P.C. Rossin College of
Engineering and Applied Science
Lehigh students present research on ethical issues across disciplines

Students participating in the third annual Lehigh Undergraduate Ethics Symposium on March 23 explored ethical issues in health, education, finance, computers, and the environment, including the growth of automated home devices.

The event was hosted for the first time by Lehigh’s new Center for Ethics and made possible by the Endowment Fund for the Teaching of Ethical Decision-Making. The philosophy honor society Phi Sigma Tau also helped organize the symposium, which allowed students to share their research work on ethical problems in or outside their field of study.

“Without opportunities for Lehigh undergrads to study ethical issues and to engage in informed thinking and discussion of them, they won’t be well-prepared to take on these challenges and respond to them well,” said Professor Robin Dillon, director of the Lehigh Center for Ethics. “The symposium is one of the opportunities the [Center of Ethics] provides.”

Awards categories included the best presentation from each of Lehigh's three undergraduate colleges as well as an overall grand prize. This year, the judges were so impressed with the quality of the presentations that they decided to award two top prizes.

Patricia Sittikul ’19, a computer science and engineering student, won a grand prize for “My User’s Keeper: The Role of Ethics in Human-Computer Interactions.” She researched the ethics behind automated home devices and social media, such as Tumblr and Reddit. Sittikul looked at privacy and censorship issues and whether the outlets are beneficial.

Sittikul said the developers of the devices and apps should be held accountable for the ethical issues that arise. She said she has seen some companies look for solutions to ethical problems.

“I think it's incredibly important to look at ethical questions as a computer scientist because when you are working on technology, you are impacting so many people whether you know it or not,” Sittikul said.

Harry W. Ossolinski ’20, a philosophy major, also won a grand prize for his presentation about the U.S. drug policy. 

Andrew Goldman ’19, who studies materials science, won the best presentation by a student in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science for “Climate Change and Ethical Responsibilities.”

The Rossin College was also represented at the symposium by IDEAS students Rebecca Salsburg-Frank ’19 and Tori Campbell ’19, who presented on “Educational Systems and Prison Systems.”

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center

Story by Madison Hoff '19