System Engineers Attend Competition on the Nexus of Engineering and Ethics

March 14, 2023

Leah Kaplan, Eliese Ottinger, James Ferguson, and Caitlin Grady

Ethics awareness is a good investment in today’s society. GW Systems Engineering students, Senior Eliese Ottinger and Junior James Ferguson, recently participated in Lockheed Martin’s 2023 Ethics in Engineering Competition to discuss the nexus of engineering and ethics while also having the opportunity to network and learn more about Lockheed Martin. 

This annual competition is held to compel students to think about the importance of ethics in the workplace and the various real-life dilemmas that can arise. It involves each team presenting their solution to a fictional case involving ethical, business, and engineering dilemmas. 

Ottinger and Ferguson were tasked to provide solutions on a fictional case that involved a disagreement between a government contractor and subcontractor regarding how to proceed with a project knowing there were existing cybersecurity risks. The team’s set of solutions included updated risk management standards, block upgrades, and more. In the original seeding of the tournament, they placed 17th out of 71 teams. Ottinger stated, “It was a great experience and I hope we set the stage for GW students to win next year!” 

Ferguson said, “It was a rewarding experience that allowed us to explore how to apply engineering techniques ethically to solve a problem and network with other like-minded students from around the country.” 

Ottinger and Ferguson were accompanied by their faculty advisors Caitlin Grady, Assistant Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, and current Ph.D. candidate Leah Kaplan. Grady encouraged her students to attend the Engineering and Ethics Competition because she believes it is critical for students to engage in ethics because making ethical decisions is an everyday choice. 

“In an increasingly complex, digital, globally connected world, we need to be training engineers that not only think through the physics or mechanics of their design but also ones who understand how that design impacts the world around them,” Grady said.