Oral History: Brianna Esqueda


For my oral history assignment, I chose to interview Lydia Wolfram, a researcher and student here at WSU.  The overall interview process went fairly smoothly. The interview focused on the type of genetic research she does here on campus. She talked about her research and how it would be impossible without the help of modern technology. I think that, while it was a little difficult, I was able to create a conversation with her and to partake in an open dialogue

There were a few things that surprised me during this interview. One being how different my interviewee reacted as soon as they knew they were being recorded. Before we began recording we briefly discussed what were wanted to cover during the interview and she seemed very comfortable and confident. Yet as soon as I began recording she because really nervous and tense. In an effort to try to combat this, I did not let her listen to the few seconds of sounds texting that I did, just so that she wouldn’t feel self-conscious about her voice. I though this might be helpful seeing that I, like most people, do not like hearing the sound of my own voice. A difficulty I ran into was trying to interrupt her. Partly because she would go on small tangents and party because she felt like she had to really teach me (which I appreciated).

One theme that came up was the ethical responsibilities relating to this type of research. In the interview she explains that this research could be used to in the future to change DNA. A change like this would have a lasting impact on the future generations of the person whose DNA was manipulated. She explained that intervention like this hasn’t been done yet because scientist can’t seem to come to a conclusion about where the line is. For example, if we can eliminate downs syndrome, should we? This might inspire a quick answer at first, but when given more thought it is easy to see how this could cause  rude treatment, ableism, and unfair treatment to people with visible differences; differences that pose no really health threat. Overall I enjoyed conducting this interview and learned quite a bit in the process.

negative views of people when differences

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