Sara Louis Tonge Earned 1st Place in the 2023 Ricco Ethics Scholarship | College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
March 13, 2023

Sara Louis Tonge Earned 1st Place in the 2023 Ricco Ethics Scholarship

The University of North Texas has selected Sara Louis Tonge as the first-place graduate winner of the 2023 Ricco Ethics Scholarship.

Tonge is a graduate student and teaching assistant with the Department of Philosophy & Religion. Her interests lie in animals and food systems in political theory, communication with animals, and the role of public philosophy in animal and environmental advocacy.

"It's truly an honor to receive this award! Whilst I am not yet at the dissertation stage, my research will focus on how considering the lived experience of non-human animals can help to promote better moral consideration of animals," said Tonge.

The Northwich, England native received her B.A. in Politics with International Experience from the University of Sheffield. Sara earned the $5,000 award for her writing, "We're All in This Together: The Ethics of Care and CEO Pay-Cuts".

Sara explained the prompt for this scholarship detailed how multi-billion-dollar corporations continue to pay their employees below the minimum wage, meaning that many workers have to depend on governmental assistance despite working full-time for such corporations. To address this issue, she adopted the Ethics of Care, which details that moral obligations arise when we are interdependent. This theory seems the most favorable for the situation as it leads to the most equitable outcome when compared with other dominant moral views. When applied to this situation, it would result in the executive's realization that they have a duty of care towards their employees, and as such ought to pay them above the minimum wage - even if that means that they themselves take a pay cut.

"As such, it feels hugely gratifying to be recognized for my writings on ethics," said Tonge.

The Ricco Ethics competition was created to promote intellectual debate and discussion on ethics as related to student's areas of study at UNT, their field of vocation, or their avocation.

The scholarship began in 2011 when a generous gift from Nicholas D. and Anna G. Ricco, longtime friends of UNT, created an endowment and is open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students in good academic standing.

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