Chelsea Gardner | Staff Writer

On Wednesday September 7 in the Washington Sankofa Room, The African American Cultural Center and the Minority Interest Pre-health Club hosted a discussion panel about the freshman common reading, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.

The panelists included Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, Dr. Stepanie Curtis, and Dr. Karla KC Holloway. Each panelist was asked to give their input on their perspectives of the novel. Dr. Stephanie Curtis, a North Carolina State University Genetics professor, enlightened the audience with her views as a scientist but also as a woman and a mother. She said, “I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned from this book with non-scientists and scientists alike.” North Carolina State University Africana Studies professor and director of the African American Cultural Center, Dr. Sheila Smith Mckoy discussed the book in context of Bio-Politics in race. She provided an in-depth reflection of personal experiences and encounters she had with the novel. Duke University professor and author of “Private Bodies, Public Texts: Race, Gender and a Cultural Bioethics,”

Dr. Karla KC Holloway examined “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’” relations to bioethics. She expanded the minds of the audience by questioning the value of research and the value of the individual. “Science brings its biases to the questions it wants to understand,” she stated during the discussion. The discussion panel answered many questions for people who took an interest in this novel. It also provided insight for many people who are committed to social justice through scholarly works.

Junior Bernice Gyamf was very pleased with the outcome of the panel discussion.

She said, “I really enjoyed the book. This professor was really informative and I learned a lot. I did the scholars program sophomore year and I heard Rebecca Skloot speak and it was inspirational. I ended up buying the book.”