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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

2007 Worthington Essay Prize

Worthington Essay Contest Prize Winners, 2007:

  • First/Grande Prize: Daniel Dawer: Read Daniel's essay (PDF, 123K)
    • Bio: Daniel is a Plan II and English Honors Junior. He mentors a middle school student through the Plan II/KIPP partnership, acts as a docent at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and is a research assistant for the English department at UT. After graduation, he plans to pursue graduate studies in English.
  • Second prize, Zachary Barton: Read Zachary's essay (PDF, 45K)
    • Bio: I was raised in a in a little town called Buda, Texas until I moved to Austin this year to attend UT.  My Dad, Jeff, is a County Commissioner in Hays County, my mom, Cyndy, runs the local newspaper called The Free Press, and My sister, Bozena, is in 8th grade.
            I would love to be an orientation advisor, study abroad in Argentina, be in the Normandy Program, and double-major in Government, but according to true Plan II fashion, I am still undecided about all of the above.  My long-term goals are to attend Georgetown University for Graduate school and then to go into Politics.
  • First-year prize, Sarah Jenkins: Read Sarah's essay (PDF, 60K)
    • Bio: I plan to double major in Plan II and English and possibly pursue writing as a career. I am active in the Texas Wesley group and enjoy swing dancing. All my thanks goes to Mrs. Sharon Harris who taught me to write.

 

All Plan II students and faculty are invited to the recognition ceremony, which will be on Thursday, January 24, 2008, at 7:00 pm in the Joynes Room. Roger and Ann Worthington are both expected to attend.

Deadline: Essays due Monday, October 8, 2007 in the Plan II Honors office, WC Hogg 4.104

Topic

In 2009, researchers at the University of Texas College of Pharmacy developed a new medication, Betatriginal, for the treatment of depression. After a successful clinical trial, the drug was approved by the FDA and marketed as"Albetanow".

Albetanow has become the most-prescribed treatment for depression by an overwhelming margin. Doctors throughout North America and Europe have been enthusiastic about the new medication. Among the few side effects are mild headache, dry mouth, loss of appetite, periodic uncontrollable hiccuping, and hypomania--a condition of increased creative productivity. These side effects are seen in most users of Albetanow, but are not considered alarming by the medical community. Only one patient has died due to the use of Albetanow--a 24
year-old man who developed arrhythmia a few days after beginning treatment.

Some patients have complained of serious withdrawal symptoms when they have attempted to discontinue using the drug, including elevated blood pressure, vertigo, and drowsiness. There are no clinical data on the long-term effects of Albetanow, but it is presumed to be safe for life-long use.

You are the Vice President of Human Resources at a Fortune 1000 company based in the Pacific Northwest. Recently, the Board of Directors has mandated that all employees will be screened for psychological problems, and that anyone suffering from depression must accept psychiatric treatment, which in most cases will include a prescription for Albetanow. The company will cover all related medical expenses. Anyone who refuses treatment will be forced to resign.

You are expected to announce this new policy to the employees and organize the psychological screening process, but you are feeling conflicted.

Your own brother has suffered from depression for decades, but he began taking Albetanow a few months ago and you have never seen him so happy. He has lost weight; he's become more ambitious at work; and he's joined two volunteer organizations to stay busy on the weekends. It seems like Albetanow has really helped him, and you can imagine that it could turn some people's lives around.

But there is a question of ethics--is it fair to require someone to take medication? Your company lawyers have reviewed the policy and assured you that it is legal. Two other companies have already implemented similar policies, and their productivity has skyrocketed. (Surprisingly, nearly half of their work force was diagnosed with depression and have been prescribed Albetanow.) Several workers' unions have protested, accusing these corporations of abusing their employees' bodies with little concern for their privacy. Rumors of the new policy have already leaked within your company, and you have received many objections from outraged employees.

You have expressed your concerns to the President, but she has made it clear that the board is unanimous in its decision and can not be swayed.

You must decide what to do. There seem to be only two options:

1.) You can implement the policy.
2.) You can resign in protest of the policy.
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