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BYU team wins first place in Lockheed Martin Ethics in Engineering Case Competition

BYU Winners Celebrate
Advisor Jill Piacatelli (left), senior Heather Siddoway (middle), and Accounting student Hayden Gunnell celebrate their win.

The Weidman Center-sponsored team won first place in the competition for the second year in a row, maintaining their reputation of excellence in ethics.

Heather Siddoway, a Civil Engineering senior, along with Hayden Gunnell, a BYU Marriott School of Business MAcc student, won first place in the third annual Lockheed Martin Ethics in Engineering Competition . BYU maintained its first place title across two years of participation.

The goal of the competition is to develop the most ethical solution to a set of ethical dilemmas. This year’s ethical dilemmas were based around artificial intelligence, machine learning technology and large-scale analytics. After competing against teams from 21 universities, Siddoway and Gunnell’s presentation came out on top in the final against Virginia Tech.

“Winning was really exciting! We had put in a lot of work and hours to prepare leading up to it so it was nice that it paid off in the end, and it was cool to have been able to represent BYU well,” said Siddoway.

Other teams competing in the semi-finals were from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Alabama, University of Florida and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The Weidman Center assisted by coordinating with BYU Marriott to ensure there was a team from BYU ready to compete. The Center also sponsored half of the travel and registration.

"The main purpose of the Weidman Center is to create and promote experiences that lead to the development of the College of Engineering students’ leadership skills and global competence,” said Nicole Stewart, Weidman Center Manager. “The Lockheed Martin Ethics Competition helped refine many aspects of leadership such as problem solving, effective teamwork, and communication skills across multi-national boundaries."

BYU Engineering has placed an increased focus on providing their students with opportunities to develop foundations in integrity and ethics. Thanks to a recent $5 million donation from the Husein family , students have the funding to pursue experiences that will help them build foundations in ethics and integrity.

Heather Conover, Weidman Center Coordinator, shared the Weidman Center’s perspective on aiding in student competitions: “We feel students learn leadership best when they have opportunities to apply leadership skills and develop new ones in a natural context—especially challenging ones where there are no easy answers and an urgent deadline. Competitions provide this type of experience. We want to connect students with these kinds of opportunities and others that push them out of their comfort zones. Transformative experiences are the goal.”

The team was mentored by Jill Piacatelli, adjunct professor from BYU Marriott, and Alan Parkinson, former Dean of the College of Engineering.

"It was amazing to see Heather and Hayden--strangers to each other prior to this, and students of very different disciplines--work together within a very tight timeline to develop solutions to a case that was professionally written to contain a multitude of complexities. Their prepared presentation showed both insight and skill," said Piacatelli.

For more information on this year’s ethics case, visit https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/news/features/2020/lockheed-martin-3rd-annual-ethics-in-engineering-competition.html