ASCE engineer talks to students about engineering ethics – The Bradley Scout
Amy McLaren, a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), came to Bradley to give students an introduction to ethical decision making for engineers on November 10.
McLaren, who works for the Peoria County Highway Department, began with a brief history of his education before moving on to several aspects of civil engineering. As a civil engineer, she explained that one would most likely be working on public projects such as water and wastewater treatment plants, roads and buildings.
Some projects require public funding, and requests for such funds are made available to citizens through the Illinois Open Meetings Act. As these plans can often be examined by the public, she stressed the importance of professionalism in civil engineering.
âDon’t do anything you wouldn’t want in the news or on the front page of a newspaper,â McLaren said.
Although she provided a PowerPoint to highlight the key points of her 30 minute presentation, she remained conversational as she presented her personal experiences and referred to a quote from “Harry Potter” to demonstrate the importance of doing the good thing.
Following the advice she provided to students, McLaren outlined a series of steps engineers could take in order to decide whether a project was worth pursuing. By starting by identifying the issues and the stakeholders, we could then analyze alternative courses of action and acquire different perspectives before acting on their decision.
With a recent example of an initiative it chose not to support, McLaren demonstrated its own decision-making process. One community wanted to allow golf carts in their subdivision, so they contacted the local road commissioner about this. The community, as well as the police, approved it, while it expressed its reservations due to security concerns for the children living in the housing estate.
âI think of the stakeholders; I think of little children, âsaid McLaren. “They [could be] walk around, do their thing, and all of a sudden someone gets drunk, and they hit them and hurt themâ¦ I feel like maybe that’s it [wouldnât be] one hundred percent on me, but I [wouldâve] participated in this. I don’t want any part of it.
Several other aspects she discussed included the possibility that civil engineers face legal consequences for their participation in a particular project. If an accident occurs and someone decides to take legal action, the engineers could be called as expert witnesses and required to appear in court.
At the end of the presentation, McLaren distributed a package detailing the ASCE Code of Ethics to those in attendance, a code that emphasizes integrity and professionalism. The students expressed their gratitude for the range of information she provided.
âI learned a lot about ethics and the political part of [civil] engineering, âsaid Oyinda Igun, a first-year civil engineering student. âAlthough we learned about them in class, I was able to learn more [through] in-depth situations that happened to [McLaren]. “
In conclusion, she expressed to the students the ease of entering the workforce after graduation.
âMany of you will never have to worry about where your work is because there are more job opportunities than there are. [engineers]McLaren said. “So you can pretty much call the shots when you come out of [college]. ”