Skip to main content
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Ethics of Clean Water

Workers out in a field.

Student Spotlight

Further illustrating the analogy used to introduce this report, ethical issues can be found everywhere, including within the effort to bring clean water to migrant farm workers in Monterey County. Jo Gopinath ’19 delved into this critical health concern, and its related ethical implications, facing small populations of migrant farm workers living and working among Central California’s farmlands in her research as a Hackworth Fellow for the Ethics Center.

“We’re an applied ethics center and Jo’s project was right at the heart of the meaning of applied ethics. She took on what may have seemed like a mundane aspect of the issue of clean drinking water—the use of water filtration devices by largely migrant, farmworker communities—and she brought to life the deep ethical values and principles at stake in the matter. Ethics can’t amount only to philosophical discussions. It matters in real life for real people—and Jo did great work precisely in that key.”

David DeCosse — David DeCosse, Director of Religious & Catholic Ethics and Campus Ethics


“My time working with the Markkula Center shaped how I view my role as an engineer. For the two years prior to being on this project, I was doing water quality research in a lab, removed from the human aspect of the project. When I started working with the Community Water Center and the Ethics Center, I was able to contextualize the technical foundation I had built over the years, and see it in action in the field. I was able to synthesize my knowledge of the engineering aspects of water quality with the very human aspect of those who do not have access to clean water.”

Jo Gopinath — Jo Gopinath, Class of 2019