In the Moment: PWR Courses Inspire Great Student Collaborations on Algorithmic Justice
A new student-led journal named GRACE: Global Review of AI Community Ethics invites submissions from all over the globe and brings together Stanford students to collaborate on their research writing.
For many PWR students, their first Stanford research projects for PWR1, ESF, and PWR2 launch career-long interests they pursue through to their honors theses and subsequent careers. In 2017, at the beginning of the techlash, a group of PWR students planned a new student journal on algorithmic justice, race, and gender in Silicon Valley. In 2022, these students, along with others who arrived over the next few years, received their first NSF grant to start their journal, GRACE, a name that resonates with the famed computer science pioneer, Grace Hopper and refers to the diverse religious traditions that shape many of our students’ ethical backgrounds. GRACE publishes research papers, research reviews, podcast interviews, op-eds, and is the only AI ethics journal on any North American or European campus that calls for submissions on ethical frameworks from a global perspective.
Since January, GRACE has received more than 500 queries and submissions world-wide as well as numerous submissions from the Stanford community. PWR students from widely different backgrounds, academic years, and courses have revised their initial PWR research to write collaborative papers. Thus far, GRACE has received several co-authored submissions that originated as PWR projects: one on algorithmic policing written by a current co-term CS-student and a junior policy major, an AI medicine paper written by a medical student, a senior, and a sophomore, and a paper on algorithmic justice for Palestine from a junior, sophomore, and frosh.
For their Spring podcasts, GRACE advisors Dr. Harriett Jernigan and Dr. Brittany Hull will be interviewing such notable AI ethics practitioners as Dr. Timnit Gebru and Dr. Brandeis Marshall, while Stanford juniors Linda Denson and Tyah Roberts will interview Tawana Petty and Dr. Alex Hanna. Linda and Tyah will also be interviewed for an international Data Science ethics podcast.
Just as Stanford students represent GRACE locally and abroad, they also shape every part of the journal’s identity. Senior Nour Mary Aissaoui, a Leland Scholar, who studies computational biology on the pre-med track, reflects on all the influences of her design for the GRACE logo: "PWR was the first place I learned about cross-cultural cultural rhetorics, and how to write about inclusion. Our logo centers ethics in tech. It depicts empowerment of marginalized peoples who are disproportionately affected by AI and who continue to struggle for inclusion in tech spaces."
Reflecting on the long trajectory of PWR pedagogy and its arrival at GRACE, Dr. Jernigan, known as Dr. J. to her students, remarks: “It’s wonderful to see a conversation develop from a classroom activity on Black spaces into a collaborative research paper that includes students from different years and fields.” PWR Lecturer Dr. Brittany S. Hull looks forward to seeing “how classroom discussions on belonging, professionalism, and policing Black language develop into collaborative research on misogynoir in tech.”