2016/2017 Boston University
Trustee Scholarship
Competition Essay


Boston University Trustee Scholars are encouraged to develop well-informed and well-reasoned views of important political, social, and artistic issues. We select students who have a sense of how to present persuasive arguments in support of their views. With that in mind, please select one of the questions below, indicating your choice and respond with an essay explaining your perspective in 600 words or less.

  Building on recent successes in DNA research–including genetically modified crops, the creation of insulin within genetically modified cells, and the sequencing of the human genome–scientists have begun discussions about the fabrication of all DNA present in human chromosomes. Some foresee dramatic breakthroughs for humankind, while others worry that the knowledge would give parents the ability to select the traits of their offspring and perhaps allow for the creation of humans without biological parents. There is widespread agreement that the research touches ethical as well as scientific questions. In your view, do the potential benefits outweigh its risks? If so, how should its risks be addressed?

  Several countries are now developing prototypes for “robot weapons,” which will have the capacity to locate targets and launch strikes without human intervention. Supporters say this is a logical and necessary step, given the growing technological sophistication of warfare. Critics contend, on both moral and strategic grounds, that humans must be directly involved whenever lethal force is used. Do you think the potential use of such weapons should be pursued? Why?

  The German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: “One cannot escape the world more certainly than through art, and one cannot bind oneself to it more certainly than through art.” With extended reference to one novel, poem, play, piece of music, or work of art, please discuss what you believe this sentence to mean.

In addition, please submit a short essay of no more than 300 words, to the statement below:

“Something that’s not on the resume”

Give us a glimpse of a passion, dream, or mental pursuit that absorbs and delights you.

Please submit this form by December 1, 2016. For questions about the Trustee Scholarship essay or the Trustee Scholarship Competition, please call 617-353-2320 or email scholars@bu.edu.

Boston University's policies provide for equal opportunity and affirmative action in employment and admission to all programs of the University.