It can take time for people to identify exactly what they enjoy doing and whether or not they want to pursue it as a career. As a high school student, senior Martin Li has already discovered what he is passionate about. Li loves talking about philosophy with his Ethics Bowl team, learning about diplomacy and international relations in the Model United Nations Team and providing news updates through the Politicized News Organization.
Ethics Bowl is a club in which students prepare for debates and discussions related to ethical dilemmas that they are presented at an official competition. Initially, Li started the philosophy club after freshman year as a place to talk about philosophy with his friends. In his junior year, he renamed the club as Ethics Bowl when he realized he wanted the members to participate in competitions related to philosophy. “Although I liked having discussions in Philosophy Club, I wanted to work towards something more tangible,” Li said.
The students in Ethics Bowl prepare for competitions by reviewing the cases assigned by the National High School Ethics Bowl and taking notes on them. The team is judged on their ethical reasoning and the arguments that they present. The Ethics Bowl Club’s most recent competition was at the DC regional Ethics Bowl where they brought two teams of nine students in total. Although neither team made it to semi-finals, one team did earn the Question and Answer Award for doing best in the question and answer section out of all teams attending. Li is planning to host mock competitions and work with other schools’ teams in the future. He hopes that the club continues to expand and become more successful after he leaves. “He is always making sure that everyone understands everything they need to for the competition and is willing to sacrifice a lot for the team,” Ethics Bowl member junior Nastaran Moghimi said.
Not only does Li engage in philosophical discussions in school, but in his personal life, he also enjoys asking questions and drawing conclusions about the world around him. Li always understood philosophy as something only individuals could engage in. Working in a group and studying cases and theories for competitions has helped him understand that philosophy can be a collaborative field, where great ideas come from group discussion. He hopes to continue studying the nature of knowledge in his future. “I want to study philosophy and work towards a Ph.D. and professorship in the field,” Li said.
Li not only holds a leadership role in one club at this school, but he is also the vice president this year of the Model United Nations (MUN) team. Similar to what real delegates and ambassadors do in UN conferences, students of the MUN team develop research and debate skills while creating solutions for issues that countries are currently facing at regional, national and international competitions. As Vice President, Li helps prepare delegates for conferences and organizes students into distinct teams for local competitions. “He also helped us run crisis, teaching our delegates how to run specialized MUN committees and simulations that are among the highlights of any competition,” MUN Director-General senior Arnav Patra said.
Li’s engagement in MUN allowed him the opportunity to become involved in Politicized News, a multimedia news organization run solely by youth. Li became friends with the founder of Politicized News, Thanasi Dilos, at a Model UN conference in Portugal, who, like him, is interested in philosophy and politics. While working for Politicized News, Li has written a lot of foreign policy pieces and worked to provide information about the Iran tensions earlier this year. “Now the company is being reorganized as it is shifting toward becoming a certified business by getting investors and I’ll be taking on a role as global affairs editor,” Li said.
Besides leading this school’s Ethics Bowl and MUN teams, Li is also a dedicated member of the National Honors Society and Banner Boy of the swim and dive team.