Katherine Alfredo and Ellison Carter
Katherine Alfredo, Ellison Carter, and Dr. Hillary Hart from the University of Texas lead an interactive discussion on ethics in data gathering, selection, and presentation. The format for the session was pulled from Katherine and Hillary’s experience as researchers on an NSF-project creating online ethics modules for graduate engineering students (accessible here). The participants in the session were challenged to embody the characters in a fictional scenario that led the audience through a research-related ethical dilemma, featuring a professor, a graduate student turned post-doc, and an entry level masters student. Each character was faced with different circumstances and questions to answer, and in their roles, session attendees engaged in a lively debate over the best course of action for each character. Participation by the session attendees was strong, and this could be attributed, in large part, to the detailed design of the exercise and thorough vetting of the questions that would shape the discussion. Although Katherine, Ellison, and Hillary expected the audience to be primarily graduate students, there were a considerable number of forward-thinking undergraduates, which could be taken into consideration for the design of future sessions on this topic.