Cydney is a junior majoring in Biology and History, with intent to pursue History of Science, Technology, and Medicine or Science, Technology, and Society studies following undergrad. She writes for Duke’s Research Blog, serves as a Restorative Justice Fellow, and is the newly elected President of Duke Vertices – a science communications club. Cydney enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and painting.  

Her research broadly investigates reproductive rights and questions about biotechnology and the ethics of state, corporate, and self-governance of human biology through investigation of eugenics in mid-20th century North Carolina. She will center her work around the Human Betterment League of North Carolina to assess how and why they reinterpreted and reintegrated decades old eugenics ideas. However, this organization and local history elicit broader transformations in perceived biological identity as reproductive control shifted from oppressive sterilization to “liberatory” family planning and birth control. She also anticipates evaluating networks connected to NC and its historical actors that demonstrate how struggles over competing visions and fears for the “developing” world were associated with the conception of “human betterment” in NC and the U.S. more generally. Where does the boundary lie for human rights in an era of perceived collective good through eugenics? How do ideals, knowledge, and institutions of present-day genetics perpetuate this eugenic past or diverge from it?  


The History of Eugenics and The Human Betterment League of North Carolina

The Human Betterment League of North Carolina, 1947-1988