What does it mean to live an ethical life?

Kenan Summer Fellows spend a summer exploring—in a variety of ways—the answers to the question: What does it mean to live an ethical life? A Summer Fellow might design a project at home or abroad, implement a community-based intervention, compose a musical, volunteer with an NGO, write a play, or curate an art exhibition. Summer experiences can and do provide a thoughtful, novel perspective of how to live an ethical life.

Between five and six fellows receive up to a $5,000 stipend and their faculty mentors will receive $500 to support their project.

Past Questions Have Included:

  • What is the place of integrity, sincerity, or steadfast truthfulness, in living an ethical life?
  • What are the qualities of character required to live an ethical life?
  • Does engaging in politics require compromising one’s ethical principles?
  • How do institutions nurture or impede people’s ability to lead more ethical lives?
  • What roles do or should normative principles play in shaping a specific public policy issue?
  • How should we define and balance our obligations of justice and care to fellow citizens, immigrants and refugees, human beings across the globe, and the injustices of the past?​

Read Taylor Plett’s 2019 blog on young activists of the school strikes for climate change as modeled by Greta Thunberg.


Read Alex Johnson’s 2019 blog on researching best practices for reporters to ethically interview vulnerable populations.


Read Noah Bruess-Burgess’ 2019 blog on exploring what it means to live the Christian ethical life.


Read Anna Kasradze’s 2019 blog about Russian literature and the ethics of accessing others’ subjective experiences.


Read Lucas Lynn’s 2019 blog about defining what home truly is for American homeless communities.