By Victoria Puglisi ’24
Have you ever thought about how you would handle an ethical dilemma in the workplace? Most college students when asked this question would likely answer, “It’s never really crossed my mind.” However, for Moravian University students Alex Gerra ’23, Connor Houghton ’24, and Joseph Walker ’23, this is a question they considered closely during Lockheed Martin’s Ethics In Engineering Case Competition. The goal of the competition is to prepare students for real-world experiences in the workplace that would challenge their ethics. With advances in technology, ethical dilemmas are common in the workplace today.
The competition took place from February 27 to March 1 at the Lockheed Martin headquarters campus located in Bethesda, Maryland. More than 70 colleges and universities participated. All teams were given the same fictional case involving a defense contractor and a training-systems provider hired by the government to develop a training system for an unmanned aerial vehicle while addressing the accompanying cybersecurity issues. Teams presented their solutions over several elimination rounds.
Moravian’s students all have an interest in some aspect of engineering. Gerra is majoring in physics, Houghton is studying applied mathematics, and Walker—an ROTC cadet—is a business management major. “During our meetings we brainstormed possible solutions that addressed the interests of both the hypothetical companies in the case,” says Gerra. “We would then go back and forth trying to poke holes in these solutions.”
The students were accompanied by Kelly Krieble, professor of physics, who was their advisor for the competition, and Marilyn Kelly-Cavotta, executive director of veteran and military services. When reflecting on the competition, Kelly-Cavotta stated, “The event went well and was an amazing opportunity for our students. Our team competed in four rounds before being knocked out.”
When the students were not competing, they could take advantage of several learning and networking opportunities arranged by Lockheed Martin. They could talk with Lockheed engineers and participate in a virtual-reality experience, and there were workshops for interviewing tips, resume writing, and navigating the security process.
“Attending the Lockheed Martin Competition was very engaging and educational,” says Gerra. “I feel I not only gained a lot of insight into Lockheed Martin as a company but also learned how to adapt quickly and think on the fly.”