive, personal, and highly confidential issues.