Frazier Benya, PhD, MA

Frazier Benya

Frazier Benya did not start her graduate career studying bioethics. In 2005 she began a PhD at the University of Minnesota in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine department. While completing a course on the ethics of human subject research, Benya’s curiosity for the field of bioethics was piqued. She continued to take classes in bioethics and in 2009 when the Masters of Arts in Bioethics program started here at the Center for Bioethics she enrolled immediately. Dr. Benya graduated with her Masters in 2011 and PhD in 2012 and is now working at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) in D.C.

By studying two distinct yet complementary programs, Benya was able to explore science, medicine and bioethics from different angles. In her PhD program she researched the history of bioethics and scientific social responsibility, specifically the era that led to the first federal bioethics commission. As a bioethics graduate student, Benya analyzed institutional methods for considering the social implications of science. She focused on methods that blend scientific research with ethics research.

"The Center’s classes gave me the knowledge and expertise in bioethics and science and technology ethics that I use regularly in my job to identify and analyze ethical issues and review ethics.” – Frazier Benya

In the age of the #MeToo movement, Dr. Benya has been able to use her unique academic training to examine the ethical standards and behaviors of the science professions. In her current role as senior program officer for the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) at the National Academies, Dr. Benya recently directed a study that resulted in the report “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” This report is one of the many ways Dr. Benya works on making science, engineering, and medicine ethical and socially responsible.

Previously Dr. Benya worked for 6 years with the National Academy of Engineering’s Center for Engineering Ethics and Society as a program officer. In this role she focused on amplifying ethics education and reviewing research on the career pathways for engineers. In 2017, Dr. Frazier Benya was recognized for her scientific leadership and contributions when she was named a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Sciences.

You can find Dr. Benya’s staff bio for NASEM here.

The Center for Bioethics trains curious individuals in ways of confronting and understanding ethical issues in health, health care, new biomedical technologies, the environment, and the life sciences.