Personal Focus

Role

Duration

data analysis, 

qualitative interviewing

interview study

lead

june 2019 - present

Describing Stem Students' Patterns of Ethical Concern

In summer 2019 I had the opportunity to begin working with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Colin M. Gray, on an exploratory project aimed at understanding how ethically prepared STEM students of varying degrees are to make the move from students to industry professionals.

 

This project has continued into the school year, but during the summer I lead the team in the interview study and designed our research poster and contributed to the writing.

The interview study revealed that many STEM students fail to identify their own ethical codes and are not prepared to make ethically-backed workplace decisions.

 

For more information on this research project, view the poster.

research internship

A brief summary of the project and what we are accomplishing.

Technological systems are increasingly pervasive, impacting both our everyday lives and the current and future states of many STEM professions. Trends in technology present security and privacy concerns, threatening to disrupt individual control over data collection and use. Virtually all areas of STEM study are impacted by these challenges and opportunities, yet many struggle to identify ethical considerations to guide their practice. 

In this interview study, we explore opportunities to enhance the preparation of STEM students by documenting current and emerging areas of ethical concern. We interviewed 20 undergraduate and graduate STEM students using a critical interview approach, asking about ethical concerns in everyday and professional interactions with technology. We iteratively conducted a thematic analysis to identify the ethical concerns shared by STEM students, revealing the patterns of ethical reasoning that they use to justify or avoid their use of technologies. 

We identified multiple themes relating to matters of ethical concern, including drivers for unethical behavior, beliefs regarding responsibility for ethical technologies, means of engaging with matters of ethical concern, and reactions to unethical technology experiences. The participants’ examples revealed ethical awareness manifest in privacy concerns. However, the locus of responsibility for these concerns varied widely. Participants consistently stated that their educational preparation to engage in ethical argumentation within their discipline was lacking. Based on these early results, we posit that our participants’ lack of professional ethics capability will be problematic for the future of many technological fields, and should be addressed through new ethics education experiences. 

For more information on this research project, view the poster.

abstract

built by Hunter in 2019.